Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Beyond the Academics: Sewing

Today I'd like to talk about teaching our kids to sew. For many of us, that will require some teaching of ourselves to sew! If you were taught to sew as a young person, consider that a blessing! Thankfully, there are hundreds of wonderful tutorials online for free, with pictures! If you have even basic skills, you can try some of these out. Otherwise, you may need to hunt down an older woman to teach you.

Whether you have sons or daughters, I believe there are some basics all our children need to learn. Things like how to use a needle and thread, and sew on a button, will be a valuable thing to equip our kids with. I know a lady who sends all her family's mending to the dry cleaners--even lost buttons. What a waste of money and time! A mending kit is a great thing to send along with your child to college or to tuck away in a hope chest.

Now, I don't have sons, so I can't speak about how much I would teach my sons. I have no idea. But as for my daughters, I have high hopes. They one day will have a home, hopefully with a family in it (although that's certainly not a given) and will need to know how to do some things. Sewing curtains, pillows, blankets and other household items can be a great way to save money and make a house lovely. I hope to help them go further than me and learn to sew clothes. What a blessing to their family or, like Dorcas in the Bible, what a blessing to others!

I had a student in first grade many years ago who was very large and very oddly shaped. She wasn't a standard beauty by any means, but she was cute thanks to her mom. Her mother told me she couldn't buy many clothes for her in the store (she really had an odd shape!) so she sewed them. That child looked so cute each day--all thanks to her mom's sewing that flattered her. And the more I shop, the more I see the need to be able to sew modest clothing for my girls! I believe learning to sew will be a huge blessing to my daughters.

OK, Brenda. How?

Well, actually I'd like to hear from some of you on that one! At our house, Sweetheart got a small sewing machine for her 9th birthday. She is learning to sew straight stitches, but still isn't really good at guiding the fabric. Here is the doll quilt we are working on:

Bright enough for you? She loves it! We got the tutorial online for free. It will cover her 18" doll perfectly in bed so she was very motivated to work on it. However, I think she needs more instant success so next time we will do a smaller project. I'm thinking about some easy Christmas ornaments I saw someplace online. Now, I started teaching Sweetheart to sew with a needle and thread when she was 7 or 8. Little Bit hasn't show any interest yet, but when she asks to learn, I plan on starting her with plastic canvas shapes and one of those big, dull needles. Even little kids can do that. I think it's one step up from lacing cards.

Anyway, I read that you should always make sitting down to sew with mom fun and enjoyable. A critical mom will kill the joy VERY quickly. But, if they are enjoying it, no matter how horrible their sewing comes out, they will keep trying. And if you've ever sewn, you know that practice is the biggest helper of all. I'm trying very hard to give Sweetheart only what she can handle and helping her with the rest. This process of learning to sew will be a long one--so it's something we need to sit down and do often.

But in all of this, our attitude is the most important thing--not our skill level. If we are constantly griping about housework and what a chore everything is, it will seem quite unatractive to our children. Not that we need to lie and let them think we LOVE LOVE LOVE doing all of it. Sometimes they need to know that we are in no mood to do it, but we will because we want to serve the Lord. I'm afraid that watching me be a homemaker is as big an influence on my daughters as any skills I try to teach them.


So, what are your thoughts on teaching kids to sew?


  1. My daughter who is now 7, started with the plastic canvas shapes and the large, blunt needle about 3 years ago. She really enjoys sitting and working on her little projects. She has actually learned the cross stitching technique this way.
    It's funny that you posted about this today. I'm actually headed to town in a little bit to buy supplies and fabric needed for a small quilt that my daughter and I are starting.
    I, too, agree that we need to be examples of satisfied Mommies and Wives (aka:homemakers) to our children, especially the girls.
    I enjoy cooking with my children also. My 12 year old son makes the best cookies!
    Keep it up. Being "homemakers" is becoming a lost art!

  2. I'm a beginner. I mean a REAL beginner. Oh, I can replace a button or mend a tear along a seam but that's the extent of my skills.

    My stepmom is giving me a sewing machine since she recently got a new one. I'm hoping she can give me some guidance. Because she worked full time when I was a kid, she didn't do much sewing while we were growing up.

    Hopefully I'll be able to create something phot worthy in the next few months. Oh yes, you didn't include any links to the tutorial sites you mentioned. I will probably email you asking for the best ones!

  3. Good point, Terry.

    Um, Rachel??? Can you give us some great tutorial links?

  4. Well I never did pick up on sewing, although my mom and grandma both made efforts. I have memories from a very young age (before 7, when my grandpa was alive) embroidering at my grandma's. I never liked it that much and of course my older sister was always better than me! Mom helped me sew a little jumpsuit thing when I was about 14. After we finished I just hated the way I looked in it! Anyway...I never did pick up on this...or gardening for that matter! (too much dirt and bugs)

  5. CurrClick carries a Bible study sewing mother daughter curriculum. Sewing is about the only thing that makes me so frustrated I want to curse. Still, I try to teach Brooke, 8, while she is interested. Lol.

  6. I have been "taught" by a number of different people and just cant make it stick! something just doesnt click! But I desperately want to know how and teach the girls! I have a sewing machine that I dont think works and I have a sewing machine I dont know how to work??? Does my heart count???

  7. I love the idea of a bible study mother daughter sewing curriculum. How awesome! I learned to sew when i was a young girl and am so greatful to have that skill today. I want to teach my daughters the skill too. Maybe my 14 year old 8 year old should get a sewing machine for xmas!!

    Great idea!

  8. Carrie, don't feel bad. There's always double-sided tape. :) I seriously had a friend who hot glued her daughter into her costume for a school play. It was awesome!

    That is why I say you can find an older woman to teach your children. We can't have ALL skills to pass down to them. There is NO WAY! I think the important thing is, if they show an interest, find a way to support them!

  9. I 'm watching your post to see if any other moms w/ boys chime in. FM asked me a couple of weeks ago to teach him to sew & I don't know where to begin. I know him, he needs a project that has a purpose & is relatively short. Any suggestions?

  10. Well, Mi, as a matter of fact my dad took a sewing class when I was around 9 or 10 to help my mom out. He made himself a shirt, each of us girls a dress or shirt and then he retired. But he had an appreciation for the work my mom did. (She sewed almost all of our clothing growing up.)

    I was going to tell you to let your son start with a pillow--so easy! Just make it manly like camo or dinosaurs or whatever your boy is into. :) Here are some other things I found:

    This thread is funny, if you can ignore the voodoo doll stuff! :) YIKES!

  11. Okay, I've searched through all 8938938493848 of the blogs I read and really really narrowed things down. To one.


    This one has the tutorials I use the most.

    Other than that, I look at Craftster and dig up patterns on etsy a lot too. Sewmamasew.com is a great site as well.

    Okay, so that wasn't just one, but.... I like tutorials better than patterns. It's easier for me. :-)

    Hope this helps.

  12. Whoops - that original link was supposed to be


  13. Hmmm...I am contemplating what to do next. One of my daughters LOVES to finger crochet. I am sure they would ALL love to learn to make something.

    I am convicted. We'll start tomorrow.


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)