Monday, November 06, 2006

Working with a Beginning Seamstress

Some ideas on how to integrate a learning seamstress into a *real* sewing project:

1. Start by laying out the pattern pieces yourself and having her cut them out. Truly sharp scissors are essential and can be handled carefully by a medium-aged child. Demonstrate notches and other markings.

2. After learning about grainlines, the child can do the pinning herself. Check before she cuts! It doesn't hurt to have a little extra fabric either for the layout, just in case!

3. Even a beginning seamstress can run up straight seams--skirt sides, bodice sides, shoulders. First I pin them and hand them over for sewing, then we move on to the child pinning, getting checked, and doing the sewing.

4. Pressing seams open is a great job for a learner--especially those straight seams.

5. After practicing with the zigzag function, set her to work zigzagging raw edges of seams.

6. Let her run easing or gathering stitches--show her how to change the machine setting, how to use two rows of stitching for gathering, and how to leave a long tail of thread.

All of this seems to take more time and effort at first than doing it yourself (oh right--that's teaching a child anything!), but a child who is interested in sewing will take these basic skills and run with them! I have been so pleased and surprised with Clara's wonderful workmanship, and look forward to teaching Bella more soon.


Shereen said...

Thank you so much for sharing these steps. My oldest is 10, and we just started with her helping by cutting out the patterns. I am looking forward to having her help me out. I'm sure it will go alot faster with her help.

Kelley said...

I desperately want to learn to sew!
My mom is an excellent and talented seamstress but being a single mom didn't leave much time for teaching me to sew *sad sigh*
I think that I will try and find a book or website that might be able to help me!

Lisa said...

I enjoy your blog! Thanks for these simple steps for beginning. I will put them to use. :-)

My 7 year old wanted to help with her poodle skirt for a sock hop birthday party this fall. She loved sewing the skirt seams. We used felt and that was a great fabric to start with for one her age.

Lisa said...

I just read through many of your sewing posts. Do you have any tips on organizing your sewing space? Our only sewing space is also a part of our office, homeschool area and toy room. I'd love any tips you have for successful sewing area that would be easy to use and train my children to sew organized also.

Cindi said...

What a nice well thought out list. It is so very helpful.

Queen of our castle said...

What age did you start with your girls? Our Sugar is 11, but doesn't stay very often for respite and finds concentrating on a task impossible - or has been told she does so many times that she believes it. She has started so many knitting and sewing projects that have ended from lack of attention or time elapsing between sessions. Did you just jump straight into clothing or what were your starting projects?

Kimberly said...

I've decided recently to take up sewing myself. I never learned how to do it, so I'll be reading about it and trying to find someone to help! I bought a beautiful fabric for an apron. It seems like a good place to start. I must admit, this site has been a big motivator to begin sewing for me. Now, to figure out how to thread the machine...

Poiema said...

Your post inspired me to begin a sewing project with my 10 year old daughter.I have written about it on my blog. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

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