Needlework and Kids: Sew Much Fun!

Think your kids are too young to learn to sew? Think again! Unleash the fun and creativity in your child by introducing the world of needlework!

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I'm over at Pam Barnhill's site again today, sharing my Needlework & Preschoolers: Sew Much Fun! post that will help convince you it's not too early to introduce even your 3-to-5-year-olds to the world of sewing.

Click on over to learn all the ways needlework activities can benefit your preschoolers along with how to get started, then jump back here to see what types of projects they can begin to create!

Gv has always been interested in sewing.

Grammy has about fifty bazillion sewing machines and sergers in her dedicated sewing room that she loves to spend time with and I've been through phases of being the Cross-stitch and Crochet Queen in the past, so my own brave little tailor has definitely been exposed to the craft from a young age.

However, I think it was when she noticed that some of my old dolls that she'd been playing with had clothes that had been made by my very own wee little hands that her interest in trying to sew herself really took off.

Photo of big-doll clothes I created was supposed to go here, but I could not find one in the mess that is currently Gv's room right now. Let's just say it looks like someone left the lid off while popping popcorn!

I'd had a pile of old shirt pieces left over from when I'd cut out the fronts to sew together as a quilt, so there was plenty of scrap fabric for her to mess around with.

I had more skating competition shirts than I could wear in my lifetime, so I turned them into a quilt!

I had a pile of needles from all the cross-stitch kits I'd completed way back in my college days, and I'd saved all the leftover thread from those kits, so there was really no reason not to let her just give it a try and see what she thought. (Free project! Woo-hoo!)

I've put all this leftover embroidery floss to great use over the years and Gv loves having such a huge color palette to choose from!

Mother's and Father's Day were coming up, so Gv decided she wanted to sew something for Grammy and Papa. Ignoring the fact that she was only 3, I said why not.

I cut out two squares of fabric, let her choose the thread colors (their favorite colors, naturally), threaded and knotted a needle for her (I knotted both ends together, so she wouldn't have to deal with the loose end slipping out) and showed her how to go in and out of the fabric.

I advised her to keep her stitches relatively close together to make life easier, then I set her free to explore on her own just what she could do with a needle and thread.

What she created could only be considered a masterpiece by the closest of kin, but she was so incredibly proud of herself for completing her first sewing project that it fueled an even greater interest to do more.

Her first masterpiece, framed and hanging on the wall of Grammy's sewing room!

First, she started making clothes for her dolls:

She made a dress like this for just about all of her Strawberry Shortcake dolls. I love how she added the patches to this one!

We'd given her my old Strawberry Shortcake dolls for Christmas that year, so she created an entire clothing line for them. 

Then, when she started getting involved in the Junior Ranger Program, she began creating her own "clubs" and giving members (Me & G) patches that we'd earned.

When she got her first sewing machine, she went from making seams to dog beds to Appliquéd t-shirts and her list of things to make continues to grow.

The very hairy dog bed that she made with Grammy's help. (April has requested that she make another one soon!)

She's interested in sewing pillows and purses and bookmarks and dresses and more shirts and clothes and gifts for family and friends (potholders, coasters, sewing decorations onto the fronts of cards), but when we gave her all my old Barbies for Christmas this year, she set her sights on making clothes for them, just like my grandma did for me.

My Barbies had a huge stack of poodle skirts, custom wedding gowns and weekend wear...

...they also had hand-beaded gowns for big nights out!

I've told her that those tiny clothes can be pretty tricky -- she's seen and played with my attempts at Barbie fashion -- but with her passion for sewing, I'm sure she'll be cranking out her own assembly line in no time.

You can tell I was the one to get all the sewing skill in my family, right? Ponchos were my clothing item of choice to sew for Barbies, because they were super-simple!

It's so neat to see her interest growing in such a (seems like today) forgotten art! I'd definitely encourage you to expose your own kids to it as well.

And for the final great tip, create a personalized sewing kit for your child to get started with. Grammy did this for Gv and it was one of the best ideas yet. She used an inexpensive fishing tackle box and filled it with all the basic supplies needed to begin to sew.

Inexpensive fishing tackle box

Packed full of all the notions a seamstress could need!

I'd also suggest saving old shirts, sheets and pillowcases to use for fabric:

This was originally a sweatshirt (I have twice as many ice skating competition sweatshirts that made an even larger quilt) and you can see how Gv has complete freedom to draw her patterns onto the fabric with marker and cut them out.

Because it sure makes it easier to just let Gv run wild and have the freedom to cut out whatever fabric she wants to mess around with, without worrying about the cost. Not only does it save money, but I love finding a way to reuse something that I would otherwise have gotten rid of!

Good luck!

Have your kids started experimenting with needlework projects yet? I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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