You can pop over to Lisa’s blog PhoebeandEgg to see my post on Five things to think about when teaching a child to hand sew and here’s Lisa’s post:
Children seven and older can usually handle a sewing machine, I feel before starting with the machine your child needs to understand the mechanics of sewing. This is best learned through hand sewing. Once they understand about stitches, seams, fabric, thread, pins and needles, or how to attach fabric to fabric, they may be ready to try the machine.
I feel you should get them competent enough to enjoy hand sewing before trying the machine, otherwise they may not master both. To really sew, you need to know both. But when you and your child are ready to try the machine, here a few things I recommend considering:
If you already own a sewing machine but don’t sew regularly, sit down before promising your child sewing machine time and take it for a test drive. Is it jamming and spewing clumps of thread? Is it making a strange rattling sound? Is the tension out of sorts? Your machine may be in need of a tune up. If you want your child’s first sewing experience to be an exhilarating smooth ride, make sure the machine is in good working order.
If you do not yet own a machine and are thinking of buying one, beware, all machines are not equal. Some of the models of certain brands can quickly introduce your child to frustration. Do a little homework before buying.
Most children under eight struggle with being able to reach the pedal. There are two easy solutions to this: either place the sewing machine on a child’s height desk or table or place the pedal on a box.
3. Safety: there are a few rules
For the teacher
If you can control the speed of your machine, put it on slow or half motor. This will still seem very fast for a child. I have children sew long straight seams on strips of fabric (as in from a jelly roll of fabric) to just get comfortable with the machine and hand placement. In the beginning an adult needs to be there watching. If your machine has a “needle down” option use this, it will ensure the needle is down when they stop sewing which keeps the fabric and needle both in a good place.
For the child
Always look at what you are doing while your foot is on the pedal. Not at the dog, the teacher, or your friend who is laughing. If you have to look away, take your foot off the pedal.
Your machine should not be sewing over pins and pins are pointy and sharp and hurt and tend to make kids worry. Wonderclips are just wonderful.
Lisa Press sews dolls and and doll clothing and writes about her craft and about sewing on PhoebeandEgg.com. She enjoys teaching children to sew using simple doll clothes patterns and the sewing machine. Currently on her blog is a doll dress-making series, geared towards older children and adults and this week she is introducing a learn to sew kit for children ages 7-10.