Amie Plumley lives and teaches in Memphis, Tennessee. Amie is well-known for her highly popular books Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make and Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing. She blogs at Sewing School and is passionate about sewing and loves teaching sewing to children: “It’s so exciting to finally be part of a community of teachers who are actively sewing with children. When I began years ago, I searched high and low for likeminded teachers and parents. Now there are so many of us and there are wonderful books and tutorials for sewing with children.”
What age are the kids you teach?
Two years old and up
How long have you been teaching sewing for?
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I’m a mom, teacher, and author, in that order. I have two kids ages 8 and 11 who have inspired and guided me as I teach other children how to sew. I taught elementary school for 14 years and immediately began to integrate sewing into my teaching. In the classroom, I use sewing just like I would use any artform like painting, drawing, or collage and make sure it fits into my curriculum.
I also teach kids sewing during after-school programs and summer camps. These projects are more fun and are often inspired by the children that I sew with. I’ve also been working with toddlers and preschoolers and developing sewing projects that are doable for them.
I’ve written two sewing books for children: Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make and Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing. And there are two more Sewing School books in the works!
Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve found helpful in teaching kids to hand sew?
It’s all about the tools! Making sure that kids have tools that fit their hands and are developmentally appropriate is key. For ages 5 and up I like to use chenille #22 needles and craft thread with a LoRan Needle Threader. For toddlers, I use plastic needles or blunt tip needles and lacing strings. When sewing, I always tell the kids to “pinch the needle” at the eye when they sew and to cut an arm’s length of thread no matter how big or small the project.
Have you had any students you can tell me about whom learning to sew really benefited in some way?
Right now I have a student who is having a little trouble with reading, but he can sew! He is always helping others with their sewing and even assists me when I teach toddlers. Being able to create something wonderful with his hands and imagination has been such a confidence boost.
Is there any tool that you find particularly useful to use in your classes?
Sticky hook and loop tape is always a hit and I love beginning to sew with felt and burlap.
If you’d like to learn more about Amie and her thoughts about the benefits of sewing with kids take a look at this interview.