Myth Busting: What NOT to do when teaching kids to sew
One of the things I really love about Sew a Softie is meeting new people. And it’s interesting to see how many mums want to teach their kids to sew but don’t know how to begin. In response to those many mums, here are some tips to help you on your way.
There are a lot of misconceptions and just plain bad advice being given to parents about the best way to sew with their kids. The “only use a thick blunt needle” theory is a good example. A thick blunt needle works well with a loose weave like burlap, but if you want to sew more closely woven fabrics together a thick blunt needle will be hard to push through the fabric and tends to turn your sewing into a frustrating experience.
The simple solution is to use a sharp needle, preferably one with a large eye to make threading a little easier. I use chenille 24 needles with my classes but its not the only choice. Most sewing needles are fine to use though some have smaller eyes which make it more difficult for young sewers to thread. A common concern of many mums is that the sharp needles might be dangerous. I’ve taught kids as young as 3 years old for over 20 years and have never had problems with the smaller needles. Actually, I think the smaller needles are more suited to small hands. Sometimes a young student may prick themselves but a little bit of water seems to always do the trick and they are ready to continue their sewing. I’ve found that, given the opportunity of working with needles, children rise to the challenge and work responsibly. You might like this article by Cristin and the unexpected lessons she learnt teaching her daughter to sew. Of course, at the end of the day, you are the best judge as to whether to let your children sew with sharp needles.
Here are some more tips if you’re teaching a child to sew.
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And a short video I made showing you how different needles work:
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