Teaching Kids to Sew and the Essential Stitches I Use
In Part 2 I want to talk about teaching kids to sew essential stitches. These are the stitches I teach to kids in my workshops. I have to admit that my all time favourite stitch to teach kids is the good old running stitch.
Two things make the running stitch a good place to start: firstly, it’s easy to master and secondly, it’s a fairly quick stitch to sew. It’s certainly quicker to use than a backstitch or overcast stitch. When kids start to sew I think it’s really important that they find sewing easy and that they can finish their project within a reasonable amount of time. A running stitch is perfect on both counts. Having said that, you will find kids that just love the feeling of doing a backstitch or an overcast stitch and in such cases, I think it’s best to encourage them to sew their project with whatever stitch they wish to choose.
Teaching kids to sew a running stitch
A running stitch is great for sewing two pieces of fabric together. Younger children and beginner sewers can sometimes find it difficult to sew small evenly-placed running stitches. I think it’s better to let them sew their own large often wonky-looking stitches and enjoy their sewing rather than pushing them to sew more neatly and evenly. In some projects the stitches really do need to been smaller and closer together in order to hold in stuffing or a weighting material like rice grains. If the stitches are too large or far-apart to do this effectively I get them to sew another line of stitches over their original line and that generally solves any problems of stuffing or rice falling out through the stitches.
Teaching kids to sew an overcast or whipstitch
An overcast stitch is another useful way to sew two pieces of fabric together. It’s looped over the edge of the fabric instead of sewing parallel to the edge as you do with a running stitch or a backstitch. This stitch is great for sewing around a felt softie or when you want to close a turning gap. Another really great stitch for sewing a turning gap closed is a ladder stitch but I wouldn’t recommend teaching this stitch to kids when they’re just starting to sew.
Teaching kids to sew a backstitch
A backstitch gives you an unbroken continuous line of stitches. It’s a very strong stitch for binding fabric together and is useful for decorative work.
Teaching kids to sew on a button
Sewing or tying on a button is just an easy way for kids to attach a button to their work. Buttons can be very decorative and are great for indicating eyes or belly buttons on softies.