Keeping your kids busy sewing in lockdown could be the answer you’re looking for!
So here we are, in lockdown, with ALL the kids at home and you’re looking…perhaps desperately…for something to keep the kids busy and happy and…as an added bonus…something that’s educational and creative. Seems a tall order to fill but…and this is an important “but”…it may be easier to do than you imagine.
At least, that’s what the messages I am constantly receiving from mums suggest. There are quite a lot of mums out there in lockdown land who are realising that sewing with their kids in lockdown might just tick all the boxes: it can keep the kids engaged and happy while they learn a skill that is both practical and creative. And as we are discovering, happy engaged kids = happy relaxed mums (and dads).
Now you might be asking yourselves, sewing? Isn’t that fiddly and complicated? Can sewing really be stress free and relaxing? Well, I admit, at first sight it might sound far-fetched but listen, for a moment, to Claire Hunter writing in The Guardian:
“Sewing is increasingly becoming recognised as an effective way to combat depression…its flow, calming the mind and reducing stress.”
Or to Gigi at happy.busy.play.day over on Instagram:
“Thank you for sparking so much joy (and relieving stress) in our house with these fun activities.”
Seems those mums sending me messages are on to something. At least, they’re not alone in seeing something special in sewing. And it’s something I also saw in 25 years of sewing workshops with kids. So yes, sewing relieves stress and calms kids down. I don’t know why, but it does. Don’t believe me? Give it a try.
Great, you’ve decided to sew with your kids but where on earth do you begin!
Well again, I’ve got you covered with this Sewing with Kids Guide.
But, you’re in lockdown, what happens if you want to sew but don’t have the supplies you need?
Well, you’ll have to start acting like explorers or pioneers or any of those people we’ve often read about who made use of whatever they found at hand. Search around and see what supplies you might have. Be creative. Experiment. Some of my best projects were created when I ran out the supplies I needed and had to find substitutes.
Here are some suggestions for your rummaging around that might be helpful:.
No felt or fabric? See if you have some old garments that you can use. An old t-shirt or a skirt with a tear. A tea towel or an old towel can all provide suitable fabrics. I’ve seen lots of great sewing projects done with paper and thin cardboard too.
Most people seem to have needles. Often in one of those little sewing kits you get in a hotel. The needles might not be the best but “beggars can’t be choosers”…try them and see if they’re up to the job.
My favourite thread is just your regular sewing thread. But you can use yarn or perhaps even dental floss. I’ve never tried to sew a project using dental floss…so if you do use it, I’d love to hear how it goes.
No polyester fiberfil for stuffing? Well, don’t despair…fabric scraps, old clothes cut into strips, stockings, cotton wool and even scrunched-up plastic bags will all work well as stuffing for projects like softies. Again, look around and experiment. See what works and what doesn’t.
These should be easy to find substitutes for: safety pins, paper clips, bull dog clips or pegs are great for holding two pieces of fabric in place while you sew them together. I’m guessing most of us will have pegs…I wish I didn’t…they remind me of the washing I still haven’t done!
So finding supplies shouldn’t be difficult but what if I don’t know how to sew stitches?
Well, thanks to the internet that’s not a problem. Here are my tutorials on how to sew a range of useful stitches.
And last but not least, you can pop over to my Instagram feed and watch live a weekly sewing workshop I started precisely for parents in lock-down. All the projects are doable, lots of fun for the kids and stress-free for parents.
Finally, here’s list of the basic sewing supplies that I like.
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