Guest Post: Teaching Children to Sew With a Sewing Machine


This is a guest post from the people at Toyota Home Sewing, manufacturers of quality [home sewing machines](http://www.home-sewing.com/en_GB). I have a Toyota machine myself and love it. Can’t wait till Little E is old enough for me to do crafts with!


At Toyota, we’re all for passing on the joys of sewing to the next generation, we hope that our children and your children can enjoy sewing and dressmaking as much as we do.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a few suggestions on teaching the young ones the art of the sewing machine.

Teaching children to sew with a sewing machine can be fun, and if you sew and have children, then at some time they are going to want to learn to do what you are doing. It is important that you approach the task seriously, but with certain factors in mind.

It is a good idea to buy them their own machine. In fact, if you are like most serious sewers, you won’t be happy about anybody else using your sewing machine, even your children. In any case, most modern sewing machines are a bit complicated for children to start on, so you should get them something simple and inexpensive. They will also feel more responsible if they have ‘their’ sewing machine.

You can buy sewing machines that have been specifically designed for children, simple to use, predominantly straight stitching and designed for smaller hands. Some are battery powered and some run from mains electricity. However, there is a body of feeling that a child should begin with a full sized machine, albeit a smaller basic model. That way the child can get used the machine as he/she grows and understand that she is not using a toy, but a real sewing machine.

Understand Your Child

Before you start teaching children to sew with a sewing machine, you should first understand your child. Does she like doing her own thing or is she better at following instructions? It’s important that you understand this so that you won’t get frustrated when teaching them, because your frustration will soon be picked up by them and that might be the end of the sewing lessons! Some children are easily frustrated themselves if things don’t go exactly right, while others don’t care and just get on with it.

When teaching a child, don’t expect perfection. You can be perfect with your own sewing, but if a child sews a wavy line he/she should be praised, and not criticised for it not being straight. You can explain that she should try to make it as straight as possible, but that will come as he/she practices. Mistakes are a natural part of learning.

Offer Encouragement and Praise

As with any kind of learning, children need encouragement rather than criticism, and if they do something particularly well tell them something like: “Fabulous – that’s your straightest line yet, well done!”, or “That’s a really cool zigzag line – I bet you’ll be great at them when we come to them!” Make fun of errors, but not of the children, and praise them when they get it right.

When teaching children to sew with a sewing machine you should first tell them what each part is for and tell them not to get their fingers under the needle or it will hurt. They will sew their fingers together, and how can they learn to count then? Then demonstrate what you want them to do, and explain what you are doing.

Demonstrate First

Using your child’s machine, explain in basic terms how the thread passes through it and how the needle and shuttle work to make a stitch. Show him/her how to start it, and then demonstrate how to sew a straight line down a piece of cloth. Forget about projects or sewing two pieces together for now – just explain that they will learn how to make stitches using the machine.

Then let him/her get some practice. Once you think he/she can use the machine, you can allow her to sew seams. Let him/her sew their own handkerchief, for example. He/She will get a sense of achievement and will feel proud, happy and raring to do more.

Make sure your child’s sewing is shown to the rest of the family, and start up a portfolio for him/her where he or she can store all his/her own work. Kids love that, and it enables them to build a true sense of achievement. That also enables them to see his/her own progress as he or she compares this month’s work to last month’s. Once your child has reached the stage where they can complete projects, then you can get some simple patterns out and explain how to follow them.

Teaching children to sew with a sewing machine is a combination of psychology, patience and understanding. It may not be easy, but it is made easier if you don’t expect your child to immediately sew perfect lines. If he/she is the type that likes to do his/her own thing rather than follow instructions, then let him or her learn their way. There are no set rules to teaching children how to use a sewing machine, but you must first demonstrate what you want them to do and then give them a go.

Patience, perseverance and praise: they are part of teaching children to sew with a sewing machine and will certainly be repaid with a happy little boy or girl who can do what mum does.

How I learned to knit using the internet

Cast on

http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docid=-3319901922819400872&hl=en&fs=true

How to Knit – Casting On from Penny Dablin – http://www.TheKnittingSite.com

Very clear instruction, assumes no prior knowledge and is has a good visual everything’s done very slowly, even so I had to replay the video a few times before I got it (and have gone back to it for every new project since!)

– I found on some other videos the hands sometimes masked what what was happening a little or it was done a it quicker maybe?

Apparently there are two methods to casting on and according to [this article ](http://www.coatscrafts.co.uk/Crafts/Knitting/Howtos/How+to+Cast+On.htm) the thumb method, shown in the video above, gives a less firm edge to your knitting. Maybe it would be worth trying to learn the other method – which uses two needles, but I didn’t find a video I could follow using that method – if you know of one please post a link in the comments!

Knitting

How to Knit for Beginners : How to Make the Basic Knit Stitch, Expert Village.com

Now I had had previous instruction in the knitting part, so just needed to find a reminder
but this video is really clear and I’m sure will make it easy for someone who’s never seen it (sorry the permissions for embedding this were disabled, but it’s a really good vid).

Casting off

http://www.videojug.com/film/player?id=893f2602-5823-0c64-2760-ff0008c9799e

I like this video – especially the size of the needles used.

Threadheads have a clip, which joins all of these together which is a good refresher if you know the basics but need a reminder:

Next steps

[This glossary of knitting terminology](http://www.craftexpert.co.uk/GlossaryKnittingTerminology.html) might come in useful once we get onto using patterns.

http://www.videojug.com/film/player?id=6f6ef396-ef74-de56-c85e-ff0008c95707

My next project is going to be a shrug – my mum’s tested the patten, her dog (Buddy) ate a chunk of it, the lady in John Lewis helped me find the right wool and needles.

So far I’ve just asked which needles I will need as I buy the wool but this video explains the different types of needles and the different materials they can be made from.

So there you go – using those videos you should be able to wow your friends with your scarves 🙂

How to make a beautiful Sock for your Ipod Touch

I got my first commission last week, a friend received an ipod touch for his birthday, and wanted a sock to help keep the ipod looking new and shiny.

The embroidery is the [Distilled](http://www.distilled.co.uk) logo. The time spent on the embroidery for the logo really makes the sock special. Adding a bit of embellishment quickly turns a fairly simple design into something unique.

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With Christmas coming up this would make a great gift to go with an ipod. The sock itself is quite simple to make. No matter what size of ipod you have you can follow the same plan. I’ve designed this tutorial to help you size the sock to fit your own MP3 player..

ipod-sock-1.jpg

**1.** Cut out a piece of material that wraps around your ipod – leave plenty of extra material around the ipod as we’ll trim the excess later. I used denim for this one and a piece of stiff waterproof material for the example above. If you have it, try to find a relatively stiff piece of material, as this will keep its shape much better.

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**2.** Either hem the top of the material or trim with ribbon. Trimming with ribbon is a great way to add a bit more style and enables you to come up with some creative designs. Try keeping the sock a plain material and adding a thin strip of your favourite material.

If you’re going to add some embroidery, do it at this point before sewing up the sock – be sure to mark the bottom and sides of the ipod with pins so you know how much space you have to work in.

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**3.** Place the ipod on the material and mark the edges with pins. Machine or hand stitch the bottom and side to make a snug fit.

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**4.** Make sure the ipod fits in OK and adjust the sides if necessary (!) Once you’re happy with the fit, trim any excess material.

**5.** Turn sock the right way round and enjoy!

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This is one I added embroidery to, quite a simple design can have a great effect – I’m really pleased with it! 🙂

Let me know how you get on and send me a link to any photos!