Sewing is a great skill, and it can be very helpful to teach kids to sew at a young age. It’s great not only for their fine motor skills, but also to give them the ability to make and mend as they get older. You can help your kids learn how to sew, though, even if you don’t know how to do it yourself! In this post you’ll find five tips to teach your kids to sew, answers to common questions, and also a list of my favorite supplies to use with my kids.
What age do kids learn how to sew?
Kids can start learning how to sew even as a toddler! A great way to begin this is by using lacing cards like these and stringing beads onto yarn or pipe cleaners. You can also punch holes into a paper plate and use yarn or a shoelace to practice sewing through the plate.
As your kids get older, you can start using plastic or blunt needles to sew into burlap or felt (put the burlap into an embroidery hoop to make it easier to hold onto). Then as your kids gain confidence and you feel good about them using sharper needles, move them to regular sewing needles.
5 Tips to Teach Your Kids to Sew
1. Start with hand sewing
If your kids are older, they may be asking you to learn how to sew on a sewing machine (especially if a parent or grandparent uses one!). And while they absolutely can learn how to sew on a machine, I highly recommend starting with hand sewing. Hand sewing doesn’t have quite the learning curve that machine sewing does, it’s less complicated, and they can begin to understand the sewing basics. It’s also a great way to build sewing confidence.
2. Use felt and embroidery thread
Felt is a sturdier fabric than cotton and is easier for kids to hold. It’s also simple to cut, the edges won’t fray, and can be used for a wide variety of projects. My kids also really like to use markers to color on the felt!
Once your kids are confident sewing with felt, move on to cotton fabrics. Old bedsheets make great scrap fabric when practicing on a sewing machine!
3. Give them real tools and quality materials
A lot of sewing tools that are targeted at kids are honestly just kind of junky. My kids have used regular hand sewing needles as young as four or five! You just have to decide when your child is ready for a sharp vs blunt needle. The ONLY “kids” sewing machine I recommend is this Janome brand machine. But most kids do just fine on a regular machine.
If you don’t own a sewing machine yet, but are looking to buy one, I have some linked in the Handicraft Supplies section that I recommend. Cheap machines tend to be cheap for a reason, so try looking around on a buy/sell/trade group or asking a relative if they have a machine in their basement first.
I have a list of supplies I recommend over in my Amazon Storefront.
4. Start by learning one or two basic stitches
Your child doesn’t need to know everything about sewing to begin making useful projects! Learning one or two stitches (either hand sewing stitches or on a sewing machine) is enough to make many different projects.
The running stitch is the most basic hand sewing stitch that can be used in embroidery and other hand sewing projects. The video below will show you how to sew a running stitch.
How to sew a running stitch:
5. Make simple projects that they can play with or use
It’s good to practice stitches on their own, but the best way is to have your kids make things they’ll actually use! It will definitely make sewing a lot more fun. Pillows, designs for a shirt, stuffed animals, and toys are great first projects.
Here are some great beginner sewing projects for kids:
Practice makes progress!
Encourage your kids to practice their sewing skills often. If you don’t sew yet either, this is a great hobby to learn together!
This sewing practice pack from my shop can be used to practice hand sewing (print them on card stock and use a blunt needle) or machine sewing (easiest when you print on card stock and then practice following the lines on the sewing machine before graduating to using fabric.
Teaching your kids to sew is such a valuable skill! All your kids – boys or girls – will benefit from learning. My boys love to embroider, hand stitch stuffed animals, and are learning to use the sewing machine. I love knowing that I’m sending them out into the world with the ability to mend their clothing and make useful projects for their home as adults!
Do your kids know how to sew? Share some of the things they enjoy sewing in the comments!