Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sewn with Kids

A. was invited to a birthday party and wanted to make something as a present.  We made a matching skirt for the Birthday Girl and her doll.  A. sewed the hem, side seams and zig-zagged the raw edges and I cut, sewed on the 2nd tier and the "thingy" where the elastic goes.  (Technical, I know.)

They turned out well, but I must admit that the sewing process was not my best "mom moment" and I lost my temper several times (I am going to blame it on other children coming in and out and being annoying, but it wasn't pretty).  What is it that makes sewing with kids so hard?  For me I think it was the fact that A. wanted to do it all by herself, but I really needed to be there at every moment overseeing the process.  At this age you can't just give general directions and walk away for a few minutes.  I know we will get there and it is important to me that my children learn to sew, but is an intense process.

Thankfully, I was given a chance to redeem myself.  A. is totally obsessed with the idea of making doll clothes for her babies and not a day has gone by without her asking if we can start making them "right now!".  Yesterday evening we cut out the pieces for a doll dress.  I explained how the pattern worked, we found the pattern pieces, I pinned them on the fabric and she cut.  She only had to recut one piece.  Thankfully doll clothes are small, so it wasn't a big deal.

This afternoon, we sewed it all together.  I did the pinning again and would mark sewing lines with pen for her to follow.  Tricky seams like the neck and armholes I sewed, but she did a great deal of the sewing, zig-zagging and taking out of pins.  I would help guide the fabric regularly, but she was in charge of the pedal.  (I am doing this full disclosure, because my husband hates parents who do projects for their kids and I want to document/disclose the real division of labor for him - he was traumatized by pinewood derby races.)  A. also did some pressing, but by the time we decided that the skirt was too short and to add another layer to it, I was getting tired of the process and sewed on the last layer by myself.  BUT...I did not get frustrated or lose my temper this time, so I will count it as a success.  :)

Here is the happy girl with her doll.  
She has big plans for making all of the clothes featured in the pattern (help!).
I really am proud of her and her desire to learn how to sew and make things!
Good Job!


  1. How great you are! My youngest - age 5 - wants to help me all the time at the machine. I will let her do the pedal but she sometimes does not stop when I say stop. I have not worked up the nerve to try anything besides straight line stitching.

  2. Even when my kids were older sewing with them was a patience consuming task. Ruth Ann was much better at it than I. She had the child sit on her lap as they sewed, with the child doing the guiding and she at the pedal (4-H method, I think). Anyway, she must have been encouraging because her oldest daughter is a busy designer/stitcher in London with a degree in costume design from UCLA.

    Kudos for exemplary mothering!!

  3. Awesome! I have sewn with all 3 of my older kids and they all had a lot of fun.

  4. Lovely.

    I made a similarly styled skirt-different colours, ALL by hand, including seams and 'sleeve' for the elastic waist, aged 10. I grew up WITHOUT a sewing machine, but my mother did quite a lot of various types of hand-stitchery for relaxation, so I probably caught the 'stitchery-disease' from her.

    My very first purchase with money I earnt from working for my father from aged 13-16 (until I went off to Uni) by doing the payroll each week and keeping the company accounts and ledgers was a fairly decent Singer, although I gave it away when my husband and I moved back to Europe in the mid-1980s because the voltage-transforming thing is awkward, occasionally a nightmare.


  5. I started sewing with mine at this sort of age, and they sew very well now!K's first project was a fabulous printed panel, which cut out to make a rag doll and her clothes., Bloomer, dress and apron. Couldn't get another similar pattern for M, so she started on clothes for herself!
    Well done for maintaining patience-so hard.