Monday, 13 February 2012

Sewing with a Preschooler- BMWB

The other day when I was doing some hand stitching, Rascal came over and insisted on helping me. She seemed to really enjoy it but as it was my sewing project, I felt a bit mean that I kept pretty strict control of where the needle was going and what she was doing.

The experience showed me that maybe it would be fun to put together some kind of sewing project for her.

I had a quick trip to Spotlight to see if I could find any of the binca fabric that I learnt to sew on. 
I couldn't (does it even still exist?). 
In the absence of that, I decided to just try her with supplies that I had in the house.

Rascal's First Attempt at Sewing:
I let Rascal choose a piece of felt from my stash and some embroidery thread. I gave her a large bluntish embroidery needle and although she did all the sewing I was close by at all times to supervise. 
Just look at that concentration!

I started her off with the first stitch and let her carry on. I found that she got on the best when I held the felt and she had 2 hands available for the needle.
Day 1's sewing

When I asked if she wanted to sew something and then I could turn it into something for Daddy, she corrected me and said "NO, I'LL turn it into something for Daddy".

Rascal's Second Attempt at Sewing
The next day, Rascal asked to do some more sewing. She decided that she wanted to carry on with the sewing from the day before and use purple thread, but when she saw red thread, she quickly changed her mind and decided to use red and THEN purple.
I got a small embroidery hoop out this time and found that she got on better, although she still liked me to hold the hoop.
Day 2's sewing
Rascal's Third Attempt at Sewing

This time I had done a bit of searching online and came across the idea of using non-slip shelf liners as the "fabric". I looked out a HUGE darning needle and some colourful wool and let her loose again. The actual sewing was definitely easier for Rascal, but I was surprised that when I asked her which she preferred, she chose the felt.
Rascal's sewing
Rascal asked me to sew a giraffe for her. It gives an idea of what you can achieve with shelf liners

In Conclusion
Every day since starting her sewing, Rascal has added a couple of threads worth of stitching to her sewing. She generally does about one or two threads before she tires of it and puts it aside for another day. It is great to hear her asking to do it and really enjoying choosing the next colour to sew with. I am definitely going to hang this masterpiece on the wall when it is finished!
I think this was day 4, although it has changed again since then.
For me, sewing with a 3 year old is an activity that we will do together. As such, I think that for the time being, sewing will be done on felt and not on shelf liners. I don't mind that a slightly sharper needle is required for this as I will be there to supervise at all times.

We will definitely move to sewing on shelf liners when I think she is ready to sew round simple shapes drawn onto the fabric. For the moment though, we will have fun sewing together with no expectations placed on her or rules that she has to follow. I guess that the important thing is to try not to over- or under- estimate your childs ability and just have fun together.

I have been pleasantly surprised to see how much fun the two of us are having with her sewing and thrilled to hear Rascal ask to do it again and again. If you are looking for inspiration sewing with young children, check here and here and here.

I'm really looking forward to building on this activity. Maybe she can sew on some buttons or we can take one of her masterpieces and turn it into a pouch or a purse for the grandparents... the possibilities are endless!

I am joining in with Miriam and her Becoming the Mama you Want to Be series over at Makeit Giveit again. The idea of these posts is to record moments of quality time spent with your children; possibly teaching them new skills in a fun way or letting them lead the way. Its not about spending lots of money, but just about making the most of the time and resources that you have. Hop over and see what fun activities she has been up to with her boys this week.


  1. Love it!! So going to try this with my boys. AWESOME!!

  2. What a great idea to use that shelf liner stuff to stitch with! Most ingenious!!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  3. That made me smile big time! Loved it!

  4. This is the awesomest idea of the week! Love! What a great Mama :)

  5. I have a 5 and 10 year old girls who both love sewing and crafting. They also started around 3 years old. I'm just beginning to post their projects on my blog. My 5 year old has made some clothes for her stuffed animals (very simple) and also likes to needle felt. I think it's great your daughter is sewing, and if she pokes herself it will probably hurt, but I bet she will be more careful next time.


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