When are Children Ready for Machine Sewing?

Teaching Mira to Sew

Many of us can remember our childhood sewing experiences.  For me, my first recollection was sewing cotton strips that my mother would later have woven into rag rugs.  From her cotton sewing scraps, my mother tore strips of cotton about 1″ wide and the length of the left over fabric.  Bags of these strips would need to be sewn together in a straight forward and back pattern and the long strips were then rolled into a ball.  What fun for a kid who wanted to start to sew.  I’m not sure but I was probably about 9 or 10 years old.  I tried to find a few references to cotton rag rugs but even on the web they were pretty hard to find.

Because Mira, who is now 8, has such an intense interest in all things fabric and sewing, I was eager to give her the opportunity to try sewing with a machine.  In May when we visited I had the perfect opportunity because I had already set up her mother’s sewing machine, which is my old Bernina 830.

When Mira and I were the only ones awake early in the morning, still in our pj’s, I asked her if she would like to learn to sew on a machine.  She was delighted with the opportunity.

1. Our choice was to make a quilt, so Mira pulled out her stash of fabrics, which consists of a fairly large bag with an assortment of small scraps.

2. She cut a few 4″ squares from a variety of pretty fabrics.

3. We started with a safety lesson such as “never put your fingers under the needle, but instead, lay your hands flat on top of the fabric with one on the right and one on the left of the needle”. From this photo, you can see that she took the lesson seriously.

5.  One by one she sewed the pieces and cut the threads.

6. And soon she had 8 pieces sewn together.

7. What a proud seamster.

8.  Mira wanted to continue but I ran short on time.  Next time I visit we will add more pieces to the quilt.

Based on an N of one, I say that a 7 or 8 year old is definitely ready for machine sewing.

What a great gift for a young child – a sense of accomplishment.  After all, what is more important than mastering a new skill?

5 thoughts on “When are Children Ready for Machine Sewing?

  1. Mira and Caitlin and I were at the fabric store for notions today. We ran into a friend who says she doesn’t sew but was buying the pre-smocked fabric that makes easy sundresses, figuring that she could manage that because most of the work was already done. It made me wonder whether that might be a good sewing project for Mira as well. Would the smocking create too much of a challenge? Or would it be workable and allow her to sew her first wearable garment?

    For the record, both girls take after their grandmother. They both found it unthinkable that we would visit a fabric store without taking the time to choose and purchase some fabric, so we walked out with something for each of their stashes.

  2. Mira’s sewing looks great. Isn’t that some wedding dress fabric I see in the sampler? I think 7 or 8 is a great time to introduce a child to sewing.

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