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Teaching my daughter how to sew
any tips?
isakswings
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isakswings
Advanced Beginner
Utah USA
Member since 8/22/08
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Date: 3/29/12 5:32 PM

I'm attempting to teach my daughter how to sew. It is a challenge because she is 13 and knows it all.lol. She's sewn a couple of times before but with a lot of guidence. She wants to do it all herself, which is fine but she does need some help threading the machine. I've tried teaching her, but she gets impatient with me. There is a woman in our area who teaches sewing classes to young girls and I am thinking of getting her into that class this summer. Until then, I am letting her create small and easy things.

It's just frustrating when she says she doesn't need my help and then calls me over every 10 seconds(lol). I am willing to help and was planning on doing it, but she doesn't want it until she thinks the machine isn't working. Usually it is a newbie error. (ie. machine comes unthreaded, left foot up, ect). When that happens, she expects me to jump even if I am in the middle of something else! Part of that is being a teenager but I can't figure out the best approach here.

Anyone here ever teach their kids to sew?

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I'm fairly new to sewing but I am finding it to be fun and rewarding!

myeclecticmess
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myeclecticmess
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Date: 3/29/12 9:30 PM

I teach kids to sew and I must confess that my two daughters are not seamstresses! It is so much harder teaching your own than someone else's.

My youngest (now 14) is more interested in it than my oldest (18). But she prefers to do her own thing with little input from me. Sometimes I just have to let go and let her learn in her own way.

I also have to trust her. When she was younger I'd just give her access to scraps and cheap cuts of fabric. At the time I had a very simple extra machine that she was easily able to operate. She would spend lots of time just puttering and experimenting. One of her first finished projects was a stuffed toaster! It was made with fleece and silver lame'! Two fabrics that are supposed to be too difficult for beginners to sew. She then went on to make an entire breakfast. LOL

When I teach kids' sewing classes I stick with simple projects. Popular ones have been PJ pants, pillowcases, skirts and simple purses (Lazy Girl Runaround Bag is very popular.) When I did private lessons after they get through a few basic projects I let them choose a pattern (all the pattern companies have Easy/Learn-to-Sew patterns). We all have a hard time getting motivated to do something we aren't enthusiastic about.

If (when) they make mistakes I do the seam ripping for them to avoid frustration. But let them make mistakes, they learn important lessons this way! That is why scraps and cheap fabric is stress free.

But when they do choose a project that they are excited about it is important to get good fabric and supplies for them. Shop sales tables! But as we all know, the ingredients all the difference in the finished stew! LOL

Good luck.

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Visit my blog: www.myeclecticmess.com

My machines:
Bernina 180E - my right hand and best friend since 2000!
Viking 936 coverstitch/serger
Viking Sapphire Sapphire 870Q - sitting in the corner waiting to find its forever home.
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MagnoliaHoney
MagnoliaHoney
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Kansas USA
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Date: 3/30/12 2:07 AM

I agree with the PP some times it's easier to teach other peoples children rather then your own. (they have better manners and seem to listen more to other people! lol haha I have to say thankfully otherwise I may literally be embarrassed to death. lol Sometimes my DD is so well behaved around other people I wonder if she is the same child. But, apparently I was the same way as a child, as my mom was scared to send me to Kindergarten and was so surprised when the teacher said what a good student I was! lol haha)

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Visit my blog http://www.heathersprairie.blogspot.com



Member since 12/31/69
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Date: 3/30/12 2:16 AM

My son got interested in it for about a second.

Mostly, I showed him how to do it. When he could prove he could thread it, keep his fingers out of the way, treadle it without killing the cat and not touch the knobs to mess it up I sat back and let him do it. A few wonky bags and he was happy. Now, he can blind stitch hems better then I can and doesn't care for sewing.

I was like your daughter, though. My mom infuriated me, and wasn't much help when I was learning. Figuring it out on her own is going to be quite useful for her if she is that impatient. It was for me.

LDT2011
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LDT2011
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UNITED KINGDOM
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In reply to isakswings <<


Date: 3/30/12 4:16 AM

Quote: isakswings
I'm attempting to teach my daughter how to sew. It is a challenge because she is 13 and knows it all.lol. She's sewn a couple of times before but with a lot of guidence. She wants to do it all herself, which is fine but she does need some help threading the machine. I've tried teaching her, but she gets impatient with me. There is a woman in our area who teaches sewing classes to young girls and I am thinking of getting her into that class this summer. Until then, I am letting her create small and easy things.



It's just frustrating when she says she doesn't need my help and then calls me over every 10 seconds(lol). I am willing to help and was planning on doing it, but she doesn't want it until she thinks the machine isn't working. Usually it is a newbie error. (ie. machine comes unthreaded, left foot up, ect). When that happens, she expects me to jump even if I am in the middle of something else! Part of that is being a teenager but I can't figure out the best approach here.



Anyone here ever teach their kids to sew?

Just leave her to it with the sewing machine manual/a sewing manual....that's how you learn as a teenager.
I always end up learning more working it out for myself than mum keep interfering and taking stuff off me because I'm not doing it right...apparently. And she never does as she's told. When I say can you mark or pin this and that when I'm trying to fit garment to myself she does it her way rather than how she's told...and I'm in my mid 20's!!!
As I HATE the sewing machine when I do use it instead of keep asking mum for help I just have the sewing machine manual by my side if I get stuck threading the thing etc.

If she really struggles with the machine for over a month then she might be like me more of a handsewer.

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'The purpose of most fashion is to be ostentatiously non-functional.'

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Kansas USA
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Date: 3/30/12 7:35 AM

I'm kind of with LDT on this one. I was "luckier," I guess, than your DD--my mom didn't know any more about our sewing machine or how to put a pattern together than I did... and I was a lot more interested in learning (SHE was the daughter whose seamstress mom couldn't teach her to sew! LOL). So I had to figure stuff out largely on my own. I learned how to disassemble the bobbin case on our Kenmore, resolve tension issues, thread and rethread, etc. Of course, by the time we got our sewing machine, I had already had a sewing unit in Home Ec. And I guess I didn't really LOVE sewing until almost 20 years later (still self-taught), so perhaps this is not the best technique after all!

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~Gem in the prairie

gramma b
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gramma b
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Date: 3/30/12 7:44 AM

Perhaps a good project to keep them interested would be re-constructed t-shirts, which teens never have enough of! There are many free tutorials online and library books on re-purposing them. They can practice on cutting up old ones first (Dad's or thrift stores) to
mix colors, add embellishments, ruffle necklines, etc.

Kayabunga
Kayabunga  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/30/12 8:46 AM

Please don't pummel me for this opinion ... but I don't think kids get to tell adults what to do, especially when they are using the adult's expensive and well loved sewing machine. Besides sewing machines can be dangerous in inexperienced and impatient hands. My suggestion is to give each "teaching opportunity" a theme of a sewing concept to be mastered (start with the machine) with you present and then praise, praise, praise when she accomplishes the task. Yes, she will roll her eyes at you and tell you you're lame but keep it up, secretly she will love all that positive reinforcement. Then let her work on what she wants to for a set time span where you will NOT be available. Before you leave her to her sewing ask if she needs anything, has any questions etc and then let her on her own for that specified time. She won't like it at first but she will respect you. And in case you are wondering ... yes, I taught my niece to sew and had to double as the Home Ec teacher for my son who couldn't attend class because of sports. You gotta love the school that not only taught sewing, but taught it to the boys too!

CraftAddict
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Ohio USA
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Date: 3/30/12 9:08 AM

My daughter (17) learned to sew in Home Ec and last Christmas she just HAD to have a sewing machine for Christmas. So I got her one (on which she has NEVER completed a project) but not an expensive one because this is the same child who went out for softball and quit after two weeks because "it's hot out here". But I digress. A few months ago, we purchased fabric because she wanted a Hello Kitty purse. As her machine is now in the garage, she ended up using my machine to sew the purse. I showed her how to pin and cut out the pattern. She even fused the interfacing. And I told her step by step how to construct the purse. I whole-heartedly agree with Kayabunga in that I don't tolerate rudeness at all. I understand that learning to sew can be frustrating but if you are going to be disrespectful we will turn off MY machine, turn off MY light in MY sewing room, close the door behind you and sewing time will be over. We got thru that project with very little incident. She got a little confused and frustrated towards the end and I did end up doing some of the finishing touches. But I would say she did 95% of the work. Which honestly surprised me. I thought she'd get frustrated and quit very early in the project.

You can do it and you CAN teach your own child. You just have to set boundaries and be willing to walk away and shut everything down if they don't follow the rules.

Here are a couple of pics of the purse my daughter made. You will see it has a pleat on the outside, it's lined and has a pocket and a magnetic snap closure. She did all of those steps on her own. I gave her guidance and tips on how I like to accomplish those steps. I think that's pretty good for her first time.



-- Edited on 3/30/12 9:12 AM --

CConverse
CConverse
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New York USA
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Date: 3/30/12 9:54 AM

I'm currently teaching my oldest, she's a bit younger thoughso I don't run into the attitude you might encounter with a teen. I also have tons of fabric that I snatched up in free lots on Craigslist so those are the kid-experimentation pieces. I started her off showing how to pin and cut, and she outright admitted "This is a lot harder than it looks!" but she did it, and enjoyed herself in the process. The next thing we did is practice some basic seam techniques on scrap pieces. I showed her how to thread the machine. I explained to her how the seam allowance worked and had her play around with the scraps to see how the actual seam would look the way she sewed it, and then just let her go to town cutting and doing whatever she wanted. She started working out on her own how to cut and sew the pieces to get things like little bonnets, vests, and wraps for her dolls.

I am completely in agreement with the posters who suggest shutting down the sewing if you encounter attitude or rudeness. However an alternate suggestion might be to offer them the opportunity to earn a machine and some notions of their own. Thrift stores and CL are great for picking up fabric, machines, notions, etc for little money and you can have them earn it by doing odd jobs, chores, etc so that they understand the value of it. If it's not YOUR machine, they might be less likely to assume you know how the thing works and might be more inclined to figure it out on their own (but I wouldn't depend on it LOL). And then if something breaks or goes wrong, it's not your expensive machine or fabric that's ruined. Perhaps it might be better to give them the independence they're looking for that way rather than to have conflict over helping them.

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