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Project ideas for teaching 3 year old to sew
Hand sewing only-DD is showing strong interest
Mirza
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Mirza
Advanced Beginner
Louisiana USA
Member since 10/6/04
Posts: 553
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Date: 1/2/07 2:48 PM

Ok, while out of town this weekend, I brought along a bag of
fabric circles that I was sewing into fabric yo-yos. (Needed some mindless sewing project when hanging out with the inlaws!) My DD who is 3 1/2 years old wanted to help me. So I would put the needle in the fabric for her and then let her pull the needle out. Then she wanted to stick the needle in the fabric herself. Finally, I gave her some needle and thread and a piece of fabric and let her loose to do what she wanted. I just wanted her to get a feel of using a sharp needle and putting it in and out the fabric herself. She only poked her finger once and did very well handling that needle.

Now the fabric ended up in a small bunch when she got finished sewing her little project but I was amazed at her strong desire and ability to use that needle. I don't want to discourage her and tell her she is too young. If she is that interested I want her to teach her more. (Supervised of course). I am trying to come up with some ideas for little items she can sew that will encourage her to have a life long passion. All I can come up with for ideas are small bean bags.

Just wondering if anyone out there has taught a child this young and how you went about it.

Mirza

melliemommy
melliemommy
Intermediate
California USA
Member since 11/6/06
Posts: 9
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Date: 1/2/07 3:52 PM

I've taught both my girls simple sewing. They are now 5 and 6 so they have advanced to simple garments.

The first things I gave them to sew were felt animals. I cut out simple shapes from color books, marked an outline with dressmakers pencil and they handstitched the outline. After finished we turned them, stitched closed and applied buttons, ribbons and pom-poms for embellishments.

The first machine sewing project was square hotpads. It taught them to sew a straight line and basic machine operation.

It is so much fun to see them accomplish a project. They feel so grown-up.

Rhonda in Montreal
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Rhonda in Montreal  Friend of PR
Advanced Beginner
Quebec CANADA
Member since 12/9/04
Posts: 2008
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Date: 1/2/07 4:52 PM

I remember using cardboard sewing cards when I was wee small. You use a dull needle and yarn and "sew" to complete the sketch. I think they are still around...I was wee small long ago!@#
Rhonda

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You are most welcome to visit us at:
www.rhotos-rag.blogspot.com/

slanden99
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slanden99
Intermediate
Texas USA
Member since 9/14/05
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Date: 1/2/07 5:23 PM

My 5 yo dd got a small cross-stich kit for a Christmas ornament a couple weeks ago. It has a dull needle and a basic cross-stitch canvas. I threaded the needle and tied knots, but she did the rest. I'm keeping that needle for next time she wants to sew something.

Re Becca
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Re Becca  Friend of PR
Intermediate
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Date: 1/2/07 5:52 PM

I remember when I was young (probably 3 or 4) I would take mom's sewing scraps and pin them on to my teddy bear in the fashion of garments and cut the fabric to fit. I remember being able to make outfits for my bear this way. It was my wee small way of emulating my mom's sewing. I don't remember ever cutting into anything important doing this, but my mom may have a different story.

I guess this was the closest to draping that I have ever gotten!

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http://beccabeckstuff.blogspot.com/

Damn the muslin, full speed ahead!

krystalkaes
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krystalkaes
Colorado USA
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Date: 1/2/07 6:46 PM

I gave both my children felt cut outs of different shapes (hearts, ducks, circles, whatever they requested that my simple drawing skills could do) a big needle and nice smooth embroidery thread when they were very young. I would pin the two pieces of felt together and with a dark colored marker of their choice I would put dots on the seam allowance of the felt figure. Once this was done I would snuggle them in my lap and put our work to a rhyme of some sort or song. I can't remember that part, I can only remember the one for knitting.

When you daughter is a little older depending on how well she holds a needle and thread and manages small scissors you can check out the Cherry Winky Sewing book series for children. I just loved going through these books with my children.

Oh, and about age of children sewing, my daughter was two when we started sewing and my son was 18 months when he learned how to use a needle and thread.

-- Edited on 1/2/07 6:47 PM --

BeckyW
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BeckyW
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Alabama USA
Member since 5/23/04
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Date: 1/2/07 7:52 PM

I don't have much to add. I just teared up reading you post. My granny taught me to sew. I began sewing quilt scraps with her at that same age. I used the same little needle and thread like she used and she would give me squares to sew together. As I got a little older she always had me make a quilt block to go in all her quilts. Some of my stitches were terrible. She would have me write my name in pencil on my block, then she would hand embroider my penciled name and that block would go in the lower right corner of her quilt. I have quite a few quilts like that today.

My DD at 8 is just getting a little interested, but she does not have the quiet focus that some kids do.

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Becky

krystalkaes
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krystalkaes
Colorado USA
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Posts: 540
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In reply to BeckyW


Date: 1/2/07 9:11 PM

Becky, I hear you. My Grandmother taught me how to hand embroider. She is now 94 and suffering demenia. I absolutely treasure all the time and effort and love she poured into me while I was learning the basics of sewing. As my mother gets older I love helping her tie off her quillows that she makes for people who are suffering from illness or grief. Amazing legacy we have to hold.



popoagiesmiles
popoagiesmiles
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Texas USA
Member since 2/25/06
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Date: 1/2/07 9:15 PM

I would use fabric that is at the same time stiff and easy to penetrate so they don't end up sewing it into a ball. Or just let them make balls of scraps by putting the needle through wherever they want and pulling. These can be used to stuff something, like a simple doll.

Or, you could put fabric in a big hoop and let the child sew a pattern along a simple design with black yarn and fill in with colors of their choosing. That would get them used to handling the needle and going from one side of the fabric to the other.

You could also make a simple garment and then help the three year old applique a pretty design onto the garments. Maybe fuse it first so that it stays put, let them sew it on, and reinforce it with machine stitching if necessary. Or do this on a plain T-shirt, garage sales clothes, etc.

I used to buy garage sale tshirts and sweatshirts. We lived in a ritzy area, and we found lots of almost new things. Then, I would let my son use fabric paint to decorate them however he wanted. You could do the same with plain clothing you pick up for next to nothing.

Let the child sew on ribbon, appliques, buttons, etc. in her own design, fusing them first, hooping them or taking the first stitch for a button if needed. She's be proud wearing things she "sewed." She can also make little gifts for family members this way, decorating Dad's pajama pants, brothers, slippers, and grandma's apron.

Most three year olds have limited fine motor dexterity and aren't great with scissors, so this might be a lap activity that consists of taking three or four stitches and calling it done. Depends on the kid.

You can also let her help pin patterns by placing the pattern pieces and asking her to put the "middle" pins in. You might have to adjust some that are not put in smoothly, but all these things build skills and interest.

I did let my son use my sewing scissors if he was seated firmly at his little table beside me. He liked to cut out figures from print fabric, like teddy bears from Christmas fabric. But, I locked up the rotary cuttery and hid the key very well.

If she for any reason doesn't want to do these things or other sewing activities, wait a couple of years until her fine motor coordination improves and try again. I taught myself to sew when I was seven by just asking my mom for permission to use her machine and making doll clothes that were constructed kind of like the ones I already had. Then, I learned more from reading pattern instructions. Later, I took sewing and tailoring classes in high school. I'm the only one in my family who sews. Don't take it personally if she never picks it up, but if she does, she'll thank you. Sometimes it skips a generation. My mom rarely sewed after I started. I know it was because she'd become a single mom and worked very hard and long hours, but I like to think she passed the torch onto me.
-- Edited on 1/2/07 9:31 PM --

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"puhPOjhu"--a river that sinks into a mountain with fury and winds around underground for miles before emerging in calm down the road...

ginac

ginac
Intermediate
Pennsylvania USA
Member since 10/1/06
Posts: 31
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Date: 1/2/07 10:12 PM

When I was six, my first 'sewing' involved a yellow square of gingham and royal blue embroidery thread. Our moms traced our names and we had to embroider them with a broken stitch to make scarves, babushkas, really, with the names. I remember thinking at the time, it wasn't fair. My friend was Joy and I am Eugenia.

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