Teaching Kids To Sew


This Teaching Kids to Sew post is written from my experience with my kids. They are now 6yrs and 8yrs old (a girl and a boy) and I have to say, they are getting rather good at sewing. When I say “good”, I mean that they are able to make neat little stitches on a simple “two fabric piece” sewing project. And I would say, generally speaking are better at sewing than their peers. When my kids sew, they tend to do the running stitch – which is the most straight forward and I am now looking to teach them more new stitches – like the back stitch and an over or hemming stitch. So if you are looking for ways for  Teaching Kids to Sew, take a look at how we did it… and see if this is a way that would work for you. Check out other sewing projects for kids like these  easy fabric flower or juggling chooks!

This post applies to teaching boys to sew too! I have one of each gender and both my kids like sewing – though my daughter is probably a little more obsessed with sewing! We have lots of easy sewing projects for kids to help you on your way too!

Here is what I have learnt about Teaching Kids to Sew

Teachings Kids to Sew - if you are thinking of teaching your kids to sew, here is a great guide with some pointers to get them started!

1) Let them use real tools and use good quality tools.

Real needles, real thread.

With almost ALL our crafts, I have noticed that many child friendly products are actually craftily inferior – yes, they may be “safer” or the materials may be “cheaper”.

But blunt scissors or needles, stiff cheap fabric and rubbish glue (this is talking crafts in general), will result in disappointing results. The craft will be difficult to complete and the child will be frustrated and loose interest.

I actually **hate** many of the products aimed at children, because they are produced cheaply and thus are hard to make (though the craft itself is often cute and well designed).

So in summary – use proper needles.

Felted wool (like an old jumper) and good quality felts are a great starting point when teaching kids to sew. You can probably get away with a “wool needle” on these, which are less pointy. I love “felt sewn projects” as starting point for kids and have a number to share with you (see below).

2) It is never too early for teaching kids to sew*

Red Ted sews - how to teach kids to sew

*Always always supervise children. Learning to sew is a TOGETHER PROJECT!

Start teaching kids to sew whenever they show an interest! In our case, my son first held a REAL needle when he was 2 and a half, I was sewing some simple gingerbread men and I let him have a go at doing some crazy stitches himself.

Lacing Cards Projects are a great way to get them started. Here some project ideas:

Teaching a child to sew is something you to do together.. and you have to be there EVERY STEP OF THE WAY.

teaching kids to sew - it isn't as hard as you sound and you can start them young!

I THINK that this was my daughter’s first project! Some felt heart ornaments (or key rings). She was about 3.5yrs old. And this is an example where I sat with her litterally every stitch. I think she was even sitting on my lap.

nature pouch for kids

This Nature Pouch is one of Red Ted’s first “big projects”. He was about 3.5yrs old too. I can’t remember now if he did all of it himself. But again – if you hop over to the Nature Pouch Craft post, you will see a short video, where I literally talk him through EVERY STEP!

3) Sew little, but often. Short & Simple.

Over the years, the kids and I have created MANY MANY SEWING projects. Lots of them have been small and I have never really gotten around to sharing them here on Red Ted Art. But all of them have been invaluable for them in learning to sew and also enjoying making something. For example:

simple sewing for kids - how to teach kids to sew!

Here the kids practiced their sewing skills by making tiny slippers for their monchichi toy! Cute, aren’t they? I think we glued on the buttons and pom poms.

We also have quite a number of “pillows” floating around the house – super simple sewing projects instigated by Pip Squeak and sewn all by herself and half falling apart.

Pip Squeak also has a penchant for sewing “dresses” for her friends – this consists of two pieces of fabric, sewing together and embellished with stickers. What her friends do with these I don’t know. But a lot of time and care is taken into creating them (we have even had melt downs over “but I want to sew them now” moments).

Sewing with kids - how to teach kids to sew. Keep it simple and frequent

Here Pip Squeak and Red Ted sewing some simple 2 dimensional bunnies. I don’t know why I never got round to photographing the final bunnies. I will see if I can find them and update this “teaching kids to sew” post with more photos! On this project Pip Sqeuak did all the sewing around. I had to go over some “patches” where the stuffing would fall out.. but she did it brilliantly for age (then 5yrs old).

4) It is ok if they only do half a project themselves (or 1/3 or a 1/4)

… it is still THEIR project and their work. Kids are little and their concentration spans are shorter, but they can still enjoy the process and that sense of achievement. I have had many a reader QUESTION whether my children ACTUALLY AND TRULY made the craft I have shared as “Sewing for Kids”. And yes… they have.

I have sat with them through every stitch whilst they were small.

I have held the fabric for them and guided them to the next step.

I have finished projects for them, when needed, or sewn a “tricky corner” for them, whilst they did the straight bits.

I think that this is totally acceptable whilst TEACHING KIDS TO SEW. They need to have a sense of achievement and accomplishment. And sewing isn’t just about “them doing everything”, but about us working together! I would rather my son knows, he can start something and do it for as long as he enjoys and then for me to finish it so he can play with the toy, then say “he doesn’t want to have a go because he is worried it will take too long”. I think this particularly important when teaching boys to sew!

Now they are older, I only come and help if they get the thread in a knot or if it gets “unthreaded” or if they specifically ask me to finish a project for them, then I still do! I sometimes work “over some stitches”, if means there would be a hole and the stuffing would fall out. Or as they are still young, they don’t know how to “cast off” the thread or close openings left for stuffing.

6) Once they get a taste for it – let them sew!

My daughter right now could sew EVERY DAY if I let her. The only reason I don’t is that we do still need to sew together – or at least I need to be at hand to help here or there – be it with fabric cutting or threading of needles.

I WILL be focusing on teaching her how to thread a needle next. It will really help her become more independent.

I am also encouraging her to come up with her own designs  – ie not “just” sew the things that I suggest (as much as I love coming up with child friendly projects for her). I get her to sketch out what she wants to do and discuss with her the process and what may or may not work.

Teaching kids to sew - a simple flower lavendar cushion

This is  a flower lavender cushion she decided to make at the weekend (and this prompted this “how to teach kids to sew” article. She had been talking about it ALL week. Talking about the colours and how she wanted a blue circle that is stuffed with a flower sewn on top (I call this her “Waterlily project”).  My contributions? I….

  • cut the blue circles (in the size she wanted me too)
  • I sewed the stuffing hole shut
  • I pinned the flower petals together, but she sewed
  • I sewed the flower on (once she had made the flower itself)

She did the rest. And I have to say, I am impressed with her 6yrs old sewing skills!!

So, I hope this inspires you to think about teaching your kids to sew and that our experience helps you with how to teach kids to sew. We still have a long sewing journey ahead of us, but I think the best possible foundating have been “sewn” {couldn’t resist the pun}.

Here are some of our easy Sewing Projects for Kids, that you may like to check out as part of your teaching kids to sew plans:

10+ Sewing Project for Kids - lovely kids projects that will help teaching kids to sew!

Or check them out individually:

I hope you enjoyed our “teaching kids to sew“! Good luck! We also have a great selection of Kids Sewing Projects FOR CHRISTMAS!

If you don’t know where to get started.. sometimes kids’ sewing kits make a fabulous resource, here a some that we love the look of… (Affiliates added for convenience)

Find out more here US / UK

We have this Felt Fruit kit and my 7yrs old daughter loves. It is a bit of a “together project”, I often add the faces for her, but she does manage most of the sewing herself. Find out more here US / UK.