Teaching Your Children How to Use a Sewing Machine

With everyone stuck at home for the time being, you might worry about your kids suffering from idle hands. Now is a great time to teach your kids how to sew. Not only will it keep them occupied, but it will teach them a skill that they can use throughout their life. 

If you sew, you know this is an essential skill we should all know how to do on some level. However, the Guardian surveyed people and found that about 60% of people don’t know how to sew on a button, much less complete a project. 

Sewing is one of those skills that we will always need, and everyone can enjoy learning. So, bust out your machine and open the world of crafting and creating to your little ones! 

Set Rules and Explain the Basics

Everything comes with rules, and with a sewing machine, not following those rules could mean a trip to the ER, and that’s the last place you want to end up. The rules are basic, but as we sew more often, we get a little complacent. This might be an excellent chance for you to brush up on safety basics too!

Safety Rules 

The primary safety concerns for kids are pins, needles, the sewing machine needle, and poor tiny fingers getting mashed or pierced. Learning how the machine works and its unique parts will help prevent many injuries. It will also help your kids build confidence with all the tools they will be using. 

Have you ever watched a kid learn how to play catch? If the kid gets scared and flinches, it’s more likely they’ll get hit with the ball than if they had tried to catch it. Now, if your little one becomes so afraid of pins, then it’s more likely that they’ll get stuck. 

Show your child:

  • Pins and clips
  • Pincushion or magnet for safe storage
  • Scissors and how to hold them
  • Different needles
  • Your machine

Then set out these clear rules;

  1. Only sew with an adult around.
  2. Always go slowly (applies to pinning, cutting, sewing, and ironing)
  3. Know where your pins and needles are at.
  4. Use the right tools.
  5. Always put everything in its place (pins in cushions, needles in the caddy)
  6. Never sew over a pin.
  7. Never sew when the machine jams.
  8. Clean up when you finish.

How the Machine Works 

Learning how a machine works is a ton of fun for kids. Teach them all the parts of the machine and explain what they do. Since this can get boring for kids, let them explore with the machine turned off as you teach. Show them the feed dogs and allow them to flip the lever raising them or putting them down. Then let them spin the handwheel and watch the needle go up and down. 

Fill a bobbin so they can see how it happens, and load that bobbin so they can see everything inside. Explain how the bobbin sits underneath, providing a loop to secure every stitch. 

When you’re ready, introduce the presser foot. Do a hands-free tutorial with the presser foot first. Use books to bring it up to where they can reach it with their foot, but also know that it’s secure and won’t get pushed off. Watch them as they press down and find the slow, medium, and fast paces of the needle. 

Change the Speed Settings 

Before you let them have a go, with a needle and thread in place, make sure you put the speed settings down to the lowest option. Many home sewers will work at a fast pace, and that’s fine. Taking the speed settings down to the minimum will ensure that your little one doesn’t work faster than they should. 

Encourage Consistency

When you are ready to let your kids start sewing, draw a few lines on some fabric squares. Take a fat quarter and draw four thick, long straight lines. Then, take another square from the fat quarter and draw four thick zig-zag lines, or curvy lines. 

Let them practice with these lines in a contrasting thread so they can see their work as they go. This practice will help them build foundational skills and confidence with their ability to work behind the machine! 

When they can sew a line well and with confidence, let them sew scraps together. This practice can help them learn to pin and keep straight lines as they work. 

Keep Things Kid-Friendly 

When you’re ready to move on from sewing scraps together or working on a one-and-done project, let them explore. Offer a handful of projects that they can do. When you need to give them a pattern, put the design onto craft paper and draw it onto the fabric. While adults should handle the tissue-paper patterns with minimal irritation, kids may not be able to manage this yet. 

Encourage your kids to build up their projects, to do the same thing repeatedly to improve quality, and to use their creative side. It’s impressive how quickly they understand the rules of the machine and the fabrics and can create their projects!

When you’re ready to start teaching your kids how to sew, be sure to visit GoldStar Tool for all your sewing needs. We have everything from sewing machines to sewing needles. If you are teaching your kids how to sew, we have great sewing machines for beginners that are easy to use and inexpensive, making them perfect for anyone just starting out. Contact us today, and we will help you find exactly what you need to get started.