For Christmas, I gave my littles a sewing machine. It was something I had been wanting to do forever, since sewing is such a big part of my life and the Black Friday deals this year were the perfect time to buy a simple little machine. I didn’t get anything expensive or fancy, because I wasn’t sure if it would get used as much as I hoped or treated with enough care. Apparently I shouldn’t have worried about any of those things! They loved their little machine and they have been using it frequently and with such great care, ever since Christmas! The machine that I purchased for my littles was the Singer 1234 (I’ll tell you what I think about it farther down).
I created a little beginner sewing lesson, using inspiration from Pinterest and my own knowledge. My littles were SO eager to start their lessons and that pretty much made my heart burst. I made a few worksheets for them to use during their beginner lesson. The first worksheet was Label the Machine, I included a picture of their actual sewing machine and put numbers on all the various parts. We went over the parts of the machine and what they did together and then I quizzed them while they wrote in their answers. They were awesome and so interested! The take up lever and the presser foot quickly got new names that the kids thought more appropriate … the groundhog and the chicken foot!
Next we went over the steps you need to do each time you sew, such as 1.Presser foot up + Needle up. 2. Paper/fabric under presser foot. and so forth. I made a sheet and put this onto a clipboard that I placed beside the machine to help remind them. After reviewing that and having them go through the steps using the machine, we moved onto stitching on paper and learning to control the machine.
I made some fun worksheets, one for straight stitching and one for curved stitching. You can grab your own free printable worksheets below!! My littles stitched on these, without using thread and they were a huge hit! So much so, that I had to print off more as they wanted to keep stitching on the paper for days after their lessons!
My little’s ages range from 6 to 10 and they all had no problem doing the worksheets. For my older two I set the machine on a normal height desk and placed the foot pedal up on a small bin. For my littlest little I put the machine on a small table and she sat on a child size stool. When sewing with children it is super important to have the machine and the foot pedal at comfortable easy to reach heights. It makes all the difference in encouraging confident sewers!!
A few days later, after all three of my littles had their first lesson, we sat down and brainstormed what their first projects should be. As they were getting one on one lessons I let them choose more advanced projects, since I was there to help them. My oldest and youngest both chose to make new PJ pants, while my middle little has been wanting to make a stuffed snake F.O.R.E.V.E.R.
I took them to the fabric store and once we were standing inside I told them that they could pick 1 meter of ANY fabric that they wanted! A total dream come true am I right??! I couldn’t help but laugh as they all looked around for a minute or two and then headed straight for the flannel. I made a few alternate fabric suggestions, but I didn’t want to be too pushy as this was their projects and I wanted them to be in control of them. In the end they all chose some crazy patterned flannel, even for the snake.
We soon got to work on their individual projects, the snake being first. I free-handed a pattern for his snake and we kinda just made it up as we went. The snake ended up being about 5ft tall! My little dude helped with the cutting and pinning and did all the sewing. At the very end I added some elastic to the whole length of one side seam of the snake. My little was worried that I wrecked it, until we turned it right side out and he saw that the elastic made it so that the snake curled around into a circle. He loved it! We stuffed it up and he hand sewed it closed and added some buttons for eyes. He did amazing and the snake turned out so fun!
For both my oldest and littlest, we worked together because they were doing the same project. We used a pair of their PJ pants that they already had as a pattern. We folded them in half and laid them flat on their fabric, then traced around them and cut them out. We ended up with 4 pieces, which would then be sewn into legs and then together into the pants. They helped with getting their projects all pinned and then took turns on the machine sewing their seams. I helped them add the elastic to the waistband and hem the legs. When we were all done my littlest little had the fun idea to use her scraps to make her doll matching PJ pants. We followed the same steps we used to make her pants and we whipped them up in no time. We added some faux ties to the fronts of all the PJ pants so that they would know front from back. They turn out so great and both my littles had smiles of delight! (I have yet to take pictures of my oldest’s PJ pants, as he is always go go going!)
They were all so proud of themselves and the projects that they created! It really did make my proud mama heart swell to pass on this skill that I hold so dear. All three of them are currently planning their next projects and getting so excited by the possibilities.
A quick note about the Singer 1234 … It worked great and was a good little beginner machine. I did noticed some things that I didn’t like though. 1. The bobbin was a huge pain to get to. You have to take off the front compartment to access the bobbin. A drop in bobbin that you access from the top would be way easier for little hands to change and use. 2. The machine itself was very lightweight. I found that when I tried to use it, it was moving all over the place. For my littles this didn’t happen, but as an adult I barley had to touch it and moved all over. Overall it was a good purchase for my littles, but I think I will be looking for another machine soon if they keep sewing at the rate they are now!