The summer holidays are just starting here in the northern hemisphere, which means it’s time for me to start getting a lot more questions about teaching kids to sew. 🙂
Summer vacation is a great time for some sewing lessons!
Kids love to learn from other kids – so I’m rerunning here a video my daughter made with me a few years ago. (She was 11 at the time.) In it she shows how the machine works, how to sew wavy, straight, and parallel lines, how to use decorative stitches, how to turn corners, and more.
It’s a no-pressure way for kids to get a feel for how the machine pulls the fabric through on its own, how (and how much) they need to steer, how fast and slow they can make it go and more. And they’re not just practicing on random scraps of fabric that they’ll throw out! They’ll use these fancy fabric strips to sew up a horde of slithery snakes!
Every time I teach a group of kids – those snakes are the #1 favorite project. They make so many of them!
If you have a kid just starting out on the machine this is a great way to practice some basic skills. It’s also a good (sneaky) way to see if they’re ready for a book like Creature Camp! Set them loose with this project. It uses a lot of the same skills they’ll learn in the very first project in the book, so if they can handle these snakes they can jump into the book!
Here’s the video. . .
Jo used the same color thread for all her stitching just to keep the pace of the video going. But encourage your kids to change threads as often as they like! It’s a great way to practice re-threading the machine. 🙂
Making those snakes is easy!
Get the Snake Charmers pattern here. It’s a free pattern that’s usually made with regular fabric – but follow the special instructions below to use your practice pieces to make your snakes extra special.
- Cut strips of fabric 3 inches wide and 10 inches long. That’s a little bigger than what the instructions call for. All the stitching on the fabric can make it shrink up a bit, so the extra is good. It also can be hard for kids to sew right up to the edges, so this gives them some extra room.
- Stitch all over the fabric in any design and colors you like. There’s no right or wrong way to do it so this is a totally no-pressure way to practice. Have fun!
- When you’re happy with the stitching, press the fabric nice and flat.
- Using the Snake Charmers instructions, trim the pieces to size and sew up some snakes.
- Make some more!
You can see all my posts about sewing with kids here. These Ten Tips for Sewing with Kids are especially helpful.