Teaching Sewing


It was girls’ weekend while Doug was out of town, so we spent it watching movies, eating ice cream, and sewing. My three-year-old has been very into sewing.

Lane comes running whenever she hears the sewing machine, and she wants to help with every “making something.” It’s nice when she sits on my lap to watch the machine whirring, and scary when she wields the fabric scissors. Her job is to cut the threads.

yarnWe started her off with some rainbow yarn, blunt needles, and plastic canvas (like what my granny’s tissue box covers are made from). Burlap or wide-weave linen in a hoop work well too.

They are quick little activities that are easy to take with us, and later I just pull out the yarn for next time.

buttonsShe practices with the sharp needles by stringing the buttons into necklaces.

What’s more fun than the sewing is hearing her talk about it. Needles are called noodles, buttons are bun-duns, and every button necklace is going to be for the pirate party she’s planning.

party-hatShe’s caught on to the idea that she can make the things that she sees at the store. Every finished thing makes her smile with pride so big that I think my heart is going to burst.

Most importantly, we don’t take it too seriously. So when she wakes up at 6:30 in the morning wanting to sew a pink party hat like the one she saw the night before, I pull out the stapler and glue gun, and we call that sewing too. I don’t want her to be so concerned about doing something the right way that she hesitates to start. So far, she’s been ready to jump right in.

A few kid-friendly sewing project ideas:

Handmade Felt Food group on Flickr

Coloring Pasta and Making Necklaces from Make and Takes

Butterfly Mobile from the Long Thread

Festive Bunting and Many More Ideas from Sew, Mama, Sew

Wild West Gear and Fake Mustaches from Little Birdie Secrets

What do you or your kids like to make?
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Sometimes I feel like a loser in the mommy blogosphere for not even owning a sewing machine nor knowing how to operate one! =(

    I’m sure I could learn, really! And I’d love for my three little people to learn, too.

    Maybe one day!


    steadymom´s last post…Inspiration for Your Weekend

    • Oh no! Don’t think that! All you need is needle and thread. And think about all the other skills your kids are learning from you, such as cooking, reading, homekeeping, caring for others, gardening, art… the list is endless.

      • Thanks, Rachel.

        No, I really don’t feel that bad about it – I’m just so inspired (& maybe secretly envious) by all the crafty mommies out there!


        steadymom´s last post…All Boy

  2. Lane could quite possibly be the cutest little girl ever.

  3. Sewing has never been my thing, but I think if I had your guidance when I was a child, things would be awfully different. I love the plastic canvas as a teaching tool. What a great idea!

  4. You are so smart to make it fun and easy. (You rock, girl!) I am a sewer, but my girls drove me nuts when they were learning. Hence, they didn’t learn much. And now I wish I had taught them more! Lane is a lucky girl!

    mrs. e´s last post…Blog Land

  5. Great idea (although I have the feeling your 3 year old is a more proficient sewer than I am). I love the little sewing cards. I think that I even I could handle that.

    Adele´s last post…Empty Tank

  6. It is wonderful that you are letting Lane learn at such a young age. I remember my mom sewing but she never taught me because she was afraid I’d sew my fingers! I remember she let me press the pedal once and I did it too fast so she said, “no more”. Well…fast forward 30 something years and I eventually taught myself!! Good for you for teaching your daughter well…

    Michelle´s last post…Are you serious?!

  7. Thanks for the links! My 9yo daughter loves to sew and even my teenage son takes on (simple) sewing projects once in a while. But recently I’ve been wondering how to involve my 4yo and just bought little embroidery hoops and thread. If anyone else has a daughter who enjoys the “Little House on the Prairie” series, they may want to check out “My Little House Sewing Book,” by Margaret Irwin, for 8 fairly easy projects (patterns included):)

  8. OMG that is so my daughter…she is 3 (almost 4) and wants to help me to everything, including sewing. I try to include her with things like handing me pins, removing them, cutting scrap fabric, pushing the pedal on the serger and things like that but I love the other ideas you suggested!

    I was the youngest of 6 (5 girls, 1 boy) and I was the one who always helped my mom sew…she made almost all of our clothes up until I was in high school. I can remember cutting out patterns, pressing and just being her little helper. As I got older (young teenage years) I didn’t really enjoy it and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized I had learned alot and started sewing again. Now I love creating stuff.

    Tami´s last post…Crayon Keeper Rollups-Girl Designs

  9. I love this! My mom made most of our clothes (at least the ones that weren’t hand-me-downs) when I was growing up. I don’t sew much now, but I mend a lot, and I’m thankful for the skills I learned from her.

    This weekend the netting around our neighbor’s trampoline tore. My eight-year-old son got a needle and thread and sewed it back together. My neighbor and I were amazed. Sometimes I wonder what else my kids would do if they were just given a chance…

    Clutching to the Vine´s last post…Courage

  10. Two memories ~ when the oldest of my 5 was young, EVERYTHING was a potential craft project ~ every cup and straw from Mc D’s, etc.

    One “useful” project ~ I had each child design their own placemat. We used stick on letters for their name on a 11×17 sheet of paper. Then they used other stickers I had on hand to decorate around the edge however they wanted. I took them to the office supply store for heavy duty lamenating so they would last (which they did – for years). Because we left the middle blank, they could then draw on them with vis a vis markers ~ a new masterpiece everyday!

  11. I ADORE this post! I have a sewing machine I am too terrified to use (must . . . get . . . over . . .) but we have been doing lots of hand sewing lately. It is so fun to do this with Dacey! One of my new favorite pastimes, for sure.

    Megan at Simple Kids´s last post…From the Archives: Teaching Your Kids -Without Them Knowing They’re Learning

  12. You are the most precious, amazing mother I know. Lane is so beautiful. She looks so happy in those photos. Absolutely priceless!

  13. I’m bookmarking this post! My 2 1/2 year old is so eager to learn sewing, since his mama is very attached to her machine and he wants to do everything we do. I think I’ll start teaching him soon.

    Allison´s last post…Decorating on a Budget

  14. Jenn Valencia says:

    I have never learned how to sew (either by hand or on a machine), and I would really like to learn how. I’d love to find a woman who’d take me under her wing as an apprentice and teach me first by hand and then with a machine…then I in turn could teach my 4 year old. Anyone recommend first steps for achieving my dream of learning to sew?

    • Finding someone who can show you in person is a great idea.

      Quick and fun is the best way to start. Try making little things like finger puppets with craft felt. It’s a good way to practice sewing by hand. Felt comes in bright colors with kid-appeal, and the best part is the cut edges don’t fray, so you don’t have to think about hems and such.

  15. I love reading your blog but I think this has to be my favourite post yet! Reminds me of my mom and grandmas teaching me how to knit and sew when I was really little. I had the same scarf going for 10 years! :)

  16. I wish I knew how to sew. My mother bought me a machine something like 6 years ago, however, I was never able to figure it out. Sewing tips for craft-challenged adults, please!

    Amy Awesome´s last post…A weighty topic

  17. It makes me smile that you are teaching her the art of sewing. It’s so rare these days! Good for you!

    Cherry Tree Lane´s last post…domestic doris seeking input.

  18. What great encouragement!! My little 3-yr old also loves to “sew”. I got her a little sewing machine for kids which is not too good quality. So whatever se sews, I re-sew on my machine. But have lots of fun!

    Karisa Rivera´s last post…Como memorizar la Biblia con niños pequeños

  19. What a sweet post! I love how beautifully you encourage!

    Cindy´s last post…Free Printable Lunch Box Notes

  20. My son is enjoying sewing activities at school.
    He is has made two cushions which he designed himself, the front with edicol dye and drew the pictures. The back was tie-dyed in his favourite colour – purple. Wool was sewn around as the border.
    With a one centermetre edge, tabs were cut. Then the tabs were tied together in knots, insert cushion and tie the remaining side.
    Very simple and beautiful to look at.
    Now displayed in the school library.
    He is now teaching me to make one and has sparked off many ideas for Christmas presents!

    Tracy9´s last post…Found

  21. I am just learning how to sew too. I bought a little sewing machine from a garage sale & invited a friend to show me how to use it… I’m still learning ;o)

    When I became a Girl Scout Leader this year this was one of the first things I wanted to learn. So, I went to a friend’s house (with treats of course!) & begged her to show me some simple stitches. That Saturday my whole troop made felt flowers and sewed them onto their hats. The mom’s even stayed to learn with their girls. It was very inspirting indeed :)

    Sarah @ Mum In Bloom´s last post…Recipe: Company Pot Roast

  22. “I don’t want her to be so concerned about doing something the right way that she hesitates to start.” In that alone, oh, what a valuable gift you are giving to your daughter! I feel like that is what so often holds me back in so many things!

    I realize this is an older post, but I just came across it and loved it. Sewing is something I never learned, but would love to learn and be able to teach my daughter. Any suggestions for first steps in learning??

    Erika´s last post…How to Read with your Baby or Toddler

  23. Just last week I spent the afternoon teaching my 6 year old daughter how to sew a pillow case. It was heaps of fun and now everytime I use the sewing machine she wants to sit on my lap and help.


    Thank you for adding great links and showing me how else I can involve her with sewing.

    Chell´s last post…Inspiration from this week

  24. I started sewing when I was about 3 – really. I was given a little doll and would sit and sew with my sister and her friend using needles and thread. Obviously my stitches were very imperfect, but that is how I started. I used a sewing machine when I was about the same age to stitch up my younger sister’s bib, obviously that didn’t go so well, but it didn’t scare me off.

    A hugh shortcut in the story… I have made clothes for myself and several family members and other people. I have purchased way too many sewing machines, I am a fiber artist, and I regularly give away sewing machines and I have given sewing lessons. You can get used sewing machines just about anywhere if you want to start out that way, they can be found everywhere including on the Freecycle site for your city.
    Lynda´s last post…Asperger Syndrome

  25. Thanks for the plastic canvas and yarn idea! My daughter who is three has been wanting to sew and that is great way to start teaching her!