It’s that time of year again. You got your child/grandchild a new doll for Christmas, and now the doll needs a wardrobe. What better incentive to start some sewing lessons?
So here are a few tips and tricks to teaching a child how to sew:
- Have young children begin sewing with felt. It’s much more forgiving than cotton and inexpensive when they make mistakes.
- Begin by having the child use a needle and thread instead of a sewing machine, which can be intimidating. Always pre-thread a dozen needles so kids don’t have to worry about threading needles, as this is the least-fun part of learning to sew at their early stage.
- Instead of using buttons or snaps, try having young children tack on ribbon as a closure. Some doll clothes garments can even be sealed with a ribbon that isn’t attached. Snaps and buttons can be added to the project later, after they’ve gotten their feet wet.
- Most kids don’t like cutting out the fabric. Ask your child if he/she wants you to do that for them. If not, they may find this more tedious than they expected, in which case, you may need to finish cutting out the fabric after they get it started.
- Keep projects simple and short. Ideally, you want them to finish the project in the number of minutes double their age. So if the child is four, they can handle an eight minute project but not much more than that. This felt shirt project is an easy one to start with.
- Avoid making the child hem their first garment. This is one of the reasons why felt is such a great fabric for children learning to sew. It doesn’t require hemming!
- Finally (and most importantly) praise their work, even if it turns out TERRIBLE! Criticism makes them think, “I’m not good at this.” So only say wonderful things about their project when it’s complete.
The key is to start kids off easy-peasy, and build on their knowledge as they grow. When they finish making a few easy hand-stitched felt doll clothes items, you may want to give them a shot at doing a straight stitch on your sewing machine (with careful supervision, of course).
This dress project is a good one to move them from felt to cotton fabric (click here for link to pattern page):
It also comes in a longer length:
And as you can see in the images above, it fits a lot of different fashion dolls.
To close this blog post, I’ll leave you with a series of tutorials that can be super helpful for beginners who are just learning to sew:
- How to hem a garment using the whipstitch
- How to do a straight stitch
- How to send elastic through a casing
- How to choose fabric
- How to finger-press
- How to thread a needle
- How to tie a knot using a needle and thread
- How to measure a doll
These and many other links to helpful “how-to” tutorial videos can be found on my “Helpful Tips and FAQ’s” page.
And remember, if you like my patterns and videos, please show your appreciation by liking, pinning, tweeting, and/or somehow sharing this video with others. If you’re wondering why I offer so many great patterns and tutorials for free, please visit this page.
Special thanks to Amy for this blog topic! Happy 2021 to you!
2 thoughts on “Tips and Tricks for Teaching Kids to Sew w/Doll Clothing Designer Chelly Wood @ ChellyWood.com #AfterChristmas #familyfun”