If you’re an avid sewer, you might instinctively understand about the benefits of teaching young children to sew. The obvious ones, such as the usefulness of being able to sew on a button or mend a zip spring to mind and these shouldn’t be underrated. Mending clothes, unfashionable as it may be, can be pretty useful in prolonging the life of much loved garment years beyond its usual life span. There are also hidden benefits though that have lasting benefit
IMPROVING FINE MOTOR SKILLS and HAND EYE COORDINATION - the process involved in threading a needle, ensuring the stitches are uniform length and form an orderly line requires quite a bit of brainpower and coordination.
ENCOURAGING PRACTICAL CREATIVITY and seeing the results of their ideas take form - bringing their ideas to life in fabric form. It isn’t enough to have creative ideas, these have to be brought into form in order to have any meaning.
THE STEGGYS hiding under a rock in the garden …
GOOD FOR DEVELOPING DEFERRED GRATIFICATION and learning to work towards creating something that is tangible, something they can touch and see. Research shows that conscientiousness (of which delayed gratification plays a part) is the second most reliable indicator, after intelligence, of lifetime success.
PROBLEM SOLVING- ever had that experience where you are happily machine sewing a seam and you realise that the threads look great on the front but on the back are a nasty tangled mess … great opportunity to work through the problem and find out how to course correct.
FOLLOW INSTRUCTION: This requires attention to detail, focus and it helps to remember the old dressmaker’s moto “Measure twice, cut once” before launching into the fabric with the scissors only to discover that the pieces needed to be laid out in a certain way to fit them all in.
SELF ESTEEM: Creating things helps to build children’s self esteem. It’s nice to be told you’ve done well but when you can see the results for yourself and even better everyone else can see them on your Facebook page, it builds a child’s sense of their own capability and helps them to have confidence in their ability to achieve real results.
HOW TO GET STARTED … A kit is the ideal way to get started with children as there is a general goal in mind, a picture of the finished article and all the materials needed to achieve it. It stops you for having to purchase felt in vast quantities in order to give enough range of colours. Most of our kits for kids include die cut shapes which give a lovely crisp edge to the finished article.
WORK WITH YOUNGER CHILDREN. Most of our kits for kids are suitable for those 8 years and up but could be tackled by younger children under adult supervision. We don’t supply the needles in the kits because with younger children you might want to consider the less sharp needles such as chenille needles (although these can be harder to sew with). Mainly we recommend an embroidery needle just because it has a lovely sharp point to get through the felt and it also has an eye fat enough to take a double strand of cotton embroidery thread. They come in a variety of lengths and sizes, see what works for you.
Talk about the kit with your child, encourage them to cut out the pattern (if there is one) or create their own design (the dinosaur kits) on paper first. Lay out the pieces on the body shape/background so that you can make any adjustments before sewing commences. If a problem arises, talk about how to get around it. For example, they may cut through a piece of felt they didn’t intend to, ask them how they think they can adapt the design to cover up the slip up. These are great life skills for managing projects and solving problems, demonstrating creativity and resilience in the face of life’s unexpected mishaps.
It doesn’t fray, takes stitches beautiful, can be stuck together using either felt glue or even regular PVA glue, lovely and soft feel and as an added bonus the polyester felt used in the kits for kids is also machine washable on a low temperature. What’s not to love?