Children’s crafts are rarely more rewarding than sewing. It promotes manual dexterity, patience and accuracy. In these ‘throw-away’ times, sewing raises awareness that things can be mended or repaired instead. Sewing can be started at a very early age, progressing from sewing cards and basic threading to more advanced skills like embroidery or tapestry.
Children’s crafts involving a high level of skill should always start with the basics. Try sewing cards during the preschool years. You can buy kits which include sewing cards but they are much cheaper to make at home.
Get the child to colour in a picture from a favourite colouring book. Cut out the outline, creating an interesting shape. Paste this onto a thick piece of card. You could have the item laminated instead.
Using a hole punch, puncture the outline with holes about 1 inch apart. You could also highlight a feature of the image like a bow or a flower.
Now you need colourful wool or even shoelaces. Always have a good scout around your home to find items for children’s crafts. Shoelaces are tipped with plastic, so they’re a good choice. If you use wool, look out for a thick plastic needle, suitable for children, in a craft shop. You could try stiffening the end of the wool with a small tube of drinking straw fastened by sticky tape.
Another cheap idea is to use old birthday or Christmas cards as the base of the design for your child’s sewing cards.
Threading and Beading
A good introduction to basic sewing skills, for younger children, is threading and beading. Using just shoe laces or lengths of wool with a plastic needle, children can create handmade necklaces using simple items like pasta, beads or even an assortment of buttons. This isn’t traditional sewing but it helps the child to gain all the skills required.
A Basic Sewing Kit
By the time your child is ready to progress to more complicated children’s crafts, you may need to put together a small sewing kit. This is a really cheap exercise, all you need is a small set of needles, a selection of cotton or yarns and some scraps of fabric for practice. Choose an attractive pouch for the kit as this will help to encourage the child to continue with their new interest – or even better, make one together! The use of most of the items in these kits must be supervised by an adult.
A really great way to practice more detailed sewing is by working with buttons. This is an extremely useful craft when mastered and provides lots of enjoyable projects. Sew three buttons on an old sock and you have the start of a puppet. Children can use buttons to create patterns on odd bits of fabric or even innovative ‘button’ pictures.
Embroidery kits are available in a massive range of wonderful projects. Starting with simple designs, children will soon be able to produce items like bookmarks, name labels and coasters. These kits are a more expensive way to sew, so it’s best to work through the cheaper children’s crafts to see if they enjoy their new-found hobby.
Moving On to Bigger Things
Once the basic skills are mastered, it’s time to move on to larger and more intricate projects. The new sewer may like to try associated crafts like appliqué, cross stitch or patchwork. The older sewer could sew a small item of clothing or something for their bedroom. You will then need to look out for a suitable pattern for them to follow.
Basic sewing projects and ideas give your child a chance to develop skills that will amuse them and be incredibly useful throughout their life. Small and simple stitches will lead to big, exciting projects.