When kids are first beginning to learn how to sew, it is important to choose projects that involve simple seams and hems and will teach basic skills, as well as straightforward construction of different pieces so that kids can begin to see how patterns fit together and still complete the project successfully. In addition, adults should help kids select fabrics that are easy to work with, such as cotton/poly blends, muslin and fleece. Avoid stretchy knits and slippery fabrics like satin and chiffon.
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Mending clothing, including resewing torn seams, patching holes and replacing buttons, is an excellent beginning sewing project as it teaches kids the most basic of sewing skills and also allows them to obtain a basic understanding of how different fabrics feel and will respond to their efforts.
Fleece is a very easy fabric to work with, and many wintertime accessories can be made from fleece, such as hats, scarves and mittens. There are a number of free fleece hat patterns available on the Internet that are very simple, often involving only one seam and a hem (see Resources), and scarves can provide an excellent opportunity for kids to practice sewing on buttons or ribbon trims or to learn how to applique. Tracing their hands onto paper allows kids to make their own pattern for mittens.
Because pillows are exceedingly simple, they are popular options for beginning sewing projects for children. You can use a pattern, or allow kids to design their own pillows. Letters, animals and various freehand abstract shapes are popular designs, and kids can use buttons, ribbons and beads to embellish their designs (for example, buttons for animal eyes). If the child is also learning embroidery or cross-stitch, pillows provide excellent canvases for these arts.
A number of free simple sewing project patterns can also be found on the Internet that are suitable for beginning sewers (see Resources). Dishcloth or pillowcase aprons, cell phone or iPod cases and simple tote bags are popular kids' sewing projects, as are cloth Christmas ornaments. Kids may also be interested in making their own toys, like cloth stuffed balls, bean bags or cloth board games. Cloth books are also fairly simple to sew, involving mostly straight seams.
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