These projects are great for children, and they don't require a sewing machine. They are designed for the 7-to-10 age range. Children can do these easy sewing projects with a few basic skills, including tying a knot, sewing a few easy stitches and threading a needle. Children should always be supervised by an adult while sewing and taught to be careful with needles and pins. For beginners, it's best to use cotton or cotton blend fabrics, instead of soft, slippery or thick fabrics.
To make this little bag, you just need two small squares of cotton or cotton blend fabric. They should be about 5 inches on each side. You also need two pieces of yarn to make the drawstring. Place the two squares on top of each other wrong sides out, with the right sides against each other. You will be turning the bag right side out when the stitching is finished. Sew a straight stitch along three sides of the square, making even, small stitches. Make a knot when you are done, by starting a stitch and then threading the needle through the loop your thread makes in the air before ending the stitch. Turn the open top down by a half-inch, and pin or iron it evenly before stitching it down. Use the same straight stitch along the bottom of the folded part, leaving room for yarn to be added between your stitching and the top of the bag. Be sure to only sew through one side at a time; don't sew the bag closed.
Now, turn the bag right side out and begin the drawstring. Thread the yarn onto a large needle, and stitch it in a line around the top of the bag, leaving plenty of yarn both at the beginning and the end to lie loose outside the bag. Tie the two beginning and end pieces of yarn together. Stitch another row of yarn right below the first, leaving extra at the beginning and end again. Tie those ends together when you are done. The yarn serves as a drawstring that you can pull the bag shut with, and the little bag can hold special buttons, rocks, stickers or trinkets.
An easy beginner project is to make a little pillow. Choose a cotton or cotton blend material; you can choose a front and a back material if you like. For a kid-size pillow, make two rectangles about 17 inches long by 13 inches wide. If you want, you can add a button or bead or two on the right side of one of the pieces for decoration. If children know how to sew a button, this is a great way to show off or practice, and if they don't, an adult might want to help them with that step. Place the two rectangles together wrong sides out. Stitch a straight stitch along three sides of the rectangles, keeping the stitches short and even.
When you get to the end of the third side, make a knot to secure the thread. Leave a short end open, and turn the pillow right side out. Stuff the pillow with stuffing or batting through the open end, and leave some space at the open end for stitching. Fold about a half-inch of fabric at the end of the pillow inward toward the stuffing, like an envelope, all the way around the open end, pinning or ironing flat if needed. Stitch the open end closed, hiding the knotted end of the thread inside the pillow for the first stitch. This can be tricky; aim your needle from the inside out, and make the first stitch a blanket stitch to pull the two sides together before starting a straight stitch to close the pillow's end. Finish it with another knot in the final corner.
A child can make some toy stuffed cookies to share with his stuffed animals with this easy project. Take two pieces of tan felt, and cut two circles, about 3 or 4 inches in diameter. These are the front and back of the cookies. Pin them together to keep your stitching on track. Use a blanket or overcast stitch to sew three-quarters of the way around the circle, leaving an opening for putting stuffing in. Stuff the cookie with batting or stuffing, and then sew up the rest of the circle. To make chocolate chips on your cookie, dot the fabric with permanent marker or fabric paint. You also can punch out holes of dark brown felt with a hole punch and glue these on. If you want a sugar cookie, do this with white felt and draw a design on top with fabric paints. If you want a chocolate cookie, use dark brown felt and add painted frosting or glitter paint on top. This can be adapted to whatever kind of cookie you desire.
Giving children a small embroidery hoop and colourful embroidery thread is a great way to get them starting with some free-form sewing. Use a fabric marker to draw a design they want to sew on the back of some light-coloured fabric, and the children can stitch along the lines to make the picture on the right side appear. They can turn this into a bag or pillow or frame it on the wall of their room. For a variation on this, cut a shape from a coordinating fabric with pinking shears and pin it on the fabric in the hoop. Children can sew around the outside, attaching the shape to the fabric, and add buttons or beads as they go if they want to. The hoop allows them to control the fabric better and see the end result sooner.