Sewing is a great life skill for any child to learn - everyone will benefit from knowing how to replace a button or repair a tear, and it might even be the start of something bigger...
Teaching kids to sew will not only mean that they have another practical life skill, but it can provide hours of joy throughout childhood and into adulthood. So, whether learning to sew is the start of a career in fashion or something more basic than that, there are lots of easy sewing projects kids will love making.
If you already know how to sew - and own a sewing machine - then lockdown is the perfect opportunity to pass on your knowledge, teaching them the basics and using this time to practice the many different skills involved. If you don't have a machine, then choose a sewing project that will teach the basics of hand-stitching - making small toys and quick crafty items rather than larger projects that will take a lot of time by hand.
Sewing without a machine will always take more time, but the results are often more beautiful, and kids are often more proud when they have made something totally by hand.
What You'll Need
Sewing projects for kids only need very basic equipment, so make sure you have the following:
- A needle (larger needles are easier for kids to handle and are less likely to be dropped and lost)
- A selection of treads
- Sharp scissors
- Scraps of fabric (use old clothes, mismatched socks, old bedlinen or scraps from previous sewing projects - as well as sheets of felt from the art and craft box)
- Selection of spare buttons
With this minimal sewing kit, kids can make quick and easy projects, whilst learning the basics. For a more detailed list of equipment, take a look at the Instructables guide by Jessy Ratfink, which covers all of the basics, giving hints and tips that are useful for beginners, like how to properly knot the thread to finish the stitch.
Felt is perfect in projects for kids because, unlike fabric, it doesn't fray, pull or get easily damaged. There are plenty of sewing projects for kids that use felt, including toys, bags, purses and decorations - and it is cheap, easy to work with.
Sewing: Practicing the Basics
Using the Sewing Machine
If you have a sewing machine, then kids will love learning how to use it by completing these sewing challenge sheets. The challenges include a dot-to-dot and a maze, as well as other practice sheets that will help them to refine their machine sewing skills before starting on a more complicated project.
Learn How to Hand Stitch
Running stitch, back stitch, blanket stitch - all of these different hand stitching methods are essential when learning how to sew. A great way to introduce kids to sewing is to give them a piece of scrap fabric, and a needle and thread and get them to practice sewing by doing lots of lines of stitching. Let your child pick their favourite piece of fabric and have them choose whatever colour thread they want (it's best to use avoid patterned fabric, and to use thread that is a different colour to the material, so you can properly see the stitch). Kids can pick up and put down this project whenever they like, sewing for 5 minutes at a time or dedicating hours to the activity.
Follow this guide on the Sew Guide website, which has easy to follow explanations for the nine most important hand-stitches. This is a great resource for parents who don't sew - or who need a refresher - as it even covers how to properly knot the thread before starting, and the instructions are well illustrated with photos. At the end of the project, kids will have learned nine of the most useful hand-stitches, and will have a piece of fabric that is decorated with their hand sewing
Practice Sewing Buttons
Practice makes perfect, so get your kids to practice sewing buttons onto scraps of fabric or odd socks. Knowing how to properly sew a button is an essential life skill that kids will use for the rest of their life - and although it is basic, there are some rules to follow. This guide by Instructables explains the difference between the two types of button, showing how to correctly sew each one - so gather together a box of spare buttons (with a few of each type) and get the kids practicing.
Easy Sewing Projects to Try at Home
Once your children have mastered the basics - like threading a needle, knotting the thread, hand stitching and finishing with a knot - then they can begin to make a huge range of items. We have gathered together a list of fun sewing projects for kids, with lots of ideas that they will love to make.
This fun felt monster bookmark is a great way to practice basic sewing skills like the running stitch, and it only requires some felt, a needle and thread. There is even a free, printable template to use when cutting out the shapes for the monster.
Make cute felt animal ornaments following the instructions on Red Ted Art.
Practice your hand-stitching and button sewing by making a fun fox bag. Using simple materials including felt, buttons, lace and velcro, follow the step-by-step instructions on the I Heart Crafty Things website. You could also easily adapt the design depending on what materials you have to hand, or if you want to make a different animal.
If you are looking for an easy project for kids to practice using the sewing machine, then try making this mismatched sock snake. Using old socks means that kids can make mistakes without ruining their project (just take out any sections that are damaged, and replace with another sock). Kids will learn how to prepare their materials, how to sew a button and how to use the machine - as well as working with stuffing and how to finish the project with a neat line of hand stitching.
Update your fancy dress box with some new superhero masks. Create your own design using felt, or follow one of these templates. This easy sewing project is great for beginners, and kids can get more creative as they learn more about sewing. Follow the step by step instructions by Vanilla Joy to make a basic face mask, then get creative decorating them afterwards...
Turn an old t-shirt into a kids skirt in just 10 mins by following the tutorial by Make It & Love It.
Sewing Kits to Try
If you don't already have sewing equipment in the house, then a sewing kit can be a great place to start. There are lots of projects for kids to choose from - Hobby Craft has a great selection, which is handily divided by age group. With lots of fun projects, kids can learn to make an owl pillow, a stuffed unicorn toy or a knitted kitten - and there is also a great range of embroidery and cross stitch projects for beginners.