Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sewing Lessons

When I was teaching at an arts-enriched private school last year, I was fortunate enough to do some sewing with my students on a quilting project for our unit of study on geometry. I was amazed at how eager my first and second graders were-- many of them took to sewing very quickly. First Sprout's kindergarten class was also introduced to some basic stitches by the school's art teacher, and First Sprout has been through many self-designed and self-started sewing projects since then.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine (and the parent of one of my former students) approached me about offering sewing lessons. Like First Sprout, her child had been planning and attempting a lot of sewing projects but was having mixed results. My friend felt like some basic lessons would help give her child the tools to complete sewing projects more successfully. Makes perfect sense.

So I started giving sewing lessons to First Sprout and Friend Sprout-- two so far. I was very fortunate to stumble on this neat series of blog posts on Teaching Kids to Sew. We started by practicing running stitches on Styrofoam plates, but it became clear that my students were looking for a bigger challenge.

First Sprout's stitching sampler (back stitch and running stitch from left to right).

This week, I gave each of the sprouts an embroidery hoop and let them choose patterned fabric. They practiced embroidering around the designs in the fabrics using running stitches and back stitches. Over the next few weeks, we will continue to use the same fabric hoops and gradually learn to use new types of stitches. The end result should be a little stitch sampler that they can keep (and maybe frame if they come out really nice!).

Friend Sprout's stitching sampler (running stitch and back stitch, from left to right).

I also put together little books that illustrate what each stitch looks like. The pages are laminated, hole-punched and clipped onto a ring so that we can gradually add more to the book as they learn new stitches. "My Little Book of Stitches" is up and available at my Teachers Pay Teachers store for anyone who might be interested! The books are really nice to you as a ready reference when learning a new stitch because the laminated pages hold up nicely and stay flat on your working surface.

The first three pages to "My Little Book of Stitches." Moving forward, we'll be adding whip stitch, couch stitch, zig zag stitch, cross stitch and chain stitch to our repertoire.
I am really enjoying the sewing lessons and look forward to getting more stitches down. My thinking is that even the decorative stitches will be helpful in building fine-motor control and confidence with needle work. Then we can move on to skills like patterning and piecing-- fun! I'm keeping my eye for some good starter projects that will help introduce those skills.

I'd love to get more ideas about sewing with children (or any sort of fiber crafting, really!). What skills did you start with? What projects did you create? Please share in the comments.

Happy Learning (and Sewing)!

No comments:

Post a Comment