Giggles and squeals of glee have filled my studio this week, as I’ve been teaching sisters, ages 8 and 10, how to make a doll quilt. I’ve included my little guy as well, and they’ve been having a delightful time. I’ve told them all they’re getting speeding tickets for sewing so quickly with the machine, and they think that’s a hoot, needling each other with, “Don’t get a speeding ticket!” when it’s someone else’s turn at the machine.
I’ve taught my own boys how to sew, but this is the first time I’ve taught other people’s children. I also homeschooled my boys for three years, so I have a lot of experience teaching kids as well as adults. Here are my tips for teaching young children how to piece at the machine:
- throw accuracy out the window. Having fun and being proud of their accomplishment is more important, and you want them to do this again. Don’t sweat matching seams.
- let them practice sewing a straight seam and getting used to the foot pedal.
- take the time to explain the right and wrong sides of the fabric. This really takes some time to understand.
- show kids the big picture by telling them the overall process before you begin. I explained making a quilt top as putting together a puzzle with fabric pieces, then we would be making a quilt sandwich with fabric and batting.
I knew the day had been a success when I heard groans from the munchkins when I said it was time to stop for today; tonight my son confided,
“Mom, all I want to do is quilt!”
Watch out world for the next generation of quilters. They’re armed with fabric, sewing machines, and lots of giggles.