Today we are kicking off our very first lesson in our 12 part series Little Sewing School! This course is aimed at teaching your little one how to use the sewing machine and then creating a different and fun project each week. We will start out very simply, learning the basics of the machine and then we'll move on gradually to new projects, developing their skills and confidence along the way. This course is designed with you guiding your child through each lesson and is not meant or recommended for your child to go at it alone. Children should be supervised at all times while using the sewing machine.
Today in Lesson One we will begin with introducing your child to the sewing machine and then using the free downloadable sewing sheets I have created HERE to get comfortable with sewing straight lines, curvy lines, shapes and turning corners. When using the sewing sheets the thread and bobbin should be removed so you are using an empty needle. To prepare for this lesson simply download and print off the sheets by following the link above.
To begin the lesson sit down with your child at the sewing machine and introduce them to the basics.
1. Teach them how to turn the machine on and off.
2. Show them how to raise and lower the presser foot, explain how it is used to hold the fabric (or in this case paper) in place and you must raise it to insert the fabric and lower it to hold it in place and you must never sew with it raised. It's also a good time to explain they need to keep their little fingers on either side of the throat plate and never in front to avoid an accident.
3. Show them the "Feed Dog" under the foot and explain how it will pull the fabric as you sew so all they will need to do is to guide the fabric through, never to push or pull or hold the fabric down, just gently guide.
4. Introduce them to the pedal. Make sure their feet can touch the floor and if not elevate the pedal with a footstool or box. With all hands and fingers away from the machine let them play around and teach them how to ease into the stitch by starting slowly and then find the perfect amount of pressure to apply for a steady stitch. Teach them to stop by fully removing their foot from the pedal so there are no accidents.
5. Emphasise the importance of concentration - never look away while you are using the sewing machine and how you will need to be focused on both guiding the fabric and pressing the pedal at the same time. Let them know if there is a distraction they need to remove their foot from the pedal, turn the machine off and come back to it when they can devote their full attention.
Okay, now for the fun stuff - Sewing!! With the Sewing Sheets printed off and the lessons above fully explained, it's time to get started!
6. Starting with the first sheet containing straight and squiggly lines show them how to line up the guideline on the sewing machine foot with the straight line on the page. Practice this until they are confident and able to stay in a straight line, emphasising the guiding of the paper and keeping their hands safely out of the way of the needle.
7. When they are comfortable with this move on to the squiggly lines and teach them how to use their hands to gently guide the needle to follow the squiggly line. This one may take a few sheets as they gain confidence in simply guiding and not pulling the paper through, but it will be a great lesson for the next sheet (and projects!) to come!
8. When they have mastered both the straight and squiggly lines you can move on to the dotted line along the edged of the paper. With this you can teach them how to stop neatly at the corner by easing up their foot on the pedal and having the needle lowered completely to raise the presser foot and pivot the paper to sew along the next edge. A great lesson for so many projects to come!
9.Once they have followed the dotted line all the way around, pivoting 3 times to complete the rectangle they are ready to move onto the next page with the knowledge to stitch around the triangle, square, circle and star! I found my daughter had little issue completing these on her own (with me sitting next to her of course :)) once she had been instructed through the first page.
Feel free to print as many copies of the sewing sheets as it takes for your little one to feel comfortable in learning to sew a straight line, guide the fabric and pivot at the corners... Practise makes perfect!!
Join us next week, same time, same place - for Little Sewing School! We'd love to see your own sewing school in action using our lessons so please tag us in #pplittlesewingschool to share the fun! If you have any questions or comments leave them in our new interactive comment bar below or join us for inspiration and fun in our Puzzle Pattern Facebook Group!