Sometimes the best projects of all are the ones you didn’t plan…
I was working on the boys’ Ranger Apprentice costumes for Book Week and all my art and craft supplies out when G1 spied a packet of stuffing (or batting – whatever you want to call it). He asked me what it was for so I told him about the soft toys I used to make for him. I thought that was the end of it until he asked me to teach him how to make a soft toy.
Designing the Toy
Given G1’s current Minecraft obsession, I could pretty much guess what he was going to make. Nevertheless, the first step was to design the toy and this was what he came up with:
Making the Toy
1. Identify the parts you need – head, facial features, body, and legs.
2. Draw out the shapes you require onto the felt and cut them out.
3. Stitch the facial features onto the face – I demonstrated how to use a simple running stitch.
4. Sew the head together, leaving a gap to insert the stuffing. I’ve always found hand sewing to be a pain and I seized the opportunity to teach G1 how to use a sewing machine.
5. Turn the head inside-out so that the seams are on the inside.
6. Stuff the head with batting and seal off the opening with stitches by hand (a hemming stitch works well).
7. Repeat steps 4 to 6 with the body and legs.
8. Sew the body to the head, then the legs to the body.
Benefits of Teaching Sewing to Kids
I think it goes without saying that sewing is a useful life skill with many practical applications. Everyone should have basic sewing skills so they can re-attach that button that just came off or sew up the hem that just came undone. But aside from the practical applications, what are the other benefits to teaching sewing to kids?
- Hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills – if you’ve ever threaded a needle, you’ll know how true this is.
- Creativity and Problem Solving – whenever we make anything, we have to visualise the end product in our minds and figure out how to translate that visual image into a 3D object.
- Focus and perseverence – sewing projects typically take several hours to complete even the simplest of projects.
How Sewing is Good for Us
A recent study linked creative activities to flourishing. Among the creative activities examined in the study were knitting and crochet. It isn’t too far a leap to include sewing into that mix. Teresa Glitner explains further in her article on 5 Reasons Sewing is Therapeutic:
Sewing is like meditation… Because your brain can only process so much information at one time, when you immerse yourself in creating something through sewing, you lose focus on other negative things that might be weighing you down. As you lose yourself in the project, it may feel like time ceases to exist.
In a TED talk from 2004, Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explained that when you’re creating something (like sewing), you don’t have enough attention left over to monitor how your body feels or think about your problems at home. This puts your mind and body into a state similar to that of meditation and quiets your fight or flight reflexes caused by stress.
The following infographic from Terry’s Fabrics highlights more reasons why sewing is good for us:
More Sewing Projects for Kids
- Sewing School – 21 sewing projects kids will love to make
- My First Sewing Book – 35 easy and fun projects for kids aged 7+
- My First Sewing Machine – Fashion school: Learn to sew for kids
- A Kid’s Guide to Sewing – 16 fun projects
Getting Started with Kids
Sew Mama Sew offers some helpful tips for getting started sewing with kids.