In my sewing 101 class, we have a standard repertoire of first time sewing projects. They all go together as their first sewing kit. All of these projects come from the great book Sewing School by Amie Plumbly. We start out sewing buttons on by making little needle books. Then we move onto sewing a running stitch and stuffing a little pin cushion.
The last project has always been a little bag to hold all that in. For the first few times I taught this class I followed the directions in the book and honestly, it was too much for most of my newest sewers. Trying to sew all the way up the bag and also sew a casing was just frustrating for most of them and then when it was time to thread the ribbon through the casing they pretty much handed the bags to me.
This time around I decided to shorten this project a little and take out the sewing of the casing. I pre-sewed a 1 inch casing on pieces of fabric and that left only the sewing up the sides of the bags for them. It was a quick way for them to see a finished, usable project and the basics of how a bag is sewn together. We also opted to sew with the right sides together so that they could turn it right side out and not see their stitching. Threading the ribbon through the casing was still a tricky concept to grasp, but the frustration level was much lower!
Tips for sewing for little hands
A running stitch is one of most versatile stitches to teach a new friend wanting to learn how to sew.
The biggest hurdle is remembering to go up and down – bottom to top to bottom. It’s the basic rhythm of sewing.
One thing to remind them of is that they stitches don’t need to be tiny, nor do they need to be giant. The bigger they are the more likely they are to have some things missing from their bags, but they don’t have to be super tiny either. Just about the length of your thumb nail is perfect.