Kids learn a lot at school, helping them succeed in the outside world. However, they don’t always get the chance to learn life skills that can make adulthood easier to navigate. There aren’t as many classes for home economics and sewing project ideas, replaced by computer skills and soft skills courses for aptitude in the business world.
It’s important to help your children appreciate various skills that can help them take care of themselves, from cooking and cleaning to sewing. It’s hard to find people in the latest generations who can sew, and it’s a bit of a lost art. What if you split a seam and can’t afford to go buy a new pair of pants?
One way to instill the knowledge of how to use a needle and thread into your children is to find fun sewing projects you can do with them. There are lots of kid-friendly sewing projects that can be exciting and enjoyable while also educating your son or daughter on how to sew. And if you don’t know how to sew, these activities can also help you improve your skills.
The Classic Bean Bag – With a Twist
One of the easiest projects to start with is a bean bag, although creating something with a purpose is even better. That’s why you can turn your bean bag into a “boo-boo bag,” simply replacing the beans with rice for the interior of your bag.
Putting it in the freezer gets cold like an ice pack but doesn’t burn the skin with its frigid cold. You can use any material and make a square or rectangular bag with two pieces of cloth, rice, and a needle and thread.
Starting with something this simple helps with dexterity, even for smaller children, and the basics of sewing by keeping to straight lines, the basis of all sewing knowledge and experience.
More specifically, creating a doll skirt out of the material of choice is a great project. Cotton works great. Your child will get excited over the idea of the doll receiving new clothes, and this is a project you can do over and over again, allowing the child to pick the color or pattern of the material each time.
It’s very inexpensive because it takes so little material, and it keeps to the basics of sewing a straight line while, at the same time, working with early geometry.
Rather than a simple square, you’re now working with a virtual triangle. This is a small step up from the basics since you’ll also need to measure the doll to make sure you get the right size for your two pieces of material.
If you want to turn this into an advanced project, you can add a band of elastic at the waist to create a fitted skirt for the doll. This would lead to a pattern that is a little more square, with the elastic band gathering the top of the skirt after dressing the doll. The elastic band would be measured to fit the waist of the doll.
Sewing a pillow is similar to the idea of a bean bag. However, it’s a little more advanced since you need to have a more precise line on every edge of the square as you sew.
You also have to have stitches closer together so that you don’t see holes between stitches when you turn the pillow inside out to hide the seams. This is also vital to the material’s ability to hold in the stuffing.
Because you have to stuff the pillow, this makes for a little extra step that is fun for the kids. You’ll also teach your child how to minimize the opening left for stuffing so that there are a few stitches showing as possible.
These are great to utilize once they’re completed as shoulder bags or backpacks, so they are a project that leads to long-term enjoyment. The principle is similar to a bean bag on a much larger scale. However, you’ll have the advantage of learning a new skill – creating the pocket for the drawstring. This is a beginner’s guide to hemming, as it’s a similar project.
However, the size of the pocket for the string doesn’t have to be precise in size, so it makes for good practice before beginning to hem clothes. It also helps children learn how to add elastic bands to clothing, the pockets for which have to be more precise.
Use any type of string you like, but rounded shoelaces work best. Make sure the string is long enough to be able to open the bag fully, put things inside, and then pull the two loops at the sides to tighten and carry the bag.
If you take the drawstring bag pattern and modify it so that there are no openings in the sides for the string, you have the makings of a pillowcase.
It’s easy to find the measurements of all sizes of pillows online so that you can measure your pillowcase materials properly. The easiest way to complete a pillowcase is to cut two equally sized pieces of material and join them together, creating a hem around the open end to avoid any ragged edges from showing.
Let your child make their own pillowcases with the material of their choice, and you can continue the project by helping them make a top sheet that matches their bedroom. Eventually, you may even make a fitted sheet and drapes to match as you work together to improve your child’s sewing skills.
Pajama pants are comfortable and functional, and there is little difference between creating these from sewing a pillowcase.
It’s a more complex pattern, but it all fits together fairly easily, with all the material consisting of rectangles that are sewn together in a certain way. It’s another opportunity to practice adding an elastic waistband, or if your child is ready to step it up even further, you can put on a button fly or a drawstring, like with the drawstring backpack.
Make sure the material you choose is durable but soft, and help your child learn about taking their own measurements so that the pajama pants fit perfectly and comfortably. Flannel is an excellent choice for something like this.
While a messenger bag may seem complex, it’s really just a bunch of geometric shapes, mainly rectangles, configured just right. You’ll need strips of material to allow for space between the two pieces that make up the outside panels so you can carry things and the carrying strap. The two sides will be different lengths since one side will fold down over the other to close.
How the bag stays closed is a personal preference. You can sew on fasteners that latch, buttons with button holes if you’re ready to try reinforcing the button holes with thread, a snap, or even magnets that hold it shut. This project offers a greater deal of creativity since you can decide on the length of the carrying strap and the type of closure used.
While men’s belts are typically made of leather, a lot of girls’ belts are fabric and making one of these can be an incredibly simple project.
Choose the material, the width of the belt, and the way it will fasten. This leads to creative freedom, and you may find your daughter wanting to make multiple belts for different outfits, which will help tremendously with practicing hems, reinforced holes, and learning to sew in grommets for use if tying a belt in place.
One of the greatest things about learning to sew bookmarks is that all you have to do is keep some scrap fabric and let your child be creative. This won’t cost any extra, and your child will get lots of practice with their sewing. They can choose the shape of the bookmark, with anything from cardboard or poster board as something sturdy to sew the scrap fabric around. Or, your child can simply roll or fold the fabric to thicken the bookmark.
Sewing on a tassel can also help your child practice placement and creativity. Ribbon can also be used to dress up the scrap fabric. Even buttons can come in handy to decorate plain colored material.
Boxes are great for utility purposes, and a felt box can hold a number of small items that would normally be scattered around your child’s room. That makes this project very productive as well as fun.
Cutting five matching squares of felt, or even purchasing precut felt squares, and creating a cube with no top is simple in that it only requires straight stitching. However, because it has to hold up to whatever is in it, this is a great way to again improve the tightness and precision of the stitch.
Once the topless cube is finished, your child can pick other felt pieces to cut into shapes or décor and sew these onto the sides of the box for a real showpiece.
Felt Tissue Pocket
Kids have allergies, and a tissue pocket is a great tool for assuring your child is always prepared for a runny nose and sneezes. Let them create their own by sewing together two pieces of felt and then decorating by sewing on buttons, shapes cut from other felt pieces of different colors, or various materials that could be used as edging for the pocket.
As with many of these projects, be sure to keep scraps of material from past projects. These can come in handy for free decorating ideas that promote creativity without spending a dime. Also, if you are throwing away old or torn clothes, save buttons from them, as these can also make great décor.
When your child graduates from straight-line sewing, felt can be used more creatively. Have your child draw the shape of a “monster” on the felt, and create the monster with two pieces of felt in this shape.
Once those are sewn together, sew on googly eyes or felt eyes. Give them teeth or toes or claws with more felt shapes. Let your child design their own monster, again using a number of felt scraps to create the ultimate monster.
Do-it-yourself sewing projects can be fun for all ages, and they help teach a valuable skill. As an adult, your child will be prepared to repair torn seams, create their own clothing, and more. They’ll develop a love for crafting, as well.
It’s also advantageous to young children in developing dexterity and fine motor skills, challenging them to use their hands and fingers in new ways. Your child can learn attention to detail, how to follow directions, and more, including measurements and geometry, which will promote a better understanding of match.
Most of all, it’s quality time you can spend with your children while also producing a lot of useful items that aren’t a waste of time.
You’ll both take pride in your work, which will build confidence, and you’ll have a closer relationship with your children, simply by giving them your undivided attention while working with them. And eventually, they’ll learn independence, taking on projects of their own on their own time.
What better way to instill values and knowledge in your children that they won’t learn elsewhere? Read about other kid-friendly sewing projects and more on our site!