In The Sewing Room


A photo of Robyn DolanIn the course of my entertaining of youngsters this summer, the girls expressed a desire to learn how to sew. Though we never got to the actual sewing machines, three girls and a boy went wild over hand sewing.  I have to admit that I spent most of our several 2-3 hour sessions threading and re-threading needles, pulling out stitches and demonstrating how to start seams, but eventually they caught on and proceeded to drive their parents to distraction looking for fabric "resources" – worn out clothes, sheets, blankets, etc. which they could cut up and re-make into bags, pockets and skirts.  My son cut some too-small sweatshirts into "pirate" shirts.

Pirate shirt and sweatpants

Several pockets got sewn on pocket-less jeans, and a promise of a sewing machine was extracted from an unsuspecting dad. All in all, the project was a resounding success.

Sewing kit

And if you're wondering what a 6,7,8 or 9 year old can sew by hand and get so excited about, here's a simple pattern for you:

Simple Bag Purse

1.  Find some fabric you like.
2.  Cut out 2 12"x12" squares.
3.  Put right sides together and pin (fabric should be "inside out").
4.  Thread needle and sew 3 sides together with coordinating thread.
5.  Fold down top 1/4" all the way around and press with hot iron. Sew this hem.
6.  Fold down again, 1" and sew, leaving an opening.
7.  Cut ribbon 1" longer than circumference of purse (or even longer if desired).
8.  Thread ribbon through casing from one opening to the other.
9.  Turn bag "inside right" and smile. You've just made a simple purse (or man bag).

Robyn Dolan
10/15/2010 11:50:48 AM

Dave, yes, my mom too is a sewing genius. I have only recently acquired her patience with the ripping of seams and adjusting of knobs on the sewing machine which is required to do anything that looks halfway decent. I taught my older sons and daughter to cook and hand sew and am happy to say they are quite proficient when they want to be. My mom taught my daughter to sew on the machine, as at the time, every time I touched a sewing machine, threads would break and it would go on strike! My youngest son is pestering me to move on to the machine now, maybe he'll be a tailor...well, at least if he can mend a rip and sew on a button.

Nebraska Dave
10/14/2010 11:13:58 PM

@Robyn, it was wonderful that your kids have a mom that could teach them how to sew. My mom could sew just about anything she set her mind to. In fact she sewed all the dresses for the bride and bride’s maids when I married. I thought it was a monumental task and was so grateful for such a wedding gift. However she never passed that talent down to my sister. Boys were just not taught things like that in my family. I have had to stitch a thing or two since my wife passed but it would have been better if I could have tapped into some of mom’s talent. I still have a work horse sewing machine with cabinet in my basement. I don’t know why as I don’t have the least idea what to do with it. Well all the storage in the basement is a whole other story. I do think it’s a good thing for young men to be able to know how to do basic sewing and cooking. I had to learn both on my own. I can’t say that I have ever made anything by sewing but I have mended a few things. Have a great sewing day.

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