In 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.
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.
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).
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