It only seems like yesterday when I was making Fifi little dresses like this one. I love making my own clothes and clothes for the children. Recently my sewing has been mainly dressing up clothes, which although fun to make and wear isn’t quite the same as proper dressmaking.
I think that being able to sew is such an important life skill and so for Christmas I bought Fifi a sewing box and sewing machine. I wanted to give her some skills whilst she was young enough to absorb them and I think that the ability to make and mend your own clothes is something which will serve her well throughout her whole life.
Today we finally had our first sewing machine lesson. I have to say she took to it like a duck to water. It was quite hard to get her to realise that she was in control of the machine and fabric, but once we conquered that she really moved quickly.
I must admit I hardly ever use patterns, mainly because they are an additional added expense. So for this project I took one of her simple jersey dresses and used that as the basis of the shapes. I then adapted the style a little bit as she has some not very stretchy cotton as opposed to jersey. I wanted something which would stretch her and teach her, but at the same time be an easy enough shape with a guaranteed result. I’m really pleased with the results and to be honest, I don’t think I could have done a lot better if I had sewn it myself.
Steps for teaching a 6 year old to use a sewing machine.
- I started with teach how to thread the machine and wind the bobbin
- Explain about the peddle and how to steer the fabric through the machine
- Take some practice fabric and spend a good half an hour stitching freestyle and with specific goals in mind.
- Go for it! Sit with them and tell them to take things slowly, explaining all the time what they are doing and why.
- Try to find something which includes some hand sewing. This dress includes a gathered skirt so she would practice her running stitch.
- Try not to pick a design that is too complicated. Fifi really wanted to make a dress and she had sat with me whilst making her a skirt so I felt we could do a really basic dress, but a gathered skirt is very simple and easy to do and produces great results.
- Enjoy! If it goes wrong it doesn’t matter, and if you can get away with it consider rectifying it yourself after they have gone to bed. The goal here is to maintain enthusiasm!