Sewing projects for kids are one of my favorite things to dream up. In our tech based world there are many life skills that kids aren’t introduced to as much as they were in the past. Sewing is one of them. I believe children should learn and can handle life skills like sewing and woodworking a lot sooner than most of us think.
I also just love sewing! Sewing is the perfect task to help kids develop a number of skills including fine motor control, patience, and creativity. I’ve been inspired by a number of bloggers with great ideas on beginning sewing projects for kids, and created this project to add to the list of resources for parents/teachers looking to introduce sewing to children. Burlap Embroidery puts a spin on embroidery by using one of my favorite project materials: shoelaces.
Note: Before getting started on the post I have to say that I think colorful shoelaces are a must have material for artsy families. They are ready made for a number of sewing and lacing projects because they are pre-cut, the plastic end makes a lovely beginner “needle”, they can be reused for many projects, and they are relatively inexpensive.
I chose embroidery as the first sewing idea for kids on Babble Dabble Do because it was the first type of sewing I ever tried. My mom and I collaborated years ago on a bedspread for my room. We embroidered a number of flowery designs on a plain white comforter. I had almost forgotten about the bedspread until my Dad brought it out to use on my mom’s bed in her assisted living facility. I was touched on many levels because it was a special project for us and I loved that it comforted her when she needed it most. As I write this I realize that that is why sewing holds such a special place in my heart, it was truly a way for me to connect with a number of family members, and the fruits of our labor are still with us today. All these lovely sewn items bring a smile to my face and a warm memory when I see them.
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Sewing Ideas for Kids: Burlap Embroidery
- Step One Cut a square piece of burlap roughly 2 inches wider than your embroidery hoop
- Step Two Open the embroidery hoop. Place the burlap over inner circle.
- Step Three Place the outer circle over the inner hoop making sure the burlap is stretched tightly over the hoop. Tighten the screw.
- Ste Four Tie the laces you will be using onto the screw post of the embroidery hoop
- Step Five Hand that puppy over to your kid!
You’re done setting up the activity, now sew! I recommend showing your child how to to do a basic stitch right off the bat. I somehow thought my kids would understand a basic stitch by osmosis until I realized learning doesn’t quite work that way….(see below). Here are our samplers: Clara did the first one and Mama did the bottom two.
Now despite my enthusiasm for this project, my 4 year old daughter is still working on developing fine motor skills/patience and was a bit frustrated at her first attempt.
I convinced her to try again the next day and showed her how to thread the shoelace from the underside up so she didn’t have to wrap the shoelace around the side of the hoop every time. This step got her interested again in the project…for five minutes. Here she is working, and yes we surely did embroider on the floor! It a great place to watch my 10 month old from…
Despite my daughter’s initial reluctance we will try this again! As I read on this site about introducing embroidery to kids: don’t fret, start slow and reintroduce. Sometimes kids just need to be approached at the right time or in the right mood. Does this ever happen to you?
Beci Orpin. Beci Orpin is a hero of mine. She is an Australian designer with just an incredible breadth of work. I bought her book Find & Keep last year and was immediately hooked. Ms. Orpin talks about her love of embroidery in the book so as we were weaving the shoelaces through burlap I thought about her. To me she is a modern day Charles and Ray Eames; she isn’t afraid to work with vintage and inexpensive materials to create beautiful things. Check her out and you will become a fan too!
I love this project because of the opportunity to help kids develop their fine motor skills. My good friend is an Occupational Therapist and sent me this great resource for all things fine motor. They have a good introduction on why developing fine motor skills is so important for kids: What AreFine Motor Skills? So by doing a little burlap embroidery you are not only introducing kids to a creative skill like sewing, you are helping them prepare for school and learning by aiding in their fine motor development. Win-win!
- If you are looking for more projects that help develop fine motor skills Frame Lacers and Paper Weaving are great places to start.
- For a wonderful DIY sewing kit for kids hop on over to Childhood 101. I want one for myself!
- And if you want to explore more embroidery with kids this is a great article to give you some pointers.
- BTW Beci Orpin just came out with a new book I’m salivating over, this one’s for the home Home: 25 Amazing Projects for Your Home