Kids and sewing – the hows, whys and wonderings

My daughter and stepdaughter (both 9) just finished sewing their first ever garments. PJ pants in our Bastia Red and Bastia Navy (available Melbourne, and also available in Ink). The bulk of the sewing on these was done during a private lesson and I was happy to pick up their eleventh-hour sewing slack by finishing off the hems. Hey, I could relate – we’ve all wished some sewing fairy could step in at that stage. I’ve sewn for and with both the girls, with varying levels of involvement. And, not to leave the stepboy out, try to get him involved too. He likes to pick the fabric and therein lies the extent of both his interest and involvement. Lego beckons, you know, unless he can put his foot on the pedal.

The girls are definitely more interested in the finer details of technique, one slightly more so than the other, but it’s certainly the final product that holds most appeal to each one of the kids. Now patient-earth-mother-in-abundance I am not. I’d love them to be
more involved and interested but, in the spirit of honest blogging, I’m
equally happy for them to bugger off and leave me to sew in peace. If I
had the space, I’d leave their sewing machine out (they use my old one) all the time so they could come and go at it as they pleased. But right now that’s not even a possibility for me and my machines so
they’ll just have to get in line behind moi. Plus there’s still an
element of supervision which needs to happen at their sewing age and
that time/patience is often hard to come by.

The other thing which drives me bananas is that, when I sew with them, they are far, FAR, FAAAAARRRR more likely to ask “Can you do this part/stitch/bit for me?” whereas, in private lessons, they’ll have a crack, follow through and Get. It. Done. Mistakes in class? No problem. Mistakes at home? “I just caaaaaaan’t do it!

When I reflect back on my own personal sewing journey, I’m the very definition of a ‘late bloomer’. The creative subjects in school were the ones that held so much more of my interest and yet my secondary schooling did very little to squeeze my creative juices. I have only two crystal clear memories of craft classes during those years:

– the time I said ‘shit’ and got the most inane, lengthy lecture from the teacher about how awful a word it is and it’s actual origins (if you were wondering, the story involved a cow). Whatever Mrs T. And SERIOUSLY?! TELL ME ANYONE WHO DOESN’T UTTER THAT AT LEAST A BAJILLION TIMES ONCE DURING A SEWING PROJECT!!!

– the time my friends and I were so mind bending-ly bored we wrote a little ditty using the snippets of conversation heard around the craft room. I can’t remember what I was making at the time but around 27 years later, I still remember that song and it went like this:

What fine mmmmm what rainbow what
Cathy good, Cathy good
Manda yep yep huh nothing else,
Where’s the survey?
So, yeah, in my case ‘school’ and ‘teachers’ are most definitely NOT on the ‘Sources of Inspiration’ list.  It wasn’t until I had my daughter that the sewing spark truly took hold. Why it did then I don’t really know. I’m inclined to think it was mostly about timing. I’d sewn a couple of small and successful(ish) projects, started to read some really inspiring blogs and, at that time in my life, I really needed an outlet that took me away from parenting, my (pre Tessuti) professional life and the more challenging personal stuff that was swirling all around me. 


That said, my experiences of life, parenting and the path I took to this sewing caper lead me to completely get that you
can’t ever make someone love something, be it sewing or anything else. But are there things you can try to do which gently foster an interest? Plant that slow-growing seed? I’d love to hear all about your journey into the world of sewing. Was the spark lit for you as a child, by someone or some thing? When did it ‘click’ for you? Have you succesfully passed that sewing torch on to someone without burning them? Feel free to pass on any tips on good kids’ sewing projects as well. Got a blog and want to write a similarly themed post? Leave your link in the comments section because we’d love to share your thoughts and comments down the track.