As my kids get older they’ve caught the sewing bug. They get an idea in their heads then just have to get it sewn up right then- sound familiar sewists?! Today I’m going to share a few of their favorite makes and our tips for a happy sewing experience.
This guy just dives right into each project with absolutely no fear. I never really taught him how to sew and remember the day when he was about 8-years-old and I caught him mending his socks with my serger. No intimidation with this kid!
My older kids are not really interested in sewing up pillowcases, bags, or other standard beginner projects. I think since I sew primarily clothing, that’s what they want to sew too. He really wanted a hoodie like his older brothers and we sewed this up in an afternoon. Hoodies are a go-to for me when teaching my kids to sew. My oldest has made a couple of Greenstyle Hudson Hoodies and my younger kids love the Hey June Hatteras Hoodie. The bands make it easy to finish with no knit hems and I think a hood can be even easier to do than a tricky knit neckband. For the most part hoodies can be done on a serger which makes for a more professional finish that they’ll be proud of. Another bonus with hoodies is that french terry is a great fabric to work with. It’s nice and thick and doesn’t curl as easily as thinner knits.
He made this last fall and wore this constantly all winter long! A couple other easy projects I’ve made with my older boys are t shirts (this one from Jalie or the Jolly Roger Raglan from P4P are favorites), joggers (Boxwoods from Sew Like My Mom and Mini Hudson Pants from True Bias), and pajamas (the free Walk the Plank bottoms from P4P).
This sweet girly loves to sew as well. She took a sewing class last summer with her best friend and I’ve been super grateful she did. She was able to learn all the proper techniques and gain the confidence to really tackle projects on her own. During her class she used a regular sewing machine and made bags, pillows, and pajamas. They taught her how to cut out patterns and which stitches to use. For her first big project at home she also sewed up a Hatteras Hoodie with her brother. It was so fun having them working side by side!
She loves to sew birthday gifts for her friends. She makes backpacks, sleeping masks, and hair things. We love the Made for Mermaids HUGE collection of Free Patterns– there are tons of great beginner projects and loads of things perfect for gifting.
Her latest sew was a fun one! We sewed the Mainland Collection from Striped Swallow Designs together. She sewed the Rhapsody Joggers and I did the Highlander Dolman. She picked these darling fabrics from our Project Run and Play winnings from Riley Blake Designs. They are so cute together and such a great weight, making them easy to work with.
The top is also another great beginner project that I think she could do on her own next time. We changed a few things with the patterns to make them even quicker, easier sews.
We did a wide yoga waistband on the joggers and a wide band on the bottom of the top. She plans to wear this set primarily as lounge wear so comfort was key! It also made construction even easier.
The pocket construction on these pants is super fun and quite easy for her to figure out. I love the oversized look of them too!
I changed the sleeves to have a wide cuff, one of my favorite features on tops lately. I think it adds a cute detail to this top.
I think the most difficult part of this top is the bound neckline and optional ties. It’s such a nice finish and she’s so meticulous that I’m sure she could handle it next time. It’s definitely my favorite thing about this pattern!
Here’s a breakdown of some of my tips for sewing with older kids:
1- Let them pick their project. They’re more likely to finish a project they’ve picked themselves and will be proud to wear the finished garment if it’s something they’ve been eyeing in stores.
2- Pick fabrics that are easy to sew with. I like thick knits like cotton/lycra (Raspberry Creek, Art Gallery, and Riley Blake are perfect!) or french terry (Raspberry Creek has you covered!). For wovens, I love Robert Kaufman Mammoth flannels for pj’s or quilting cottons for household projects. Good quality fabric might be hard on the wallet but it’ll make all the difference in how easy it is to sew and how well the finished project will hold up.
3- If you’d use a serger on the project, let your kids use it also. I know that blade is scary but I’ve found my kids are cautious and careful around it. We use clips to hold pieces together and they work great at making sure they sew nice and slow too!
4- Go easy on them but also make them unpick when necessary. When I learned to sew as a teen I was so resentful of my seam ripper. My mom made me unpick things until they were perfect. Guess what I’ve learned- perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! If it’s close enough and won’t cause problems further in the construction, let it be. Sometimes though a little seam ripping just needs to be done. When sewing these joggers my daughter sewed a cuff on with the seam on the outside. She quickly ripped the seam out and had it sewn on correctly in no time. Lesson learned! We grow the most from our mistakes so don’t deny them that opportunity, lol!
5- Have fun! It’s hard not to think that you could probably finish the project in half the time but sit back and enjoy those moments with your kiddos. They go too quickly!