If you want to teach your students to sew and you’re looking for some tips from teachers these interviews are perfect for you!
Four years ago, Amy turned her back on a tech & software job in Silicon Valley to become a teacher. She presently teaches third grade in Hayward, California.
This was Amy’s maiden voyage in terms of sewing with her young students. She decided to sew emoji softies which look like a great first sewing project: they combine something familiar and simple to sew with something that promises lots of fun for kids to bring to life.
Amy chose to approach this new activity of sewing via a carefully scaffolded series of steps: she started her students students on weaving with paper, then with yarn and finally got them to make stitch samplers using running and whipped stitches.
What Amy learnt
I smiled when Amy related how she realised that you “can’t assume the kids understand the mechanics of sewing“. It reminded me of my early sewing workshops when I learnt, never assume anything with kids! I discovered that some students had sewn their softies onto their tops by mistake! In Amy’s case, she found that some kids hadn’t quite grasped that they needed to pull the needle completely through the fabric before making their next stitch.
And she noticed that some kids were making bigger and bigger stitches as they were getting closer to finishing their projects. That makes a lot of sense when you’re in third grade and getting excited to see your finished softie! But it did present a problem for keeping the stuffing in. Amy solved all this by suggesting a “model size” for stitches: their stitches shouldn’t be bigger than their finger nails. She figured that would be an easy enough measure for the kids to remember and reference. 🙂
And here’s what to do when those big stitches don’t hold in the stuffing!
Surprising conclusions teaching her students to sew
To her surprise, Amy actually found that sewing was very meditative and calming for her students and that it was great for the kids social interaction. Sewing and conversing have been natural companions since grandma was a girl.
Want to know what else is so good about teaching kids to hand sew?
Are we sewing today?
And my favourite comment by Amy: she said that every day the kids started to bug her with, Are we going to be sewing today? and When are we going to do some more sewing? I think that speaks volumes about how enriching and rewarding sewing can be for kids!