I’m sitting at the table, catching up on some work (okay, Facebook), and my oldest comes up to me and asks, “Mami, when are you gonna teach me to sew?”
Ugh. Automatically, I get that sinking feeling I’m failing this motherhood thing.
You see, it’s not the first time he’s asked.
He first approached me a few months ago about learning, but like with most initial requests from my kids, I ignored him. No, not because I’m mean, but when you have four kids, you need to filter out empty requests, you know?
The funny thing is I don’t know how to sew. I can sew a button if necessary, but if a pair of pants needs to be hemmed, I’m more likely to reach for a handful of safety pins (don’t judge) than for the needle and thread.
Every time he brought it up, it stressed me out. Does that ever happen to you when your kids keep asking you for the same thing over and over?
Each time he asked it reminded me I wasn’t ready. A Pinterest board would need to be created in search of the kid-friendly sewing project pin. I’d need to find several blogs and books on the topic, and find the proper kid-friendly needle and thread.
One does not simply teach a kid how to sew!
Days later, while clearing out some boxes in the garage, I came across an old sewing kit, that judging by the contents of the box, was approaching vintage status.
My son saw it and asked, again, “Mami, when are you gonna teach me how to sew? Now we don’t have to look for needles.”
Not now, I’m busy going through these boxes.
The sewing kit roamed through the house for a few days, and the asking increased. Finally, I caved in one night and went rogue. I decided to just make it up as we went. With no plan in hand, no kid-friendly projects in mind, I pulled a few scraps of fabric and cut a very intricate pattern that looked similar to the image below.
I showed him how to thread the needle, modeled a simple stitch pattern, which I now know is called a “running” stitch, and then let him try it.
As he sewed up the sides, we decided to put something inside. My 7-year-old, who was now sitting watching his brother and asking that magical question (“When are you gonna teach me, Mami?”), suggested beans. Duh, why didn’t I think of that?
And so, bean bags were made.
It all turned out better than if I’d planned it. My oldest even said at one point that it would be cool to one day make his own clothes. Hello, Ralph Lauren?
I have since created that Sewing with Kids Pinterest board, and have found a few books to help teach them how to sew beyond the bean bags:
See and Sew: A Sewing Book for Children by Tina Davis is nicely set up, very simple to use and I know my boys can follow it along with little hand-holding from me.
Sewing School 2: Lessons in Machine Sewing; 20 Projects Kids Will Love to Make by Andria Lisle will be a great option when we move onto machine sewing.
Most of all, though, that night I was reminded (again) of a valuable lesson. Sometimes your kids may ask to do things you feel require more than you can give at the moment, so you put it off until you’re ready. But it turns out you can simply teach a kid how to sew. Not every thing has to be fully planned out and Pinterest-perfect.
Actually, most things don’t have to. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember it’s okay to make it up as you go. Today we’ll conquer sewing, tomorrow that flame thrower they’ve been bugging me about.
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