Jenna received a sewing machine for Christmas this year, and she’s been stitching and stitching ever since. I had no idea how well this gift would be received. She’s already made a pillow, a coin purse and a small pouch for taking her Shopkins on the go. For anyone else considering a similar gift, here are some recommendations for a child’s starter sewing kit that is likely to inspire confidence and creativity.
The New Home Janome series is a great starter machine for a child. It is a real sewing machine – not a toy as some ‘child machines’ tend to be – but it has a limited range of features and doesn’t overwhelm a young child just starting out. It also comes in nine colors, so I was able to buy a machine in Jenna’s favorite pinkish coral color.
The machine arrives with needles and bobbins, but you’ll still need to stock your kit with a few basics including a pin cushion, straight pins, velcro and an adhesive fabric tape. I didn’t initially include fabric tape in my kit, but after reading this recommendation about letting children use temporary adhesive fabric tape instead of straight pins, I added it to the mix.
Clear Carrying Case
There are lots of cute fabric sewing cases, but I like to see where key items like scissors are at all times so I chose a clear case with inside compartments like this one.
I knew Jenna would want to pick out fabrics herself, so I opted for a starter set of felts in a rainbow of colors and then we went shopping at the fabric store right after Christmas. I’ve also been researching fabric shops on Etsy, and I’m planning to order a few fat quarter bundles from this awesome shop (Oh, and I might be using Jenna’s new machine to make a couple of things for myself).
Inspiration and Education
I am not good at sewing AT ALL, so giving a sewing machine as a gift was a little intimidating. I am grateful for those who have taken the time to put together a starter sewing curriculum for children that is very easy to follow. Sewing School 2, for example, is filled with step-by-step projects that are perfect for an 8-to-10 year old just starting out. The cookie coin purse shown above is from this book. I also love the Tiny Sewist series of blog posts for ideas on teaching basics like threading a needle, experimenting with different stitch types and basic sewing machine safety.
Fancy Thread and Scissors
A good pair of fabric scissors are important, but I started out with these office scissors from Poppin because, like the sewing machine, they come in an assortment of colors. As we advance toward more fabric types, I will probably need to invest in something intended for fabric.
One thing I didn’t anticipate was the power of thread. First, there is thread intended for sewing machines, thread for hand stitching and some dual purpose varieties. Second, and maybe more importantly, thread color can make a huge impact on the finished design. I chose white thread and black thread. Jenna selected the craziest, most impractical colors (neon coral, black with rainbow glitter specks and metallic gold). None of these colors matched the fabric she had selected and I thought they might go unused. After seeing her first few projects completed, however, I realize that the offbeat color combinations are part of what makes the design her own.