Sunday, February 27, 2011

How do I teach them to sew???

Every Christmas, I pull out the Christmas tree ornament that my first grade teacher helped me and 29 other first graders to needlepoint on plastic canvas thirty years ago.  As my girls have grown, I have grown to have more and more respect for that teacher.  How did she do it?  How did she guide and have the patience to guide 30 first graders in such a project?  There were even boys in the class!  I am awestruck when I pick up the little ornament and contemplate its origins.

My girls are now 7 and 5 and I know the time has come this summer to begin introducing them to sewing and other home economics skills.  I have put it off with the thought that they were too young.  But, I'm realizing that now it's time.  And it's also time for them to learn a few other things, too...

Two weeks ago, I made a list of all the skills I want my children to learn when it comes to home economics and life skills.  I divided them up and designated some of them for elementary school, some for middle, and some for high school.  My goal was to find a book for each of the topics that would be a good basic resource that covers that topic well.  I only have so much space on my bookshelf and I wanted to find good books that would be great all-in-one resources.

The first topic I wanted to find a good resource for was sewing.  Although I know how to sew, I am a learned teacher, not a natural teacher.  I need books that will give me good directions that both me and my kids can read.  I need things to be simple.  I don't have a lot of time for prep in my life right now.  I like good, clear, and simple illustrations.

Surprisingly, I found all of those things in one book on sewing titled Sewing School by Amie Plumley and Andria Lisle.  This is a new book that just came out last fall.  It is published by Storey Publishing--which is probably my favorite publishers of good hobby books.

There is an introductory section for parents about how to teach sewing and how to approach the endeavor.  (I was very excited to know there's such thing as a needle threader!)  Then, there are the basics of knots and hand sewing stitches.  The pictures are simple and the directions below the pictures are concise and clear.  From there, the book includes directions on how to make 21 sewing projects.

I wondered what these projects would be like.  I was wonderfully surprised at what I found.  Patterns and stuffing are introduced.  Projects range from simple to more complex.  There is even one for making a skirt using a sewing machine--on the most basic level!  Honestly, that was just what I wanted.  I was looking for a book that primarily focused on hand sewing with a little machine sewing towards the end so that I can introduce the kids to my sewing machine when it's time.  The projects in this book are wonderful ideas for gifts that my girls will be able to make for others come next Christmas.  I think the best age range for this book is 5-12 year olds.  5 years old may be a little young for this book, but if you take it slow, have patience and a needle threader, I think you'll be in good shape.  12 may seem a little old for this book, but if someone was starting off sewing that has never sewn before, I would start them with just these projects.  The directions are clear and simple--and that's helpful no matter how old you are!

The authors obviously know what they're talking about.  They run a summer camp for elementary age children in Tennessee every year to teach them how to sew.  So, these projects have been tested and made over and over.  These authors are writing with experience!  Every so often I find authors who pretend to be people they're not or write about things that they have only a little experience in.  That's not the case with these two!  I am impressed.  This book has made me really look forward to sewing with my girls and now I just can't wait to introduce my girls to sewing!

We just so happened to get them new shoes this weekend and the boxes are just the perfect size to become their new sewing boxes.   So, I'm off to cover them with paper...

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Storey Publishing.

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