My 12 year old daughter is interested in a sewing machine. She has never used one, nor have I for that matter. If I purchase a cheap model, can she learn how to use it by following directions that come with the machine and of course patterns? Just a thought for Christmas next year. Thanks.
Karyn from Ottawa, Canada
PLEASE let her sew ASAP Sewing is my life and joy. I started sewing in home ec in sixth grade. Now over forty years later it remains one of my most favorite things to do. I sew for people. It's such a money saver. Rip a seam sew it yourself! A simple machine should be fine. Sometimes the store will give lessons. Also look around your area for sewers and ask. I have given lessons and enjoy it. Right now I am sewing corduroy pants for my grand daughter who just started daycare. Seems she's sprouted and has a bunch of highwaters. Sewing is such a useful hobby. If you'd like to write me. Patchnursew AT aol.com
Directions on modern patterns are NOT enough for an inexperienced seamstress. 20 yr old patterns thrift store with original directions would help. Most girls used to hone their sewing by making doll clothes (less wasted material) but that was usually with a sewing mom.
Does her school not have home ec? If you know no experienced sewers, she needs a basics course or you can ask around at your church or community center or even at a fabric store for help.
You may balk at the cost of a course, but these are not the old days. I learned sewing in 7th grade at public school in the 60's. There USED TO BE fabric departments in all major stores. What's left is Walmart in some of the larger markets and individual fabric shops and Joanne's.
The cost of a course will be worth it for her confidence and the experience of making something useful.
A website to start with http://www.beginnersewing.com/wiki/Main_Page
Also, check out sewing at about.com.
There are books, also, but human help will make an incredible difference and ensure your daughter's success.
Please do all you can to encourage her interest in sewing. I agree that your daughter will need more than the machine and pattern instructions. Maybe you could take a basic sewing class together. That's really all she needs to get started. When she gets comfy with the basics she can figure out the rest with trial and error (button holes, zippers, etc.) I am so fortunate that my mother sewed. She made most of my clothes growing up. For one of my teen birthdays she took me to the fabric store and let me choose a clothing pattern and fabric of my choice. She guided me through my first outfit. On my 21st birthday she bought me a basic $99 Brother sewing machine (20 years ago). I am still using the same machine. So basic is all you need. Every time I sit down to the machine I am so grateful for her thoughtful gifts. Sewing is definitely becoming a lost art. You would get your money back from a class by being able to do your own repairs and making your own items. Good luck.
Tracey - Jacksonville FL
Thank you all for your wealth of information. There is a lady in town that offers sewing classes, so will have to find out more. I think I will wait till the summer time as she will have more time then to take the classes and have the time to practice. I am certain that in high school she will have the chance to take sewing classes, but currently she is in grade 7. No classes for the junior grades.
Is she in 4H or Girl Scouts? They do some sewing.
She can learn some on her own, just to get a handle on her maching. I would start her with making toss pillows. Sew a square, all but a few inches, turn right side out, stuff and hand sew the opening. Also, watch (and possible record) some of the basic sewing shows on TV, such as those on HGTV. Some machines come with a video, and our local library has some sewing videos as well. You might also check out your local extension office.
My daugher is in Pathfinders. She did some basic sewing by hand in Brownies. I love the idea of making a pillow. Easy and fun to do at the same time. We are lucky here too, the Walmart in my area still has the material and sewing supplies. All others in the City has since been phased out. I am hopeful it will remain at my store.
I like the idea about videos on sewing, and am certain I could find a wealth of them online.
Thanks for the info. May just decide to purchase that machine much earlier than anticipated.
"Sew Simple "magazine is a great resource for beginning sewers of all ages, especially teens. They even have simple patterns in them!
This feedback is for ALL grandmothers and grandfathers. BOYS need to learn how to sew as much as girls! When my grandson was 5 years old he wanted to sew when he saw me sewing. At first I was real nervous about letting him loose with needles and scissors but, I sat with him and let him "sew." He loved it! I waited until there was a sale and bought him a entry level machine, under $80. I wrapped it up and saved it for his Christmas present. I also enrolled him in a kid's class at Hancocks. Best thing I ever did for him! He is now 7 and is proud to have his own machine! Karyn, your granddaughter is one lucky little girl. Encouraging our kids by finding lessons or a patient teacher and getting an inexpensive machine is truly something all our kids and grandkids will remember when we are long gone. Here is a picture of him on one of his calmer days
Visit stores that sell sewing machines, not only for prices, but to find out if they offer lessons on how to use the machine that you buy. Also, look into community classes that offer sewing classes. These classes are relatively inexpensive. Since you are also inexperienced you might like to take the class with her. The store where you buy the machine might want you to be with your daughter when she learns to use the machine and you can learn too.
Good luck. I've been sewing since I was 12 and am not yet 60. I have had many happy hours sewing. There is a lot of pride in a finished project.
I started sewing when I was about five on a treadle machine. So twelve is definitely not too young. My two daughters have a couple of machines (but tend to prefer hand sewing or crocheting), mostly because the machines don't work really well. I wouldn't recommend a really cheap machine because it likely won't work well and she'll just get frustrated. Get a good brand name with basic stitches; find a good used one.
Find some people who can teach you some basics at a machine store, or a repair person. Patterns made for kids are usually easy to follow and explain things well. I loved to make doll clothes and clothes for myself when I was growing up. There are lots of simple decorating patterns too; curtains, pillows, bags, blankets, toys, etc. Learn with your daughter....have fun! Maybe I'll go dig out that machine and see if I can get it working! I have a good one, but I don't want my girls to use it yet.
Being brought up the oldest of 12 children, I had to learn to sew, just to have a new outfit. The great thing about it was that no matter what else I had to go without, I could always make something for almost nothing!
I bought my granddaughter(12) a Brother CS-6000i. It's the same machine I have used for a long time. It's very easy to use, and they have a video available, if needed. The sewing lessons are a great idea! I was hoping that the kids would take 'home-ec' in school, but they no longer offer it! Go figure!
Sewing pillows and doll clothes by hand, is how I taught my girls to sew. Once they have the hand-eye coordination mastered, the machine is easier to use. My 15-yr. old son has also learned to sew, and really enjoys it(drives his Dad nuts!)
Check out books on sewing from the library. It's free! I had taught myself to sew. If a child wants to learn to do something, they do teach themselves. That is the best way to learn something. They never forget that way.
Our church rummage sale has good machines selling for $15. Just make sure you check it out before buying it to make sure it works.
Make sure to have some simple safety in mind when using one.
1.Don't sew too fast!
2.Make sure to never sew into a bit of metal on a zipper. I once sewed through a finger tip and went to the ER.
I learned to sew when I was about 9 and got my first machine when I was 12. It's a basic Singer machine and I still have it and use it to this day. It's held up very well for the past 35 years and it was used when I got it. I tried so hard to get my 25 year old daughter interested in sewing over the years and she's finally wanting to learn how to sew. Sewing is an art that needs to be kept going, encourage her to sew, if you sew let her watch you and make things together. That's what Mom and I did. Best of luck to your daughter! Crystal
About 15 years ago a had a niece who was about 12 who spent a couple of weeks with us during the summer. She wanted to learn to sew. At one of the fabric stores I found a book on beginning sewing for kids. The first thing she had to do was straight stitch on the lines of notebook paper. It gave her a feel for the machine and taught her to sew straight lines. Paper dulls the needles, so be sure to change to a fresh needle when sewing fabric. Her first project was a very simple throw pillow with a removable "envelope" covering. It turned out really nice. Then she made a large Raggety Ann type doll and clothes. That was a pretty large project but she did really well. She is now in her mid to late 20s. She has a really busy life but she still likes to sew. She says that it relaxes her. Good luck.
Margaret from Denton, Texas
I started teaching my granddaughter to sew when she was 10--as did her other grandma. She will be 12 this Saturday. She got her first sewing machine this last Christmas & is SO PROUD! A very basic machine but uncomplicated & good as a 1st machine. She's already talking about getting a machine like mine. I have a Brother embroidery/sewing machine. She's doing so well that her parents are considering it!
My daughter can use a sewing machine but won't. I guess it's just too easy to go to the department store & get everything you need...lol. I also agree that it's very important to teach the boys to sew.
I taught my oldest son, now 32 to use a sewing machine when he was about 10 or 11. I also taught him to crochet & hand embroider. He is way older than his years & has always claimed that it relaxed him to sew. He took a lot of flack from his friends about it but mostly ignored them. He inherited my 30 year old Kenmore 16 stitch when I got my Brother machine 2 years ago & is really going to town on it! I believe he's trying to teach one of his male friends to sew.
I also taught my little brother to crochet when he was about 12 or 13. I was 15 or 16 & had been crocheting since about 11. My brother is a real hulking he-man (divorced & 46) & sometimes it strikes me as kinda funny to come into his house & see him sitting watching tv & crocheting. He ALSO claims that it clears his mind & relaxes him.
I wish more people would teach their children how to get back to some of the more basic home skills. Not only are our children missing out on being able to say "I made it myself!", but also missing out on the pride associated with being able to say that.
I agree with everyone else 12 years old is a great age to learn. You guys will have a lot of fun.
Just an idea.. controlling the speed and direction of the sewing is something that I had problems with until my grandmother suggested "practice". She drew shapes onto brown bags with a marker and then had me "sew" the shape without any thread so that I could practice moving at the right speed and going in the right direction. This really helped with straight lines, something that you need to create anything.
Thank you all for the feedback. It is very much appreciated. I have since purchased a used sewing machine from a friend at work. We tried it out by following the instruction booklet and even had a chance to sew an old cloth napkin I had on hand. I have since purchased some material and we will both be practicing on making straight lines by making dish towels. Once we are comfortable, will then try to make something a little harder for practice. Thank you all very much. THis site is the best and so are the people who post.
Hugs to you all
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