Sewing: Get It Together

Crafty Clues

The major pattern companies all have Web sites you can visit. Check out Simplicity at http://www.simplicity.com/. Butterick and McCalls also have online catalogs at http://www.butterick.com and http://www.mccalls.com.


When you embellish fabric, you decorate it. You can add beads, buttons, trims, sequins, embroidery, appliqué and more to finished pieces.

Crafty Clues

Scale your embroidery patterns and tools up to down depending on th age of the child. Use larger crosstitch pattern, larger needles, heavier threads, and looser-weave fabrics for younger children. Older kids can work with finer, more intricate patterns, smaller needles, and more delicate embroidery floss.

One of the simplest ways to work with woven fabric is with needle and thread. Even a very young child can learn the basic principles of sewing by working with stiff paper that's had holes punched in it, a large needle, and some yarn.

An easy project is to make a beanbag. Use heavy felt, cut out a shape, put the two pieces together, and punch out holes that can then be stitched together with yarn and a large-holed needle. If the child can use a sewing machine, the pieces can be joined that way.

Fill with beans before completely closing the bag, then finish sewing. Bring the thread through the same hole several times to ensure it won't unravel.

If you're in a hurry or don't want to sew, there are amazing fusible webbing (such as "Stitch Witchery" or "Heat `N' Bond") and glue products on the market that allow you to put fabric together with only an iron.

From the first steps of using a needle and thread or a sewing machine to make straight stitches, you can graduate to using a pattern to make a garment or accessory. Look for projects that use mostly straight stitching to start, like pillows or tote bags. Then you might try making a vest. There are several good vest patterns available from each of the major pattern companies.

A vest makes a great "canvas" to embellish. Add appliqu�, embroidery, charms, quilting, ribbon embroidery, beading, trims, or just fancy sewing machine stitches.

There are many different types of embroidery-crewel, cutwork, hardanger, and ribbon embroidery, to name a few. We're going to do a project with a technique called cross-stitch, one of the first kinds of embroidery children can learn to do.

Project: A Cross-Stitch Heart

From here, the sky's the limit. You can learn to follow counted cross-stitch patterns in kits, magazines, or books. You can design your own patterns on graph paper or using computer software that lends itself perfectly to making your own counted cross-stitch designs.

To learn basic embroidery stitches other than cross-stitch, there are many good instructional sources.

  • I learned embroidery stitches with an inexpensive booklet from Coats & Clarks, One Hundred Embroidery Stitches.

  • Cochenille Design Studio makes Stitch Painter for Macintosh, PC, and Amiga.

  • Stitch Crafts Gold for Windows and Stitch Craft for Mac are available from Compucrafts.

For an overview of many software programs for needlework, check out http://www.wco.com/~kyder/software.html and the Software for Needlework page.

More on: Crafts for Kids


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


Zika Virus Q&A: 4 Facts for Pregnant Women & Families
Zika virus is pretty scary. Pregnant or not, learn what steps to take to protect your family from Zika, including travel restrictions and mosquito bite prevention.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

Ommm! 5 Meditation & Mindfulness Activities for Families
Family meditation and mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and promote health and happiness. Learn some fun and easy mindfulness activities for kids, and set them on the path to inner peace!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks