Instructional Design and the 6 Year Old Sewist

My 6yo DGS loves to sew.  We have already zipped up a pillow for his bed and he wanted to make pajama pants. 

DGS likes to sew, and he likes to sew FAST!  He also likes doing something I tell him is hard.  He is great at figuring out how things work and so if he sees it  done a time or two and figures it out on his own he likes it much better than if you tell him directly how something is done.

To make the pants I traced around a Kwik Sew (2604 with the legs lengthened) pattern with a piece of chalk right on the back of the flannel.  The flannel stuck together nicely and so he could cut it out without the PJshelp of pins.  It worked great and when I let him use the ‘big scissors’ (aka my KAI shears – purchased from Bobbi Bullard) he cut an amazingly straight line.

I  then pinned the seams using my big old quilting pins.  I placed a big chunk of blue painter’s tape on the 5/8 mark on my sewing machine bed.  I told him that he could sew as fast as he wanted (of course I had the sew slow button pushed on my Pfaff 7570) as long as he kept his hands in front of the needle, he kept the fabric even with the blue tape, and he pulled out any pins before he sewed over them.  I told him this would be very hard.  And, if he ran over any pins and broke them he would have to throw the pins away and I would have to take over the sewing.  I stressed that sewing over pins was dangerous as we might get one in our eye, and besides…I was sure he would be as good at stopping as he was going fast, because after all, he was a very good sewing machine driver.  We only went over 1 pin in the whole construction process and when we did we stopped and talked about how glad we both were that it did not break and we didn’t hurt our eyes.

After the seams were sewn we went to the serger.  Yes…I let the boy serge around the waist.  I did the serging on the pant legs.  He was great at keeping the fabric right against the knife.  I did not let him cut any off.

Then, I pinned in the casing and the hems.  The casing sewing was easy because I put a pin laying down in the “hole” we were leaving and told him to stop before he got to it, he did.  He also figured out how to use both the back stitch and the stitch in place button successfully after seeing me do both one time.

for the hems we just folded up the serged edge 1/2 inch and put the pant leg on the free arm.  He successfully kept the edge of the presser foot pretty straight on the hem.  We didn’t have to fix any missed pieces although I am glad we were not using the black thread he wanted to use.  I told him black thread could only be used by experts and he would have to practice a bit first.  This was only after he refused to accept my explanation about matching thread.  After all, the pirate monkeys in the print did have black hats!

Skills I successfully described as advanced included using my duckbilled scissors and using a seam ripper.

Contrary to good sewing technique, we did not press any seams.  I trust that boy a lot more with the sewing machine than I do the iron.  I also ran the elastic through the casing because he had a hard time with that task.  Once finished, he put them on, modeled them for grandpa, and declared that he was smarter than any boy in his class because he could sew!  I of course, being a very proud grandma, agreed!


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Beth
    Feb 17, 2009 @ 08:43:54

    Yayyy! Wonderful job(s), DGS & proud GM


  2. Pam ~Off The Cuff~
    Mar 02, 2009 @ 10:01:48

    WOW….I am SO impressed…with both of you!

    No doubt he inherited your sewing talent, and you are a wonderfully intuitive teacher…known that about you for about 10 years now 🙂


  3. Pam ~Off The Cuff~
    Mar 04, 2009 @ 04:09:50

    Oh BTW Loretta….please stop by my blog to pick up an award!



  4. Pam ~Off The Cuff~
    Mar 05, 2009 @ 03:39:40

    ….please stop my blog to collect your “Sisterhood Award” that
    I nominated you for at 4am yesterday morning 🙂



  5. Lin
    Mar 07, 2009 @ 18:57:19

    Oh how fun. Your story reminds me of the rice shoulder bags my nephews made (with close direction) several years ago. Sewing can be enjoyed by all. LIN


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