The major step in teaching any embroidery class, but especially to kids, is to be prepared. Often children don’t have the patience to sit while you prepare the supplies. Get all the supplies organized and ready to pull out at class or when the child is ready to learn. You might consider setting up a sewing basket for the child. It helps them to learn to keep track of their supplies, and sometimes the parents don’t stitch so won’t have the materials on hand. In their basket you might put the following items:
- 100% white cotton fabric is good for the beginner. It’s easy to pass a needle through. White trigger cloth is a good, sturdy fabric for beginners. You can cut it into smaller squares for ease of stitching and preparing in a hoop. Trigger cloth is available in many colors. Iron the fabric before you begin.
- You can use floss or pearl cotton threads. A full skein, or the thicker pearl cotton, will let the child see their results better and will better cover the design lines.
- Needles can be an issue with younger children. You don’t want them to be hurt or discouraged with a small, sharp needle. Try starting them with a size 20 tapestry needle. The needle is easier to hold onto and if the fabric weave is loose enough, they should be able to get the needle through. If the child is older, or it is just too hard to get a tapestry needle through the fabric, then try an assortment of embroidery needles.
- An embroidery hoop is a must! Kids will love these fluorescent hoops.
- A pair of scissors is also needed. Scissors come in a variety of shapes, colors, and prices. Choose one that is appropriate for the child’s age.
- Stitches should be basic such as the running stitch, stem stitch, and satin stitch. The older children may want to try other stitches. An excellent book that would fit easily into a stitching basket is 100 Stitches Embroidery by Coats and Clark.
- A small package of baby wipes or individual towelettes will help keep little hands cleaner.
- Find a child-appropriate design to stitch. You can use your imagination. Try tracing around a fun-shaped cookie cutter or draw something free-hand. The key is to make sure the design is large enough. Think about coloring books where the ones for the youngest children are large designs with few details. Then the designs get smaller and more detailed as the child ages. Trace or draw the design onto the fabric. You could use an iron on blue pencil or water soluble marking pens.
That Artist Woman had a fabulous idea for combining kid’s artwork and embroidery! She worked with a 5-, 8- and 10-year-old while on vacation. She had them draw something about their vacation, their name, and the year. Here is one of the pieces of artwork! See more at her blogspot.
Remember the Basics
If a caveman suddenly appeared in your town today and you were given the task of teaching him to drive a car, what would be the first thing you would need to show him? The answers were varied such as show him how to move the seat back and how to put the key in the ignition. Others suggested showing him how to put the car into gear, or changing the radio station. Those were all things he would need to know, but before you even got to these things, you would have to explain what a car looks like, the purpose of the car, and show him how the car works. It’s the same with stitching and children. A majority of children may not have had the opportunity to see someone stitch, so they won’t have a clue about using a hoop, threading a needle, or using floss. So, start at the beginning with the basics, explaining and showing them each step.
Why take the time?
Crafty-Moms.com gives these reasons why children should still learn how to stitch:
- Handling a needle and thread helps develop fine muscle coordination.
- Embroidery allows children to express their creativity.
- Embroidery helps children develop self-confidence because they are able to create something beautiful on their own.
Here are a few more to add to this list:
- The next generation will keep the needlearts alive!
- Embroidery gives them something to do when they are "bored".
- Embroidery gives them a way to make their own holiday gifts
Another great resource is WAHM Articles (Work at Home Mom Articles). Denise Willms is a homeschooling mom of two and owner of WAHM Articles, a directory of free articles written just for moms. The topics cover everything from homemade cauliflower soup, how to reuse baby food jars, organizing and money saving tips, to job hunting skills.
We hope this guide makes your stitching easier and more enjoyable!
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