Thursday, January 23, 2014

Got a Young Seamstress in the Making?

One thing I love about homeschooling is that it allows our children the time and freedom to pursue things that interest them. True learning often doesn't come from a textbook, but instead comes from spending time doing things that interest us, getting hands-on experience learning a new skill, visiting with and listening to and learning from an expert, or maybe watching instructional videos or reading from a book specifically geared towards something we are interested in. When learning is fun and interesting it's no longer something that 'has' to be done but instead becomes something we WANT to do!

Our 12-year-old daughter has talked for quite a while about wanting to make clothes for her American Girl dolls, and considering the price of those things from the AG website, I am MORE than happy to hear that she is interested in making her own! My goodness, those clothes are just as expensive, sometimes more so, than the clothes I buy for HER, my real-live little girl! I LOVE that she wants to learn to make her own!

To help her do this we bought her her very first sewing machine for Christmas last month, a SINGER Pixie-Plus Craft Machine.It's a cute little thing. Just perfect for her to begin to learn how a sewing machine works and to begin to make her own little projects! I'm sure one day, if she stays interested, she'll move up to a bigger, more expensive model, but for just starting out, this little machine has proven to be perfect.

It has eight different stitches and comes with thirteen spools of thread, twenty-three pre-wound bobbins, an accessory kit that contains everything a new sewer (sewer? sew'er? sew-er?) would need to get started, as well as a foot pedal.

She couldn't wait to get her hands on it so after a few short lessons from mom on how to thread the needle and using the foot pedal and reverse stitch button, she dug into my box of scrap material and went to town, trying out all the different stitches, making her own version of a little bag (with its own handle!) as well as a 'pocket'. Yep, a pocket! lol

Now, since her idea is to one day have her own etsy shop where she sells her hand-made doll clothes, I thought she might need a little more instruction in the area of sewing projects that actually look a bit more professional than a pocket. (Not that a pocket isn't a handy little thing. Where would this world be without pockets?!) To help her out, we also gave her the book, A Kid's Guide to Sewing for Christmas.

I love this book! Its perfect for the new young seamstress! Here's the description of it...

"In this book by well-known modern quilters Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr along with their 11-year-old daughter Sophie Kerr, kids will learn how to navigate a sewing machine, make smart fabric choices, and use basic sewing tools. Sixteen kid-friendly projects run the gamut from clothes to bags to accessories while clear, step-by-step instructions from Weeks and husband/design partner Bill Kerr walk kids through the creation of each. Throughout the book, tips from Sophie offer design and construction advice from a kid's perspective. The book "grows" with the sewist, offering more complex projects as the reader's skills develop."

Now doesn't that just sound like the perfect little sewing book for beginning young ladies?! Kristin loves it and can't wait to get to all the projects in it.

Last but not least, as I was walking past the craft department in Walmart one day in December what to my wondering eyes should appear but Simplicity 18" doll clothes patterns! I had no idea they made these but I knew right away that our Princess would love them! I couldn't find the exact ones we got her, but here are a couple I found on Amazon to show you what they look like...

I am truly loving this special time with my 'baby' girl. I really enjoy sewing and wish I had more time to devote to it so I am thrilled I have a daughter who is showing interest in it as well! Helping her learn is causing me to take the time to slow down and spend quality time with her doing something we both love. It's so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that are constantly calling out our name and let these precious, fleeting moments with our children pass us right on by.

I can't tell you the joy it brings my heart to watch my daughter sitting at that machine, using her imagination to create her own little masterpieces!  And the joy it brings her, the confidence I see it building in her, well, there's just nothing else like seeing that in your children.

So, if you have a young lady who is interested in learning to sew, this might be a good place to start. Naturally this machine isn't going to last her forever if she continues to show interest in sewing, but it's a good one to begin with to let her test the waters to see if it's something she truly does want to learn and continue doing. No sense in investing hundreds of dollars in a sewing machine if it's going to wind up only collecting dust and not something she is going to be interested in continuing, right?

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