I recently ran a fun sewing program for kids at the library, called of course, Sew Crazy! Here’s how it worked:
This was a registered program, I did it once before as a drop-in, but it was too much, it works much better as a registered thing. I registered 15 kids, but only 12 showed, and that was still too many for one seamstress, given that 10 of them had never even seen a needle. I think I’ll register 12 next time, and hopefully have 8-10 show up.
Our project was making a small purse/pencil case from a piece of felt. Total cost for this program was less than $20, which involved a piece of felt, a small spool of thread and a needle for each kid, and they could take it all home to practice further sewing. I supplemented those with sequins, beads and buttons from our huge stash.
To prepare: thread a lot of needles, double thread, with a good thick knot at the end. Do at least five more than you have kids.
Project: each child gets a piece of felt and a threaded needle. Have them orient the felt with the short sides at top and bottom, like this:
Then fold the bottom up, leaving a flap of about 5 cm (2 inches) at the top.
The folded part is the bag, and the top part will fold down to make a sort of envelope bag.
Have the kids sew up both sides of the fold (I usually have them use an ordinary up and down stitch, so they learn that, but whip stitch looks nicer, if you have more advanced sewers).
Have them pick a button, and sew it on (they will initially need a lot of help finding the holes), here:
Then help them cut a slit in the upper part, as a buttonhole, to close the bag.
Then, let them go crazy with decorating! If you’re nice, have glue to add sequins and stuff, if you aren’t, make them sew them on (I did the latter–they learned more techniques that way!) Fabric paint or markers are a nice addition as well.
I did this for ages 7-12, which was a good range, and invited the kids to bring adults with sewing skills along–I got one grandmother, and her granddaughter was very lucky to get so much individual attention!
For kids who already knew how to sew, I had some random fabric scraps (donated) out, and almost everyone was doing things with that by the end of the program.
It was a surprisingly popular program (with a waiting list of almost half the registered number, which is very rare for us for this kind of program), and it’s something I feel good about teaching. Yes, we need more people to learn computer coding, but not everyone will grow up to be a coder, yet everyone will grow up to wear things with buttons and hems that need an occasional, easy repair, and it would be nice if everyone, coders too, could learn to do that. I know people who take things to a tailor to have a button sewn on, and that’s ridiculous! Everyone can learn to sew a button on, and this is my way of helping make sure at least a few kids learn (and clearly their parents are very enthusiastic about this).