My mother was an amazing seamstress who gave up trying to teach me how to sew. Instead, she wisely enrolled me in a sewing class taught at the Singer Sewing Machine Store. Mrs. Alice was a tiny, white haired woman who I was sure was older than God himself. She tried her hardest to tutor me on how to read a pattern, manage fabrics and the basics of threading a sewing machine, winding a bobbin and throttling through the simplest stitches.
Three times my mother enrolled me in the same six-week sewing class. Unfortunately, I was an impatient, bad tempered child who ended up breaking three sewing machines before I finally learned the basics of sewing. Mrs. Alice was a gifted instructor. She never gave up on me; encouraging me with patience and care.
After fits of tears, anger and frustration finally dissipated, I actually ended up learning how to sew.
But if truth be told, I learned far more from Mrs. Alice than just sewing techniques. I learned a lot about myself, my limits, my well hidden talents and my ability to persevere. She taught me how to turn my temper into talent. To this day I am grateful to both my teacher and my mother and, of course, the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Sorry about the 3 broken machines!
So you might be wondering if it’s time to enroll your own child in a sewing class and here are some reasons to consider.
Kids reap more than you know, when you teach them to sew.
Math Skills - They learn how to calculate the amount of fabric needed to complete an item by understanding the correlation between the length and width of fabric and the pattern requirements.
Money Management - How to figure out just how far money can or cannot go. If they have $20.00 and need 3 1/4 yards for a project, what is the most expensive fabric they can buy to complete their project? If they have a 20% off coupon, how much money will they save? Adding up the cost of fabric, patterns, pins and stabilizer can be mind expanding!
Engineering Skills - The engineering of how a sewing machine actually works and the value of actually using an instructional manual. The responsibility of taking care of a machine so that it will always work to its fullest.
Time Management - Defining and allocating time necessary to complete a desired item. How to find the time within a schedule already filled with school and sports.
Preparation – Having materials organized and ready to work can make the process go smoother and faster. Taking time to read, reflect, plan out and pin before beginning can lead to greater success.
Persistence - By staying committed and working hard – goals are actually attainable. Recognizing mistakes as valuable learning experiences can be key. You can discover just as much from tearing out and starting over as from sewing correctly the first time. Sometimes you have to try more than once to get it right.
Patience - Learning to slow down, listen, endure frustration and to persevere through challenging learning opportunities, can surely teach patience. If the project is valued, putting in the effort will be worth it.
Pride - There is no better feeling than to look at something and know that YOU made it.
Like learning any new skills, sewing provides a plethora of growth opportunities for your child. Even if you do not sew yourself, there are still many places to take your child so that they can acquire this skill and along the way have fun, make a few new friends and develop self pride.
What do you sow when you teach a child to sew? Soooooo much more!
I am a retired elementary school principal, an author of parenting books and a fiction series, a mother and a pretty good seamstress. Oh, and I know how to fix my own sewing machine – most of the time!