Tips for stitching with kids

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Tips:

  • Set up your embroidery so both hands are free. Having two hands makes stitching so much easier! If you’re using an embroidery hoop – put it on the edge of a table and put a pile of books on top to hold it in place. Or take turns holding it while the other person stitches.
  • Help each other stitch by passing the needle back and forth. Ask young kids to put the needle down through the fabric, and then you can pop it back up and pass it back to them. One of the trickiest things about embroidery is developing ‘x-ray’ vision that allows you to bring the needle back up in the right place. Sharing the stitching allows kids to control what happens on the top of the fabric (the visible bit), without worrying about the other side.
  • Use a darning needle or other blunt needle. Sewing needles are quite sharp. Darning needles are great because they have a blunt end and a large eye. Plastic needles are good if you’re using burlap or anything with big holes – but you’ll want a metal needle to stitch through felt or fabric.

Project ideas:

  • Stitch on top of a child’s drawing â€“ with permission of course! Kids (and adults) can draw onto fabric with pencils, markers, or crayons. Then you can sew on top of the drawing. Add sequins, beads, or other materials to add a bit of sparkle and texture.
  • Make a card. Use a sharp needle to pre-punch holes and then use a blunt kid friendly needle to do the stitching. Tapestry or darning needles work well. See an example here.
  • Make a felt ornament. Cut out a piece of felt in the shape of an ornament. Draw a design, add some stitches, and finish it off with a bit of bling!
  • Make a tapestry table. This one is a bit more ambitious. It’s a great idea for schools or places with lots of kids. Remove the top from an old coffee table, or buy a cheap table from Ikea and don’t attach the top. Staple gun or whipstitch burlap fabric all around. Use plastic needles and yarn to stitch until it’s all filled up!

Photos:

This is me stitching with Victor (age 3) and Galya (age 6). Victor made a felt ornament. I held the felt so he had two hands free and we took turns with the needle, passing it back and forth. Victor picked out the beads and showed me where to put them.

Galya made an embroidered ornament by drawing a design onto fabric with markers and then stitching on top of her drawing. I wedged the embroidery hoop under a pile of books so she had both hands free – a great tips for adults too!

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I'm a dye hard fan of textile history and come from a family of crafters. I'm interested in learning more about embroidery by trying out age old techniques with a contemporary twist. I hope you enjoy looking through my projects and that they inspire you to give stitching a try!

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