I grew up in the days of Singer Sewing Machine Stores where girls were taught how to operate a sewing machine on Saturday afternoons by patient old ladies who had long ago mastered their craft. Vests, wrap around skirts and long handled hippy bags, made of colorful flowered fabrics, were just a few of the finished products girls walked out of their classes with. At least most of the girls did.
My mother was an amazing seamstress who had long ago given up trying to teach me how to sew. Instead she enrolled me in a sewing class taught by Mrs. Alice Myers at the Triangle Singer Sewing Machine Store. Alice tried her hardest to explain to me how to read a pattern and manage fabrics and the basics of threading a sewing machine and winding a bobbin.
Three times my mother enrolled me in the same sewing class. Unfortunately, I was an impatient, bad tempered child who ended up breaking 3 sewing machines before I finally learned the basics of sewing. Alice never gave up on me; with patience and care she instructed me over and over again. 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. Myers than just sewing techniques. I learned a lot about myself, my limits, my strengths and my ability to persevere. She taught me how to turn my temper into talent and to this day I am grateful to Alice and my mother. And, of course, the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Sorry about the 3 machines!
Kids reap more than you know, when learning how to sew.
Math Skills - How to calculate the amount of fabric required to complete an item. The length and width of most textiles and how the amount needed is directly affected by the width of the fabric.
Money Management - How to figure out just how far their money will 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 Joann's 20% off coupon, how much money will they save? Will that influence the fabric selection? Adding up the cost of fabric, patterns, pins and stabilizer can be mind expanding!
Engineering Skills - How a sewing machine actually works. How and when to read a sewing machine instructional manual. Procedures for changing a broken bobbin, cleaning out a thread clogged undercarriage or changing a busted needle are all things learned in response to an unexpected event.
Time Management - Defining and allocating time necessary to complete a desired item. Do you have that time? How to find the time within a schedule already filled with school work and soccer games while prioritizing accordingly.
Persistence - If you stick with something and keep working, you can attain your desired goal. You learn just as much from tearing out as from sewing them in wrong in the first place. Sometimes you have to try more than once to get it right.
Patience - Learning to slow down, to 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, develop of few new skills and feel good about themselves.
What do you sow when you teach a child to sew? Soooooo much more!