Sewing and mending are important life skills, as well as being a source of fun and creative expression. However, with fewer and fewer schools offering any kind of sewing or textiles lessons, are us adults doing enough to pass on these skills to children and young people? After all, the planet will be in their hands before long. In this episode (Ep.# 33), I argue the case for encouraging kids to sew, and offer up ideas and tactics for how to do so, whether you are a parent yourself or not.
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Why should we encourage kids to sew?
- Life skills
- Empowerment and self-sufficiency
- Preservation of resources
- Passing on knowledge
How can we encourage kids to sew?
- Observing modelled behaviour and through play
- Keep your goals small and expectations low
- Allow them see you or someone else sewing and enjoying it
- Let them play with your fabric scraps
- Facilitate their project ideas – apply patience!
- When their clothes need fixing, encourage and talk them through mending the item themselves
- Put on the Great British Sewing Bee (or other sewing TV show), or leave sewing magazines around (I find my kids are particularly interested in the kids’ editions of Ottobre Design magazine)
- Make them a garment and allow them to make a lot of the design decisions
- Summon the power of attention from a non-parental figure!
- If the kid doesn’t live close by, send them a little sewing kit and/or some fabric, along with the offer to help out when you next see them
- Appeal to their interest in technology and gadgets and/or ‘having a go’.
- In an age appropriate way, help them to use your sewing machine.
- Teach them the basics to use your machine and leave them to it
- Find out if a local sewing school/business runs kids’ sewing classes
- Find out if the kid’s school has an afterschool sewing or craft club
- Host a sewing party for a child and their friends