My friend M got a sewing machine for Christmas. She is ten years old (but she tells me that she can skate faster than someone who is thirteen) and her mother doesn't know anything about sewing. M and her mother came to a party at my house a couple of weeks ago and I learned that they had cut out a cape but had stalled when it came to construction.
I spent yesterday morning at their house explaining some of the basics that many of us take for granted. What is a seam allowance. How do you pin effectively and safely. What is the best way to press a seam. How do you make sure that seams intersect when you sew across them. And, of course, most importantly - how do you avoid sewing through your finger and how do you keep your eyes safe. The work was complicated by the fact that there was no obvious right side to the fabric that Santa had brought so they also learned some tips about how to minimize confusion when handling and marking the fabric.
Here are some pictures of M at work.
It wasn't a straightforward pattern but we created a front and a back. Next time we'll do front facings, shoulder seams and a double layer hood. Finally we'll bind the bottom in a contrast fabric.
When I left today M, unprompted by her mother, said "We couldn't have done it without you." She was right - there is so much that isn't explained in pattern instructions. Before I went to their house I did some on-line research on good sewing books for kids. This one seems to have promise. I hope M had enough fun today to persuade her mother to purchase the book so she can continue to learn while she makes some of the fun projects.
Time = 1 hr, 7 min