At What Age Did You Begin Sewing?

My daughter's sewing machine which I have been "borrowing" for the past two years.

I was nine, in third grade, when I began my first machine sewing project.  It was a tank top made of some horrible polyester and had facings, a term and technique that really bemused me, because as a nine-year-old I could not for the life of me see where these funny curved things had a face.  Much of my learning to sew has gone along these lines.  And I vowed to myself that I would teach my daughter so she wouldn’t have to undergo the agonies of the self-taught.

After my daughter’s first experience with machine sewing she decided to take a break.  A few years have passed and she is now seven and feels she is ready to face the machine again.   This is her first project completed with supervision.  (I serged the inside seams.)

Here are the photos.  She took the pictures.  They are very blurry but she was so proud of her pillow I told her I would post the photos.  

Little mermaid on one side.



Angelina on the other side.



Hello Kitty ribbons to close pillowcase.

I am curious.  Not only how old were you when you began sewing, but how much help did you receive?

I received very little help and it has left me unsure how to teach sewing to a young girl.  A family member helped me when she could but it was not often that I was at her home.  4-H at the time was not offering  much hands-on instruction in sewing, at least that was my experience.   Most of the easy sewing projects I can imagine for my daughter would he half her work, and half mine, for them to come out successfully.  If the sewing isn’t strong enough to withstand use, she won’t be able to enjoy her completed projects, and I fear she won’t want to continue sewing.   I don’t want her discouraged with poor results, but I also want her to own her victories when a project comes out well.

Did you have someone to lean on, or are you mainly self-taught?  If you had a teacher, how did your teacher go about teaching sewing?


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Elaray
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 07:01:49

    Wow! I can barely remember! I took a sewing class at a neighborhood recreation center when I was about 10 or 11. Then in 7th grade I took HomeEc. Students, like me, with some sewing experience were allowed to make jumpers and the novices made skirts with faced waistlines – no waistbands. I made a green denim jumper. I had plenty of guidance and instruction in the HomeEc class and I think may have taken another class at the rec. center. I’ve been sewing ever since so I consider myself self-taught.


  2. Tanit-Isis
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 11:50:34

    I think I was about nine, too. I had watched my mom sewing, and I think she showed me how to thread the machine, but that was about the extent of my instruction. I started off making Barbie clothes with very simple shapes and gradually ramped it up over the next few years. I don’t think I tried anything from a pattern until I was in my late teens, though. I never read or actively tried to learn anything until a couple of years ago, though… needless to say my sewing has gotten much better in the last couple of years :).

    I am mostly quite happy that I taught myself to sew—it was always fun, my projects were always my own. But it does leave me a little clueless about how to teach my kids to sew. One suggestion I (and they!) really liked was having them sew on paper, without thread, to learn things like sewing straight and following seam allowances. Other than that we’ve done some simple projects (bags make a great starter project) with varying degrees of parental involvement. For a while I was having them help me and work on the simple bits whenever I was making them something, but I kinda got out of the habit. I should start it back up, though—I enjoy making stuff for them, but I also don’t want to be always doing it when they should be perfectly capable of doing it themselves.


    • Sewista Fashionista
      Mar 08, 2012 @ 13:29:44

      Sewing on paper is something I never thought of! My daughter lets the machine pull the fabric off kilter. Maybe some paper with lines drawn on it will help her learn to guide the fabric. Thanks for the tip! 🙂


  3. Sister
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 23:48:17

    I made an apron in 4-H in the 5th grade, but my mom helped me. In the seventh grade (I was 12) I took a class at our local sewing store. It was several weeks and we made a top and pants with a fly that I wore to school….then ripped the center back seam climbing in the back of a pickup truck to go home (I AM from Alabama!). As far as teaching goes, her pillow looks great, and that was Lucas’s first project too. We did a hat together, then another pillow. There aren’t a lot of projects for boys, but our Hancock had a summer class for girls to make a simple skirt I think. Good luck!


    • Sewista Fashionista
      Mar 14, 2012 @ 14:18:46

      Pants with a fly for starters! Gosh, that sounds hard. My uncle had this brown pickup with a white stripe down it. We kids used to pile in the back and then look forward to the bumps so we would fly up in the air! I know it is dangerous, but I remember the fun.


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