Simplicity Classroom

Simplicity is my all-time favorite pattern company. Although I've used McCalls, Butterick, Vogue and many others, I've always preferred Simplicity - the name basically says it all. Beings I'm such a Simplicity fan, I signed up for an email sewing newsletter and got a fresh issue this morning. Well, you gotta check out the Simplicity Classroom! Following the links, I came upon a page of free sewing projects and a page of free quilt patterns. There are also links on the left of each page to many other pages full of valuable info for those of us sewing and quilting with kids, such as Sewing 101 and Quilting Tools Tutorials. So get a cup of tea and spend a little time seeing what all the Simplicity site has to offer. - Tools for Creativity

Perfect Sewing Machine for Kids?

Sewing at Granny's!
I'm on a quest. I want to find the perfect sewing machine for kids. And I want a REAL machine - not one of those silly kiddie machines that are so cute but useless. I have a couple of granddaughters who are both turning 10 in a few months and I decided I'd like to start a tradition of gifting sewing machines at that age. What about the grandsons? Well, I'll have to think on that one. Should they show an interest in sewing, it might be a good gift for them, as well. But at this point, I don't have any with a 10th birthday coming up so will revisit the idea when necessary. Now, back to the perfect sewing machine . . .

Simple and Durable

The perfect sewing machine for a child has to be simple and durable. At the top of my list is a drop in bobbin. I didn't appreciate how important this feature is until I had to deal with the other kind. I've been sewing since I was small and always had a machine with a drop in bobbin. Even as an adult, correctly inserting the bobbin into the little do-funny and then trying to maneuver the thing into the correct position at an awkward angle is more than I can handle. Sewing should be fun! So why make it difficult? Anyway, the drop in bobbin is a non-negotiable.

Other desirable features include zigzag, convenient reverse and easy threading. To this end, an automatic needle threader would also be nice but not essential - after all, young eyes can see the eye in the needle. In fact, I can still thread a needle manually when I have to and it may actually be good for enhanced eye-hand coordination. So an easy thread path, but not necessarily a needle threader, is in order. On the reverse, I like to sew backwards at the start and end of each seam so want reverse to be easy to get to.

Durability is a no brainer - this is for a child. Gone are the days of bullet-proof machines as the standard. So why don't I just get vintage machines? Been there, done that and they're just too heavy and temperamental for my purposes. I actually gave one of the granddaughters a 1947 Singer in a cabinet but it has proved cumbersome and difficult for her to operate on her own. In fact, she is the reason for this quest - she'll be 10 in March and I want her to have a machine she can use at will without needing assistance.

Should Kids Have Their Own Sewing Machine?

I say absolutely! My daughter had a sewing machine of her own in her room from about age 8 or so. She also had her own fabric stash and sewing supplies and could sew whenever she wanted. Not only is sewing a wholesome activity, it's also a practical skill that too few children learn these days. In addition, having the freedom to create with fabric (and make and correct mistakes) provides valuable experience in math, measuring and other areas. Have I convinced you yet?

So Which Machine is Best?

I've just begun my preliminary research so don't have an answer yet. I'm partial to Singer but am not sold on it as the best option at this point. I've looked at the basic models in the store and read through reviews online and there seems to be quite a bit of dissatisfaction with the reverse lever and durability. I wasn't able to actually test drive any of the models while at the store but will do so once I've narrowed down my choices. At any rate, I'm just starting this quest so am open to suggestions. I'd like to keep the price to $100 or less. Anyway, if you have an opinion on this subject, please chime in - I need all the help I can get!

Fleece Poncho to Make with the Kids

Photo courtesy of //Between the lines//
Between the Lines has a nice tutorial for making a fleece poncho that is a perfect sew-with-a-kid project. Just sew two seams, hem the neck, cut the fringe and you’ve got a warm and stylish garment for winter weather! The measurements are given in cm so I calculated the conversion to inches - the 63cm x 44cm rectangles equal approximately 25x18 inches.

Great Gift Idea, Too!

I’ve actually got a bunch of fleece I bought on sale for kid-quilt backs. Now I’m thinking maybe I should make some ponchos instead. With several grandkids in snowy places and Christmas right around the corner, they might come in real handy. And speaking of gifts, the poncho is the first in a series of DIY gift ideas so check out the others while visiting Between the Lines. And if that isn’t enough, look at all the posts labeled Sewing with Kids.
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