Blast from the Past: Make Sewing Part of Homeschooling

Β The Sewing Class by Carl Frederick Aagaard
The Sewing Class

Many homeschooling moms want their children to learn to sew, but they can’t teach them because they themselves don’t know how to sew.

Yes, you can all learn together, but I think the process will go easier if Mom learns first!

There are several steps involved in learning how to sew. First, you need to learn to sew by hand. Stitching on a button by hand is easier for me than setting up the sewing machine, so I’m glad I can sew by hand. I was taught by my mother and grandmother. If you have neither of those, or (more likely) they don’t know how to sew by hand, you might want to inquire at your local fabric store to see if they offer lessons. Another good way is to find an online instructional video, like this one.

Next, you need to know how to use a sewing machine. Once again, you can ask a relative or a friend. My father actually taught me how to use a sewing machine. Being a mechanic, he could figure out any machine pretty quickly. And since he restored cars as a hobby, he had an old industrial sewing machine in his workshop that he used to make new roofs and seats for antique automobiles.

If you buy a sewing machine from a reputable dealer, free sewing machine lessons should be included in the deal. This is the best way to learn, because you’ll learn about your particular machine. This is important. The main reason people give up on sewing is that they get fed up fighting with their machine and trying to figure out why it isn’t working the way it’s supposed to work. It takes time to learn the idiosyncrasies of a given machine, but lessons from the place where you bought it can shorten that learning time.

Finally, you need to learn about using patterns and fabric. I learned from a sewing class I took at my local park district, and followed that up with Home Ec in junior high. (They don’t even offer sewing in most schools these days—what a shame!) Today, there may be classes at your local fabric, craft or quilt shop. You can also ask a friend who sews to teach you. You might even barter one of your skills for sewing lessons from someone you know in your neighborhood, church or social group.

The price of clothes has been cheap, relatively speaking, for the past several years. But as the standard of living in countries that manufacture those clothes rises, the prices will go up. Learning how to make and repair clothing is a skill that you’ll be glad to have in the future. Your kids may need that skill, too….learn to sew, then teach your children. Make sewing lessons part of your homeschooling routine, and you won’t be sorry!

(Originally posted 1/30/09.)

11 thoughts on “Blast from the Past: Make Sewing Part of Homeschooling

  1. I’ve tried to learn, several times, I have no talent! My grandma worked at the Algoma Net factory, for years all the stuff, hammocks, bags, etc were designed by her. I wish I had gotten some her talent. I agree though it’s something everyone should learn (including me, sigh). In today’s fashions it’s impossible to find modest decent clothing . It would be nice to be able to make your own.

  2. This is a hobby that I love to do. But I want it more then just a hobby. I have made skirts, pj’s and patched up jeans. I want to do better. I noticed a class at a sewing place I am going to check out to polish my skills.
    There are somethings worth buying but they are on sale. By the time you buy the material it cost to buy the shirt at the store.
    I am going to check out the site you recommended.

  3. Unfortunately, I came into marriage and motherhood with nominal sewing skills. My mother truly tried to instill this craft in me, but it wasn’t a “good fit” for me and I never excelled. When my daughter showed interest in sewing, I was able to teach her all I knew in one sitting – how to sew on a button! However, a retired lady in our church family told me she would teach my daughter how to sew. For several years now, my daughter and this dear saint get together a couple of times a month to sew, talk, play scrabble, look at pictures, etc. I am so thankful for this relationship! My daughter not only will treasure her knowledge of sewing, she will also treasure the influence this woman has had on her.

  4. I too, was one who never really embraced sewing. However, I found a local 4-H club that offers instruction in sewing. My older girl is competing with her outfits and placing top in the state! My younger one is still learning basics. Meanwhile, I’m learning a lot by watching and helping, and my older daughter helps me when I try a project! 4-H has been a wonderful supplement to our homeschool!

  5. Kristy, some people can pick it up quickly, others take longer. Sounds like your grandmother was definitely in the first group! How interesting. πŸ™‚

    Barbaralee, sometimes that’s true. You have to look hard to get good deals on fabric, use coupons, etc. Otherwise, it isn’t worth it.

    Deb, what a neat story! How blessed your dd is to have met this kind lady.

    Lori, I’ve known other homeschoolers who really got a lot out of 4-H, but for animal-raising, not sewing, so I’m happy to hear that. You must be so proud of your girls.

    Thanks, everyone, for stopping by πŸ™‚

  6. Sewing is so important. Even if you never sew anything else, buttons and patches (for every kind of uniform you could think of) have to get sewn on. I’m currently teaching a sewing class to littles (ages 4-7) at a homeschool co-op. We started with a simple straight stitch, and the kids are now sewing small tote bags by hand using that straight stitch. I’m very impressed by how well they’re doing. After they’re finished sewing them together, they’ll add a button for closing. It’s an easy project to learn with.

    If you are an adult who wants to learn to sew, you could ask around to your friends and offer to teach them how to do something in exchange for sewing lessons. Or, you could offer to just hang out with another mom who does sew, in exchange for learning to sew. I’m sure I would go for that one!

  7. I learned to sew in a private Christian school. The teacher was amazing! She even taught me how to alter patterns. The problems I have are finding the time and the price of fabric. It’s cheaper to buy second-hand clothes. Also, my kids are growing so fast. I can’t get clothes made before they’re in the next size! πŸ˜‰

    I have made various things for my home though. Curtains and pillows are simple. They last for years. And I agree that it is nice to be able to alter things. Oh, and make gifts. πŸ™‚

  8. I can fix seams and do hems by hand and repair buttons. I also have skills with crocheting, knitting, cross stitch, needlepoint. My grandmother made clothes for me and my mom but my mom never chose to use the sewing machine (not sure why) and I didn’t either, but I have a desire to learn to make quilts too, so I think learning to use a sewing machine would definitely be a top priority.

  9. Kristina, isn’t teaching a sewing class to kids fun? I have fond memories of the one I did.

    Shanna, those books are very nice, aren’t they?

    Renae, now that you mention it, my younger daughter did get a couple of dresses that I’d originally planned to make for my older daughter….and they’re eight years apart!

    Melissa, be warned, quilting is addictive πŸ™‚

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