I am a preschool teacher and I work with children ages 3-5. Last year (08-09 school year), our class entered a 9 month endeavor to learn how to sew and make our own garments. It all started with one little girl who asked for "lots and lots" of paper which she would tape together to make a dress. When I explained that I could get her REAL material and teach her how to sew, she was ecstatic! Soon, other children joined into the project and, before we knew it, we were making dresses, police vests, super hero costumes, doll clothes, and viper fish costumes. We started with learning how to hand sew, then we hand sewed pillows out of felt. After that, each child designed their own garment and we used a cheap little machine to bring those designs to fruition. Even though they are young children, we were able to complete such a long-term project because we were doing something they were interested in. We believed in their capability and competency and, with a lot of time and A LOT of patience, something amazing came out of it!

This instructable will show you how to teach anyone how to sew, even those only just developing their fine motor abilities!

Step 1: Hand-eye coordination

With young children, it is important to let them fully explore a medium before you try to give them specific instructions. They are quite curious and need to understand how things work before they are comfortable with building new skills. So we put out small squares/rectangles of plastic canvas with yarn and large, blunt needles. Beforehand, we threaded the needle to the middle of the piece of yarn and tied both ends of the yarn together around one corner of the canvas, so that the needle wouldn't fall off. We let the children practice-without instruction, unless they asked-so they could figure out how to position their hands, how to be precise with the needle, and how to weave in and out in a sewing motion. Some children taught others stitches they had learned outside of school and they all created interesting designs. After each practice session, the canvases were un-sewn by the teachers so that we could reuse them at the next practice session.
Aw, cute! It's cool seeing kids doing some D.I.Y!
That was just too cute! <br>I love that you are introducing such thought intensive work into preschool! I know just making garments on a sewing machine is hard enough, let alone teaching it to a group of children but they looked like a great bunch that were very excited about what they were learning. Thank you for sharing and being an awesome teacher!
Wow, this was a great project, I am inspired to have a go with my preschool class. Thanks for sharing :)
I wish you were my teacher!!!! Your project is inspirational, and very touching.&nbsp; You've opened new worlds for your students.&nbsp; Way to go!!!
This is incredible! I vote it number one winner in the contest!
This gives me hope. I'm almost 39 and have always wanted to sew. If these kids can do it than so should I. I think this is awesome!
Alicia, you hit it out of the park with this one! I love the faces of the children while modeling their creations. Such pride and joy. There should be more teachers like you. You have proven that young children are capable of so much if we just guide them, give them the tools, and get out of their way! You rock!
This is a phenomenal project! We teach Family and Consumer Science in the middle school, but you have demonstrated that these kids can definitely learn much earllier. The steps are developmentally appropriate and the results are adorable! Way to go, Alicia! Love, Aunt Marie
I love the idea of teaching them to sew with the plastic rectangles, this instructable has a lot of creative ideas :)
This is great. I'm a big believer in allowing kids to explore and giving them the tools to do. And exposing them to machinery and pointy needles overcomes their fears and develops a healthy respect for them later on. The biggest reward is to see the imagination at work. We need more teachers like you with creative ideas. Thanks for sharing.
Some of those dresses look store bought! You did a fantastic job teaching them.
I don't see the photos of the dresses that look store bought? Did some of the photos get taken down?
There are about 15 photos in a PDF file in step 8. If you can't view the PDF, I will try to upload all of the photos to that step individually. Thanks!
How wonderful! What a great way to let the students bring their creative ideas to life.
That is the cutest thing I've ever seen, ever. I was an Early Childhood major and I love how you let them discover the process on their own, even letting them make their own patterns! Truly awesome.

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