Posted by: jwhiff | November 11, 2012

A Kindergarten Sewing Kit

I did sewing with my K’s and 1’s last year, but made a few mistakes that cost me in terms of resource use and safety.  This year, I have it down pat.   Here is an excellent kit and system for sewing with young kids:

1- One pin cushion, one needle per child.  Last year I had one pin cushion for all of my needles and gave them a cup to put their needle into when it was not in use.  I lost many needles this way and had many roll onto the floor to be discovered later (luckily not in someone’s foot).  The extra advantage of one pin cushion and one needle per child is that they position the needle in the cushion to help them thread the needle.  I bought needles with large eyes that are simpler to thread, too.

2- Handy system for knot tying.  I call it the “needle person system”.  Here is what I say to my K’s: keep the needle person standing in the pin cushion.  Give needle person two string arms that are the same size (threading the needle).  Reach the arms way up until the hands touch and the arms are straight.  Rest the arms together on the table.  Here is where my personification of the needle falls apart…make a loop with his (or her) arms.  Then teacher helps you to lift the loop so that you can tuck the hands under and through the loop.  Pull until tight!

3- Pre-cut squares of fabric.  Last year, I made use of fabric scraps that were all different sizes.  It was a pain to manage.  I knew that I should have cut them up into something more uniform to conserve fabric, aid with sharing and reduce my need to assist with the cutting when it was sewing time.  I simply had too many other things on the go and just didn’t really perfect my kit.  This year: small squares of fabric are the order of the day.  Much better.  Generally, the children fold them and try their best at poking the needle in and out around the perimeter.  They love this and are happy with any result.

4-Beads, sequins and bits of stuff.  Keep a container of little things to put on the strings as they sew.  This gives them something new to imagine every time they use a simple square of fabric.  No need for anything complicated.

I would really keep a kit like this at any elementary grade level, to be honest.  The kids are so completely thrilled and it opens up a whole new way to make stuff.  I was an avid sewer from the time I was 6 or 7…self taught (messy and unsuccessful at first) and resourceful.  Never regretted having this skill.  Keep in mind that this is a play centre and I usually have 4-6 children choose it at a time.

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