Sewing with Children

Oct 23, 2014

I've always wanted to do some sewing with my kids, but being someone who's not big on sewing herself, I've found it hard in the past to get motivated about it and wasn't entirely sure where to start. When our friend, Trixi from Coloured Buttons sent us a copy of her new book, "Sew Together, Grow Together" I knew this was going to be my best shot at giving it a go.

I love the idea of sewing with children as they would need to practice fine-motor skills and hand-eye coordination, it allows them to be creative and resourceful, not to mention the fact that we could create, by hand, special, beautiful and useful things. Sewing can be challenging for children and they need to practice patience and concentration. The best part is the pride that they feel from creating, accomplishing something and learning something new.

One minor problem with attempting to do some sewing with my daughter (aged 5) was that her younger brother (almost 3) always wanted to join in too. As he doesn't have naps and we were yet to find a time that we could try sewing without him around, I needed something that would allow him to join in as well.

Sewing with a toddler

  • 2 paper plates
  • hole punch
  • wool/string
  • Plastic needle (find these where you'd find sewing supplies. Alternatively you could wrap stickytape around the end of your piece of wool until it is stiff and needle-like)

  • Hold 2 paper plates evenly together and punch holes through both plates all the way around the circumference.
  • Thread your large plastic needle with the wool (or wrap one end in sticky-tape)
  • Tie the other end of the wool through two of the holes to hold the plates together and to give a starting point
  • Show children to concept of pushing the needle through the hole and pulling out the other side. Push back up through the next hole and pull through. Repeat.

My son wasn't able to complete the plate sewing the entire way around. He got bored and gave up before he finished. He did however, get to experience something similar to his sister. He got to try and feel important and special. For the time he did work on it, you could see how much concentration and skill was required and he loved the special sewing just for him.

Sewing with older kids

If you are inexperienced with sewing yourself or with project suitable for kids, a good step-by-step book could be just what you are after. The great thing about this is that it can give you a great starting point, inspiration, templates and how-to's. It certainly made us feel more confident with finally giving sewing a go. The book we used, Sew Together, Grow Together was written by Trixi Symonds and photographed by Nicola Bailey. It is recommended for children aged 6 and up. (My daughter is currently 5y/o).

Maddie loved flicking through the full colour Sew Together, Grow Together book, trying to decide which project we would start with. She finally decided on the Hippy Bag which was fine by me as the majority of the sewing was in straight lines. I thought this'd be a good starting point for us.

I love that the book included templates and lots of handy hints. We chose to make ours without using any templates. The inspiration and instructions from the book were enough of a starting point for us and we love to be able to customise projects to our own tastes.

Trixi clearly knew the audience she was writing for when she did this book as it's full of the types of projects that kids are into.

How to sew a felt bag 


  •  2 x rectangular pieces of wool blend felt for the bag
  • A long strip of felt for the handle (I stitched 2 smaller strips together to make one long strip)
  • Extra coloured felt for embellishments for your bag
  • Thread (embroidery thread is recommended in the book but we used some cotton thread we had. I think the other thread is slightly stronger so could be more appropriate for kids projects.)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Needle (Bigger needles easier for younger children)
  • Pins
  • Chalk/pens (something to mark lines on your felt)


  • Draw the decorations for your bag on your extra coloured felt and cut out. In the book they decorated their bag with flowers. My daughter wanted hearts so that's what we went with.

  • Sew your embellishments together (this step happens before putting them on the bag)

  • Get one of the rectangular pieces of felt that will be the front of the bag. Draw a line along the bottom a few inches up. This line will be the line you sew the bottom of the bag and below it will be where you cut your fringe. Drawing it in now shows you where the bottom of the bag will be so you can centre your embellishments.

  • Sew your embellishment onto the piece of felt that will be the front of your bag

  • Place your 2 rectangular pieces of felt together to form the bag shape and then pin the handle in place.
  • Sew a square shape where the handles attach to the bag. This keeps them on really well.

  • The sewn on handle will help keep the bag together while you sew around the edges. Use pins to hold it in place properly so that it's all lined up.

  • Sew all the way around the edge of your bag. Try to keep the stitches as close together as possible to avoid having gaps in your bag.

  • When your bag is all sewn up, the last thing to do is to snip in your fringe. After all her hard work sewing (with minimal assistance), my daughter was too nervous to do the cutting of this bit so I did this bit for her.

Taa-daaa! My daughter was very proud of her achievement. The bag project took us almost all day. We would do parts of it and then if my daughter was getting a little frustrated with her pace (children tend to sew much slower than we would), we would leave it for a bit and come back to it. She was really glad she persevered and couldn't wait to take it to school for show-and-tell!

I hope you've found some inspiration to try some sewing with your children.
For a copy of Sew Together, Grow Together, you can purchase it directly from Trixi's Etsy shop in paperback or PDF format or from Booktopia here. You can also read a great review on the book by Children's Books Daily.

Happy sewing,
Debs :)

{Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I received a copy of Sew Together, Grow Together but was under no obligation to write about it. The opinions are my own or my children's}

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