Sewing Machine Rules for Kids.
We bought a sewing machine from IKEA with the idea of having a machine that the three oldest kids (after training with me) could use on their own. I learned to sew mainly by making a lot of mistakes on my own, and it’s an experience that taught me a lot not only in terms of sewing, but also about making mistakes and recovering from mistakes. I’m hopeful that this will help my kids gain similar skills. It’s the kid’s big family Christmas present for this year (the magna tiles were their big gift two years ago, incidentally), but we gave it to them early so that they could make presents for one another. We don’t do Santa, so it’s easy to make arrangements like this with gifts.
I chose the IKEA machine in large part due to LiEr’s IKEA sewing machine review, combined with it’s price point ($69 for a well-made machine). I was torn between it and this Janome starter machine (currently the same price, and you can get two years’ additional protection on the machine for $6 through Amazon). The Janome machine is designed to be kid-friendly, with a foot that makes it hard to accidentally sew over your finger and a drop-in bobbin rather than a set-in bobbin. It does not, however, have a light, and the IKEA machine does (the IKEA machine also has more features, but none that I felt my kids had to have). Our house is quite dark, as you can tell from the photos in this post. We are working on improving the lighting, but in the meantime a machine with a light was very important, particularly in the winter time! My kids are cautious by nature and very good at following rules, so I felt they could handle a regular sewing machine presser foot. This IKEA SY machine also comes with a great series of YouTube videos that the kids can watch.
Sewing Machine Rules for Kids
We did set some basic sewing machine rules:
- Kids can only use the machine with permission, and after being shown how to use it by mom.
- Only one child can touch the machine at a time.
- Always keep your finger away from the sewing machine needle.
- Take your foot off the pedal before pulling up the presser foot.
- When you are done using the machine, turn it off and remove the plug from the machine.
So far eight-year-old Emma is the only child who is allowed to use the machine, but I plan to let Johnny and Lily use it as well once they go through a mini training with me. We use Clover Wonder Clips instead of straight pins to prevent pins getting strewn all over the house. They are much easier to remove, and I think they even keep the edges of fabric together more effectively.
The day after buying the machine, we discovered that a girl from Emma’s school class who just moved into our neighborhood has a sewing machine of her own – very serendipitous! Emma and T. are really enjoying designing and sewing projects together at our house. It’s a lot of fun to see them working together on this machine. Hooray for friends!
Do your children sew? What sewing machine rules for kids do you have?