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Sewing Machine Rules for Kids

Sewing Machine Rules for Kids.

Learning how to use a sewing machine

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?


MaryAnne at Mama Smiles
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MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

18 thoughts on “Sewing Machine Rules for Kids”

  1. Elisa | blissfulE

    How great that IKEA makes sewing machines! I agree that a light is a very important feature, and I’m looking forward to the homemade goodness you and your kids will create!

  2. My daughter is very interesting in sewing. She had trouble controlling the foot pedal last time she tried but that was a while ago, maybe we should try again. Also thanks for the review link, looks like a great machine!

  3. I had no idea Ikea sold sewing machines. My middle daughter wants one and I am reluctant to get her one for fear it will lie around with little use but now I am considering it if she actually sews a lot. There is a sewing studio for kids down the street walking distance so I am going to see if she goes there a lot first. Her friend’s mom owns it.

  4. Happy to see the sewing machine reviews! MacGyver wants a sewing machine and those sound great for the price. My only concern is where in the world he will put it. My “Renaissance” son’s room is spilling over with creativity and projects!

    My kiddos love their Magformers!

    1. These are smaller than both sewing machines, but yes, finding a place to put a sewing machine can be a challenge! We don’t own Magformers, but they look great!

  5. Natalie PlanetSmartyPants

    How awesome that you teach your kids to sew. I have a confession to make – I had a really bad home economics teacher who turned me off sewing completely. Perhaps my daughter and I can learn to sew together :)

  6. thanks for linking to my fabric bead necklace. We plan on making more from other scraps on hand.We’ll have rainbows of necklaces when we’re done

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