Why Your Kids Should Learn to Sew
Like the little mice from Disney’s Cinderella, I love to sew. I still remember the first dress I ever made—a peach and cream flowered sundress that my mom helped me sew when I was nine years old. Sewing is a skill I’m grateful to have—there’s always something that needs mending!
Because today’s clothing is accessible and affordable, sewing your own clothes isn’t as popular as it used to be. Recently, however, stores like A Great Notion in Abbotsford, BC have seen an increased interest in sewing—from kids. “In the last seven or eight years, interest in our beginner sewing classes has really exploded,” says owner Judi Atkinson. “We’re getting more and more kids signing up for sewing classes all the time.” It’s a welcome sign for Atkinson who has always believed sewing is a great life skill, one that can encourage other skills. “Art skills, perseverance and patience can all be learned from sewing. It’s good for kids’ fine motor skills and learning dexterity—being able to do things with their hands.”
Barb Bilenki, the owner of Carellan Sewing Centre in Winnipeg, MB, says mathematics and accuracy are other skills taught through sewing. “Accuracy is really important. You cut accurately, you sew accurately—you want the pieces to fit together. And in sewing, you get exposed to both imperial and metric measurements.” And of course, sewing will also teach you the extremely underestimated skill of ironing. “I get adults that come who have never used an iron, they haven’t the foggiest idea how an iron works,” Bilenki says. She’s also noticed an influx in the number of kids coming to sewing classes at her store. “Usually I just have kids’ sewing classes during the summer time, but there’s been so much interest I now take 12 year olds in some of my adult classes.”
Both women agree that getting your child into sewing is a wonderful creative outlet. “It’s not just about making garments—they can make banners or quilts or fabric pictures. There is all sorts of textile art,” says Atkinson. She says she’s even seen children as young as four learning to sew. Bilenki adds that there’s no danger in young children learning to sew, compared to hobbies like woodworking. “I’ve never had a child sew over their finger or cut themselves or anything like that. It’s highly unlikely they’re going to hurt themselves,” she says.
You might not think of sewing as an extra-curricular activity for a child (and I wouldn’t blame you, I’ve never considered it one either), but as Atkinson points out, it’s similar to piano lessons or dance classes. “I really believe that this is something everybody needs to learn, and then they can decide whether or not it’s something they want to do,” she says. “It might not be for everyone, but at least they can make that decision—and they’ll know how to sew a button on for themselves.”
If you want your child to learn to sew, here are a few places that offer classes across Canada:
Abbotsford, BC and Surrey, BC: A Great Notion Sewing Supply Ltd.
Calgary, AB: My Sewing Room Inc.
Humboldt, SK: Haus of Stitches
Winnipeg, MB: Carellan Sewing Centre
Guelph, ON: Triangle Sewing Centre
Cornwall, ON: Giroux Sewing Centre
Dartmouth, NS and Greenwood, NS: Atlantic Fabrics
Charlottetown, PEI: Quilting B & More
Saint John, NB: Saint John Sewist Academy
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