There are precious few books on the market that are designed for sewing with kids. More narrowly, there are super few that are written for adults who want to sew with kids–there are titles that are written for kids to sew on their own, but not for the adults who love them and want to guide them through the experience.
I’ve done my Amazoning, and am happy to report today that I’ve found four lovely books that all appeal at different points along that continuum–from kids sewing alone to kids sewing with their grown-ups–and that are available for you to reference as we make our way toward introducing our kids to the sewing machine.
Sewing School by Amie Petronis Plumley & Andria Lisle
When I first opened this one, I was ready to be totally wowed and fall in love. That first look really didn’t do that for me–I went away a little disappointed. This particular book is absolutely written for kids to work through on their own, and I had hoped to find a volume that allowed parents and kids to discover together. I went away wondering if I liked the book, since I had to re-evaluate it with new expectations. Going back to it now, I think it’s a lovely collection of projects suitable for kids ages 7+ to sew on their own, or with minimal supervision. There is a nice introduction aimed for parents giving them tips and advice for making sewing accessible in the home. The style is folksy and unpretentious, the projects are cute and very tween-appropriate, and the instructions are clear and written at a suitable level for young readers to comprehend each task without too many mom-what’s-this-means. The biggest source of my mild dissatisfaction with this one is that the projects are almost exclusively hand-sewn–and as much as I embrace that, I was hoping for more lessons on the machine, geared toward a wider age range. My children are still too young to benefit from this particular title (and my eldest is too old), but if you’ve got a tween who’s nagging you for lessons, this might be a great do-it-on-your-own book to tide them over.
See and Sew by Tina Davis
Again, I had my hopes super-duper high when I got this one, and I will say that visually and stylistically it did not disappoint: this lovely vintage-style volume is total 1940s eye candy. The drawings and illustrations are delightful and engaging, and the text is clearly written in a style that appeals to older children teaching themselves. Again, this is a book that’s intended for kids who want to learn to sew more-or-less on their own, but like the one above, the projects are sweet and well-designed, the instructions are clear and the entire first section is devoted to sewing basics and serves as a great reference for foundational skills. Because this has a vintage bent, the projects here aren’t intended to be as “now” as those in Sewing School (which boasts iPod covers and superhero cuffs), but I find it very soothing and appealing, and think this is a great little book for rainy day sewing with kids ages 6+.
The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule
With her characteristic heartfelt writing style, soulemama‘s first book is truly a thoughtful look at crafting and parenting and creativity and how we integrate those into our homes–very much in line with how I look at this Sewing with Kids series, and what I hope to achieve for my own children. Not strictly a project book, The Creative Family spends time really unpacking crafting philosophy and building connections between what we do with our kids and what we share with our kids, as a family. I love her voice and her vision, and how she really reveals the nuts-and-bolts of a creative family’s life for us to share and be inspired. There are lovely projects here, for children of all ages, and with lots of ways for different kids to engage. Really a wonderful book that will have you thinking and dreaming and enjoying crafting with your kids even more.
Every Day’s a Holiday by Heidi Kenney
This volume isn’t strictly a sewing book, either, but I love that it is visually engaging, and includes lots of projects that kids will love to make. About a quarter of the activities involve sewing, mostly embroidery or hand sewing, and each one is really charming and sweet. This is a good go-to book for holidays and school breaks, when you don’t have an activity in mind but the kids are really demanding something fun and creative to work on. Lots of ideas here for things to do side-by-side with kids ages 2+.
Happy family crafting!