Sewing with Kids Book Reviews

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.

Books Written for Kids to Sew on Their Own

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+.

Books Written for Adults

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!

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  • Ms. Fine
    March 17, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Your next book?? How to teach your kiddos to sew?? Seriously. I was just purusing google books and amazon last night to find something with a lesson-plan-esque feel with a logical progression in technique that doesn’t go too far for my daughter’s nearly 8 year old ability. The books you show above don’t teach her to sew. To embroider, kind of. But she wants to learn and I’m really NOT a great teach unless I’m following someone else’s instructions.

  • Mika
    March 17, 2011 at 10:25 pm


    seems like you are creating a perfect niche for your next volume – in all your spare time, in your mythical new home, etc. etc.

    I’ve looked for a book like you described for quite a while & never found one that did it for me, either.

    • Deborah
      March 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm

      I’ll have to tell my editor you said that, Mika! 🙂

      Yes, in my spare time, but mostly because I’d love to *have* this book (or series of books…).

  • Alexandra
    March 21, 2011 at 8:45 am

    I just got a book that I am really enjoying going through with my 5 year old- “Sewing for Children” by Emma Hardy. It uses a lot of felt (no hemming!) and handstitching which is great for my young children. Just thought I’d mention it- my kids love it!

  • Pam
    March 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    This post is so timely for me. I have been searching for books with good ideas because I am trying to put together summer sewing classes. I actually like the Sewing School book a lot because it has given me a lot of good ideas as how to work with a group and perfect projects for hand sewing–which is what I’m planning on doing for the younger kids. Older kids, especially teen are harder to find teach- to sew -book.

    I just started teaching sewing to a homeschooled 16 year old a few months ago, right at the same time as I discovered your “Stitch by Stitch” book. I have been using your book as a reference, but still have to come up with additional projects that would interest a teen. But do want to tell you that I love you book. Thanks.

  • becky
    May 9, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Hi, Just found your blog and I just started the same thing on my blog in January. A sewing with kids series. Ha! I searched on Amazon and the only book that looked good was one called, “The best of sewing machine fun for kids” I bought it and it is great! Kinda 80’s pics but great step by steps on how to teach kids to sew with their machine. I remember looking at the first 2 you mentioned and knew they wouldn’t work for what I wanted. My daughter is 5 and can do, so far, all the projects in the book without help. I did another book review of a book I really liked too. Fun projects for kids to help with and my daughter can do a lot of those herself as well. Of course they look like a kid did them but that is half the fun.