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Learn How to Sew

Sewing Projects for 7 – 14 Year Old Kids (Teacher Approved)

If you want to teach your child how to sew, thinking of sewing project ideas for kids is tricky. What’s easy enough for them to make, but still fun and interesting?

I interviewed a sewing teacher to find out what projects her students love.

Katie runs the Thread Room, a sewing school that teaches 145 students per week! About 50% of them are children. Her kids’ holiday workshops are attended by 120 children. It’s safe to say, Katie has lots of experience teaching kids of all ages and personalities. (Note: you can see what her students are making on Instagram @thread_room)

Another great source of information for me was Trixi from Sew a Softie. She’s been teaching children’s sewing classes for almost 30 years! She’s also the author of a book about hand-sewing for kids: Sew Together Grow Together.

This post includes 7 hand-sewing and machine-sewing ideas from Katie, Trixi, and other sewing instructors.

I’ve included photos of the final projects, easy sewing tutorials and templates you can use, and shopping lists for tools and materials.

7 sewing project ideas to teach kids
Image credit: top (stock), bottom (Katie from the Thread Room)

The ideas are appropriate for kids aged 7 – 14 years old, but there’s no rule on when kids can start sewing. In my post, how to teach your child to sew (66 tips from teachers), a teacher spoke about her experience teaching kids as young as 5 years old.

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How to choose a sewing project

Here are some quick tips on how to decide what to make.

I pulled these ideas from my larger post: how to teach children to sew (it has 66 tips from sewing teachers!).

  • Choose quick projects that can be completed in 1 sewing session.
  • Start with basic projects and add new skills with each project.
  • Have images or examples of the final project to inspire kids.
  • Think about what your child will actually use.
  • Let kids get involved in choosing projects. Show them pictures of projects and ask them what they want to make. Let them pick the fabrics and colors. The more they do, the more they’ll enjoy it.
  • Let them customize their project so it feels like their own.

I’ve listed 7 sewing project ideas below that teachers said they use.


Sewing project idea 1) star pillows

This is a beginner project that Trixi from Sew a Softie teaches kids. She likes it because “it has straight but interesting lines.”

She also has a cool “trick” that kids love.

She shrinks her star templates down so kids can make a matching baby version.

“My version of the star cushion idea is to have a mother and baby star. The kids love giving their star-mother a face and decorating her with ribbons and lace and decorative features.” (source)

Easy sewing tutorial & template:

This tutorial machine-sews the star and finishes with 1 line of hand sewing. However, you can make the entire project with hand sewing too.

Here’s the printable template for the tutorial below:

Materials and tools needed:

Project-specific equipment:

  • 1/2 yard of quilting cotton. Or use wool-blend felts; they’re soft, easy to sew, and don’t fray.
  • Stuffing. Polyester fiberfill is cheap and easy to find.
  • (Optional) button.
  • Fun decorations to create faces (eg. stick-on googly eyes).
  • Fabric glue to stick the decorations on.

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Basic sewing tools:

  • Hand sewing needle. Chenille 24 needles are small and sharp, so they’ll go through fabric nice and easily. They also have a large eye for easy threading.
  • OR sewing machine needle. A universal size 80/12 needle should be fine for most non-stretch fabrics.
  • Good quality thread. Cheap versions break easily. 100% cotton or 100% polyester is fine.
  • Sewing pins or clips to hold the fabric together.
  • Measuring tape to measure the right length of fabric.
  • Fabric scissors to cut the fabric.
  • Fabric marking pencils, like wax pencils, to draw around the template and cut it out.

Idea 2) soft toys

There’s not much explanation needed here. Kids love playing with toys! I don’t think they’ll need much encouragement to make these.

grey soft toy bear with sewing machine and fabric
A soft toy that Katie teaches in her beginner kids class. Image courtesy of Katie from the Thread Room.

Easy sewing tutorial:

Trixi likes to teach kids how to hand-sew a soft toy.

Her favorite design is this simple square softie made from two pieces of felt and stuffing:

Here’s a video tutorial she made for it:

The written instructions for this toy are on her blog.

Materials and tools needed:

Project-specific equipment:

  • Wool-blend felt; it’s soft, easy to sew, and doesn’t fray.
  • Stuffing. Polyester fiberfill is cheap and easy to find.
  • Fun decorations to create faces (eg. stick-on googly eyes).
  • Fabric glue to stick the decorations on.

Basic sewing tools:

  • Hand sewing needle. Chenille 24 needles are small and sharp, so they’ll go through fabric nice and easily. They also have a large eye for easy threading.
  • OR sewing machine needle. A universal size 80/12 needle should be fine for most non-stretch fabrics.
  • Good quality thread. Cheap versions break easily. 100% cotton or 100% polyester is fine.
  • Sewing pins or clips to hold the fabric together.
  • Measuring tape to measure the right length of fabric.
  • Fabric scissors to cut the fabric.
  • Fabric marking pencils, like wax pencils, to draw around the template and cut it out.

Idea 3) scrunchies

Katie teaches children how to make scrunchies in her beginner kids class.

For kids with long hair, this is a really useful make. They can wear their self-made scrunchies every day with pride.

3 scrunchies on a table with sewing machine and scissors
Image courtesy of Katie from the Thread Room.

Easy sewing tutorial:

There are lots of ways to make scrunchies. I think the easiest one for kids is this ‘overlap-the-ends’ method.

Based on Katie’s photos, it seems this is what she teaches too.

2 scrunchies
Overlapped ends. Image courtesy of Katie from the Thread Room.

Note: this sewing tutorial uses machine stitching, but you can also use hand sewing.

Measurements & templates:

You can download and print the scrunchie template from my resource library. It’s a free pdf.

Or here are the template measurements:

  • Cut 1 rectangle that measures 21 1/2″ (width) x 3″ (height). That’s about 54.5cm x 7.5cm.
  • Cut 1/4″ flat elastic that measures 9″. That’s about 23cm.

Materials and tools needed:

Project-specific equipment:

  • Cotton fabric. 1/4″ yard is enough for 3-6 scrunchies, depending on how wide the fabric is.
  • 1/4″ wide flat elastic.
  • Large safety pin to pull the elastic through the scrunchie.

Basic sewing tools:

  • Good quality thread. Cheap versions break easily. 100% cotton or 100% polyester is fine.
  • Hand sewing needle. Chenille 24 needles are small and sharp, so they’ll go through fabric nice and easily. They also have a large eye for easy threading.
  • OR sewing machine needle. A universal size 80/12 needle should be fine for most non-stretch fabrics.
  • Sewing pins or clips to hold the fabric together.
  • Measuring tape to measure the right length of fabric.
  • Fabric scissors to cut the fabric.
  • Fabric marking pencils, like wax pencils, to draw around the template and cut it out.
  • Iron and ironing table.

4) doll clothes

Lisa from Phoebe & Egg thinks “doll clothes are a great way to start. When the project is done, the child has something they want.”

Here are some gorgeous pdf sewing patterns from Wild Marigold on Etsy (step-by-step instructions are included).

doll clothes, including tops, dresses, and pants
Sewing patterns for doll clothes from Wild Marigold.

Etsy is a good place to find pdf sewing patterns. For paper patterns, Amazon has lots of options from big pattern companies.


5) tote bags

This is something useful that kids can carry to school. There are also lots of opportunities to decorate it.

This is a sewing project that Katie teaches in her class for kids aged 8-years-old and up. I think this project best suits machine stitching.

red tote bag with black scissors and measuring tape
Image courtesy of Katie from the Thread Room.

Easy sewing tutorial:

The first bag sewn in this tutorial is great for kids. It’s a straightforward, unlined tote bag.

The cutting measurements are: cut 1 piece of fabric 16″ x 36″ (40.5cm x 91.5cm). And cut 2 cotton canvas twill tapes 27″ long (68.5cm).

Materials and tools needed:

Project-specific equipment:

  • Medium-to-heavyweight cotton, like quilting cotton (medium weight) or cotton canvas (heavyweight).
  • 1.5 yards of cotton canvas twill tape will give you 2 straps.

Basic sewing tools:

  • Good quality thread. Cheap versions break easily. 100% cotton or 100% polyester is fine.
  • Sewing machine needle. A universal size 80/12 needle should be fine for most non-stretch fabrics.
  • Sewing pins or clips to hold the fabric together.
  • Measuring tape to measure the right length of fabric.
  • Fabric scissors to cut the fabric.
  • Fabric marking pencils, like wax pencils.
  • Iron and ironing table.

**One Free Sewing Pattern. Every Thursday. Join the Email List 🙂**


6) zipper pouch pencil cases

This is a great lesson for kids who are moving on from the basics. They’ll learn how to install a zipper. Katie teaches this in her beginner kids class.

I think kids will love having a pencil case that they made themselves. They can use it every day at school and show their friends!

Note: this is a sewing machine project.

tiger print zipper pouch on a table with a sewing machine and tools
Image courtesy of Katie from the Thread Room.

Easy sewing tutorial & measurements:

There are lots of ways to make zipper pouches. It can get quite complicated with boxed versions, zipper tabs, and interfacing.

So my favorite tutorial is this one from Dana. It’s a really simple lined pouch.

I think it’s the best version for kids to make, but you might want to skip the topstitching part (it starts at 6:30 in the video).

The cutting measurement for the fabric is 10.5″ x 6.5″. That’s about 27cm x 16.5cm.

Materials and tools needed:

Project-specific equipment:

  • Medium weight fabric, like quilting cotton.
  • 9″ zipper (this is the measurement for the actual zipper teeth and excludes the excess fabric at the top and bottom)

Basic sewing tools:

  • Good quality thread. Cheap versions break easily. 100% cotton or 100% polyester is fine.
  • Sewing machine needle. A universal size 80/12 needle should be fine for most non-stretch fabrics.
  • Sewing pins or clips to hold the fabric together.
  • Measuring tape to measure the right length of fabric.
  • Fabric scissors to cut the fabric.
  • Fabric marking pencils, like wax pencils.
  • Iron and ironing table.

7) skirts

This is a sewing machine project that Katie likes to teach kids at her beginner classes.

Kids will learn how to hem a skirt and how to make an easy elastic waistband.

pink skirt with elastic waistband next to a sewing machine
Image courtesy of Katie from the Thread Room.
red printed skirt on a hanger
Image courtesy of Katie from the Thread Room.

Easy sewing tutorial:

Measurements:

No template is needed for this project. All kids need to do is cut 1 rectangle.

You determine the height of the rectangle based on how long they want their skirt to be, and the width is double their waist measurement (or multiply it by 1.5 for less fabric usage).

**I Find the Best Free Sewing Patterns and Share Them Every Thursday. Don’t miss out. Join the Email List :)**

Materials and tools needed:

Project-specific equipment:

  • Light-to-medium weight cotton fabric.
  • 1″ wide elastic.
  • Large safety pin to pull the elastic through the casing.

Basic sewing tools:

  • Good quality thread. Cheap versions break easily. 100% cotton or 100% polyester is fine.
  • Sewing machine needle. A universal size 80/12 needle should be fine for most non-stretch fabrics.
  • Sewing pins or clips to hold the fabric together.
  • Measuring tape to measure the right length of fabric.
  • Fabric scissors to cut the fabric.
  • Fabric marking pencils, like wax pencils.
  • Iron and ironing table.

Related posts

How to Teach Your Child to Sew: 66 Tips from Sewing Teachers

Free Sewing Patterns Every Thursday

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Sources

Email correspondence with Katie from the Thread Room, 18 Feb 2021.

Thread Room. ‘Classes’. [online] Available at: https://www.threadroom.co.nz/classes [accessed: 19 Feb 2021]

Trixi Symonds. ‘SEWING WITH KIDS’. [online] Available at: https://www.sewasoftie.com/sew-with-kids [accessed: 19 Feb 2021]

Chelsea B. (2020). ‘Teaching Children and Teens to Sew’. [online] Available at: https://www.sewsimplehome.com/2020/03/teaching-children-and-teens-to-sew.html [accessed: 19 Feb 2021]

Lisa Press. ‘Teaching a child to sew’. [online] Available at: http://www.phoebeandegg.com/new-page-1 [accessed: 19 Feb 2021]

Maggy (2016). ‘Teaching Kids To Sew’. [online] Available at: https://www.redtedart.com/teaching-kids-to-sew/ [accessed: 19 Feb 2021]

Evangeline Do (2018). ‘5 BEST Tips to Teach Sewing for Kids (+GIVEAWAY)’. [online] Available at: https://artfulparent.com/sewing-for-kids/ [accessed: 19 Feb 2021]