How to Teach Kids to Sew

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My 5 year old Little C had a really exciting last couple of weeks. Not only did she graduate playschool, she started to learn how to sew on her very own (pink!) little sewing machine. She’s wanted to start learning to sew on a machine for a long time, and when Janome contacted me and asked for me to review their new line of portable & colourful sewing machines I thought it was the perfect opportunity for her to start. My other two machines (a regular sewing machine and a serger) are Janome brand and I’ve had them for five years! I’d definitely recommend this brand to anyone.

Janome New Home Pink Lightning Portable Sewing Machine

Needless to say, when we cracked open the box of this awesome pink sewing machine and set the machine up on the table, Little C was so thrilled!

Over the next few days, my mom and I helped her learn how to use her new machine. She even sewed a mini book bag that we brought to the library.

(Read my tips for teaching kids to sew and how you can win your own Janome portable machine at the bottom of this post!)

This Janome New Home portable sewing machine was really a perfect machine for Little C to start learning on. First off, they come in a variety of fun colours like the “pink lightning” version that my daughter fell in love with here!

Janome New Home Pink Lightning Portable Sewing Machine

These machines are small and lightweight, but they are much sturdier than the majority of portable machines I’ve seen around. There are 10 stitch options, which are definitely enough for the beginning seamstress.

Janome New Home Pink Lightning Portable Sewing Machine

The presser foot has a finger guard so that it’s safe for little fingers – they can’t get caught under the needle. I was really happy with this feature! The machine chugs along at one steady speed. This can be frustrating for the seasoned seamstress, but for beginner’s and young children it’s actually a great plus! It seemed like the perfect speed for Little C.

Janome New Home Pink Lightning Portable Sewing Machine

The thread tension is easily adjustable with a knob, and we were able to sew through a variety of different fabrics and produce lovely, even stitches. This machine could even hem a pair of jeans or drapes! We managed to test it on a few layers of canvas with ease.

One of the only downfalls of the machine is that it doesn’t have a task light, but that could be easily remedied with a lamp nearby or bright overhead lighting. Overall, I was very pleased with how this little machine handled. I’d recommend the Janome New Home portable sewing machine (this one is Pink Lightning) as a great machine for children to learn to sew on, or as an affordable machine for the beginning seamstress that wants something light around to do a bit of hemming.

Great tips on how to teach kids to sew!

ย  Are you thinking of teaching your child how to sew? Here are my tips.

  1. Use the right sewing machine. My recommendation is the Janome portable sewing machine in Pink Lightning or Purple Thunder, natch! Choose a machine that’s slow & steady and small enough for little hands.
  2. Supervise (in a fun way)! Safety is of utmost importance, so always supervise your child when they’re learning to sew with a machine. Give them rules and guidelines, but cheer them on and give them high-fives too.
  3. Use different coloured thread for the top & bottom threads. This was my mom’s tip and it helps your child see how the machine works and where the thread goes when you’re stitching.
  4. Practice on some scraps first. Practice different stitch types and lengths of scrap fabric first. Draw lines for your child to try to follow with stitches.
  5. Let your child choose their first project (from a list of fun, appropriate things)! There are a lot of great tutorials online for projects that kids can sew. Little C’s first project was a tote bag similar to this one from ikat bag. This pleated headband tutorial would also be a good beginner’s sewing project, and so would this gathered skirt (which will be my daughter’s next DIY!).

Janome New Home Pink Lightning Portable Sewing Machine

Would you like to win one of these adorable little Janome’s for your child (or yourself!) to start sewing on? Come follow me on Instagram and repost this image (with the tag #WinPurpleThunder) to enter to win. The contest ends on June 30, 2014.

Do you have any tips on teaching kids to sew? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Disclosure: I received a Janome Portable Sewing Machinefor free to review. The views and opinions expressed here are purely my own. This post also contains affiliate links.


  1. OH Em Ghee, I would totally love to have this little machine for my daughter, she is so eager to learn, I got a little machine at a yardsale for her but it was awful, it jumped across the table when you hit the presser foot. I love the idea of the needle guard!

  2. I totally wish I had that sewing machine when I was little. I was obsessed with trying to make my own clothing. And then in grade 7 we started taking home economics and sewing was part of the class – I was in heaven! Since then I haven’t sewn a single thing! Maybe I need one of these! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. My daughter has that toy sewing machine that just melds felt together but she might be ready to graduate to something like this. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Wow, what perfect timing as I am just beginning to teach my little 6 year old neighbor how to sew and she is sew excited about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I am teaching my grand kids to sew the same way I taught my boys, sitting them on my lap. I start with straight lines so a pillowcase is first. Followed by a one pattern piece pair of shorts. Half the fun is picking out the fabric. I love to teach anyone to sew but children are the best and will wear what they make proudly.

  6. Best way is to start with no thread in the machine and have them run lined notebook paper through it and follow the lines. The needle will perforate the paper and they can see where they’ve “sewn”. When they can make accurate, straight lines, they’re ready for thread and real fabric. That’s how us “old-timers” learned to sew. We didn’t waste coveted materials learning to master the basics!

  7. I am a first generation self-taught quilter. This is such a great blog post thank you go this.

  8. What a cute way to teach your kids to sew. I love that the machine is basically her size. It would seem that regular sewing machines are a bit too big and bulky for such little hands. My wife and I have a daughter that has expressed some interest in “being just like mommy” and learning how to sew.

  9. Thank you for this excellent article. My daughter is 6 and is interested in learning how to sew. Would all of these machines be appropriate for an adult beginner to use as well?

  10. Great post, thank you so much for all the info! My kids and I learned so much; I will be sharing this post with my followers as well, so that they can also benefit from this post

  11. Thanks for the review and tips, Christina! I didn’t know of that presser foot has a finger guard on this Pink beauty from Janome. Kids these days are so lucky, back in our days we didn’t have access to kids machines. ๐Ÿ™‚ Sara

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