Her First Embroidery

My daughter, who recently turned five, has been cutting fabric with real fabric scissors for two-and-a-half years now. She has a box that holds her scraps, scissors, and a few pins, because when she cuts the fabric, she wants to pin pieces together. Naturally, she recently asked how to sew the pieces together, so I taught her the running stitch, using a large needle, the full six strands of bright embroidery floss, and some white felt.

sewing practice by 5yo at amyhoodarts.com

“I can’t believe you’re letting me use your materials!” she exclaimed, even though, of course, we share materials in the art room all the time. But up to this point, hand-sewing and embroidery is something she has watched me do, and I took needle and floss for her to use out of the zippered pouch that holds my embroidery scissors and needle case. Kids notice what supplies they’re given, and handing over the “real” supplies for her use demonstrated that I was taking her interest seriously.

After she sewed around all the edges of her practice piece, she decided she knew enough to embroider, so I taught her how to back stitch. After practicing that, she decided she wanted to embroider the first initial of her name. I drew it onto the felt to her specifications, and she set to work.

back stitch embroidered "G" by 5yo at amyhoodarts.com

Those are careful, attentive, small stitches right there–she was working quite earnestly, and she can’t wait to start another project. This piece is now hanging up on her bulletin board in her room. She has always had excellent fine-motor coordination, so I’m not surprised she was able to do this. I also started her with a full thickness of embroidery floss, which is less likely to tangle than sewing thread, and a larger needle, which is easier for smaller fingers to hold. Felt is stiffer than regular cotton and doesn’t require a hoop (although you can certainly use one). Contrasting floss shows up well on the felt, so she can see where she’s sewing or stitching. And I was on hand to quickly help with confusion or mistakes.

I’m pretty impressed with her first embroidery, but more importantly, she is delighted to have learned something new that she wanted to do.

8 thoughts on “Her First Embroidery

  1. Dawn Suzette

    This is great, Amy!
    My kids have had the same response to being giving “mom’s supplies” and it is great. And like you said, kinda funny because we share so many other supplies.
    She did a wonderful job!

    1. amy Post author

      Isn’t that funny? I’m imagining it must be the trust factor–we trust them with “our” stuff. And they generally respect my knitting, sewing, etc supplies, so I *do* trust them.

    1. amy Post author

      Aw, thanks, Victoria! It’s nice when kids *want* to learn something that you love, though, you know? It’s sweet and gratifying.

  2. RoseRed

    She has done such a great job! I remember my first sewing project, also with felt. It was a bird shaped pin cushion, we had to sew the two pieces together with blanket stitch, and sew on a beak and eyes. We made them at school, either in Kindergarten or first class I think (so aged 5 or 6). My mum used that pin cushion for years (might still have it!). Felt is definitely a good first project fabric.

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