My daughter has been begging me to teach her to sew with a pattern for a long, long time. I’ve hesitated because she never had a specific project in mind. I feel that she will learn best if she’s excited about what she’s making. There was a huge sale at the fabric store over the holiday weekend and she asked if we could get fabric for lounge pants. We was looking at fleece, but I steered her toward flannel. She had a hard time deciding which print, but she settled on this colorful music fabric that she thought felt really soft.
I want to teach my daughter to be an independent seamstress, so I am taking her through the whole process of sewing something. I showed her how to read the back of a pattern and determine how much fabric you need. She thought we should get a lot extra in case she messes up, but I told her that I would walk her through each step so we didn’t need more than the 1.5 yards that the pattern asked for.
My mother always taught me to cut a little diagonal piece out of each corner of my fabric before washing to cut down on raveling. I showed her the same. She was very excited by the true softness of the fabric after it came out of the washer and dryer.
The true teaching came when it was time to cut. I wouldn’t let her pull out the scissors until she understood how a pattern worked. We took her measurements to see if they matched up to her current street size. Then we confirmed that the 1.5 yards was the right amount. I showed her where you find the fabric suggestions, what notions are needed and what the different symbols mean.
Then it was time to get the pattern pieces picked out. She was surprised by how thin the pattern paper were and how many pieces overall. We laid things out on the floor and she cut out around the two pieces we needed. Then I had her cut out along the size 7 line around the pattern, showing her how to cut the notches.
Then we looked at the layouts in the instructions and began laying out the pattern pieces. They didn’t fit! She flipped over one piece so it would fit, but I pointed out that the design would be upside down on the back of her pants. We looked at the instructions carefully and figured out the proper placement of the pattern pieces.
I usually use pattern weights, but I thought it would be best if she pinned the pattern so prevent any shifting. She carefully pinned the pieces in place. We realized that one was slightly off, so I had her start over with the positioning/pinning. My mom always told me that to fix my mistakes immediately rather than trying to go over them. Not always my favorite thing to do, but she was right!
Then it was cutting time. My daughter was very excited to get to this point. She was very slow and careful and did a good job!
She is very proud of her progress so far and is anxious to get them sewn.
I’ll be posting about the rest of this project within the next few weeks.