Guest Post: Tips to Teach Simple Embroidery Stitches to Kids
Embroidery is an art that people across all ages can learn to perform. It’s skill which can be practiced throughout the life. If your child is in need of a new hobby and has some free time, embroidery is perhaps the best choice. Embroidery for kids comes with multitude of benefits including fun, learning and utilization. Moreover, when a kid learns to embroider, s/he will have plenty of time to learn and nurture the complex skills as s/he grows up and the passion may even pass on to her/his children as well.
How Learning to Embroider is Beneficial for Children?
Embroidery gears are fairly portable, which means the kids can take them anywhere they want to and can enjoy the calming and stress-reducing hobby after a tiring, long day at school. In case you love embroidery, it can help you develop an extraordinary bonding with your kid. In today’s hectic lifestyle where parents don’t have much time for their kids during the weekdays, addition of some enjoyable embroidery lessons can fill this gap and both you and your child can spend some memorable time together.
Apart from being a creative and funny pursuit, embroidery also helps kids focus and increase concentration. You can try out different ways to teach your kids to embroider. At the initial stage, you can teach them during your free time at home to let them understand embroidery and see if they’re interested in it. If they are, you can take them to local craft stores where inexpensive basic group classes for kids are arranged. If your kid has progressed past the basic techniques, you can take him/her to art schools where classes in needlework and advanced embroidery are arranged. Here, they can learn the advanced needlework techniques and master the tricky skills.
In this post, we’ve jotted down a step-by-step guide that will help you teach your kid how to embroider.
Basic Steps to Learn Embroidery
The Requirements to Begin With
Preparation is one of major steps to be taken when it comes to teaching kids to embroider. Most of the time, kids don’t have the patience to sit still while the supplies are being prepared. So, you should organize all the supplies beforehand, which will let you pull them out when you are ready to teach. You can consider setting up an embroidery basket for your kid as well. It will help them know how to keep track of the supplies. Ideally, the following items should be kept in your kid’s embroidery basket.
Materials that are going to be needed:
100% white-colored cotton fabric is perfect for your little one to start with. It’s quite simple to pass the needle through. Before you begin, remember to iron the fabric.
You can use pearl cotton threads or floss. A thicker pearl cotton or full skein not only helps the kid to see his/her results better but also lets him/her cover the design lines in a better way.
At times, needles can be detrimental to your kid and you may not want him/her to have a sharp, small needle that could hurt. Size 20 tapestry needle is ideal to begin with. It’s simpler to hold onto and in case the fabric weave is adequately loose, s/he should be able to make the needle through. In case your kid is a little older or if it becomes difficult to get the tapestry one through the fabric, you can try an assortment of embroidery needles.
Hoop is a must to teach embroidery. You can bring in fluorescent hoops that your kid will love to work with.
You’ll also require a pair of scissors. Scissors are available in a variety of colors, shapes and prices. Select the one that is best suited to your kid’s age.
You should start with the basic stitches such as stem stitch, running stitch and satin stitch.
However, if your kid is a little older, s/he may want to try some more stitches. Ideally, you should keep a book of embroidery in your kid’s embroidery basket that has detailed descriptions of various stitches.
You’ll also need to keep individual towelettes or small pack of baby wipes to keep your little one’s hands cleaner.
Finally, before you start teaching your kid to embroider, you should think of kid-friendly designs to start with. You can make a design by tracing around a funny cookie cutter or draw a free-hand image. You need to make sure that the design is adequately big. You can also consider having coloring books where large designs are given with fewer details. Gradually, as your kid ages, the designs would become smaller with more details. Once you finalize the design, draw or trace it on the fabric. For this purpose, you can use water soluble marker pens or iron on blue pencil.
Start with the basics
Though teaching kids how to embroider is easy, fun and engaging, you need two simple things to keep in mind. Firstly, while learning embroidery, kids can only learn the fundamental patterns with minimal design elements. Simple patterns like a ‘smiling hello’ can be your best bet to start with and keep your little one engaged. Moreover, kids can quickly complete simple patterns, which help them to stay engaged without being bored. More detailed or larger projects may allow boredom to set in. You can also ask them to stitch a basic drawing which they’ve created. Secondly, you need to consider the types of stitches to start with. Back stitch, running stitch, lazy daisy stitch, cross stitch and stem stitch are considered among the most fundamental stitches and are widely used in various sewing and needlework projects. By learning these stitches, kids can develop a robust foundation in embroidery. Teach them how to work on big stitches first so they can understand the know-how of that stitch before digging a little deeper.
Running stitch is a fundamental stitch widely used for silhouetting an embroidery design quite quickly. Running stitch can be completed in two different ways. You can keep pushing your needle and floss through the fabric in a continuous motion until you’re done with the stitch. Or you can push the needle through your fabric and drag it back up. You can make your stitches short or long or randomly placed based on the design. Running stitch shouldn’t be used for making text designs as it can be quite spacey. For kids, you should ideally teach them the former up and down procedure first.
Backstitch is also one of the basic embroidery stitches and is quite useful for silhouetting a design or hand embroidering text. You need to pull the needle up and floss up through your fabric and make one stitch forward. From below, you need to space out the needle to your desired stitch length, pull up through your fabric and bring your needle and floss downward through the end of your earlier stitch. Backstitches generate a thin yet strong line of stitching, which is widely used in almost every embroidery pattern. As backstitch is something that your kid will use frequently, it’s better not to hurry and give him/her the time it takes to learn it perfectly.
Now, ask them to trace some lines!
After your kids are done with the basics of embroidery, it’s time to learn to gain some control over lines. Draw some shapes on your fabric and ask them to trace the lines. Now, thread your needle and stick the end of that thread to the backside of your fabric.
Make sure that it doesn’t cover the drawing which can trigger difficulties when your little ones try to poke their needle through it. Ask the kids to start at a point you feel good about. ‘Practice makes a man perfect’ – the old adage is applicable for the kids learning to embroider. So, let them have the hang of going up and down through the existing line. When they’re done, stick the other end of your thread to tighten it. If they want to experiment more on the same line with some other colors, allow them. Just remember to stick each end of the fiber. Now, when they’ve gained control over tracing some lines, ask them to draw anything they want to. Ask them to sew through their own creation and they’ll definitely feel proud of their hard work.
4. Let them take their sweet time!
There are various reasons that require kids be given time to learn embroidery. Some of the major ones are:
Handling a needle as well as thread helps to build fine muscle coordination.
Embroidery greatly helps in building self-confidence in kids as they’re creating something eye-catching on their own.
Embroidery empowers kids to demonstrate their creativity.
It helps them to stay away from boredom.
Once the kids learn to embroider, the needle art will be kept alive through them.
They can also use embroidery to create their own holiday gifts.
5. Short sessions will help
Attention spans are quite shorter among kids compared to the adults. Thus, you should keep the lessons short and ask the kids to select the day or time for learning embroidery. Whatever day or time the kids choose, you need to make sure that they’ve adequate enthusiasm and energy to learn something. If you plan to keep the stitching lessons right after a meal or after the school, perhaps it won’t be the perfect time as they might feel tired. Additionally, don’t become disappointed with your kid if s/he loses interest in embroidery after a few minutes. It may happen many times, just let go and try it on another day or at another time.
6. Make it fun!
If you want to teach your kids to embroider, you need to make sure that the teaching sessions become enjoyable to them. Simple patterns, bright fun colors and the feeling of togetherness – all these make embroidery learning sessions fun for kids. You should guide them to create something which they’ll cherish later – it’ll help them to stay interested in embroidery. Remember that the learning process is much more important than the end product.
7. Don’t forget to celebrate and reward them
Teaching embroidery to kids is rewarding for both of you (almost full credit goes to the kids though). For you, its knowledge sharing but for the kids, it’s entering into a whole new world of creativity. Thus, proudly exhibit your kids’ stitchery and reward them once they’re done with the projects. You can gift them something they like together with your words of praise and encouragement. Also, make it a point to tell the others about their splendid work.
Alex Cutler is a Design Specialist at Absolute Digitizing and has been in the profession for several years. He contributes and helps beginners learn this traditional form of art through his blog.