Have you wondered how best to teach your favorite children to sew? Where to start? What projects would be good for beginner-level sewists? What notions and would be safest for them to use? Leave it to Nancy Zieman to come up with the perfect solutions for all of those questions.
Like SO many others, I was so saddened by the sudden retirement and passing of Nancy Zieman last fall. Nancy is one of the people I admire most in the sewing industry – not only because she was an icon, but because her goal was to help everyone succeed in this hobby.
For all that we will miss Nancy, her legacy will continue! And I love that the message behind this latest project Nancy was working on, I Sew For Fun, was how to make sewing fun and approachable – and a bonding experience – with the next generation. The inspiration behind this campaign was Nancy’s love of sewing with her own grandchildren.
One of Nancy’s final video productions was this episode about teaching children to sew. You can watch the full episode here.
In connection with the video, Nancy has also written a book I Sew For Fun with 20 projects perfect for teaching children to sew! The projects in the book include a wide variety of items with kid appeal such as aprons, skirts, headbands, softies, bags, and mini quilts.
All of the projects are ranked in three categories “Easy”, “Really Easy”, and “Super Easy” to help you know where to start teaching without overwhelming the child. The book also includes a DVD for the ‘big partner’ (the more experienced mom, grandma, etc) with tips for teaching and making the experience fun for all involved.
I especially love that Nancy’s approach is more about having fun and making sewing together a creative, positive experience – including learning to embrace crooked seams!
The book contains 70 pages of excellent project instructions with detailed color illustrations featuring numerous sewing skill-building techniques.
In conjunction with the book and video class, Nancy created a whole collection of coordinating notions – some with special safety features – to help young ones build their confidence when it comes to sewing as well as an illustrated children’s book, The Flying Sewing Machine.
These notions include a seam guide with reusable adhesive to position on your sewing machine to help easily guide fabric for an accurate seam allowance. Also a retractable seam ripper that also works as a thread cutter when closed.
(Not shown) another great accessory is a machine foot that protects little fingers from getting too close to the needle (which I could have used when I learned to sew and got a needle through my thumb!)
In addition to the safety features and bigger sizes to help smaller fingers, all of the notions are a fun, coordinating green and purple palette. You can find all of the I Sew For Fun Notions available from Nancy’s Notions.
Reading through the I Love to Sew book inspired me to pull out some favorite scraps, try some of the I Love to Sew notions, and finish an overdue little doll quilt for a niece.
I wish I’d had this book when my kids were younger and eager to learn how to sew. I always felt like I didn’t know where to start and kind of just took a stab and what projects might work for them. I’m definitely saving it for when I have grandchildren so that I have a list of perfect projects to choose from.
As well as Nancy’s encouraging example of teaching a love of creative expression before worrying about straight seams and perfect points. xo