Teaching Children to Sew (with Nancy)

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 created a series of 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!

In conjunction with the I Sew For Fun series, 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.

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 series 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

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  • Reply
    Melanie C
    February 6, 2018 at 6:13 am

    This looks perfect for teaching my daughter to sew! I love the safe presser foot idea!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2018 at 11:13 am

    What a great description of the book and products! I think I will look into getting the book and some of the notions before visiting our grandchildren next month and hopefully, teaching them to sew.

  • Reply
    Pam Murphy
    February 6, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Nancy was genius with everything she taught. I miss her show knowing she would have something exciting and easy to do. So glad the kids book was completed and her legacy can be passed on to our grandchildren.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2018 at 4:32 pm

    Nancy was blessed to end her career Sewing with her granddaughters and leaving us with tools to introduce friends and family to the joys of Sewing.

  • Reply
    Mehera Ortiz
    February 6, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    The doll quilt is very cute!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Looks like a wonderful way to teach my granddaughter how to sew. She loves to help me make things for herself and others. I’ve gotten cooking things in my kitchen to help her cook with me. Guess it is time for me to get some sewing things for her to sew with me.

  • Reply
    Liz Ortiz
    February 6, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    I have always loved Nancy’s teaching style. She will be missed terribly. I need to get this book to teach my niece how to sew, thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Shirley Clark
    February 6, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    The book sure looks like fun. My little granddaughter would love it.


  • Reply
    February 6, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Leave it to Nancy to address teaching sewing to kids. Even after her passing, she continues to teach and guide us in our work. Now she has helped with teaching the next generation.

  • Reply
    Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting
    February 7, 2018 at 5:38 am

    I love her book “The Flying Sewing Machine”! Her legacy continues ❤️.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    I think Nancy did a great job putting the thought into this entire program. I am most in love with that foot. I’ve wanted to teach my youngest granddaughter to sew but was afraid to have her tiny hands near that needle. Now I’ll feel a lot better and know that worry won’t be as great when the time comes that I can work with her.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    I need to check out her book. Thanks for this post!

  • Reply
    Angela J Short
    February 8, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Very cool notions and books. Cool blog hop! Have a fun day!! angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

  • Reply
    Linda K Edwards
    February 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    This is such a wonderful book to introduce children to sewing. My granddaughters are eager to learn.

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