Saturday, February 9, 2008
although (most?) parents try not to push their own identities onto their children, i think it's probably normal to be a bit excited when your child takes an interest in one of your favorite activities. so imagine my pleasure when eva became fascinated with the sewing machine, and wanted to have one set up just for her.
it never would have occurred to me to try this at such a young age (she's 2 1/2) if i hadn't just read wendi gratz's great post about sewing with children (i found it via whip up during their crafts with kids theme last month). she mentions her daughter starting at age four, so i asked larry first if this seemed like an okay plan for our kid or if i was going to end up being harshly questioned when we ended up in the ER with puncture wounds in my toddler's fingers ("gee, but she really wanted to sew...")
like wendi, i set my machine up on a kid-sized table, put on the walking foot (which blocks the needle a bit more), and wedged some stuff under the foot pedal so she couldn't sew too quickly. i also ended up duct taping the foot pedal to an overturned box since her feet don't reach the floor even from her kid-sized chair.
i made sure she knew to keep her hands on either side away from the needle, and let her just go. i thought she'd just want to sew random lines (i gave her a scrap quilt sandwich to work on), but within two minutes she insisted she raise and lower the presser foot herself. (from my vantage at the side of the machine, seeing her little hand reach to the back to find the hidden presser foot lever was just too cute.) we couldn't find her scissors, so i taught her to cut the threads with the cutter attached to the side of the machine. our biggest challenge was that she insisted on "fixing" the various knobs for me, and every so often i'd find the thread tension had been set to zero when i wasn't paying attention. as she sewed, the look of concentration on her face was sweet, and she'd proudly show me after she finished each line: "mama, look at my beautiful stitching!"
so far that was her only sewing session, but when she seems ready, i'll see if she's interested in following a line or seam. maybe i can help her make a simple little bag, since she's fond of them in general.
of course, she'll eventually rebel against me and everything i stand for, but for now she wants to sew just like mama. it made my day.