Little humans always want to do what they see their parents doing and that includes embroidering!
I have three little ones and the two that are old enough to talk ask me if they can “stitch” almost every time I’m embroidering. It has been such a joy to teach them this skill but like all things with children it has taken a lot of patience and grace. I’ve compiled some tips that I have discovered to help you teach your children with a few less hiccups.
1 - Use a good hoop
aI know you are probably thinking this is just a ploy to get you to buy an Auburn Hoop and of course I’d suggest that but it really is helpful to have a good hoop. A good hoop will hold fabric taut so that they can push the needle through with ease. Most importantly though, a good hoop will hold fabric in place so that you won’t have to readjust and tighten repeatedly. The goal is to set them up for success so they need less of mom’s help and you can sit back and enjoy embroidering your own piece.
2 - Pick the right fabric and needle
I have started both my children around age 2 with monks cloth and a yarn needle. Monks cloth (typically used for punch needle) has large holes to make it easy for that large, very safe, plastic needle to go through.
If you feel your child is ready for more, then you can upgrade them to a linen blend fabric and a tapestry needle. Tapestry needles are great for kids because they have a large eye that makes it easy for them to thread (again the goal is to let them do as much as they can on their own) and a blunt tip so they don’t stab themselves.
3 - Tie the thread on the needle
To keep the thread from sliding off the needle 53,920 times, thread the needle and then tie the two ends together. If you don’t do this, I promise you will go insane fixing it for them every time.
4 - Start simple
Every child will learn at different ages and stages so go at their pace. First, you will want to help them master going through the correct side of the fabric. My kids first hoops have thread wrapped around the edges and it took practice for them to pay attention to which side they needed to stick the needle through.
When they are ready to move on to learning stitches, I always start with simple lines and back stitch. Rainbows are perfect for this! Once they are confident with backstitch, move on to filling simple shapes with satin stitch. Don’t stress the rules here though. Remember they’re kids and you want them to enjoy the process.
5 - Let them draw their design
When drawing on fabric I always suggest pilot frixion pens. They erase with heat so when you are finished just point a blow dryer at it and the lines will disappear. Give one of these pens to your kids and let them go to town. They will love dreaming up their design and it will give them a sense of ownership as they begin stitching.
6 - Let them cut
Embroidery scissors are small so they fit their little hands perfectly. They are also sharp though so be sure to supervise this part. This is great practice for them. Again, if you haven’t caught on to my biggest tip, the more you teach them to do, the less they need mom.
Have patience and keep trying! I have found that it gets much easier to teach children embroidery around age four but every child will learn at a different pace. Take it slow and make it fun!
Comment below with your favorite tips for teaching kids your craft!