Machine Sewing with Children: Free Printable

Printable Basic Sewing Guidelines and Terms –  a helpful reference/checklist for both teacher and student.

Sewing Guidelines/Terms

Good Sewing Habits:                                                                                001

  • Wash hands before sewing.
  • Organize work area.
  • Adjust lighting.
  • Set up machine.
  • Put items away promptly.
  • Clean up your sewing area after each session.

Good Safety Habits:

  • Pins – Keep in pincushion or in your fabric – No loose pins!
  • Needles – Keep in your needle book or in your project.
  • Shears and scissors – Keep closed and on the table when not in use.
  • Seam ripper– Cut away from yourself when using – keep away from your eyes!
  • Iron – Hold by handle only; keep face and fingers away from steam. Rest iron on its heel, not flat down on its sole plate. Turn off iron when you leave the sewing area.
  • Sewing Machine -Use slow speed when first learning to operate. Keep your fingers away from the needle. Follow cleaning and maintenance schedules as noted in owner’s manual.

Good Terms to Know:

  • Back stitch- the reverse stitch on the sewing machine used at the beginning and ending of a seam to secure it.
  • Baste – a long temporary stitch done by hand or machine.
  • Grain – the lengthwise and crosswise threads of a fabric.
  • Guide sheet – the instruction sheet that explains how a sewing project is constructed.
  • Marking – transferring pattern details to fabric from the pattern pieces.
  • Notions – small items used in sewing, such as thread, buttons, elastic, snaps, etc.
  • Pivot – to change the direction of the machine stitching by turning the fabric while the needle is still in the fabric.
  • Seam allowance – the amount of fabric from the cut edge to the seam line.
  • Seam line – the line on which the seam is stitched.
  • Selvage – the finished edge of woven fabrics that runs parallel to the lengthwise grain.

Sewing Guidelines


Machine and Hand Sewing Students and Their February Projects


One of the pillowcases she made for her brothers for Christmas.

One of the pillowcases she made for her brothers for Christmas.

E was one of Learning Home’s first sewing students.  We worked on Christmas gifts for her family in 2015 and then birthday and Valentine presents in early 2016.

We enjoyed scrolling through dozens of images of hand crafted owls, and then set out to create our own owl patterns. She made the large one and I made the baby.

“They’re sooo cute!” was our go-to response for each detail added to our little friends.

E showed impressive design sense as she intentionally chose which colors to put where, in order to create a cohesive pattern.

And once she was done, she managed to keep the owls and Love Bugs hidden at her house for a week, so she could give the owls to her mom and the Love Bugs to her friends on Valentine’s Day. (I didn’t get a separate picture of the Love Bugs, but if you look closely you can see one in its various stages in the pictures below. 🙂 )





I was privileged to do the love bug activity with a large group of homeschoolers in Huntington, WV, ages 4-11, and they did a fabulous job.

I made this hand out so the older ones could practice following written instructions.

love-bug-directionsI was especially impressed with their patience and carefulness at the rice station. 🙂




Language Arts Warm-Up: Parts of Speech, Syntax, Vocabulary

Language Rocks!

Did you read the first line as a simple, exclamatory sentence or as an adjective modifying a noun?

In this case, both readings are intended.

I had been looking for a non-consumable way for my students in Language Arts Lab to play/practice with sentence structure, parts of speech, and punctuation.  Using little pieces of note cards for each new “sentence puzzle” seemed so wasteful.  Taking inspiration from a mom who stored small word blocks in a clear canister for similar purposes, I got the idea to use the skipping rocks I had collected in a similar way. I love the look and feel of the rocks, and though I ran out of the free rocks and had to supplement with purchased rocks (only $1 at Dollar Tree!), overall, I am pleased with their functionality. The upside of the black rocks is we can write on them with chalkboard markers, so anytime we want to change up our word selection, we can.

As you can see in the pictures, I am currently sorting them in “parts of speech” sections.  This leads to good conversation about where words should be sorted when they are out of the context of a sentence. For instance, in which section would you put “down”? Is it an adverb or a preposition? How about “work”? Noun or verb? You get the idea. : )

How to use “Language Rocks”:

  • Let them create sentences of their own from the words available.
  • Let them create “Mad Lib” style sentences.
  • Reinforce memory work (poetry, Scripture, speeches, etc.), by solving sentence “puzzles”.
  • Integrate new vocabulary (from various subjects) into the word mix.
  • Let them add in words from their “working vocabulary”/ areas of interest.  (Minecraft, sports, princesses, sharks, ballet, etc.)
  • Practice correct punctuation placement.

Make a set for your family and enjoy exploring language together with “Language Rocks”!