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

Hand Sewing with Young Children



The Hand Sewing Progression chart below, was the organized result of teaching sewing skills to various ages of children at various stages of fine motor skills.

Toddlers love stringing large beads, tube pasta, even Cheerios!  Stringing is great for developing their eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills. Some children, as young as four, desire to leave the stringing behind and move on to “real sewing”. Hand sewing is the logical place to start.

Last fall, I started Little Stitches, a hand sewing class for children ages 4 – 6.  As I prepared the curriculum, I wanted to be sure it was incremental, taking them gently from larger motor to finer motor sewing skills. This led me to organizing those skills in the following chart. Though this chart is not unique in its content, I think it is unique in visualizing the progression of these sewing skills. The first two columns are technically pre-sewing skills, but are still part of the overall process.

I continue to be amazed at the concentration and accuracy this age group exhibits in their handwork. Creating with needle, thread, and fabric is refreshing and rewarding for both the teacher and the student. : )

Hand Sewing Progression Chart