My oldest granddaughter is now old enough to begin sewing, at least at a rudimentary level with a sophisticated version of what we used to call “sewing cards”. We recently spent time in my studio working on her project, a Christmas present from me, and it reminded me that learning to sew means more than learning how to thread a needle and make stitches.
1. When you make a mistake you can fix it. If you can’t fix it, you have to learn to work with it and move on.
2. It is okay to be a beginner (we had quite a conversation about this, as she wanted mastery to come quickly!). Another part of this is that it is okay to ask for help even when you are no longer a beginner!
3. Making something with your own hands is satisfying.
4. You don’t have to finish a project in one sitting. If you get tired you can stop, and go back to it later.
There will be a lot more she’ll learn as time goes on, those lessons that are embedded in sewing and quilting, and many handicrafts: things about patience and persistence, trusting your instincts, reading directions carefully, working without directions, challenging yourself, sharing your work, caring for tools, time management, when to give up (yes, that can be a useful thing to learn!), and much, much more.
My granddaughter is at the age where she loves crafting of any kind, so it is hard to know if she will really take to sewing and continue with it beyond the initial interest. But I hope that as we share time making things, regardless of medium, I can reinforce lifelong lessons that will help sustain her when more than a misplaced stitch is at stake.