Sewing with a toddler (or in my case, a 3-year-old) around can be quite a challenge. As much as I enjoy sewing in peace, quiet, and solitude, it’s important for me to realize that I am raising up the next generation of seamstresses.
I want Sara Lynn (and Daniel, too – he just wasn’t around this time) to be interested in what I’m sewing, especially if it is for her. It makes for a much more meaningful gift when they feel as if they have contributed to the process. This little one loves choosing her own fabric, and deciding what she would like for it to become. I want to nurture in her a desire to continue the art of sewing.
That said, I always have plenty to keep her little hands busy while I am at the machine. Never underestimate the power of a simple deck of cards. I have all kinds of cards: number and letter flash cards, bible character cards. You name it, and I probably have a card for it.
However, Sara Lynn prefers a more grown-up version of cards. I think it makes her feel a little more grown-up to play with our cards, and they are pretty. All those diamonds, clubs, hearts, and spades in all those bright primary colors. She loves to find the face cards and make matches. It usually entertains her for a good 30 minutes.
When she grows bored with the cards, she’s usually ready to pull out her crayons. I make sure that everything is handy.
I like having my sewing studio in a corner of my bedroom. It allows my children to wander in and climb up cozily in my bed to watch my progress. I’m blessed to have a large space for this, but it doesn’t take much room. A few old suitcases (or cardboard boxes) for fabric and supplies tucks neatly beneath an old desk or table.
At some point, Sara Lynn will decide that she wants to ‘sew’. I have an empty box, which turned upside-down, serves as her table. And I have small scissors, just her size. I let her choose fabric from my scrap basket, and she is content to snip it into teeny-tiny pieces.
I watch her out of the corner of my eye, and remind her to watch out for her fingers. She’s never had an accident with the scissors, and hers are pretty dull anyway. It’s important to foster a sense of independence and confidence in young children. They are capable of far more than we usually give them credit.
And hands down, her very favorite thing to do while I sew, is play with my pins. Again I keep an eye on her, and remind her not to lay them in the floor or poke her finger.
It seems my sweet Sara Lynn has an artistic streak herself. Check out those patterns and lines she made with the pins!
I love my little ones.