It’s with such excitement that I’m sharing this first sewing project for kids today. I’m so proud of my son for learning how to sew during this activity which makes it even more exciting! This kid-sewn gingerbread man is so very adorable and makes a great Christmas decoration or toy. You can even turn it into an ornament by adding some ribbon.
This tutorial is a part of Sew A Softie for Christmas with Coloured Buttons and several other great bloggers. Be sure to head over there for more information!
Note: This is definitely a project that is meant to be done together. It was a great way to spend time together which I absolutely loved.
My son is 4 and a half. This was his very first experience with sewing with thread and a needle. He was thrilled to do the real thing. I think that contributed to his excitement and pride in his project. Even though we did the whole thing together, he did 90% of the stitches himself! It was surprising to find that I didn’t end up having to help as much as I anticipated. For the sewing bit, I did the first and last stitch with him because this time I was just teaching him basic straight stitching around edges.
I started the thread for him, showed him how to do it, and guided him along as he gradually needed my help less and less. Midway through the project he was doing it all on his own and all I did was watch!
I do believe fine motor activities completed previously, such as our gingerbread lacing craft, helped him get ready for this first sewing project.
Tips before get you started:
- Be sure to show your child safety and how to hold the project in a way in which they wont poke themselves. My son didn’t poke himself at all which was impressive.
- Double-threading the needle and making a knot at the end will prevent the thread from slipping through. I would like to teach my son how to do it without a knot later but he did well this way and we liked the look of the thicker stitches.
- If you find that your little ones aren’t interested right now, that’s ok! Don’t push it. We actually did this in two separate sittings because we had to leave to go somewhere. That may have helped my son stay interested. When we got home he really wanted to do it again and was thrilled to finish it!
Gingerbread Man Softie Tutorial:
- A Gingerbread Man Pattern
- Embroidery Thread
- Embroidery Needle (I found a larger size worked best for my son)
- Filling (fiberfill, scrap felt, cotton balls, yarn, etc.)
First I printed out the A Gingerbread Man Pattern and cut it out. I used it as a template to cut out our pieces from felt. I chose brown for the body, green for buttons, and white for the face. The bow I added was cut freehand from red felt.
With all of the pieces cut out, it was time to sew!
Thread the needle and make a knot at the end.
So start your first stitch, thread the needle through the top piece of felt from underneath, and pull through.
This hides the knot inside the project.
Using a straight stitch, I begin a couple of stitches around the edge to show my son how to do it. If you’re unfamiliar with a straight stitch, it goes in and out each side as shown below.
Some things that I said that seemed to help my son for his first sewing project:
- “Put the needle IN to the same side it is coming out from”. (If he forgot to keep putting it into the same side)
- “Trace the gingerbread man with the thread”. (If he started putting the needle somewhere in the middle of the project rather than around the edge)
Other than that, he didn’t have much trouble! After just a little while, he was able to do it on his own (with supervision). Here are some photos I was able to grab of him sewing on his own:
The stitches might be unevenly spaced and the felt may be bunched up in spots but that’s perfectly OK! A first sewing project won’t be perfect. In fact, that’s exactly what I like about this sweet gingerbread man.
He kept working along the edge of the project until he got towards the end.
We stopped sewing where we needed to leave an open space to add filling. My son stuffed in the fiberfill. A pencil was helpful to get the stuffing into the head, arms, and legs.
He stuffed it to his liking and added a few stitches to close it up.
I tied it off by threading the thread through the previous stitch and knotting it. I like to bring the thread through the inside center of the project to hide the end of the thread before cutting.
Now it was time to decorate our gingerbread man! We let Little Bro get in on this part. We used tacky glue to add our cut felt pieces to our gingerbread man.
The glue dried and my son’s very first sewing project was complete! I love it!