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Sew rewarding: Make clothes, toys and more by hand

Image credits: Sew Into It

In the second part of our mini-series on making things, we delve into the world of sewing!

Did you have a grandma that made you pretty outfits every Lunar New Year? Or an auntie that would hand-make you little dolls and bags?

A few generations ago, it was common to make clothes for the entire family. Clothes were painstakingly crafted with manual sewing machines in a corner of our living rooms. These days, mass-produced, factory-made clothing are cheap and readily available thanks to fast fashion brands.

Nurturing a DIY spirit
Learning how to sew is a useful life skill. Besides the obvious benefits of being able to sew on loose buttons and alter the length of store bought dresses or pants, creating clothes that are uniquely yours is empowering and nurtures the spirit of DIY.

Sewing is a great platform for children to express their individuality, creativity and talents. Creating their own clothes by hand builds perseverance, confidence and self-esteem. The adage of “I can do anything I put my mind to” is very aptly demonstrated in the sewing process. The tasks involved in sewing typically include: choosing a pattern, following pattern instructions, fabric selection, and colour coordination, choosing the right fit and size for each project you work on. These require creative thinking and problem solving skills.

When children learn how to sew, they develop an appreciation for the things they own as they experience first-hand, the time and effort that goes into making things.

Amy Toh, founder of sewing school Sew Into It, says, “Sewing helps children develop patience and focus. When you lose focus or rush to finish your project, mistakes occur. The process cannot be rushed – when a mistake is made, you need to retrace your steps, start the slow process of unpicking, and redo the stitching.”

Parent-child bonding through sewing
Sew Into It started running parent-child workshops in 2015 when they observed a demand for new experiences that facilitated parent-child bonding. Targeted at kids six and older, parents and children get to pick their own project to work together on. These can be anything from tote bags, pencil cases, and even soft toy animals! Alternatively, child and parent can choose to sew alongside each other on individual projects. Either way, the workshops are filled with lively banter, laughter, encouragement and support between parents and children.

Amy shares, ‘’We see parents who come in feeling apprehensive about using a sewing machine. They may also be a little anxious about their children hurting themselves with the needle. After a few minutes into the workshop, the parents observe their children handling the sewing machines confidently, and start to let go and focus on their projects.”

A sewing class being conducted at Sew Into It

In a workshop setting, parents usually provide encouragement instead of taking full control of the project. Children get to make their own decisions and test out their skills with help from the instructors. At the end of the workshops, parent and child leave with a shared experience and a deep sense of accomplishment from creating a product on their own.

We all hope for our kids to have voracious appetites for lifelong learning, and there is no better way to develop that than learning alongside them. The beauty of sewing workshops is that you and your child can start on an equal footing, assuming both of you are new to the experience of sewing. According to Amy, “Parents are usually amazed at how capable their children really are. In a lot of our classes, the parent learns and picks up loads of tips from their child!”

Sign up for a sewing class with your child this March holiday! Pick up a needle and thread at these courses:

Not-just-a-PENCIL-case workshop
Ages 8 and above
What: Suitable for beginners, learn how to operate a sewing machine, sew fabric with battling and attach a zip and lining to create your own customised pencil case.
When: March 16, 10am
Click here for details.

I MADE MY PENCIL CASE
Ages 7 and above
What: In this holiday workshop, your child will learn to sew a pencil case and embroider their name on it.
When: March 12, 2 to 4pm
Click here for details.

Children with their sewn items

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