The absolute best sewing project for children learning to hand sew is a basic pillow. It doesn’t take much fabric, the pattern is very easy to make and cut out, most of the stitching won’t show – making mistakes much less important, and they can decorate the finished pillow in a variety of fun ways.
Materials You will need a yard of fabric, scissors, thread, needles, stuffing, newspaper, marker, ruler and/or compass, straight pins,a dowel and accessories for decorating the final product, such as ribbon, glitter, rhinestones, glue, embroidery thread, etc. Optional: Craft glue (waterproof) or a hot glue gun and glue stick for finishing, and a pin cushion.
Pattern Have your child pick a simple shape – square, heart, circle – and help them draw half of it on a piece of folded newspaper using the ruler and/or compass. Help them cut the shape out while the newspaper is still folded. A pattern can also be made by enlarging and printing a picture of the shape. If necessary, patterns can be printed in sections and taped together. Next, teach them how to pin the pattern to the fabric, and then help them cut the fabric and remove the pins.
Sewing Show your child how to thread the needle and tie off the thread. Have them practice several times and keep these threads needles in a pin cushion nearby. That way, they will be ready, each time a previous needle and thread is tied off. Have the child line the fabrics together, with the fronts facing each other and pin them in place. Show them how to insert the needle and test that the knot will not come through the fabric. Demonstrate several types of stitches for them, and then let them begin making stitches down each seam. When the thread starts to run out, show them how to tie it off and cut it. Have them continue sewing until they are about 3 inches from the original stitch.
Stuffing Teach them how to turn the pillow right side out so as not to disturb the stitches. Place a small bit of stuffing in the opening and show them how to press it into the corners with the dowel. Have them continue until the pillow is full.
Finishing Now it is time to finish the last bit of seam. You can have them whip stitch this or it can be sealed with waterproof craft glue or a hot glue gun. Have them use accessories to decorate and personalize the pillow. Hand wash in cold water as necessary.