Monday, December 30, 2013

Boys sewing: Buckles and Bobbins

Zach (age 11 now) developed an interest in sewing a couple of years ago.  Unfortunately, he did not develop any patience to go along with it, so his sewing efforts have thus far been pitiful to say the least.  Sewing is not a speedy hobby, at least not in the beginning that is for sure.  Zach is a book learner to the core, so I started my hunt to find him some sewing books to aid my hands-on teaching.  Needless to say, the choices among books for teaching a boy to sew are few, or at least they were a couple of years ago.  [Anyone know of newer choices?]

We got a couple generic learn to sew books for kids to show how a machine worked, how to thread a needle, how to straight stitch and so forth (to reinforce the hands on componenent), and one complete with shapes to sew over to practice curves and basic manipulation of paper (leading to fabric manipulation while in the machine of course).  But then we had a lack of progress in terms of real projects beyond a pillowcase or other super simple things.  Most "first project" stuff really appeals more to girls (simple skirt and so forth).

Then I came across this book, geared for older boys.  It is a bit pricey honestly, but I have nothing but praise for the content.  It is a complete first sewing course with projects, and  not all of them are super super simple.  They truly put some thought into what would appeal to a boy, especially an older boy, and then taught them how to make it.  I think boys especially need a final product to be interested at all, and a pillowcase is not going to cut it.  Zach does not want to sit down and practice stitching with nothing at the end, or practice putting a button on nothing.  He needs a garment.  So boys will practice a zipper in an actual bag they want to use, or a cargo pocket on a fun pair of pants. 

This book has pull-out, full-size pattern sheets.  The kids will need to learn to trace off the size they need for the garments (size 8-16!!!!) on paper or whatever tracing medium you are using, then do the project.  The instructions for the projects are clear and concise, simple without being dumbed down.

We haven't made all the projects, but one we use repeatedly is the PJ pant/short pattern and simple V-neck, scrub-style PJ top with a simple facing.  Since his patience is low, I have taken over the sewing of these most of the time, but your child would have little to no trouble doing the pants on his own, slightly more with putting in the facing on the neckline of the top, but still very doable.  The pants have a modification from PJs to daywear with a pattern add-on of side pockets and/or leg cargo pockets. 

Again, I have nothing but praise for the very existence of this book to help boys, especially older boys, learn to sew with projects of interest to the age group.  The content is good, clear and simple without being overly simplistic.  They can create projects or gifts.  Fit on the garments for stated sizing may be a bit generous but not awful, and very compatible with other typical envelope patterns.  5 stars for this one!

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