Machine Sewing with a Preschooler

The other day my 3-year-old asked if we could “look on the computer for an art activity” which I suppose says a lot about what computer time looks like in my house!

So I opened up one of my favorite blogs, The Artful Parent, and saw that our friend Jean was sharing simple pyramid-shaped beanbags. N was intrigued and immediately said that she wanted to make some beanbags too. In my mind, child-directed projects are often the most successful, so I took the opportunity to pull out the sewing machine and began to teach my daughter how to sew.

I invited N to choose the fabric from my stash, and then she cozied up with some remnants and my gigantic scissors while I cut the pattern.

machine sewing with a preschoolerTo begin our sewing lesson, I propped the foot pedal up on a couple of thick art books (see, they ARE good for something!) and explained how it worked.

machine sewing with a preschoolerShe helped me fill the bobbin with red thread and got the hang of the pressure surprisingly quick. Good practice! She stepped aside to watch me sew a few beanbags together, and then wanted her own turn to sew her remnants together.

I helped her sew three sides together, flip it inside out with a pencil, and she was BEAMING when she discovered that she had sewn a “pencil cover!” Of course!

machine sewing with a preschoolerAnd these are my completed bean bags. They were a snap to make and have brought so much joy to my one year old. But more on that tomorrow!

machine sewing with a preschooler

If your child isn’t yet ready for machine sewing, check out how I started my daughter off with hand sewing. 

This post shared with It’s Playtime


  1. That’s awesome. We’re getting very close to this point, although I admit I need to get over my control issues with the $400 machine that I’m constantly afraid of messing up all by myself! But yesterday she was cutting and pinning fabric, and pretending to sew and iron it (with a block, of course!) so it’s only a matter of time before I put her on my lap while I sew.

    • Ha! Sewing machines are such big machines (far less fragile than my phone, I would expect), but I do understand your worry. If your daughter is happy cutting and pinning, then I’d go with that for a while. No need to rush things! N wanted to give it a spin, but by no means was she on the machine all afternoon.

  2. Love it…my girls are so interested in learning to sew. We did a few hand sewing projects as well. Great job. Karen

  3. This is really exciting. I have always wanted to teach Eiya sewing. I like the embroidery hoop idea with recycled materials. It amazes me that they can learn to sew when they are so little. Inspiring.

    • Yes, if they have the desire, little kids can begin sewing with big needles. Don’t expect her to do it the same way you would, but she’ll pick up on the basic concept through practice.

  4. i seriously need a lesson from N on how to fill my bobbin with thread! (i have also been hoping to create the artful parent’s jean-ius bean bags before the holidays… if i can get the hang of the machine! send N over?) 😉

    • I can show you how to do this — come over anytime! I also thought these would make great holiday gifts. We’ll have to set up a swap 🙂

  5. OMG this is so timely! My 4 year old daughter has been asking about sewing and knitting (!) a lot in the last few weeks. I’ve been searching for something that would be satisfying for her and not too frustrating. Really perfect timing Rachelle … you must be psychic (or side kick as my friend’s daughter says).

    • Hee hee. I’ve been called a side kick before, so perhaps it’s true! Hopefully you and your 4 year old will find some joy in sewing together 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Jane!

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