Teach kids to sew using burlap and yarn for an easy beginning sewing lesson. Learning to sew is a fun way for children to develop the fine motor muscles in the hand necessary for writing and more detailed hand work.
You may also like the next lesson Teach Kids to Sew a Line by Hand, where kids can begin to practice sewing a basic running stitch.
How to Teach Kids to Sew Using Burlap and Yarn
Learning how to sew on burlap is a great sewing lesson for beginners. One of my favorite activities as a child was sewing burlap with yarn. I loved practicing embroidery stitches and making elaborate pictures that I cherished for years.
Recently my 3-year-old daughter demonstrated that she could string beads directly onto monofilament line. I knew she had developed the fine motor muscles in her hands enough to try this beginning sewing activity.
Another good indicator of sewing readiness is if your child has been using lacing cards for a while, or is beginning to learn to how to write.
To keep things simple, I decided to start with the action of placing the needle back into the same side of the fabric that it came out of. I wanted to give her something easy for her first attempt at sewing so she wouldn’t get discouraged.
You can also try leaf lacing, another easy beginning sewing project for kids. Using sturdy leaves to practice sewing instead of lacing cards makes this homeschool activity idea both economical and eco-friendly.
Related: How to Sew a Button Apple Tree
Teaching Kids to Sew with Burlap and Yarn: Materials
- Cotton Yarn or Embroidery Thread
- Darning needle or plastic needle
- Embroidery Hoop (You might be able to find these second-hand. We inherited ours from grandma.)
- Embroidery Scissors
- Needle Threader (optional)
Related: How to Sew a Pocket Pet Mouse
How to Teach Kids to Sew with Burlap and Yarn
1. Cut out a square of burlap slightly larger than the embroidery hoop. Make sure you leave about 2 inches on all sides.
2. Place the burlap square into the embroidery hoop.
3. Cut a section of yarn or embroidery thread about twice as long as your child’s arm. Too long will be difficult for them to pull through. Too short will not be enough to sew more than a stitch or two.
4. Show your child how to thread the needle by placing the yarn through the big eye. It helps to moisten the yarn first. You can show them how to use a needle threader if you prefer.
5. Tie a double or triple square knot at the end of the length of yarn to make sure it doesn’t pull through the burlap. Normally the end closest to the eye of the needle is pulled through and left loose. You can tie a small knot that will easily pull through the burlap if you think it will make it easier for your child(ren). You can cut it off the needle when finished.
Related: Tons of Fun Arts & Crafts for Kids
Show Children How to Sew
Before you hand the needle and thread over to your kids it is best if you show them how to sew. Young children learn best by imitating others.
Show them both how to set up the activity and how to sew a few stitches before inviting them to give it a try. Use slow deliberate movements with minimal verbal instructions. (See below)
Invite Kids to Sew with Yarn and Burlap
1. Insert the needle through the back of burlap in the embroidery hoop.
2. Pull through until the knot catches.
3. Insert the needle through the same side that the yarn or thread is coming out of.
4. Turn over the embroidery hoop and once again pull the yarn all the way through until it catches. Don’t pull too hard or the yarn will slip out of the needle. (Unless you have tied a small knot to prevent this.)
5. Insert the needle into the back of the burlap and pull it through to the front. Don’t worry about having them place the needle close to where it came out of or teaching stitches yet. Just allow them to practice the calming action of sewing in their own way. They will begin to learn what works best through practice.
6. Repeat until you run out of yarn length. Tie it off in the back or tie it to another section of yarn and continue to sew.
Teach kids to sew using burlap and yarn for an easy first lesson in the mechanics of sewing. Allow your child to practice sewing on burlap using this technique a few times before trying to complete more advanced hand sewing projects such as learning how to sew a basic running stitch, or sewing hearts, or even a pocket pet mouse!
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Nell has over 20 years of experience working with children and is the founder of Rhythms of Play. She believes in the wonder of childhood, the power of the imagination, learning through play, and getting outside in all seasons! Learn more…