Vintage Sewing

Alexis’ Sewing Machine

May 26, 2009

A couple of months ago I found my daughter a sewing machine at an estate sale.  It’s a 1975 Singer Fashion Mate Model 360.  It had 7 fashion discs with it and even the table.  I brought it home for her to teach her to sew.  Today is the day.  I’ve got her learning a straight stitch on it right now.  I never realized what a trying job teaching is.  I’m not known for my patience.  As a matter of fact, I’m know for my impatience.  Rather well I might add.  I’m glad she’s in there working on her own trying to learn how to keep the raw edge of the fabric even with the seam line.  She is so stiff in front of the machine.   She has plenty of scraps in there to practice on.  I’m not above saying that I need some help.  Has anyone else taught a nervous 10 year old how to use a mechanical machine?  Any pointers are welcomed.  

Yes, that is a step stool under the machine.  She’s too short to reach the peddle on the floor.  I can’t help but laugh over this.  It’s too cute to see her in there like that.  I’ll have to post a picture of her at the machine later.
  1. I have my children sew with paper first. I draw straight lines, then curved lines for them to follow.

    I am currently teaching my 8 year old daughter to sew. Right now she is learning handsewing. She will start on the machine probably in September, possibly sooner. She has started her own sewing blog so she can share what she is learning with everyone. She’s really enjoying being a part of the sewing community and is receiving lots of encouragement from several sweet ladies.

    Your daughter may enjoy going to her blog. It’s

    Mine is

  2. First I think that is great that she is interested! Having her practice on scraps is great… practice makes perfect right?! Start with a tote bag or something that’s all straight lines. Once she’s made something she’ll gain confidence.

  3. I’m also teaching my 10 year old how to sew, but hand sewing first. I am patient, but she is not. She likes instant gratification. She has told me that her goals are to 1) make clothes and 2) do needlepoint. I figured if she wants to do needlepoint, she’ll need to know how to use the needle, so hand sewing is the first step for us. I’m not comfortable sitting her down in front of the machine yet, maybe in a year or two when her patience is better. Good luck.

  4. I’ve been teaching my daughter to sew as well! She is now 12. Her first item was a doll’s blanket. We chose gingham so it would help her sew straight! Good Luck.

  5. I think it’s mostly supervised practice that helps. I remember being terrified that the machine would suck my hands in (which, of course, was absurd, but I was kind of a high-strung kid) until I learned to control pedal pressure better.

    (I’m not sure what you mean by “mechanical machine”?)

  6. Have you tried your local fabric/craft store? Most of the big ones have classes. My eldest (almost 7yo) has taken one class already (pillowcase) and is working on “lazy pants” (last class tomorrow) and will move on to a “Hannah Montana” dress in June. It takes a lot of pressure of me the mommy to have an “expert” giving the instructions while I observe and help run the machine.

  7. I taught my daughter, now 10, but 8 at the time on an older model machine. She made a pillow for her first project. Having a finished item at the end of one sewing session really got her hooked. 🙂

  8. She’s been very enthusiastic about her machine. She’s making pj pants in flannel. We are moving this week and have to put the project away until our things get to the new place but will pick back up when they do. Once she realized the machine wasn’t gonna eat her she was better. The scraps are working well for practice for the time being. Her birthday is in July. I was thinking about a class or two for her gift. There is a Joann’s store close to our new apartment. I’ll update as soon as we get there.

  9. My mother drew spiral circles & spiral squares on paper for us to sew. Worked great & you don't lose fabric scraps.


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