Why I Sew with Children

The Moment

Why I Sew with Children, Part 1: The Moment

It happens every time.  I might be threading the twentieth needle, or cutting out the thirty-first piece of felt.  And I wonder, "Why am I doing this?"  Just about any other project would be easier.  Painting, gluing, drawing.  None of those risk injury.  

Yesterday I questioned myself as I told the class that we would be sewing ornaments.  I was with my youngest students, fours and fives.  They could barely stand still to hear the two directions.  I sew one-on-one with a child while the other children play or read or draw.  

At this age, the children constantly bump against me.  One tipped the bowl of beads and sequins before he chose his two colors of felt.  "He doesn't know where he begins and ends," I said, smiling, to the class teacher.  

And I was handing him a sharp needle?  And holding the felt while he controlled the needle?  Holding the felt is important for the youngest sewers (see our Magical Secrets).  He didn't even want to sit down.  He shifted weight from foot to foot.  I took a deep breath.  Here we go, I thought.  I handed him the needle.

He studied it for a minute.  The first stitches were shaky, barely looking at the felt before pushing the needle through.  He dug around in the beads, at first just to hear the noise, then with serious intenton to find his favorite colors.

And then . . . then the moment.  He sat down.  His feet went still.  He looked at me, really looked at me, then again at his work.  And for the next few minutes.  He was completely focused.

We shared a lovely converstation about colors he chose for his sister and mom and dad.  He took the felt from me as his confidence grew.  And he sewed with intention.  

This is why I sew with children.

Because life is not all about Math Facts and Sight Words.  Life challenges us to be focused, invested, careful, and calm.  Life challenges us to give of ourselves, to see that we can make magic.  

And sewing with children lets me feel magic.  That moment is magic.

Tutorial for our Sew Sweet ornaments will be posted soon :)

*Please note: I mixed a couple of students together to write the story.  Magic happened with the boy in the photos, but he was not the one that tipped the bowl of sequins :).  I just want to be fair and true as I share :)