Usually, I put the disclosures at the end of a review, but let’s do ‘em early this time: Storey Publishing kindly sent me a review copy of this book – heck, they even asked me to write a blurb for the back cover! (And, as always, the title links are affililate.)
All that said… I’m so glad Sewing School finally exists! I got to see a galley copy way back in Summer, and I’ve been excited to share it with you ever since.
Sewing School is a wonderful instruction book, designed to introduce kids to sewing in a very non-threatening, empowering way.
The introduction for adults sums it up nicely:
“Sewing School isn’t as rigorous as a home-economics class. During our hands-on sewing sessions with younger children, we’ve discovered that, for the most part, young sewers don’t care about pressed seams and neat hems. So we decided to focus on easy, fun projects that don’t require extra work.”
The “we” in that quote refers to authors Amie Petronis Plumley and Andria Lisle, who created the popular Sewing School Day Camp program in Memphis that gave rise to this book.
Amie and Andria have done a bang-up job with the visual instructions here. Every technique, from threading a needle, to making stitches, tying a knot, and so on, is illustrated with clear step-by-step photos and kid-friendly text.
There’s a great “basics” section in the front of the book that covers all the sewing tools, how to handle fabrics, safety rules for sewing, making simple running stitches and whip stitches, cutting out patterns, sewing on buttons and trims, stuffing, making a simple casing, and more.
Hand-sewing is the primary focus, but there’s a page about sewing machine basics for kids who’ve used a machine before.
After the instruction chapters, there are 21 fun projects. I love how the project page not only lists materials, it clearly refers you back to the basic techniques you’ll need. And there’s always a box of instructions for grown-ups, helping them see the areas of the project where they might need to step in and help.
The projects are broken into five sections: Hug (soft toys), Hold It! (bags and pouches), Give (gift items), Wear (clothing for kids and dolls), and Recycle & Repair (things made from scrap fabrics). Each project also features a photo of a real kid, with these charming speech bubbles quoting their thoughts on how easy the project was or how they’re using it.
The Recycle & Repair section also covers the basics of repairing clothing, like hems, rips, and lost buttons. And there’s a Vet Clinic section with simple repairs you can do to stuffed animals.
I love this element of Sewing School – what a great idea it is to teach kids early how to make things last longer!
The projects focus on easy-to-sew fabrics like fleece, felt, and woven cotton, and shapes that stitch together in just a few seams. Kids as young as 6 or 7 should be able to tackle most of the designs, some with a bit of help. And others are great for older kids. (You can see more of the projects over here.
I just love the encouraging tone of the writing! What kid wouldn’t want to dive right in, especially when there’s no pressure to be perfect about it?
There’s also an envelope of pattern sheets bound into the back of the book. And an easy-to-craft-with spiral binding. I can think of a lot of kiddos (including many-years-ago me) who would love this book!