Quilting Blog

Getting Stitchy: Tips for Quilting With Kids

Quilting is a fun, creative activity, so it’s no wonder that kids want to get in on the action! As a teacher, I’ve helped children as young as six years old learn how to sew on a machine. If your child has the interest in sewing, along with the attention span to sit and focus and listen to instructions, he or she is a great candidate for making some easy quilting projects!

Here are some easy beginner projects and techniques perfect for quilting with kids:

Quilting with kids

Getting started: Basic tips

The best way to keep kids interested in sewing is to involve them in every step of the process. From choosing a pattern to picking out fabric, little people have some very big opinions! They will feel a greater sense of ownership if they’re a part of the entire process.

It’s also a good time, if you haven’t yet, to take your child on a “tour” of the sewing machine. You don’t need to go over all the different stitches or how to adjust stitch width or length (they won’t need this anyway), but it’s a good time to talk about the pedal and speed controls, the presser foot and bobbin, seam allowances and, most importantly, keeping fingers away from the needle. I also like to put a piece of washi tape at the 1/4″ mark — it’s easier than the metal groove for kids to see.

Sewing on the machine: Project roundup

If you’re interested in quilting with kids, don’t think that you have to get them to commit to making a quilt. Instead of trying to entice kids to make a sampler quilt or something else that they might not use on a daily basis, why not try some projects that have a fun and functional value? There are plenty of ideas for quilting projects that kids will love to have and use after they’re finished.

Quilted placemats for tea parties or doll quilts are perfect for kids who love to role-play and might want junior versions to go along with the “real-life” versions they might see at home.

Simple square doll quilt
Doll quilt by Craftsy member Geraldine Conway

Kids might also be interested in seasonal mug rugs or kid-sized quilted oven mitts that they can later use in the kitchen.

Decorative pillows for their bedrooms are also a big hit!

Sunshine Serenade chevron pillow cover
Sunshine Serenade pillow cover pattern by Craftsy member Silly Mama Quilts

If your child is interested in making a pillow or quilt, the simplest beginning quilt patterns are perfect for kids. I remember making a simple nine-patch as my very first quilting project. This teaches kids about making a quarter-inch seam, matching seams and piecing different fabrics together.

A simple string or strip quilt (maybe with some leftover jelly roll quilting strips?) would also make a great project, particularly for kids who aren’t old enough to rotary-cut fabric yet.

Scrappy string blocks
Pieced Centre String Blocks
by Craftsy member Kaye Prince

Hands-on quilting with kids

If you have access to a long-arm machine, quilting a beginner project on it is something your child will remember for a long time to come. Both boys and girls get really excited about a huge machine that quilts a project, and with guidance, they can quilt their own names or designs into their projects.

Hand-quilting is another great technique to teach children. It teaches them the basics of hand-sewing (threading a needle, basic running stitch, how much thread to use) and is also a fabulous bonding experience if you have a stitching project of your own. Kids love to chatter while they sew!

The most important thing to remember while you’re quilting with kids is to teach them a love for the craft. It’s not about perfect seams or ideal technique as much as it’s about a love to create. (It’s a good lesson for the rest of us, too!)

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8 Comments

Charlene Lindenmayer

I agree. My First sewing machine by Winky Cherry is a great book to teach a child about the sewing machine. I find that when they learn the sewing machine, they don’t want to sew by hand; but I guess quite a few of us are like that

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Phyllis Elrich

i have been quilting with my seven year old Granddaughter for three years already! She knows how to thread a machine and even how to put the bobbin in. This year I bought her her own featherweight! It is so much fun for us to work together. Beautiful memories together are the sweetest!

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Judi Clark

My 2 Granddaughters 11 & 9 have been sewing with me for 5 years now. They each have an Elna Lotus, but are allowed to use my machine (under supervision) for embroidery. We love it.

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Brenda Kult

My 8 yr old granddaughter and I have been quilting for 2 yrs now. She has made a small baby quilt and a table runner for her mom. Took her to a quilt show in April. I couldn’t get her out of there. She was having so much fun picking patterns and material for our next project. She was telling the vendors how different quilts were inspiring her. It was so much fun!

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Lynn Kahn

I am just starting on this — so I think the smaller projects — might be a good idea for me —

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MaryEllen

Any ideas for projects that little boys who want to use that machine with all its buttons and levers would enjoy? Can’t picture my grandson making pillows for his room!

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Judith

My 9 year old grandson made a Minecraft themed rag quilt. It’s kinda ugly and green but he designed it on graph paper, chose fabrics and backing color, did all the sewing ( I still handle the rotary cutters), and I helped him with the clipping. As soon as he finished it he announced he’d be taking it to college with him!

He entered it in the youth division of a local show and won first in the viewers vote for the category!

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Stevie R.

Just read your comment and hope in the last two years you have had a great time sewing with your grandson. One year ago my six yr. old grandson made a pillow and entered it in the county fair. He won a first place ribbon in the junior division, first time quilter recognition, and a ribbon from the state quild. This year at age seven, he is entering a quilt he made. He loves to sew on my Jenome Horizon and does his quilting on my grace frame.

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