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 6 years old learn how to sew on a machine. If your child is interested in sewing (or if you want to pass along your passion), read on!
Our best tips for quilting with kids
Make sure your child is interested!
While anyone can learn to quilt, some children will be more interested (and capable) than others. Quilting is a long process, so consider whether your child has the attention span to sit and focus and listen to instructions.
Let them choose the project
The best way to keep kids interested in sewing is to get them involved early. Your kiddo can choose a pattern and pick out fabric. After all, little people have some very big opinions! They will feel a greater sense of ownership if they’re a part of the ideation process.
Start with a tour of the sewing machine
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 ¼” mark — it’s easier for kids to see.
Play it safe
Depending on the age of your child, some tasks might not be safe. That is, while a 10-year-old might be able to handle pins and sewing machine needles, you probably want to keep these sharp objects away from toddlers.
Decide how you’re going to quilt it
If you have access to a long-arm machine, let the kids try using it. 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!
What can kids quilt?
There’s no limit to what kids can make, but for your first project together, we have a few simple suggestions.
Yes, you can make a full quilt with kids! But to keep them engaged (and to actually get the project done!) we recommend sticking with something simple, like patterns that use lots of patchwork squares. Plus, the simpler the pattern, the less cutting you have to worry about.
Placemats, coasters and mug rugs
Imagine the joy on your child’s face when they eat every meal off of a placemat they made themselves!
In fact, the more your child can use what they make, the better! Try other useful projects like kid-sized quilted oven mitts or aprons.
Projects for dolls
Quilted placemats, blankets and more for dolls are perfect for kids who love to role-play and might want junior versions to go along with the “real-life” versions they see at home.
Decorative pillows for their bedrooms are also a big hit! It’s just like making a quilt top, except you’ll finish the project with a pillow instead of batting. We recommend this strip-piecing pillow, which minimized the cutting.
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!)
Our Favorite Fabrics for Kids
Whether you’ve got a budding cook, an wannabe astronaut, an animal lover or someone else, Lily & Loom has a fabric for every kid.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2015 and was updated in March 2018.