I'm not the only one stitching around here these days. These two boys of mine have been stitching up a storm this winter.
They've both done quite a bit of sewing before, both at my side and on their own (I wrote about Calvin's first foray here). But the issue of the machine has always been a little tricky. Sharing Mama's Bernina - with all it's bells and whistles and knobs and dials so tempting to mess with and so easy to break (and costly to repair) - has made me a bit of an annoying 'hoverer' when they use it. Not so ideal for the proper exploration and freedom needed to really explore and get to know such a tool, I do think.
But this winter, sensing that there was enough interest and maturity to warrant it, a second machine made it's way into our home. A simple, basic, sturdy and easy to navigate machine just for them. Having one that's always available, and easy to access has made sewing a part of their every day. (for the moment, at least). Their work is done on the dining room table, so the machine is stored nearby, and easy for them to move. A few suitcases for fabric, and a sewing box for notions also get tucked away and easily pulled out for working with.
Like most things around here, I suppose, there hasn't been a whole lot of formal 'instruction,' per se, but rather a whole lot of room in which to explore, good materials around them, and an adult (or two) to model. Besides re-threading the machine (often), they've been eager to "do it themselves." There's just one 'rule' with their machine that I ask them to respect. "If something feels stuck, don't force it. Ask for help." So far, so good. It's still working, and they're still sewing.
The whole process has led to crafty kid fabulousness the likes of which I never could have imagined or created myself. Their creations have ranged from the very practical - mittens, baseball fields, 'cases' for everything from Uno cards, box cutters, knives and Leathermans; to the fabulously ornate - like Ezra's line of hats, arm bands, and leg wraps ("I'm going to make a whole bunch of clothes that don't even exist yet!")
It's always been such a treat to wander around our home and see signs of handmade tucked here and there. But my goodness, that feeling is multiplied about a gazillion times over when the same is said of handmades by my children. And watching them blossom with another tool of creativity - whether it be a sewing machine, carving knife, or ukelele - well, it really is one of the greatest joys of being their Mama.