I know when I was a teenager, I was very likely to resist even the best ideas. However, sewing stuck with me throughout my life.
I am glad it did too! Sewing is now a huge part of my life and it’s very useful, too.
Using what you know about your teen and these 6 easy steps, you can help provide your teen with an a lot of incentive to start sewing like a pro in no time.
1. Create a creative and comfortable workplace
There are many different ways that you can make your space more creative. Think about what the space looks like. Is it much fun to sit in a room with no decorations that has just a single table to work on? Or would you rather work in a place that has many different pieces of art, a table that has storage space, along with ample ways for you to keep track of your projects and your art? Installing simple things like hanging chalkboards, curtains, and tables with cabinets built in or rolling cabinets nearby can all increase your teen’s want to create. Check out this Pinterest board for some great and easy decoration and space use ideas.
2. Provide a quality sewing machine and sewing materials
Finding an easy to use but still quality sewing machine can be a challenge. Thankfully there are a lot of resources on the web to help you. Take a look at Sewing Makes Me Happy’s guide to beginner machines with a list that is focused specifically on children, cutting out the guesswork for your purchase. You can also make sure that you are using resources that interest your teen. Be sure that you pick a machine that is easy to operate and fix, as your teenager will probably have a lot of great ideas and want to try things that might stress your machine. Make it straightforward to fix and easy to operate to prevent tension later on when they try something that the machine couldn’t handle.
3. Share resources for patterns and ideas
It’s great to make the creative process as easy as possible. There are thousands of resources for creative sewing ideas and patterns, and plenty of resources to help your teenager learn how to sew.
This site is one of my favorites to help your teen learn how to sew. You’ll also want to help your teen by providing books and resources. There are thousands of great books out there.
Check out your local library or bookstore and pick up a few manuals and creative sewing project books. You can even create a mini-library in the workspace, so your teen doesn’t even have to leave the craft room to find inspiration or help when they need it.
If your tween likes American Girl dolls, then be sure to check out these ideas.
4. Respect and encourage their creativity
Knowing how to approach and encourage your teen is of utmost importance. Teens are great at knowing when you are being insincere in your compliments while simultaneously being very sensitive to criticism presented in a harsh way. Know that your teen will have a different sense of style than you, and that is okay! Just because you don’t find it creative (or really even that interesting, let’s be honest) doesn’t mean that it’s not a step in the right direction. Many teens come up with industry changing ideas in the fashion world, and are often more in tune to ideas and what’s popular than we adults are, despite our best efforts.
5. Help them learn from their mistakes
Your teen will try and sew 6 layers of denim or something metal that will break your machine. They will sew up nice clothing and destroy it in an attempt to alter it. That’s okay. Take a step back if you’re frustrated. Remember that your teen is likely very capable of handling this problem on their own, and will likely understand the consequences in time. Provide them with the resources they need, support them, but don’t fall into the trap of doing it for them. If this is something that they truly enjoy, they will need to know how to resolve problems on their own. They may just need a few affirming words from you to help them along.
6. Have fun!
This process has to be fun for you and for your teen. Both of you will end up hating sewing and being creative if it isn’t. So relax! Enjoy redecorating a room if your teen doesn’t end up using it, and let them make a mess and make mistakes. You and your teen could both end up loving this project if you both work together.
Teens are tough to get interested in anything presented by their parents, but with a little bit of scaffolding and (very) gentle nudging, you can help your teen become an inspired seamster. And who knows, you could become the parent of the next top dress designer, or at least the parent of a happy and engaged teen who loves the hobby you helped them engage in, and that’s pretty awesome too!
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About Laura Brooks
Laura Brooks blogs at www.sewingmakesmehappy.com and helps spread the word about sewing. Sewing has been a positive influence on Laura’s life and she wants the same for others. Follow along with her as she blogs about the massive benefits of sewing, including sewing psychology.