We are using My First Sewing Book and My First Machine Sewing Book by Palmer Pletsch. It is a fantastic system for teaching sewing, using simple patterns and a series of rhymes to teach the basics. The kids in the class are ages 7-11. We started by making stitches with yarn on plastic canvas, then made little felt bookmarks with buttons on them. After that, we moved on to the little felt stuffed animals, which are handsewn with a whipstitch all the way around. My house is becoming filled with these little animals! There are patterns for a ton of them in the Palmer Pletsch kits. We have gone through about 3 huge bags of stuffing from Wal-mart! After the children had fully mastered the art of hand-sewing felt animals, we started working with the machine. First, the kids made all kinds of stitches on paper for practice. Today we got to move on to making the stuffed shapes with a machine. We are using the same patterns as before, but we learned how to make a seam allowance, sew the shape inside out, trim the seam allowances, then turn it right side out and stuff and finish it. The star was good practice because it has five points that need to be pushed out and stuffed. I am now preparing to expand the zoo for all the animals my children must now make on the machine with scrap fabric. Good thing I got a bunch of fabric on sale for 50 cents/yard!
If you have seen my previous sewing posts, you can see that the sewing teacher has also given some of the older kids some private lessons so that they have already moved beyond this and made a Jedi robe and a doll dress. The stuffed star and animal projects still teach them some important basics, though, and are fun projects that they enjoy making.