Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sewing Basket Part II: Pointy Things

This is part two of a three part series. It's about the two pointy things that belong in a kid's sewing basket; pins and needles. I'll explain why I choose the ones that I use and at the end of the post there is a link to a tutorial for assembling a simple needle book.

First, I have two silly riddles. 

What has a head, but cannot think?

What has an eye, but cannot see? 
A needle.

Straight pins hold two pieces of fabric to each other while they are being sewn together. 

Although they bend rather easily, I really like using the long, thin pins with plastic flowers for the heads because they are big enough for small hands to grab, and it's usually quite effortless to push them through fabric.

Hand sewing needles for kids need to be large, at first. Chenille or embroidery needles sizes 18-22 are the ones with which I start them. The eyes are big which makes them easier to thread and the shaft is thick and easier to grasp than regular sewing needles.

Very young children, 5-year-olds for example, may find even these big needles hard to manipulate at first, but they should quickly gain the fine motor control to do it.

Give your child a variety of needles from which to choose and allow him the freedom to learn from the choices he makes.

Pin cushions are like storage units for pins and needles. The red tomato is traditional, but it can be wobbly. 

The tomato is stuffed with sawdust and the strawberry, the little piece that hangs from the tomato, is filled with emery sand which sharpens needles and removes burrs. Look for pincushions with flat bottoms.

A Needle Book is a tidy way to store needles. You and your child can make a simple, felt needle book for his sewing box. It will keep needles in one place so you can always find one. 
The Sewing Basket, Part I Sharp Things
The Sewing Basket, Part III Mark, and Sew


  1. Hello! Do you recommend the embroidery needles size 18 to 22 for beginning third through sixth graders or more for littler kids?

    1. Hi, Wendy! I have used these needle sizes for all ages of beginners. The idea is to use a needle with a large eye so the kids can learn to thread them without asking for help, and one that is thick enough for them to be able to manipulate easily. Of course it really depends on each child's fine motor control. The better their motor control, the smaller the needle and eye they can use. I always put a variety of sizes in the pin cushions so they can pick the one they want. I hope that answers your question. Good luck! It sounds like you have exciting plans in store for your classes.


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