I outlined my lesson plans and Arden has already practiced the first four lessons. She is doing so great and is so excited to be sewing! She keeps talking about all the projects she is going to sew on her new machine.
Today I’ll share the first lesson: Setup and Safety
Firstly you’ll need a machine on which to learn and practice. It can be a full size machine, or there are many scaled down models available. I recommend spending as much as you are able to afford so you get a machine that will perform well and not create frustration. I sew on a Janome and that’s where my loyalty lies as I love my machine. It doesn’t hurt that Janome offers several Hello Kitty licensed character machines. I had planned to purchase this model, but when Jo-Ann had all Janome Hello Kitty models half off on Cyber Monday, I upgraded to the 18750 model. I have been very happy with the quality of this machine and how easy it has been to instruct Arden to use it.
I posted this to Instagram and it shows the side by side comparison of the size of the two machines. The Hello Kitty model is billed as a full-size machine, but you can see that it is smaller than my Memory Craft.
Just like you want your machine set up at a height which is comfortable for you, you need to think about how your child will operate the machine. If you set them at a regular height table and chair, they won’t be able to reach the foot pedal. This problem can be solved one of two ways: lower the machine, or raise the foot pedal.
I used a small table which had been my Mother’s as a child and a child-size chair to allow Arden to easily reach the foot pedal and see her work. This table might even be a little low, but it’s better than the alternative. If you don’t have a table the appropriate height, you can use a footstool to raise the pedal to a comfortable height.
Don’t skip this part! The last way you want to end your new sewists’ adventure is with an injury, right? Before we turned on the machine, I removed the needle. This allows you to show your child what the various buttons or dials do, and what the different parts of the machine are without risk of a puncture. As part of the first lesson we talked about the “danger zone” and keeping our fingers away from the throat plate as well as the path of the fabric directly in front of the needle. We also talked about how we need to stop sewing if we take our eyes off our work.
Know Your Machine:
We discussed the following points:
- where the power switch is
- the different stitches and what they’re used for
- major parts of the machine – foot pedal, bobbin spindle, thread spindle, thread uptake lever, presser foot lifter, needle (or where it would be), throat plate and feed dogs. I did not instruct her on how to thread the machine at this time.
- the “danger zone” or the area surrounding the needle and the path leading to the needle.
- how to lower and raise the presser foot
- starting and stopping the machine using the foot pedal.
Next up: Lesson 2