sewing small talk: have you ever taught someone to sew?

Hello friends!

Here’s my question today: Have you ever taught someone to sew?

Have you ever taught someone to sew?

And if you have, what project did you teach?

I like to teach our free Lazy Days Skirt as a very first project, especially for girls who want something they can use right away. For adults, I usually start with a simple tote bag or a pillowcase. Or, if we’re feeling a little more ambitious, our women’s Everyday Skirt.

I’m curious to read your answers. Have a great weekend!




  1. Robin

    Liesl, would you consider making the drawstring bag from Little Things to Sew a PDF pattern? Would be something different, but still great, first pattern for someone to sew.

  2. Emily

    I taught a friend to sew. We made a simple tote bag – sewing boxed corners for the first time is sorta magical.

  3. Susan Snyder

    I volunteered with a co-worker-neighbor who sews to teach adults at the nearby public housing community center. I don’t remember that we had a plan but I do know that most people, all women, worked on simple-elastic waist pants.

  4. JEB O'Barr

    I worked for several years teaching learn to sew classes at the local branch of a national fabric chain store. I taught adults and children. We used a tote for the adults before switching to a square pillow. For the children we did a pillowcase. I thought the pillow case instructions were difficult so I switched to the magic sleeve or three seam pillowcase. The children found that much easier to do and their moms were so impressed with the best finish in the inside.

    1. Marian Cooper

      I helped 3 ladies who wanted to learn to sew. Into the deep end we went with a top which had cut-on sleeves!

      Dolman, Batwing, whatever you like to call them. I got the pattern from the internet and tested it for myself first. Happy with the result, I then taught each of 3 ladies how to make the top for themselves.

      Great result as each lady was able to immediately wear her handiwork!

  5. Hi there! I’ve been reading your blog for years and this is my first time posting. As to your question: Two years ago I was working at an office and everyone knew I sewed. One of my co-workers, a man in his 60s, asked me if I could help him with a sewing question. He had bought a sewing machine some years before because he wanted to save money and hem his pants himself instead of having his cleaners do it. But he’d gotten discouraged and confused as soon as he got it out of the box and now it was sitting gathering dust. Could I help him? I told him to bring the machine in the next time my boss was on vacation. He did and it was a very nice Singer! We snuck into an empty office and I showed him how to thread the machine. I think I had some fabric too and showed him how to stitch. Then I put him behind the wheel (so to speak). And a few weeks later he came in with some pants he’d hemmed himself! I don’t know if that counts as teaching anyone to sew because that was all he really did. (And it was a really nice machine, too, he could’ve done so much more with it!) But I was still pretty proud.

  6. Patty Brown

    I taught my 7 year old granddaughter how to make a simple doll dress with Velcro for fasteners at the back seam. It’s what she wants to do every time we meet now! But sewing takes time, because they have a hard time just staying on the seam line you figured out you had to draw!

  7. Marla Sandridge

    I had a friend who was a single dad and raising two girls. The eldest was 13 and wanted to learn to sew a pair of pants. I took her measurements, went home and altered a regular waist, front zippered, front, with patch pocket pants pattern for her. The next weekend she came to stay with us and it was so much fun. We went looking for material early in the A.M. Washed and dried the fabric, and while that was getting accomplished I explained what the salvage, grain, etc of fabric was and how it worked all the regular stuff we take for granted. She ironed the fabric and I helped her put it on my cutting table and she laid all pieces out according to the directions and the correct way! At 13 for a first-timer, I was surprised. She cut the pieces out and then I taught her how to make tailor’s tacks..this was in the early ’80s. I had her baste everything step by step before she started sewing. She stayed the night and she finished her white pants later the next afternoon. You never have seen a more proud 13 y.o. young lady than that little red-haired no-bigger-than-a-minute girl. She made several trips over the years to my house and it was with great regret that we moved away as it was so much fun having her learn to make things that fit her that she was proud to wear.

  8. Cindy Cooksey

    My daughter wasn’t curious about sewing until she was college age. So one summer I taught her how use a sewing machine, and her first project was pajama bottoms. She went on to sew several, some as gifts. Since then, she has learned to sew other things on her own, such as curtains and even men’s shirts.

  9. I taught a neighbor to sew with drawstring pants. She kept complaining that i was too picky. She finished the pants with another friend one evening when I was unavailable and discovered that the the two holes for the strings came out at least 4” off. She then understood why I was picky and concluded that sewing was not something she enjoyed and went back to playing golf!

  10. Reeni

    My son came up to me wanting to know how to sew a button back on. I’ve taught him a variety of useful repairs, and he has used his knowledge in class projects — we called it a Jack-et, which was a hoodie with sewn-in channels for earphones and charger, phone pocket and bus ticket holder.:D

  11. Liz

    I have mainly taught children. I’ve focused on hand sewing skills first and then the sewing machine. On a sewing machine we’ve made drawstring bags, a zipper pouch, bunting and flags. I haven’t taught children how to sew clothes with patterns. I’ve taught some mending skills.


    I taught four of my granddaughters to sew. I started out with a simple stuffed toy. Then a pillow. Three of them wanted to do a quilt next. I limited it to a baby size. They finished it but I never would do that again. Although they insisted they wanted to make a quilt I should have seen their seams weren’t straight and when the quilt wouldn’t match and it was no fun for them to rip out seams and sew again. We next made skirts. They all finished them. I don’t think they sew much now but maybe mend or hem.

  13. Vivian

    I taught some classes at work. We started with a key fob, which the loved, then a tote. After that we did a zippered pouch that we turned into a cross body bag. Yep, that was a bit ambitious and it took two extra classes to finish.

  14. Judy Andrews

    I taught a group of ladies, starting with a potato pocket for the microwave. Then we made a pair of kids shorts, using white thread on black fabric. Then we made real shorts with fun fabric. After that, they picked out their own project to make under supervision. Great summer time sewing class!

  15. Mary Coonts

    I taught the Babylock serger club at a local store for. 5 years. My approach was to start with a teaching objective such as as using a new stitch or foot, and then come up with a project that fulfilled that objective. Yes, I wanted them to go home with a cute completed project but I really wanted them to learn more about their machine. I also taught a sewing class focused on the Babylock embroidery machines and this was also my approach to teaching this classes too

  16. Angela O'Rourke

    I bought my adult daughter a sewing machine a few years ago. She’d always expressed an interest in learning to see. Unfortunately it lay dormant gathering dust. But this weekend she decided she wanted to make a skirt for a Christmas party in Christmas fabric. So she sat with her machine and she made an elasticised skirt with my supervision. She did a great job and has now gone home to make some napkins. She was so proud of herself and remarked that it made her forget her worries. ❤️

  17. Susan Kimmet

    I let my kids choose fun fabrics and they made pillowcases for themselves. A few months my daughter made pillowcases for gifts for her friends also!

  18. Karen Jones

    Both my kids (son and daughter) wanted to sew when they were 6, so I helped them design and sew a tooth fairy pillow. They have both also sewn envelope closure pillow cases and this week Christmas cushion covers.

  19. Sarah

    I ran a small sewing group for a couple of years where we would teach a sewing skill while using that skill to complete a project for a local community group. We taught bias tape edging while making large eating bibs for youth at care centre; draw string bag closures while making goody bags for a womens shelter; french seams while making opaque covers for bags holding light sensitive chemotherapy bags. Great way to connect sewists with skills and neighbors!

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