Sewing isn’t just for grandmas anymore—so why not get your kids away from electronic screens and into enjoying this fun hobby?
My 8-year-old daughter loves fashion. She’s a mini diva; decked out at any moment in layers of tulle skirts, fancy scarves and bracelets. She was bored one day and reached for the iPad. I stopped her mid-grab and handed her some fabric, scissors, a kids’ needle and thread and said, “This is much more exciting, let’s sew some clothes for your dolls.” It was as if I unleashed a brand new world for her…creativity. The iPad was quickly forgotten and sewing became a new passion.
There are several amazing options in our area for sewing lessons. Little Miss Sew It All (littlemisssewitall.com) has a convenient location in Wading River at The Shoppes at East Wind. Owner Melissa Stasi-Thomas opened her shop to give children “the gift of sewing.” Her array of classes offer children ages 6 and up, a chance to place their phones in a cubby and focus on creativity. Stasi-Thomas’s emphasis is on forming “a sense of community.” Students begin with hand-sewing techniques, learning an array of stitches, then progress to sewing on buttons and completing projects such as pillows and “cookies for Santa” on sewing machines. Little Miss Sew It All offers classes, mini-clinics and “stop and sews,” where you can walk in and create on a whim. Nothing is better than that!
Kathryn Reid of Sew Hampton (sewhampton.com) has some amazing options for sewing classes and workshops, and the best part is she comes to you! Reid has 10 sewing machines and will travel to hold workshops, group lessons and make birthday parties something that your child will never forget. Reid caters to all ages. Projects can include tote bags, zippered purses, duffle bags, pillows and pajama pants to name just a few. As she says, “Creativity is what you want it to be.” Reid speaks animatedly about this creative outlet and says that sewing is “one of the few arts that has not been replaced by a computer.” Sewing is a chance to let your child’s imagination come to life and it “makes them feel confident and promotes self esteem.”
Christine Szorza, owner of 112 Sewing and Quilting Supplies (112sewing.com), holds classes at her Patchogue location. She has her students bring their own sewing machines to class so she can individualize and personalize the instruction. They explore all of the mechanisms on their machines and become masters of the instrument. Her classes emphasize skill work and exploring their own interests. She has pick-your-own-project workshops and classes. Students have worked on table runners, shorts, aprons and quilted pillows. At 112 Sewing and Quilting, students can pay as they go. Szorza and her staff really listen to what each child or young adult wants to do, and helps each to achieve a creative goal.
Altman’s Needle & Fiber Arts at 195 Love Lane in Mattituck offers private lessons at all skill levels for $20 per half hour. In addition to sewing, the staff teaches knitting and crochet. Students can’t help but be inspired by the wide array of supplies on display. altmanneedlearts.com, 631-298-7181
Laura Kennedy of Holbrook ([email protected]) offers classes in her home. She works with all ages and levels, and students with special needs. Kennedy says that Project Runway Junior ignited her interest in fashion and design. She says sewing “teaches children from a young age to create something of their own versus walking into Old Navy or Bloomingdales and buying something off the rack. They can learn to make something that they are proud of.” Kennedy’s lessons are progressive, and her emphasis is on making the child feel comfortable from the beginning. She acquaints them with the machine, threading, completing stitches and creating seams, as they advance to more intricate projects. Kennedy’s 30 years in the garment district helps her to teach your child about fabrics and working with patterns.
Each of these owners and instructors emphasizes the same point: sewing can open doors for both girls and boys to a world that they have never explored before. Take that, iPad and cell phone: creativity is back in town!