Kids Beginner Embroidery Pillow Project

My daughter has been doing a little stitching at school, so I asked her if she’d like to do some embroidery at home. (I’ve been meaning to do this with her for months.) She was very excited and wanted to get started right then.

For this first project, I told her to stitch wherever she wanted to create an abstract design. I also used felt, which was good because whenever she accidentally wrapped the thread around the hoop, I could just poke the needle backwards through the hole in the felt to fix it. No need to take the needle off the thread. Also, I quickly figured out that I needed to tie a knot to hold the thread onto the needle. That made it a lot easier for her.

Finally, when she was done, I asked her if she wanted to make a pillow out of it. I let her pick out some fabric for the back, then I sewed it on and stuffed the pillow the next morning while she was at school. When she came home and saw it, she was beaming with pride and excitement. Actually, I’ve never seen her so proud. It was great! She’s definitely hooked!

I would love to hear your tips and project ideas for hand sewing or embroidering with kids. Share them in the comments or on the Facebook Page if you’d like!

My son just wanted to watch the embroidering this time, and was very intrigued. He also gathered all of the scraps that were on the table, and made this little face design. Nice!

31 Comments

  1. Sara
    April 3, 2012 at 10:07 am

    That's super sweet! With my son who is younger, I give him burlap, it's easy to poke through as well as undo any stitches that need to be removed. Love, love, love that she is so proud of herself.

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    1. April 3, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      Great idea with the burlap! I think I even have some in a drawer already. Thanks!

      Reply »
  2. April 3, 2012 at 10:48 am

    burlap is great as sara said and you can do some cool stuff with cross stitches, but not everybody likes that. you could also draw a simple design on felt and let her stitch it either with simple straight stitches or you look up a few embroidery stitches that are very simple and teach them to her on a little project. I think for kids especially it's important that when you teach them a new stitch it's part of a project that they can enjoy, not just a test version on a scrap piece of fabric. If she likes flowers the lazy daisy stitch is a nice one to learn and so easy to use to create cool flower designs. I taught it once to a few 6 year old kids and they loved it. If she starts liking to learn new different stitches I recommend to teach one new stitch per project to prevent frustration. If she is happy with free style straight stitches that's cool too. There is tons you can do with straight lines... chevron designs, vary length or spacing, color shades and thickness of the thread, outlines or filling up shapes (like a satin stitch). you get the idea. it's like drawing with thread.

    Reply »
    1. April 3, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      Yes! Actually, right after this one was finished, I drew out a flower design with straight lines. She embroidered it the very next day. I'll have to take photos of that one too. So fun!

      Reply »
  3. April 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Nice!

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  4. April 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    what a wonderful project, I love it!! our oldest son just discoverd weaving (hope it's the right english term) and he's making on an old loom for kids one little scarf after the other for all the teddybears :)...

    Reply »
    1. April 3, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Ahh, I would LOVE to see a photo of those scarfs, and the loom if you have one. Feel free to email me too if you'd like. joel (at) madebyjoel (dot) com. Only if you want to of course. But yes, I've been very curious about weaving lately. So cool!

      Reply »
  5. April 3, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    I love sewing with my children but have had the same issue with looping the thread around the hoop! My 7yr old helped make teacher gifts last yr (when she was 6!), she embroidered their names onto fabric and I make pencil cases using them. It was great fun, really personal and appreciated more than chocolate! blogged here: http://mary.emmens.co.uk/2011/07/19/end-of-year-gifts/

    Reply »
  6. April 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Yea! I'm so excited to see your kids sewing! I teach sewing in my kindergarten class and have posted a few entries about embroidery with kids - http://sewingschool.blogspot.com/search?q=embroidery+with+kids. Thought you might want to see for some more ideas and inspiration.

    Reply »
  7. April 3, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    I am going to add this to my list of things to do with my 6 year old during summer break.

    Reply »
  8. Pam
    April 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Awesome! My nearly 5 year old has just picked up Binca (a big version of Aida) and really enjoyed adding buttons to the piece. When they got tired of one colour we just got another, all scrap ends of wool. Haven't pushed the following lines yet!!

    Reply »
  9. April 4, 2012 at 12:25 am

    Oh that is so cute...what a clever button!!! And I love the scrap face!!! I am planning a sewing project with my kids this weekend - they really can do it!!! We made cushions like that a while back and popped lentils in to make hand warmers - they worked out so well, I think your kids would love them: http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/07/23/bed-bug-hand-warmers-in-se7en-steps

    Reply »
  10. April 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    i did some handsewing with 2 and 3 year old kids. Instead of fabric, I used cardboard. It's nice because they can't pull the thread to fast. I sent you an email with some pictures.

    Reply »
  11. Caroline French
    April 4, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    What a great project, Joel. One thing that I have done with children is add beads. When the needle is coming "up" add a pony bead. You can also use sequins with large holes after they have mastered the beads. The threads can be very abstract and overlapping kind of like string art.

    Reply »
  12. April 5, 2012 at 9:24 am

    How fun, I love her design and she is just darling!

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  13. April 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    So adorable! You can totally see how proud she is of her fine little pillow... super cute! We did some basic embroidery a while ago, and now you're inspiring me to do it again. I didn't have any burlap on hand, so I used a plastic mesh from a bag of oranges. We also used yarn and some beads, too. It was perfect for little hands, and my boy could easily correct his own mistakes.

    Reply »
  14. Beth
    April 6, 2012 at 4:31 am

    That is a great idea to tie the knot so the needle doesn't keep on unthreading! That was what I found when my son had a go at sewing a few months ago - I was constantly re-threading the needle for him.

    Reply »
  15. April 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I've been teaching my own kids along with my 4-H club who are all pretty young. I've used food boxes cut up and then pre punched holes to teach basic hand stitches. Then they practice the motion without most of the other worries. I also use felt without a hoop for beginning embroider because it's firm. Sewing cards are where my little ones began. Your drawings could translate very well into sewing cards!! Link to one of our projects: http://www.jillruth.com/2012/02/kids-valentines-project.html

    Reply »
    1. April 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Cool! Yes, I totally want to try making an embroidery sewing card!

      Reply »
  16. April 24, 2012 at 12:39 am

    WOW! how old is she now? :D

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  17. May 17, 2012 at 10:15 am

    Ohhh this is adorable! I'll visit you often to take ideas for my kids!!

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  18. May 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Hi Joel, Look at my blog for a great kids handsewing project. My daughter Evie was so proud...that she made it herself..especcially the marked dots helped her sewing the two parts together. Try thevgoogle translator function at the right side of the screen...i guess your dutch isnt too good? http://fruitfabriek.blogspot.com/2012/01/knuffelhart-handgemaakt-door-dochter.html Many greetings from a dutch creative mom of three little ones and landscape architect. I love your blog! Marian

    Reply »
  19. July 26, 2012 at 12:22 am

    [...] has been wanting to try her hand at embroidery since we saw this post over at Made By Joel. So last time NanaOla was staying she brought some supplies along with her and [...]

    Reply »
  20. July 26, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Hi Joel, we finally gave this a go and my daughter really loved it. My kids and I are love your site (them as much as me) you are such an amazing inspiration... all the way here in New Zealand!

    Reply »
    1. July 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Wow, that is so cute! I love her 4 hearts design. And yes, isn't it fun to see the pride in their eyes when they've finished! So great! Thanks for showing me Janette! Joel

      Reply »
  21. September 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Could you combine two ideas and make a dot to dot embroidery project? I guess you'd need some fabric sturdy enough to draw your dots on, and a pattern simple enough to not need numbers (you don't want to draw too much on the fabric). Just a thought. Love your work!

    Reply »
    1. September 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm

      That's a great idea Nadia. Nice one! The dot to dot designs could definitely be used for embroidery. Someone had the idea of doing a cardboard embroidery thing for kids. The dot to dots would be perfect for that. Must try that out!

      Reply »
  22. October 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

    So cool, we will try it asap!!!

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  23. November 4, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    it great. nice. and inspiration me:D

    Reply »
  24. June Smith-Lamb
    February 4, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Hello Joel this is brilliant I have been looking for something to do with my grandchildren finding your site through all free kids craft needles to say I have put your site on my favourites list so I can get to it easier for great ideas thanks

    Reply »
    1. February 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks June! Glad you found my site!

      Reply »

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