Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Sewing with Boys (Guest Blogger)

I'm very pleased to introduce Amie Plumley, the blog-owner of Sewing School, as a guest blogger for today's topic of boys and sewing.  Her details can be found at the end of this article.

Amie writes:
This semester, we had a record number of boys join our weekly sewing club.  We’ve realized that sewing with boys does require something extra on the teacher’s part.  I’m not sure why, maybe it’s because I’m a girl.  I dunno, but I thought I would share my thoughts on sewing with boys.  I am mindful of boys sewing.  What do they want to sew?  What do they need to sew?  Why will they want to sew?

Sewing strengthens fine motor skills

I have come to a few conclusions.  First, from my own experience, kindergarten is the perfect age to introduce boys to sewing; however, I’m sure they can start earlier with some extra one-on-one help.  They get super excited about it and really, really see the possibilities.  They like to make stuff, ya know?  It's not easy, though, it's a challenge.  They like that part.  Oh yeah, there's sharp needles involved too. 

It never ceases to amaze me how a kid that could be bouncing off the walls one minute, will settle into a project and give it 100%.  I have often given my most challenging students handwork to do throughout the day.  Not only does it focus them, they feel a real sense of accomplishment. 

Next up is materials.  You have to have boy friendly fabric in your stash.  Anytime I put out some camouflage, the boys flock to it.  Even those that don't seem particularly into camo will get excited.  I also try to find animal and sports prints.  It's hard to find boy fabric that is not too babyish.  Boys also seem to like notions like eyeballs, buttons, pin backs and magnets.  I had a few loose socks on the sewing cart last week, and they quickly got sewn into crazy aliens and monsters.  From the looks above, they are also cuddly.

Boys like animal patterns

Lastly, finding the perfect project is essential.  We have found that projects for boys need to be useful - they loved the wristies and water bottle holders.  Masks and capes are also a big hit.  Boys can be sweet too, though, like when they make something for their mom or sister and they choose pink or flower fabric. They know what it feels like to give something handmade.
Simple but satisfying!

So, what's the age cut off with boy sewers?  At my school, boys don't stay in Sewing Club past 2nd grade.  After that, I guess it's just not cool and there are more things to choose from.  I keep up with them, though, and they remain sewers at home.  Plus, it's a life long skill.  They are going to blow some minds when their future wives need a button sewn on and they jump to the task!

About Amie:  While I teach kindergarten at a traditional private school in Memphis, TN, I like to incorporate non-traditional and life-skills into my classroom.  Sewing has been a part of my teaching experience since the beginning.  I’m also a mom to a 6-year old girl and 3-year old boy.  I am excited to be a guest blogger at Boyschooling.  Teaching boys is definitely an adventure!  Find out more about me and sewing with kids at my blog Sewing School 
and my book (available from Amazon).

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