DIY sewing frame for preschoolers

DIY sewing frame for preschoolers

We have been talking about quilts in our class and part of our continuing discussion was on how the quilted pieces of fabric were sewn together.  One of the quilt books I shared with the children was a book titled “You’re Wonderful” by Debbie Clement. This book is a sing-along-book that comes with a CD of the song in the back of the book.  Each page of the book is a picture of a real quilt and we talked about what story we thought each quilted square might be telling us. We listen to the song and sang along with it while we worked and played all week long…

To expand on the sewing aspect of quilts, I wanted to share a sewing activity with the children so I created two sewing frames based on this wonderful idea I found for creating a tapestry table over at Kleas. It was a perfect way to give the children a little “real” sewing practice…

To create my sewing frames, I used two wooden picture frames (without the glass) and stapled some strips of burlap to the frames for our sewing canvas…

When the children first started sewing, they would stick the needle into the burlap and then stretch the yarn across the board to make a second stitch leaving no yarn left for a third stitch…

So to help make the process a little more productive, I sat at the table with the children and modeled how to push the Plastic Sewing Needles up and down through the burlap material and gradually work their way across the material like an inchworm would do…

I also took the time to show the children how they needed to pull the yarn all the way through the burlap before they started their next stitch. The children did a great job at working through each of the different steps they needed to remember…

Push the needle in and right back up then pull the yarn all the way until it stops.

Now move your needle over just a little bit and do it again!

Some of the children stayed with the sewing for a long time and even worked on threading their own needles. Other children sewed until their original piece of yarn ran out and then moved on to do something else…

Other than giving the children a few instructions on the sewing process, I didn’t worry about which way they chose to sew on the sewing frame…

The children started to really get the hang of it – it just takes a little practice. We had some great fine motor skill development going on in the process…

After the children finished sewing for the day, I hung the two sewing frames up on the wall. I might keep letting the children practice sewing on these same two sewing frames for awhile or I might replace the burlap and let them start with a blank sewing frame again. I haven’t decided yet…

I do love having the sewing frames up on our wall!

You can purchase plastic sewing needles from Amazon…


  • Debbie Clement Posted February 25, 2012 7:55 am

    DeboRAH! DeboRAH!!! DeboRAHRAHRAH!!!!!!

    I am so thrilled that I have your blog set to syndicate to my FB fanpage! This was the first image I saw when I looked at my screen this morning. You really know how to bring joy to my day! Thank you so much for sharing my book and its song. Just adore the picture!!!! Now I want to start a collection of educators sharing my picture books. Yours is the inspiration! I’m so grateful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    LUV LUV LUV LUV seeing the children working so hard. Thanks for sharing the process of how you directed the children on their new skill and yet allowed them to explore in their own direction — for the length of their yarn or the length of their attention span. Such helpful insight for all reading along. Fantastic. I can’t wait to see what you decide: new burlap or continue on?? Inquisitive minds want to know!

    Debbie Clement

  • Debbie Clement Posted February 25, 2012 7:56 am

    How did I gum up comment LUV? Here’s the http address.

  • Sally Jude Posted February 25, 2012 8:01 am

    What a great idea! I found plastic sewing needles also at discount school supplies. I love reading your blog! 🙂 Thanks for all the wonderful information!

  • C-Joy Posted February 25, 2012 8:49 am

    I use burlap for a 1st sewing with a needle experience in my classroom. I edge small squares with masking tape to keep the squares from unraveling. Then a shape is traced on the burlap and the child sews along the line. They love being able to take their handwork home 🙂

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 25, 2012 11:23 am

    What a great simple way to let the kids make one for home. My students asked if they could take the frames home:) I am planning to try again only letting the children make their own to take home for sure!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 25, 2012 11:24 am

    I also found them at Michaels:) I found two type – metal and plastic and we used both!

  • Judy Lyon Posted February 25, 2012 11:24 am

    What a great way to reuse old picture frames as well!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 25, 2012 11:38 am

    Hi Debbie – The only problem now is I can’t get your song out of my head. We listened to it so much all week that I find myself singing it all day and night:) It really is a beautiful song!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 25, 2012 11:40 am

    For sure Judy!

  • allie Posted February 25, 2012 12:41 pm

    We sewed at preschool yesterday on individual pieces of cardboard with holes in it while we get used to what sewing feels like – I like your group sewing idea!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • cheryl Posted February 25, 2012 1:07 pm

    I am also looking at the tissue box yarn dispensers. Great idea!!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 25, 2012 3:04 pm

    They are so easy to use for yarn dispensing:)

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 25, 2012 3:04 pm

    We have done some sewing like that also – both ways are great fine motor skill practice!

  • Susan Case Posted February 26, 2012 7:24 am

    Such wonderful ideas for fine motor! and fun. It really doesn’t take a lot of money to make a child happy while they are learning.

  • Kimira Posted February 26, 2012 9:25 pm

    Hi Deborah

    thanks for posting about sewing. I used to love embroidery when i was young and am introducing to the kids. However, i find that they usually do a few stitches before getting bored and moving to more gross motir activities. Over time the time taken has lengthened

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 26, 2012 10:36 pm

    I think you have to start with the freedom just to explore sewing without having any real goal in mind. We just went in and out and all over the board. I was surprised at how long some of the children spent on this. If I had tried to get them to actually sew something recognizable – they would not have liked it. So for now we are just learning the sewing process and will continue with this until they can easily do it before trying something more specific.

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted February 26, 2012 10:37 pm

    Tis true:) Just a little thinking outside of the box for how to create inviting forms of play!

  • Playhouse Posted February 28, 2012 12:14 pm

    What a clever idea to get the kids interested! 😀

  • lifetimenanny Posted June 17, 2012 8:44 am

    I love this idea. I looked for the book on amazon. Over $100. So, I will have to search half price books and garage sales.

  • lifetimenanny Posted June 17, 2012 8:44 am

    where does one get burlap?

  • lifetimenanny Posted June 17, 2012 8:55 am

    just saw Debbies link…so I can I think get the book. 🙂

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted June 17, 2012 11:38 am

    You can purchase it in a fabric store or in a gardening center.

  • Sheryl @Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds Posted June 26, 2012 4:54 pm

    We made this, thanks to your inspiration!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted June 26, 2012 11:18 pm

    I can’t wait to read about it:) Will you be sharing on your blog?

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