Here is Lyla Z, using "Ruby" the red Featherweight, to make a pillowcase:
She quickly understood the simple directions I gave her, only needed instruction on the machine's operations once, how to go backwards, how to start and how to stop, etc. Once she got the line of stitching started, I moved over to my machine and just let her go, no hovering. I did the pressing--she did all the pinning and sewing. Her finished project:
After that, I gave her a choice, make two more pillowcases for her brothers or do "something" else. She was ready for "something else". I gave her a stack of 4" squares, put a piece of batting on the design wall and let her go. Here she is designing a quilt:
For the backing fabric we went "shopping" in my closet and like any good quilter, when she saw a sparkly, purple peacock fabric that she loved, she got real excited and wanted that for the back. I layered the batt, back and top, showing her how to place the back and top right sides together with the batt on the bottom. She questioned that at first then said, "oh, after you sew it the back will be right sides out!". Yes, she gets it. I did the sewing all around the outer edge, leaving a 6" space for turning. Lyla told me she has made a few pillows before so she knew how to turn the quilt right sides out. She had not used a chopstick before to poke the corners out, she liked that tool.
It was almost time for her mom to return so I was going to quickly sew the open seam closed with my machine when I got a chance to show Lyla what NOT TO DO: I sewed my finger--breaking off the tip of the needle inside my index finger. A tissue stopped the bleeding but it was going to take my husband and some tweezers to remove the broken needle. Her mom arrived, we chatted for a few minutes then I had "surgery" to remove the needle, more than 1/4" long, that was buried in my finger tip. No problem, "Doctor Will" likes to do these things and peroxide and a band-aid had me good as new the next day.
Lyla's mom was very impressed and surprised at what Lyla got done. Lyla told me she has done some hand sewing on her pillows so she will hand-sew the opening on the quilt when she gets home:
We both had a good time and I learned a few things about working with a child:
1. Two hours is enough, especially the first time. Lyla was tired at the end of the 2.5 hours.
2. Have fabrics cut and ready to sew--the 3 pillowcase fabrics were prepped before she arrived.
3. Have a second project ready--playing with the squares on a design wall was a good way to occupy her for a bit.
4. Provide only as much instruction as the child can absorb, a little at a time.
5. Mom went shopping--the child will do better without "help" from her parent. She was eager to show me what she could do.
I hope you can reach out and teach a younger person. We know the joy of creating a useful item from fabric and thread, let's pass that on to future generations. I learned to sew in Girl Scouts and Home Ec and caught the bug early. Sadly, there is not so much of that being taught in schools today. But kids still want to make stuff with their hands. Help them learn.