Q: I am trying to encourage my granddaughter to sew and have given her my 30 year old machine to use. She does not seem to be interested, although she loves crafts and making things. How do I get her interested in sewing?

A: It is very common for adults to give their children or grandchildren their “hand me down” sewing machines, but in reality they are not doing the child any favors, provided that the machine is over 15 or 20 years old.

Usually, once a person has stopped using a machine, it is for a reason. Did the machine cause problems, was it worn out, or did you just move on to a newer, more modern machine? Even if the machine is in good working order, it may not handle the newer fabrics, or have the stitches needed to complete today’s projects.

If you give a novice sewist a machine that is out of date, or is not running well, the novice may get discouraged and give up. The experience must be a positive one if you want to encourage someone to explore a new endeavor. I can tell you that this is true from first-hand experience.

I would suggest the following: If you own a well-tuned and current model sewing machine, let thenoviceuse yours. You can request “supervised visits” if you would like, this would only make the experience even more positive since you are there to offer assistance. If you do not own an up-to-date sewing machine, or do not sew yourself, consider investing in a new sewing machine for this person. You can get a good quality beginner’s sewing machine for under $400. Be sure to purchase the machine somewhere that will provide some support and training on the machine.

Your investment will pay for itself in the positive experience that you are providing the child.

Just SEW You Know…
by Amy Smith