I learned to sew because my mother sewed. Although she taught me the basics, what really got me going was a certain amount of freedom that she was wise enough to give me. From early on I had unsupervised access to her sewing machine (she was brave or just too busy).
But what inspired me most was that she also kept all of her leftovers, her scraps of fabric and trim, in boxes under her sewing table for me. I loved picking through this box and designing doll clothes from the scraps.
Not all of my dolls received dresses from the scraps. The scraps were not big enough to make clothes for large dolls. And I soon discovered that very small dolls were tricky to sew for. There was a middle size that was just perfect.
I have been thinking about how to recreate that type of inspiring learn-to-sew experience for other children. My new sewing kit will have come with a cute Scrappy Phoebe doll (there are several to choose from), a simple dress pattern, an instruction booklet that covers how to start out on a sewing machine, how to make the dress (three steps really), how to embellish the dress and most of all, lots of scraps of fabric and trim.
Scrappy Phoebe on her own, at just shy of 12 inches tall, is pretty cute, but she will be so much cuter with all of her "designer" clothing.