Warming Up: Getting the Feeling of Sewing
Your child, like most kids, will be anxious to make their doll dress. Although sewing can be fun, finished products, like doll clothes, are more fun. But before you cut out the pattern, everything will go a bit smoother if you help your child get the hang of stitching.
If they have never sewn at all, they will need to get comfortable with the basic feeling of stitching--putting a needle up and down through fabric. I recommend using a size 1-5 darner needle (my sewing kits will come with one) or something similar like a smaller embroidery needle. These will be just large enough to make the stitching easier for small inexperienced hands. They also have a larger eye if you want to use perle cotton thread instead of basic sewing thread.
You can try to teach your child to knot the thread or you can knot it yourself and teach the knotting later. I LOVE the following knotting method. Easy way to knot thread.
I recommend going double stranded, meaning securing both ends of the thread in the knot. That way the needle won't slide off the thread while your child is sewing.
Now for a Few Tips on Practicing Hand-Stitching:
1. Have your child practice sewing two pieces of fabric together. Initially there will be inconsistently sized stitching and they will have trouble staying close to the edge without going off the edge (see arrows). Both of these things will create holes in seams when you are stitching doll clothing.
2. Have them practice getting smaller stitches of equal size.
3. Once they can do that, work on keeping the line straight.
4. Use the needle to do several stitch "bites" at once. This will help with straightness and can help with keeping the size consistent. It also takes the worry out of having the needle below where you cannot see it and have to feel for the right spot.
Once they can do this, they can start making something!
Next a better way for children to cut out patterns.