For one? You'll equip them with the skill to mend their own clothes.

By Roxanna Coldiron
June 13, 2019
The Problem: You fall for a piece of clothing, but the sleeves or the hem is a little long—or there’s some gaping at the waist. You tell your­ self that it’s fine, no one will notice. And besides, you already paid so much for it, how can you justify spending more on tailoring? (Or, on the flip side: You spent only $25 for it. Why spend another $25 on tailoring?) Alteration aversion (another name for TAS) can also be chalked up to plain old laziness. (Who needs another errand?) But the truth is, you do—to look more pulled­ together and feel more confident. The Solution: Take advantage when­ever a store offers free or low­-cost alterations. (What you lose in instant gratification, you’ll gain in compliments; even the least expensive item looks exponentially pricier when tailored to fit.) Ask around for a good local tailor, so that you’ll always have someone at the ready. And when you back­slide and are tempted to skip the alterations, remind yourself that fit is a key component of style. If Katharine Hepburn’s trousers hadn’t sat just right on her waist and skimmed her shoes just so, she would have been a schlump instead of an icon.
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This article originally appeared on Martha Stewart Living.

My first sewing lesson was in the seventh grade. In drama class, we had to learn how to sew basic costumes. The sewing machine made me nervous, and I struggled with threading a needle. Many of my classmates made sewing look easy. Their parents had already taught them how to sew or maybe they were just naturally good at it. I struggled, but I kept trying.

What did I end up sewing? It was just a hat. The hat was yellow and orange, a jester's hat, and it ended up a bit lopsided. It was my first attempt at sewing, so I would say that it was not a terrible initial attempt at sewing. Like any craft, sewing takes practice. I knew that I could only get better. That first sewing lesson taught me that a lot of creativity and work goes into the clothes that I wear. Someone has to determine the pattern for the fabric, see it all laid out, and then stitched together. It takes patience, precision, and a steady hand. It might be hard to do at first, but you get the hang of it the more often that you do it.

Learning how to sew is a valuable skill. While we don't see many home economics classes in schools anymore, the sewing arts are making a comeback. CBS News reported that millennials (my generation) are enrolling in classes that teach skills like sewing, cooking, and budgeting. We were pushed to focus on other skills when we were kids and now want to make up for lost time. But for our kids? We have plenty of reasons why every child should learn how to sew.

RELATED: Our Best Projects to Practice Sewing by Hand

Developing Hand-Eye Coordination

Threading a needle requires a skilled hand. You have to look through the loop of a needle and get the tiny piece of thread to slip through it. Knotting the thread and stitching a needle through fabric by hand also contributes to the development of hand-eye coordination. Older kids who get to run a sewing machine also need to know when to move the fabric as the needle moves across it.

Learning Mathematical Skills

Sewing uses plenty of math. Children who get familiar with sewing patterns are learning engineering principles in an everyday activity. How much fabric do you need to make a scrunchie, a quick-stitch drawstring pouch, or felted stuffed animals? Measuring the fabric to cut into the sizes and shapes needed for a project also uses math skills.

Mending Their Clothes

Never will a missing button be a cause of concern for someone who learned how to mend and sew as a child. With the basic stitches, can teach them how to patch a hole, mend a seam, and fix a hem. Your kids will have a skill set that allows them to repair their clothes or design their own prom dress à la Pretty in Pink. When they become adults, they can carry this budgetary skill with them into their everyday lives. Who knows? It could even lead to a career in fashion design.

Planning and Preparation

Sewing projects require planning and preparation. Your kids will use their problem-solving skills to set up their sewing projects. First, they have to decide on what to sew. Maybe they want to develop their own pattern for a project, or they will choose a premade pattern to start with. They have to make sure to get the right fabric and the right amount of fabric. Make planning and preparation a habit with regular sewing projects.

Exploring Creativity and Accomplishment

When kids have completed a sewing project, they will have a reminder of their accomplishment. They can show off their homemade teddy bears and accessories to their friends, or display them in their bedrooms. Or, kids can use their creativity to help others, like this 12-year-old boy who is sewing teddy bears for kids in the hospital.

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