As the kids and I move through American history I want them to learn what it was like during that time. I also as a parent want my kids to have some useful skills, one of those is how to sew. It’s not hard to teach young kids how to sew if you take the time and give them real tools.
That’s the key, real tools.
First a short history lesson on sewing and bags
It is only recently that sewing has become known as “women’s work,” when we visited Colonial Williamsburg, tailoring was primarily a man’s job. Think about the fairy tale with the tailor who killed a giant, that’s a man. Any soldier worth his salt for most of history is going to have a basic level of sewing because he has to repair his gear, so for our hands-on history lesson this time we made a haversack.
A haversack is a small bag soldiers would use to carry their gear. It was usually slung across your shoulder, and was a sturdy, but simply made bag.
A great first project for a small kid learning to sew.
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Project 1 to teach young kids how to sew: make a small bag (haversack)
I have no pattern to show you.
It’s simple, take one of those 9×12 pieces of felt and cut it in half.
One of those halves cut off about 3-4 inches from the top of it.
Materials needed for these steps: Fiskars spring-loaded scissors* (if your kids are able to cut responsibly), Fiskars kid scissors* (if your kid is not yet responsible), felt* (I like that you get a large variety of felt for a low price, this is not super high quality, but for just starting out these are great projects)
Place it on top of the other piece and sew. Cut a strap from a piece of ribbon measured to the size of your kid, and sew that to the corners at the top.
During the Revolutionary War children would help support the war by sewing bags for the soldiers to carry their stuff in. I thought that was a pretty cool fact we learn from our All American History book*. After we finished sewing we brainstormed what might be in their bags: bullets, food, knife, Bible, letters from home, etc.
They’ve been using their bags nonstop since they made them. Pretty good job, huh?