An interview with 11 year old Sophia Ren on her journey learning to sew.
Sophia’s Mum first messaged me to share her finished Tipa Dungarees, telling me that she had sewn them up herself during pattern launch weekend!
After seeing more of Sophia’s sewing over the last few months I wanted to know more, and asked if she would be interviewed for our website…
I hope you feel inspired by Sophia’s journey. Learning to sew is exciting, enjoyable and a creative process for the little ones in our lives!
Thank you for sharing with us Sophia, I can’t wait to see what you create in the future!
Learning to Sew
What was the very first thing you sewed?
When I was at playcentre, someone brought in a sewing machine and all the 4 year olds made a simple dress for themselves. The first thing I sewed on my own was headbands, using scraps of gingham.
How long have you been sewing?
Since I was about 8.
What kind of things have you sewn before?
I have made dresses, skirts, headbands, tops, pj pants, and lots of scrunchies.
What do you most enjoy about sewing?
Choosing the fabric and working with the machine.
The Sewing Experience
Do you have any sewing goals, like something you’d REALLY love to make?
A really nice pouffy dress
What was it like sewing the Tipa Dungarees?
My first pair of Tipa Dungarees I really liked doing the embroidery on the pocket, that was really fun. And I enjoyed watching the dungarees come together.
Did you need help with any parts of it, and if so, what?
Mum cuts the fabric out for me, so as long as she cuts all the pieces I can do it without help but the first pair (and the second) she only cut one pair of strap extensions so I was a bit confused by the instructions and needed her help to get back on track.
Do you have your own machine or supplies? Tell me about what sewing gear you have at home.
Everything is Mum’s.
We have lots of vintage fabric, thread, bias binding, buttons, zips and all that so I can sew without needing to buy supplies. We have Mum’s sewing machine, the overlocker that used to be my Great Nana Dot’s, a red vintage iron and ironing board and lots of pairs of scissors. We also have a big sheet of MDF for cutting the pattern pieces with the rotary cutter.
Teaching Others to Sew
Do you have any advice for my children who would love to learn how to sew?
Read the instructions very carefully and pick a very nice fabric that you would absolutely love to wear. Start with something simple.
When I’m teaching my children how to sew, what do you think is the most important thing they need to know?
Pay attention and understand what you are doing. Go slow, don’t rush through it because that is when you muck up. It’s fun to listen to music when you are sewing because it keeps your spirits up and makes sewing a lot nicer.
Mum’s note (@thecapedkirsty): I’m not very good in the patience department, so I taught both kids how to operate the sewing machine, explained the importance of sewing in a straight line, and then basically left them to it.
Sophia took to sewing quite quickly so made pjs for her and Ollie for winter, and a few other things and she has had a good production line going making scrunchies from fabric scraps as a fundraiser for Girl Guide camps.
She was really happy when the Tipa pattern was released as she isn’t really into skirts and dresses so this was the perfect make for her. I like that I can leave her to it, but sometimes when we’re sewing at the same time we have queues for the iron or a machine.
Thank you Sophia and Kirsty for taking the time to answer these questions!
If you’ve been teaching someone to sew, tell us about it in our VIP Community! We would love to hear your (and theirs!) story.
Love and happy sewing,