Editors note:  This article first appeared in 2017 but the content is still applicable to RxR Jr 2018. Some links and images have been updated.

School may be out, but summer will still be alive with learning when kids hit the road to participate in Row by Row Experience’s new program, Row by Row Jr. It’s for kids ages 6 to 14 and follows the same schedule as adult Row by Row. Kids visit shops, collect free row patterns designed just for them to make, and learn to sew at home with family help and support from www.rowbyrowexperience.com. Find participating shops here.

We created free downloadable materials and tutorials to make this summer experience the best ever. Find all the Junior resources here.

The Golden Rule of teaching kids to sew is:

Let them pick out their own fabric even though you may not like it.

Parents, this is not easy. But letting them pick their own fabric is one of the keys to success. If they like their fabric, they will want to work with it and follow through with the project. Kids don’t care if the fabric will match the drapes or look good with the carpet. They like a fabric for what it means to them.

If you truly think they are making a mistake with their fabric choice such as wanting a white print to show up on a white print background, a little bit of gentle guidance about contrasting fabrics can be offered. Have a bolt ready to offer as a suggestion but if they’re stubborn, let it go graciously. You may be surprised when they change their minds a few minutes later and circle back to your suggestion. Just smile and tell them how much you like fabric shopping with them.

The cutting counter is a great learning opportunity for kids. Lots of math, fractions, decision making, and observing the whole fabric buying process. Let kids tell the shop staffer what amounts they need. Conversing with a business person is a big step in social development and confidence building. Kids don’t get too many opportunities for this kind of interaction.

Or you can buy a prepackaged Row by Row Junior kit. Shops will have plenty of these available for you. They are so convenient. Reviewing a kit’s contents is a good learning opportunity too. Does it have everything you need? Is anything else necessary to complete the project like thread or fusible web?

Row by Row Junior fabric shopping is always a fun experience when it includes a visit with family and ice cream cones afterwards.

Many thanks to 11 year old Paige, her family, and the great folks at The Old Country Store in Intercourse, Pennsylvania.

Our Row by Row Junior mission:

We want to enhance your Row by Row Experience with “kid friendly” educational materials that foster the love of fabric and machine sewing, strengthen inter-generational family relationships, and support local quilt shops everywhere.”

Kids can!  All they need is opportunity, practice, a few good tools, and a willing adult.  

Learn more about the Row by Row Junior Program here.

Let us know how you like Row by Row Junior.  Share your experiences with us.  Leave a comment below.

Jeannette Kitlan, your Row by Row Junior author and designer.