First Sewing Basket

I recycled an old basket and some other on-hand household finds to make up a sweet toddler-friendly sewing kit for Clara. It’s been a big hit around here, and it was practically free to put together! I completely under-estimated how ridiculously happy she would be to have a sewing basket of her very own, and how proud she was of herself! Oh. my. goodness!!

Leftover pieces of shelf-liner and produce netting made for easy and interesting material for her to sew through with a large blunt-tipped yarn needle. She especially loved the netting from the top of a clementine crate! A small embroidery hoop made it easy for her little hands to hold.

She was especially interested in sewing on BIG colorful buttons — yay!!!

I pre-cut all of the yarn, tying a knot on one end and wrapping the other end with a bit of tape to make it easy for her to thread the needle on her own. She was so proud that she could thread it herself! I also tied a small knot near the needle to keep it in place while she sewed.

She also enjoyed the basket itself, and practiced taking all of the materials out and putting them back in over and over again!

We recycled cut up pieces of an empty cereal box to make the “spools” of pre-cut yarn.

Then she would take it out and start sewing all over again! I think it helps if you wear a colorful pasta necklace, don’t you?

Sewing is a wonderful activity for developing fine-motor control, pattern recognition, color identification, and so much more! I love that this simple kit made it easy for her to enjoy some early sewing success!!

Look, ma! I can sew!!!

Have fun!!


  1. How fun! I got my first sewing basket when I was six years old, I think, and it’s still the one I use today!

  2. Dear Valerie,

    “You’ll shoot poke your eye out, kid”

    Just kidding! She sure looks like she is having fun. πŸ™‚


  3. What fun!

  4. Shelley Anderson says

    Thanks for this timely idea! My daughter has been begging for a sewing kit, but thinking of my 3-year old armed with a needle makes me fearful for our 14 month old. This will be perfect for her!

  5. Oh, I want to make on for Hannah. You have such wonderful ideas!!

  6. This would be great for my little one and I have just the basket too.
    Thanks for all your inspiring ideas, I always get from reading your blog!

  7. What a wonderful gift! I would never have thought of the shelf liner, but it looks perfect.

  8. how cute!! she looks so happy!

  9. What a fantastic idea! One of my twins has recently mastered tying knots, and I’ve been trying to come up with a craft other than bead-threading that might catch her fancy.

  10. So is that an old tea set basket? It’s way too cute

    • Wow, good eye, Ticia! It is an old tea set basket! I’ve seen picnic baskets at the thrift store that would work very nicely too. πŸ™‚

  11. Dear Clara,

    I have a pair of pants that desperately needs the button replaced. Could I send them to you so you can adorn them with one or two of your BIG, colorful buttons?

    Thank you fro your consideration!

    Wonder Mom

    P.S. Congratulations on owning your very OWN sewing kit!

  12. That is the cutest thing ever. Fantastic!

  13. I love it – what a great idea, especially seeing those big buttons that are actually not falling off.

  14. brooke schaefer says

    STOP!!! I love this. Must have. So cute!

  15. Okay, this is a fantastic idea! I knew I was saving that netting from the orange boxes for something. Oh, and great tip about tying the knot near the needle – thanks!

  16. I love this idea, I have a 5 year old who would love her own little basket. I am new to your blog and have really enjoyed it today

  17. So clever and CUTE!!!

  18. Absolutely love this idea. Kalyssa is always wanting to sew when I am, so this is definitely a must do on my crafting list! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  19. Oh my goodness! This is so creative, love the green factor! Great for fine motor. πŸ™‚

  20. Great idea! I found some place mats at the dollar store that are just like that shelf liner. I cut them up for our kids to use in sewing – works great.

    • I know exactly which ones you mean, and I’ve seen them in all sorts of bright colors! Great idea!!

  21. What an awesome idea! I love it!

  22. Just had to say what a dolly Clara is! The last picture is SO cute!

  23. She looks so happy as she’s working on her sewing project. Love it; great idea.

  24. That is adorable and so much fun for Clara. What a great idea.

  25. What a great idea. Clara looks so incredibly happy and proud of herself. And I love how you recycled almost the entire gift.

  26. thanks valerie! so cute and so much fun! esp if it keeps them occupied πŸ™‚ Where did you get the BIG colorful buttons?

    • I don’t remember for sure, but I think I may have gotten them at a teacher’s supply store??

  27. This is the cutest idea ever! I’m so impressed. Wish I had a little girl to make one for!

  28. Wow! When you do a favorites for 2011, I can’t imagine anything topping this. It is really COOL! (But I loved the gumball machine, also.:))

  29. This is SO cute! I still have my first sewing basket, and I plan on passing it on to Ava in another couple of years. I like the materials and small bits of colored yarn you have come up with to keep it fun. At my house, we use the hard plastic needlework material (like Grandma’s tissue box was made from πŸ™‚ cut into manageable-sized shapes. We use needles similar to yours and Ava likes to incorporate large beads into her “sewing,” too. Thanks for the post. Very fun!

    • Oh, how cute! We have some of that plastic canvas stuff here — I think beads would be fun to add too!

  30. Cute! When she gets older you can switch it out to embroidery thread and needles, and pieces of felt. I’ve got links to some cute thread cards that you can print on cardstock here: and you can see the sewing housewife that I made for my daughter (she’s 9) for her to keep her needles and embroidery thread together. I just have to figure out something for my boys, since they want to learn, too!

  31. What a fabulous idea! I have a little one turning 4 next week and this would be a wonderful gift. Thank you!

    Found you through Frugal Granola.

    • Oh, I’m so happy you found us, Elizabeth! Welcome to FFFB! I hope your 4yr old enjoys this as much as Clara does — it was a big hit here! xoxo

  32. What a cute idea! I love it!!

  33. LOVE it! πŸ™‚ You can tell by her facial expressions that she is on cloud 9!

    • I still can’t believe how happy she is to do her own sewing! It melts my heart every time! πŸ™‚

  34. Your child’s beeeeeaming smile says it all! I love the wonderful recycled materials and the neat little spools of thread! This would make a fantastic ziplock bag activity or sewing kit gift … Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you so much, Nadene! Clara has been taking out her sewing basket every day — For something so simple, it’s been a big hit around here! πŸ™‚

  35. She is sooo happy! I love it. I am so making one for my son, and you’ve given me some great ideas for things I already have around the house to use.

  36. Hi there, just wanted to let you know I love your website, and have referenced your kid’s sewing kit on my blog. Hope that is ok. Cheers, Zoe

  37. I’ve had my eye on this project forever, but watching my girls work on a school project involving yarn has made me decide to take the plunge. I don’t have any appropriate baskets, so I’m going to make plastic canvas boxes for each of them. I LOVE the idea of sewing elastic onto the lid. BRILLIANT!


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