Our Toddler Friendly Sewing Basket

Given that I am regularly playing around with fabric and all manner of notions, Immy is always one step behind me raiding the drawers in my study for things to ‘make’ with. I have read about creating toddler ‘sewing’ baskets on a number of blogs and decided it was time to make Immy her own collection.

So into our re-fashioned basket went;

  • A wooden embroidery hoop and plastic needle for ‘sewing’
  • A cotton reel threading game
  • A crocheted flower
  • Small balls of wool of various colours
  • Squares of fabric with a range of colours and textures
  • Used cotton reels
  • Some ric rac
  • A chunky zipper

The threading game is based on a Montessori activity which I have seen around the blogosphere and utilises a Parmesan jar for storage and to hold the pipe cleaners upright whilst the child is threading onto them. It was also the first thing in the basket that Immy chose to explore.

Our ‘sewing’ utilises a non-slip drawer liner (another tip I picked up from an older post over at Filth Wizardry), plastic needle and wool. The drawer liner features large holes which make threading the needle through nice and easy for a two and a half year old. It is a good way for Immy to learn to pull the needle and thread all of the way through each time.

I have plans to extend the basket over time, adding;

  • A collection of large buttons
  • Chunky knitting needles
  • Sewing cards
  • Shoelaces for another threading experience with the cotton reels
  • Some knitted pieces and more crocheted samples
  • More sewing experiences, eventually moving onto using a metal bodkin and open weave cross stitch fabric

For more adventures into sewing with toddlers and preschoolers, visit these posts;

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  1. What a wonderful sewing basket. I love the idea of using a shelf liner!

  2. awesome idea – I need some inspiration..

  3. I love it!

  4. Philippa, Neevah and Liam says:

    Love It! :)

  5. I love this idea. So clever and simple to put together. Heidi loves her giant buttons and was playing with them this morning while we waited for the nurse to do her blood test.

  6. What a fantastic idea! Incidentally I was thinking about doing some french knitting with DS the other day. Hmmm, wonder if he's too young still…

  7. What a great idea! I was in spotlight this morning and bought Sophie a panda bear tape measure so she will stop stealing mine..
    But she definatlty needs her own sewing basket too.

  8. Busy Brissy Mum says:

    I love this idea Christie. I haven't come across them before.

  9. Mother★Lode says:

    Oh, I just love this basket full of so many great ideas. Thank you for the inspiration!!

  10. Hear Mum Roar says:

    This does look like a lot of fun!

  11. lovely. Immy is a lucky girl. My kids love tape measures too. partly for the fun of actually measuring anything and everything and partly (well mainly) for the fun of pushing that button and experiencing it zipping back into itself

  12. Wow, I love this idea! And the cheese shaker with pipe cleaners, I did something similar, only not with spools. ;-) And it was decorative. LOLz.

  13. How cool! I remember sitting on the back of my mom's chair while she would sew when I was a preschooler. She says I would tell her, "I'm boring." (I'm bored) Too bad she didn't have a cool sewing basket for me!

  14. Honor Bowden says:

    WOW! What a fantastic sewing basket! Just a couple of days ago I was trying to work out how Roman could 'join in' while I'm sewing… I LOVE the draw liner idea! It should hold up to a fair bit of wear and tear I imagine. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Where did you find the plastic needle? I also love the idea of wooden spools, but the only one's I get anymore are plastic… I'll have to look and see if I can find any around here… :)

    What a fabulous idea. I'm totally making one of these for my niece for Christmas!

  16. I love this idea, thank you so much for sharing. My three year old will LOVE it!

    Come follow me@:

  17. Brilliant Christie – I've recently given Melli a sewing basket too as she joins me while I'm at the machine.
    Love the liner idea for sewing – must find something similar. Thanks for sharing this one.

  18. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    This post was featured as a post of the week on my blog. Here is a link to the post:

  19. There is so much to say about this! I learned to use these tools at an early age, but I think I've been denying my daughter the opportunity, so much gets put to the side when you work full time doesn't it? This is exactly what I need, thank you for pointing me too it!! :)

  20. Awesome! I am totally making my daughter one of these for Christmas. Thanks a bunch!

  21. Mrs. Doodle says:

    I love this idea. I am so going to make one for my daughter. Where did you get the plastic needle? amazon didn't have a great selection.

  22. Wow! what a wonderful idea! my daughter will go crazy, sewing like mommy!
    Thanks a lot

  23. I love it so much that I made a post on my blog The Bibirays Bitsi Muses, of my own version of "our toddler friendly sewing basket", and linked it to this post.
    thanks again.

  24. My little son always wonders WHAT Mama is doing with all those pointy sharp things and threads and busy machines that make happy noises… he wants to be a part too! What a glorious idea!! I'm going to get together some things NOW, and some more later…. LOVE the parmesan container/threader idea for holding the bits upright. GREAT concept. Going to poke holes in the top of something NOw for a similar thing….

  25. The Sunshine Crew says:

    Awesome idea! We have some of that blue liner from the bath tub mat we used to lean on when giving the boys baths wen they were babies.
    I'm going to try to make this for my little one to practice his hand at sewing…the plastic needle is a great idea, too.
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    :) Colleen

  26. I love this-sewing efforts end up very short at home with 2 children who are desperate to be involved. Where did you get the wooden spools from? All I can find are ones from the US. Justine

  27. For those who asked, the needle was part of a finger making kit from our local $2 kit. If you can’t find something similar, try a metal bodkin with a blunt end from a haberdashery store.

  28. Linda Scarbrough says:

    The plastic needles and wooden spools can be found on line at just search “craft needles” and “wooden spools” You can also find them at Hobby Lobby or most of your local craft or sewing material stores.
    I have sewing activities in my pre-k classroom but other than lacing cards, I have not used them in my toddler classroom. Your basket is full of wonderful “Toddler Friendly” activities.
    Plastic canvas and weaving hoops are two favorites in my pre-k classroom

  29. We actually did this (the sewing on the shelf liner) when Bear was 30 months.
    I loved how you progressed to the sewing of buttons onto embroidery cloth, so I’m off to the store to equip Bear for this project. She’ll love it. Thanks!

  30. Love this activity and this blog! So glad I found you thru lilmagoolie!

  31. LOVE this!!! Have just featured it on my Counting Coconuts Facebook Page. :)

  32. What a great idea, and I think it could work for my older (primary school aged) children as well. My 6 and 7 yo delight in making pom poms, so a cardboard circle and wool will be a must.

  33. I came by your site via another blog that linked to you about the sewing baskets. I put together two of baskets today for birthday presents…took a little more of a “crafting” spin, but LOVED the inspirational idea! Thanks!

  34. Can I ask where you found plastic needles to buy? Love the idea!

  35. I love this idea. I would like to teach my girls (ages 5 & 6) some basic sewing this summer. What woulkd you recommend for their sewing basket supplies?

  36. hm, but how to do it with twin girls. To do it separately with each one seems imposible timewise, and two of them at the same time – I do not have that many hands (sigh)…

    • I have just bought the supplies and am excited to try it when they all arrive with my twin boys, 2 years 3 months. A bit ambitious probably but i’m game ! I cannguarantee one will lose interest and be off with the toys and trucks but hoe the other will persevere a while. Or they may surprise me like they do every day!

  37. I love this! My five year old knows how to sew, but I’m not sure how to introduce my three year old. What a great idea!

    • My daughter started with her sewing basket when she was about 2 1/2 and she enjoys being able to come back to all of the little projects in her own time and according to her interest.

  38. I love this! Your picture of this basket has been on one of my Pinterest boards for weeks. In fact, Pinterest was how I found you. Last night, I finally decided to put my own basket together for my three year old. I just finished a post about it on my blog. I linked to your post and I quoted you. I gave you credit for everything and it’s a really positive post, so I hope that this is OK, but please let me know if it is not.

  39. I am an absolute needle and thread person. Want my son to get into it the moment he starts showing inclination and ability to handle it…This post is worth a revisit. Love the plastic needle & spools….I should’ve valued some of the stuff I had :)!

  40. Keep posting as you add to the basket! Fabulous ideas!!!!

  41. i LOVE this!!! going to raid cupboards to make two small ones for my two girls :D

  42. Paula Swann says:

    this is great – i have been trying to find things I could do with my granddaughter as she is always trying to “play” with my sewing stuff

  43. Oh my gosh!! This is adorable!! Such a great idea for the embroidery!! Love this!!

  44. I am definitely putting this together tomorrow. I have almost everything! Thank you for the idea!

  45. Great idea! I absolutely love the embroidery hoop idea! (I have an Immy, too… Imogen is not such a common name in the US where I live – fun to hear of another one.)

  46. So glad to have stumbled upon this! Will be putting a basket together for my eldest girl’s birthday this December, thanks so much for the inspiration!

  47. great idea…..where would i find a plastic needle?

  48. Just another thanks for such a great idea. I have picked up all the bits at our local $2 shop (draw liner) or ebay (needles, buttons, crochet hoops) and am so excited to try it with my 2 year’s perfect for this age i reckon as you can change and mix up the activity as they lose attention, every 5 mins, by pulling out something new to sew with. Im feeling optimistic! Thanks again for the inspiration!


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