Kid $ewing


My 9 year old granddaughter continues to expand the product line for her little business, Laurel’s Specialty Sewing.  After introducing monogrammed tote bags, she added the service of sewing Girl Scout patches on the vests of her fellow Scouts ($ .50 per patch, monofilament thread, free motion sewing).  This product and service has proven to be very profitable.  She recently bought an American Girl doll with money she earned.

Now Laurel is promoting a new item in her line.  The simple felt hangings are destined for the upcoming Girl Scout Camporee.  The girls bring little items to trade, momentos of the event or trinkets, such as  these for an event they call SWAPS–Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.

pizzagroup copy


Or these.




As per its definition, each SWAPS item includes a safety pin so it can be pinned Somewhere.  But where?

My google search turned up hundreds of ideas for SWAPS items, but only 3 photos of where to pin the collection of tiny treasures after the Camporee.  One picture showed a large straw hat with the SWAPS pinned to it, another had pins attached to poster board and the last showed this shirt.



I couldn’t help but think  that it can’t be much fun to remove all the pins in order to launder the garment.

So to fill a void in the market, Laurel is taking orders from the girls in her troop for SWAPS banners.  For $5 they may choose black, red or yellow felt.   Her business is booming, showing no indications of the economy’s slow down.


SWAPS red allX

The hangers are simple, a piece of felt approximately 14″  x 20″ with  fancy blade rotary cut edges.  The embroidery is stitched, the top folded to the front and then sewn in place with a decorative stitch.


SWAPS black emb

A dowel rod is slipped through the sleeve and a 20″ length of ribbon is tied to either end.  Easy-peasy.

Laurel has learned so much from her sewing business– the importance of prompt delivery, quality products, reasonable pricing, marketing strategies, and attractive advertising.  She has learned that hard work has rewards, and so much more.

Would you like to excite and motivate your child about sewing?  Would you like her/him to learn some basic business concepts?  How about the rewards of a good work ethic?  If so, you might want to think about helping your youngster start a business.  It can be fun for you and a great learning experience for your child.

NOTE:  In the pencil topper post, I mentioned that plans were being made to have my 8 yo Sunday School student, Peter, come sew with me.  He desperately wanted to make a lizard pencil topper.  We did that this past week and he was absolutely delighted with the project and the process.  In fact, he begged to stay longer when his father came to pick him up 3 hours later.

But as he was admiring his second pencil topper, his bright eyes lighted up again and he announced, “I could SELL these!!!”

“Yes,” I replied, “you probably could.”  There were a few seconds of quiet as Peter’s wheels turned….and then he had an AHA! moment as he pointed to another embroidery machine in my sewing room.

“I could sew on this one and you could sew on that one!  That way, we could make a LOT of pencil toppers for me to sell.”

Before we seal the deal on my recruitment, Peter will have to listen to the same business lecture I gave Laurel.   But this one will include a discussion of subcontracting.

16 responses to “Kid $ewing

  1. How wonderful!!! Sew many lessons being learned, not only about business but life in general. How many of us adults hold back dreams of a cottage industry because we don’t think our work is good enough or we are afraid to fail. BTW your grand will make a pretty penny in college making sorority tee’s and sweat shirts!! I know I spent a fortune on them for our DD’s.

  2. What a great idea! You might have to rent time on your machine to the kids who get bitten by the embroidery bug.

  3. What a wonderful grandmother and teacher you are! Your grandchildren are learning so much and so are your Sunday School students. Laurel will always have a way to make extra money. She must have been so proud to purchase her doll with her earnings!

  4. Thank you, Karen. It is nice to know that Laurel will always be able to earn a little money. One of my college sorority sisters paid all of her fees doing alterations and hemming garments right there in the house! I can see Laurel doing that. You are so right about Laurel feeling good about buying that doll with her sewing money. The funny thing is that she is very frugal with her earnings. She thought long and hard before making that purchase and has hardly spent any more. As a “busines girl” she has really learned a lot about the value of money.

  5. Thanks, Debby. I do think one of the biggest benefits of Laurel’s business is that she will always have a marketable skill that she can use on her own time. Additionally, she has gained the confidence necessary to start a cottage industry. You are so right about the money to be made personalizing items for the college Greeks. And she doesn’t have to wait until she is a co-ed to tap into that market.

  6. Beckie, I could start one of those embroidery cafes for kids! Peter would recruit all his friends to make pencil toppers for his business.

  7. from Martha Pullen forum: I love this story; I am going to share it with 8 year old Saskia when she visits this weekend. I gave her a week of sewing lessons this summer but she has no way to practice what she learned. I am going to show her and her Mother the article and see if they think they can set something up at her house. She is also a scout.

  8. from SewForum: She has the best teacher and is gaining great experience. We might just see her on Shark Tank in 10 years. I wish her the best of luck in her sewing business.

  9. from SewForum: Janice, Your grandchild is blessed indeed to have a grandmother to give her such a wonderful gift. At this age children are learning foundation skills they never forget, and this one will be a valuable lesson and basis for so many other things. I wish her great success with her new business, and many wonderful hours of fun time for the both of you. Thanks for sharing this sweet story….do let us know how the new business is going from time to time : ).

  10. What a wonderful story. Laurel is obviously engaged and expanding her knowledge. Such a wonderful and practical way to learn math, geometry, color theory and on and on. I love that she has found the joy of reading to gather useful information. I wish all parents and grandparents would see the many values of a hobby and encourage their youngsters to be all they can be and Laurel certainly will be!! What a blessing to have such a grandma!

  11. from Martha Pullen forum: What a wonderful story and such a talented granddaughter! I know you’re very proud of her. I’ve shared her ideas with a 12-year-old granddaughter who is big into Girl Scouts and an 8-year old niece who is just starting out in Scouts. I doubt if the 12-year-old will try sewing as her mother opposes anything unless her own mother suggests it. However, the 8-year-old will love it. Her grandmother who sews beautiful just retired and has loads of time to help her. Thanks for posting these great ideas.

  12. from Martha Pullen forum: How cool is that!! Good for Laurel for making her dreams come true–and for sharing with those in need, too!! She is blessed to have such wonderful grown-ups in her life!!

  13. Do you have any idea where that pic came from with the tshirt above? I love that GIRL SCOUT WAYS shirt.

  14. Amy, the photo appeared in a post on this blog site. Perhaps that blog writer can tell you about the shirt. I just found it with a google search for SWAPS.

  15. I as looking for a pattern nap cot sheets and your website came up how great it is! I was wondering if you would be willing to share your pattern with me? I am looking to make some cot sheets for the local daycare that I volunteer at!

  16. Mo, I’m so happy that you happened upon my blog. How kind of you to make sheets for the daycare center–and it can be a fun project. The directions are already posted at this blog post so you can get started right away. Because several fabrics can be combined and pieced together to accomplish the finished size of 24″ x 47″, it is a great stash buster. Let me know if you have any questions.

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