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CHILDREN'S BOOKSHELF

November 20, 1994|Lauren Tsujimoto

SEWING BY HAND by Christine Hoffman, pictures by Harriett Barton (HarperCollins: $14; 29 pp.) The insurmountable pile of unanswered questions my 7-year-old has asked me accumulates in my overworked brain much like dirty laundry on the bathroom floor. Always there, always more. What a find to be able to answer the query, "Mom, how do you sew?" Christine Hoffman demystifies the process for 4- to 8-year-olds (and their parents) in her delightfully illustrated and easy-to-understand "Sewing by Hand." Even the smallest hands can help assemble the needed tools and materials. Step-by-step instructions are accompanied by clear drawings for non-readers and the skills required discussed--marking, cutting ("Go slowly and carefully"), threading a needle, tying knots and how to sew three types of stitches ("Wow, Mom, I can't believe I'm sewing!"). Three simple projects will give parent and child that satisfied sense of completion in a relatively short time. A few shortcuts we came up with on our own: Machine-sew larger stretches of the project--beginners will still get the enjoyment of marking, cutting and stuffing; and photocopy the patterns if you don't have tracing paper on hand. A third suggestion--my son's--was to tape the final edge shut if you're in a hurry, but then he remembered we were doing this to learn to sew by hand and sew he did.

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