I know what you mean about sewing skills and lack of them.
At the 5th and 6th grade level students we use sewing skills in these
Costuming for their puppets.....no ragged ends --all hemmed edges!
Sewing stitches required on some of their collage work.
And Pillows......They applique their design and have to incorporate a minimum
of required stitches.
All three of those projects are highly popular with the students. I find the
fellows as skillful and interested as the gals.