Growing Up Handmade Tour
How to Sew for Tweens and Teens
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Sewing for little kids can be pretty simple. Cute fabric, cute pattern, put them together and bam, cute dress on a cute kid. I know not ALL little kids are that easy, but hey, babies are. ;) As kids get older, they start to develop into their own little identity. They start to figure out what they like, and what they don't. And they get opinions on what they like to wear. When they are teens, they usually have developed a fashion sense and don't allow their mom to play dress up with them anymore.
If you are a mom who enjoys making your child's clothes, you may be fearing that a time will come when your child doesn't want handmade clothes anymore.
What if I told you that you don't have to worry about that?
This is Kate.
Kate is 12 and a seventh grader. She is the third born of four children. She is wacky and silly and takes way too much joy in annoying her younger brother. And her old sister for that matter. Kate has had her very own taste in fashion since she was a toddler. She loved twirly dresses in bright colors and lots of crazy patterns. And she loved to accessorize.
(store bought clothes! I really only made Halloween costumes back then)
This bright bold phase lasted until she was about 9. Then, she decided solids were her favorite pattern.
Let's Talk Fabrics
I sew Kate's clothes in solid colors. Because, that is what she likes. I wouldn't go BUY her clothes she didn't like and wasn't her style, so why would I take the time to sew them? Pick fabrics similar to what your child would pick with store bought clothes. Yes, the cutesy character stuff and rainbows and unicorns and stars and stripes are all FUN. But what good is it if you child doesn't LIKE it? Buy fabrics your kids will WEAR. Now this is the fun lesson. Buy what they will WEAR not what they LIKE. There is a difference!!! Kate LIKES the cute, fun, loud custom fabrics. But, she won't WEAR them. Because they don't look like what her friend's clothes look like. We reserve fun fabrics for pajama pants. Her everyday clothes look very similar to what you will find in the store. But, they fit her better and you can't actually find them in the store. ;)
Kate's favorite colors to wear are black and gray. So, that is what I sew. Is if fun and exciting fabric? No. But, she loves what I make. And THAT is fun and exciting! Nothing beats when the kids come down and see me working on a project and they ask "Is that for me?" And the actually WANT it to be for them. That makes sewing fun for me. It's more about creating something my kids love than using fabrics I love. I can do that when I sew something for me. ;)
What patterns work for tweens and teens?
Now as for patterns for tweens. You may be shocked, but many of the patterns that you used for your daughter when she was younger work beautifully for a tween/teen as long as the sizing goes up high enough! It's ALL about the fabric when sewing for older kids!
Love Notions is a great place to find patterns that transition well for older girls. The patterns usually go up to a size 14 or 16 and the women's patterns start at an xs which is very similar to a girls 16. Tami, the designer for Love Notions has a tween daughter and she definitely keeps her daughter's style in mind when she designs.
For Kate's viola solo/ensemble competition this year, she wore her Love Notions Girl's Prism Dress (the simple A-line version) with Love Notions Ladies' Canyon Cardigan layered on top. She looked professional and age appropriate yet was very comfortable in her clothes. The Prisma was made from double brushed poly and is so so soft!!
What makes her basic black Prisma so great is how versitile it is! She can take that same dress and pair it with a store bought flannel for a much more casual hipster look.
Hey June also has a great line of tween/teen patterns. Kate's silly side came out when she had the opportunity to have a tiger shirt made from the Camden Raglan pattern. She let's me sneak some fun stuff in once in a while.
My 15 year old, Jillian, got a Camden Raglan also. It's one of her favorite shirts. Jillian LOVES handmade shirts. She loves when she wears them and her friends ask where she got it from and she can answer "my basement" or "my mom".
Sew Straight and Gather has a very modern clean style of design that works beautifully for older kids. She has a new line coming out soon you will want to watch for!
For a girl who loves solid black and gray though, she does have a soft place in her heart for lace. She's sporty and active but does have a feminine side. She was the preschooler climbing the tree and playing in the mud in tutus and twirly dresses.
Peek-a-Boo Patterns are another one that has transitioned well for us. Kate is out of their children's sizes now. But she easily wore PAB children's patterns until she was 10/11 years old. Now she can wear the women's xs patterns.
The Peek-a-Boo Sugar and Spice was one of my favorite patterns to make work for a tween. It's so unexpected! But done in a simple khaki linen, with some white detail stitching along the bodice, it turned into a stunning piece very easy for a tween to wear. She wore this all the time! I was very surprised at how much use this shirt got. This is a size 12 on her at 10 years old.
The Rio Tank was another pattern that transitioned well.
Made for Mermaids has a lot of cute stuff that works well for older girls. Same with Patterns for Pirates. Many of their ladies patterns will work well for tween/teens if they have sized out of the girls sizes. But the girls sizes do go up pretty high, usually to a 14/16.
There are SO many other great designers and patterns for tweens and teens. I hope this post helped show you that can continue sewing for your kids as they grow older. My 19 year old son still requests handmade clothes. He actually asked me to sew his tux for prom this year so he could have one that actually fit him properly. Yeah, that's not happening. He's renting. But he did asked and that shows me that even teenage boys can appreciate well fitting handmade custom clothes.
For your chance to win some great patterns for your tweens enter the rafflecopter giveaway!
Thank you to our host Beri Bee Designs for this awesome tour!
To see other great bloggers sharing how they sew for their tweens. Hop on over!
Friday - April 21st Round Up and Giveway Winners
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