I think I’ve found the right balance when it comes to making clothes for my tweens. * little dance of joy *. With three tweens in the house, it is a good place to be. Believe me. The answer, for us, is to let them choose the fabric, but negotiate over the pattern.
At the moment, the boy is really into shirts. I’ve used the pattern Simplicity 5581 a couple of times now (here and here) and it is perfect, so long as he can choose the fabric. Oh boy. Does he love the choice.
When I take him along to our local fabric shop, he is a pro. He efficiently selects and narrows down his favourites. Weighing up the pros and cons. Fortunately he’s pretty good at making his selection. Much faster than me. Somehow he has turned out a much better shopper than me. I now take him when I shoe shop as he gets it right every time. This boy is never leaving home!
Back to the shirt. I like this fabric. Its fun, but a little more grown-up, which is right for an eight year old.
Notice how no cars are cut in half by the front edge. Victory!
Buttons don’t interest him as much. My turn. Yah! I love buttons. This is my kind of shopping. They can change a garment from ordinary-could-find-in-a-shop to something special. These buttons are perfect. They remind me of car hubs. Very fitting for the car fabric, he had selected.
I also wanted to mix up the colours so went for the same buttons but in red and blue. It makes the buttons more subtle. The eye is less likely to be drawn to them compared to a line of the same coloured buttons, so they don’t dominate the shirt.
I think they’re more fun. Buttons should be. Shouldn’t they? While still working as buttons, of course.
This is going to be a popular shirt.
Before you think that letting the boy choose the fabric only works with him, I’ve started on my next project. A top for my
fussy exacting Eldest.
She’s chosen the fabric and we’ve agreed on the pattern. One I’ve not used before, and so far so good. She has ….
reminded me at every opportunity… patiently waited over a month. Hopefully I should have it finished by the weekend…….ish. I’ve already chosen the buttons.
Photo location: Chew Valley Lake. Sailing boats racing in background
I love sewing. My children have grown up surrounded by all my sewing projects and materials. They’ve sat on my lap as I’ve worked. From an early age they’ve learnt that magnets are a fun way to pick up pins and needles. They’ve also learnt that I tend to roar if they touch my sewing machines when I’m using it. Not that that has stopped them wanting to sew.
They do want to learn. I’ve involved them in as many of my projects as possible. We’ve also done lots and lots of projects together, but I’m always on the look out for projects that they can do for themselves. I have looked at shelves upon shelves of craft books with mixed results. Mainly they have one or two good projects and then the rest are too basic. Lacking the element of inspiration.
Crafty Creatures bucks the trend. I would be hard pushed to choose one project that I would leave out of this book. Really! I would happily make all these projects. My daughters, at age 11 and 8, poured through the book. In fact, it went AWOL the moment they got home from school.
They rifled through my sewing supplies (even though they have their own!!!!) and got started making an owl and fox brooch. The next day, they started on the rabbits. Clothes are in the process of being made for the rabbits too.
Do you know the most amazing part? They didn’t need my help. Instructions were perfect for them.
Before you think that I had no chance to join in, I have started a koala. The small one. In the interest of research, of course – OK, I admit, I liked it!
The knitted koala would make a perfect project for a beginner. It’s all worked as a series of individual rectangles. No increasing or decreasing. So long as you can knit and purl, you can make a koala. (Helps to know how to cast on and off too!) There are instructions, with useful photos, at the back of the book to explain the fundamentals.
I’ve also got this page ear marked. I love this idea. Simple, but very effective. Expect this to be popping up in a project very soon.
If you are looking for a present to give this Christmas which will inspire sewing or knitting, then look no further. There are projects that children will love to make, but also projects that could be made for children as gifts. My girls love this book, but I’d say it would suit anyone who wants to make sweet creatures.
Disclaimer: DK Books kindly sent me a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.