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Three children (16, 14, 12)*** Two parents *** one dog *** Country loving *** Cottage dwelling in the South-West of the UK. That’s us!

We’ve been blogging since January 2010, about everyday happenings that bring us joy.

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Just a thought….

“A moment spent in wonder is worth a lifetime spent in awe.”

 

Thank you….

  • Carol Not only is your bag practical, it is also very cute. Most reuseable bags aren't very attractive but I use them anyway. 16 Jul
  • Crummy Mummy We've been up at our allotment watering every day too - could really do with some meaningful rain now, although I'm not complaining! #MMBC 16 Jul
  • Kim Carberry What a fantastic idea and a fab looking bag. So pretty. I love your sewing machine too. x 15 Jul
  • sam What a well timed shot X #mmbc 15 Jul
  • Craft Mother I really hope you do get the gardening bug. Wonderful way to spend your time. 15 Jul
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Sticky

sewing clothes for teenagers and tweens

Spring top for a teen

I’m over as a guest on Minerva Crafts today, with this lovely top I made for my eldest teen. Lacy fabric coupled with, and breathing fresh life into, an upcycled fabric I had in my stash.  A perfect spring combination. The lace is soft to sew and wear, which suited us both fine. More photos, on their blog today.

A handmade pinafore for my teen

I’m not the fastest dressmaker. I procrastinate and over structure. Stretching out the end of every project by adding little extras to every sewing project. Almost as if I can’t quite let it go. Strangely, I am the complete opposite in my day job, and fight even the hint of project scope creep. A signed up believer in the 80/20 rule. Then again, no stitches are involved, which probably explains the difference in my approach.

I envy people who can stitch up an outfit in a couple of hours. Not in a menacing way, you understand. Just wanted to make that clear. More in a “why can’t I do that?” contemplative way. I do know. Seriously, if I can add a teeny, tiny bit more, I will. I cannot resist. Maybe one day, I’ll master the quick make. In the meantime, I steadily stitch.

Latest project is no different. The first time I made a Cleo, it took me a weekend. Even then I didn’t stick to the instructions. This time, it has taken longer. I put this down to the added dimension of trying to please a teenager. Boy, do I love a challenge.

I cut the project out about two weeks ago. The pinafore is for my eldest daughter. It is a Tilly and the Button’s Cleo pinafore. Eldest is in sixth form now and doesn’t wear uniform. This means her wardrobe is starting to bulge with outfits, as she adds more. Wearing the same favourite pair of jeans, every day, is not the way to go, I gather. When I offered to make her a pinafore, she jumped at it.

We settled on a green corduroy from my stash, with a floral facing. She wanted buckles, not button holes. I made the smallest size. After the experience of my last Cleo project, I added the lining as I constructed it, instead of retrospectively. Much less fiddly. I had enough navy lining in my cupboard, which had this project written all over it. Apart from the buckles, the project has helped me to destash my fabric stash a little bit more. All the fabric was left over from other projects, so I’m winning.

She found sweet, metal buttons, with Viking ships on them, in my button tin. They seemed to suit the buckles.

I made a tiny mistake at the cutting out stage. Instead of cutting the front as two pieces, I opted to put the centre front on the fold. Avoiding a front seam. My mistake was to forgot to take the seam allowance off, meaning the front was wider than it should be. The floral facing was cut correctly, which meant it was too small. They did not match. I couldn’t cut it again as there was no more fabric. So I changed the bib width to make everything fit.

The other problem was that the top of the bib sagged. I added a band between the lining and the corduroy, which has helped. At least it sags towards her and not away.

Next challenge was that the lovely metal buttons were too small. As she moved, they would undo. Not ideal. I found slightly bigger buttons and covered them with more of the green corduroy fabric. I think they look good, and, fingers crossed, they seem to be working more as they should. No unhooked straps flaying around as she walks.

Next issue was the length. She wanted short. I wanted it longer. She wasn’t going to wear it, if it was too long. So we met half way. Somewhere between agreeing the length and her trying it on again, I swear she had grown. It was shorter than either of us wanted. Luckily, I’d given it a huge hem and was able to let it down.

Everyone is happy now.

The next part is down to me having fun with the project and adding a little more detail. Stretching out the end of the project again. I’m so glad my daughter was up for a little extra, total unnecessary lace. I thought it would be frivolous fun to add trimming to the lining, making it a pretty petticoat. If it ended up on show, at least it was going to look good.

(Did anyone else grow up with the expression, “It’s snowing in Paris”, meaning your petticoat is showing?)

I got the floral lace in a lucky dip bag of trimmings, years ago. Every now and again, I find the right project for one of the lengths of ribbon or lace. This piece’s time had come. I had a little left over once I added it to the hem of the lining/petticoat. I love it!

As eldest was showing her sister, I laughed that not many people would see it. Oh no, she told me, she’d be showing her friends. I’m still weighing up if this is a good thing.

The Cleo is complete. I really love how it has turned out. Looking at the photos, it looks quite plain, so I’m glad I did add a bit more. Even if it is not on show.

She is wearing this to school today. She says that it’s comfortable to wear. With all the extra structure and detail, I know it won’t let her down.

Right. The next project is cut out and ready to go. I wonder how long it will take me to finish?

When a girl designs her own dress

We sat on her bed, looking at the contents of her wardrobe. After flicking through the rail, I finally agreed with her. All her dresses were not suitable for a near-teen. It didn’t help that since last summer she has stretched. I mean really stretched. Dresses were now tunics and the rest were too young.

More dresses were definitely required. (Music to a mother’s ears, who likes to sew.)

It was a Saturday morning. The fabric shop would be open. Heading downstairs, I selecting a few possible patterns from my collection and let her choose.

Being a near-teen, she has clear ideas about what she likes. It is a fearless state of mind. She doesn’t seem to compromise and worry about what her friends will think. She knows what she likes and what suits her. I hope she never loses that clarity.

The making of the dress

She opted for Simplicity 5234. A simple dress, that gave a variety of combinations. Different options for the neckline, yoke fabric and sleeves, while the dress stayed the same, simple shape. She could design her own dress. How good is that? She was decisive and went for view B. She wanted a lace overlay, with cap sleeves.

Fearless, I tell you.

Next stop, the fabric shop.

It didn’t take her long to spot the perfect watery-blue. We looked at several laces and background fabrics, finally settling for a white, soft lace against white fabric.

Secretly, I was pleased she chose this dress pattern. I knew it would be quick to make and perfect for a wedding we were all going to this weekend. The dress is a pullover. No zips or buttons. A simple shape with a tie at the back.

I’ve not worked with lace before. The sleeves needed gathering at the top to ease them into the armhole. I found the combination of lace and gathering fiddly, but got there in the end.

Originally, she wanted the long version of the dress, but once fitted, she realised that the hem would work better for her as the short version. I cut off a couple of inches. If she changes her mind, I can easily add it back on.

The pattern was quick to make and no advanced tailoring. A great choice if you’re starting out on your dressmaking journey. The instructions are straightforward. If I was to make it again, I think it would take me an afternoon.

Why it matters that she designed it

She loves her new dress. The dress she designed. She’s not one to ask for lots of things, but when I prompted her, she did say she’d love another using the same pattern. I think I can manage that.

I’m glad we took this route. Yes. I could have let her loose in any number of clothes shops, with a purse full of money. I daresay, she would have found an outfit she liked. Maybe it would have been a compromised choice as closing time neared. This dress should last her a while (especially if I add the length back on). Unlike a shop bought outfit, it will not look easily dated. Eventually she will grow out of it, but it’s not destined to be thrown away in a matter of weeks/months as so much of our fashion goods are in this country. As the fashion passes.

It may seem like a small thing, but I love that I was able to give her control of the design.

I try to bring my children up not to be sheep. Following others blindly, without a thought. They may roll their eyes, but they’re also the first to point out when they see others following for the sake of following. I can also see in their actions that they understand. My daughter loves to draw. She loves to design. Doing it this way meant she could take her skill and transfer it to something she could wear. She led rather than being led by others. She designed it. She did it. Confidence boosted a notch or two more.

She wore her dress to the wedding and had a great time. She said it was an easy dress to wear.

Bizarrely, after the wedding, in a way that no one could ever have co-ordinated the timing so perfectly, we stepped out on to the pavement, and straight into the Bath carnival.

The music and dancing swept us all away. I had wondered if my dress (and this blue one) might be too bright for a wedding. Apparently not this wedding. Not with a carnival to finish off the proceedings.

Linking up with Crafting On and …

Mother of Teenagers

 

Photos

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