Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Words of Advice from Gina of Party of 8

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We have some more great words of advice today, from another mom of twins(!) who has found success in sewing for her girls. Gina blogs over at Party of 8, where she not only sews some amazing outfits for her girls, but some amazing quilts as well.
I was so excited when Sally sent me the email about Sew Cool For the Tween Scene that I did not hesitate to join in the fun (Thanks so much for having me!!)! I am just entering into the tween sewing years and am so happy to have this new resource and look forward to gleaning information as well as inspiration from.  I am no expert but I would like to share some thoughts and some ideas that I have used to help make sewing for my tweens a success {meaning they wear the clothes I make more than once :)}
I have 6 kids. My boys are 18 and 14 but it wasn't until I had twin girls, who will be 9 soon, that I learned to sew.  I am a self taught sewist and my favorite thing to sew is vintage patterns.  I have always enjoyed making whether it was scrap booking, card making, crafting with the kids, quilting, or sewing.  When my girls were little it was all about me choosing the patterns, fabric, and design. Now that there are tweens in the house that is changing and the process is about what we can make together. Like the other guest posts before me, I have found that bringing my girls in to choose fabric and patterns is a key to success. Both of my girls like to draw so I asked them sketch up designs they would like to have made. This Easter dress is the result of one of my daughter's drawings. Collaborating together has provided lots of teaching moments to talk about clothes that are appropriate for their age, what kind of impression they can make with different clothes, and what kind of impression do they want to make. 
Part of growing up is finding your own style. The tween years can be difficult for kids as their bodies are changing, hormones are erupting, and it is so important to them to be liked and to fit in with their peers. My girls are working on defining what styles are "them" but they enjoy being involved in the sewing process.  During these tween years (and beyond) I want my girls' clothing to be comfortable, modest, a reflection of them, and to be something that boosts their self confidence not make them more self conscience. When they were little the more hand made clothes in their closet the better I felt. I have had to let go of that. I have found that if I choose something they love whether it is a pair of shoes, an accessory, or a cardigan and build a handmade item around that they are likely to love the outfit. Mixing store bought and hand made is good! I built this outfit around her boots that she was loving at the time and let her wear one of my necklaces. She loved it!
One of my twins is easy going and wears a wide variety of clothes. The other twin is, shall I say, a clothing connoisseur. She has a few favorite pieces and that is all she wants to wear. She likes labels and clothes that come with tags so she is the one I have been working with the most to become more excited about the sewing process. She is my sparkly girl so a glitter belt was a fun addition to this dress. She was very excited when I made this dress for her because she thought it looked like it came from the store.
 For this simple A-line dress we chose a large, modern floral print which looks more "grown up" than a smaller print would look in this silhouette.  Styling the dress with one of her cute belts for a more fitted look and a cardigan worked perfectly for her. My girl is tall and thin so making her clothes can often give her a better fit than ones purchased at the store.   

I earned a lot of brownie points for making her a matching clutch purse, too. Yes, my girls are big on accessories!

 This dress is the RollerSkate pattern from Oliver +S. To make it more tween friendly I put the casing on the outside using some vintage crochet lace that a friend gave me (Thanks Nicole!). 

 For us, using modern prints or a trendy color with a classic silhouette has given my girls the look they like and made me happy too. Thankfully fabric has come a long way in the past 8 or even 5 years. When I first began sewing the prints I liked were quilting weight fabric which was pretty heavy, did not have a great drape, and seemed to fade quickly. The manufacturers are now offering lots of options with great prints including cotton lawn, voile, flannel, velveteen, and knits. There are many quilting weight fabrics that now have a nice drape and are lighter than they used to be. My girls are all about fabric texture. When we are at the fabric store they want all of their clothes made from the silky fabrics and minky! With the many fabric lines that are available there are more options than ever before.
This season my girls are loving tops made of polyester. The fabric is what the older girls wear so it makes them feel grown up. Polyester is soft and they love that it is "flowy". It would not be a fabric that I would choose but since they like it I am going with it. The green blouse with the navy hearts on it has been the most worn garment this school year. Sew Cool For the Tween Scene has already inspired me to make more clothes for my tweens so using this blouse and the Roller Skate tunic pattern I have morphed a new pattern and am ready to cut out a blouse. Wish me luck as I haven't sewn with polyester before but if my girls will wear it, I will sew it :) !!


  1. I remember my mum wanting to make me clothes as I was getting older and me not being very enthusiastic about it (poor mum). I think you are right though, tween involvement, simple shapes and funky fabric sound like the perfect mix for a success :)

  2. Such gorgeous stylish outfits for your beautiful girls! I think you've managed the perfect mix for your lovely tweens!

  3. Very nice article, Gina :) And very nice pics of your sewing skills of course!! Your lovely girls are very happy little ladies! :)
    I wish you success with new project! :)

  4. I think it is a great idea to get them involved. You can sew together cute outfits an make memories. Win, win!

  5. Fantastic post G! And i'm glad you were able to use that bit of crochet, it looks fantastic on that dress. I always love the clothes you make for your girls, the details are always so perfect!

  6. Lovely clothing and beautiful girls! It's great to see other moms designing with their girls attire that can still be stylish and age-appropriate . Great idea to mix in store-bought pieces to really "sell them" on the handmade clothing. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Gina do you have a link to the blog post about the floral Rollerskate Dress with crochet lace casing? It is absolutely gorgeous!

    1. Thank you Rachel! I made that dress for this post and will be putting it over on my blog tomorrow.

  8. Whoa Gina- I'm dying over all these clothes- when did you make all these woman?!! I love the yellow one and the Oliver+S! Now I want to make another one:) lots of good tips on tween sewing. I agree with you that there are more options for fabric, and mixing store bought is nice. Your little girls are so pretty!

  9. Gina, you always make the prettiest, girly girl clothes for your daughters. I love the details and vintage feel. Beautiful


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