Friday, December 6, 2013

Wonderful Advice From Someone Who Has Survived the Tween Years

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So far on this little adventure we have "met" and been amazed at those that still continue to sew for the tweens. I think knowing that others are out there navigating these murky waters gives hope to those of us just starting out.  Cindy is one of those that have navigated it successfully with one of her kids and she still sews for her even though she's a teen now. She also has some great boy stuff, as her boy is now in tween range. You should go check out her stuff. She's here to share some of her wisdom.
Hello Sew Cool for the Tween Scene Readers! My name is Cindy and I blog at Siestas & Sewing.  I have 4 children between the ages of 14 and 6 who I sew for.  My oldest daughter is 14 and I've been sewing for her on a regular basis for the last 4 years.  I'd say I've successfully navigated the tween years with K since she still "lets" me sew for her.  But there were definitely a few bumps along the way.
Not every piece of clothing I've sewn for her has been a raging success.  In fact, there were a few notable flops that were lucky to be worn once.  Case in point...

Cali Girl Imke, Take 2
Imke top from Sewing Clothes Kids Love
K roxy
 Made by Rae Flashback Tee
I thought I was nailing K's style as both of these shirts were made from brand name surf apparel fabric (Hurley for the long sleeve and Roxy for the short sleeve).  But I didn't take in consideration that K generally avoids prints.  Lesson learned...always consult before purchasing fabric making any decisions!

One of the biggest obstacles I've encountered sewing for K was for her to give me honest feedback. She would say she liked something even when she didn't because she was worried about hurting my feelings. Well, when that piece of clothing is never worn, a mom gets the hint. When asked, she'd finally say she didn't like it but couldn't articulate the WHY. After a lot of talks and observing what clothes she gravitates towards, I think I finally have an idea of what she likes and dislikes.
Solids or stripes are more her thing:
Sorja Slim fit T
1/2009 #34
Both of these shirts were sewn using Ottobre Design 01/09 #34. The stripe shirt is a more recent addition to her wardrobe (last fall) and is worn quite often.

Thanks to Pinterest, it's become a little easier to discern K's style.  2 years ago, I started a "Teen Clothing Inspiration" board for K to pin clothes that she liked on.  I could then look through my sewing pattens and see about recreating the clothes she pinned. 

Both of these dresses were a result of that:

OBX Dress for K
inspired by this pin
Daisy Dress
 inspired by a Land's End dress (I no longer have the pin)
When I asked K what her favorite pieces of clothing that I've sewn for her over the last 4 years, she picked these 2:

K coat
Ottobre Design 06/07 #36 (finished January 2011)

The coat is in it's third year of being worn.  Last year, I added rib knit cuffs to it to extend the sleeve length as they were getting a little short. 
coat sleeves1

Chambray Button Down
 Ottobre Design Woman 05/12 #7 (sewn just recently)
Most of the clothing I sew for K is from Ottobre Design.  Their children's sizing goes up to a European size 170 (approximately a 15/16 year old).  For the chambray button down, I ventured into the woman's magazine and sewed a size 34 (comparable to a woman's small).  It's a little loose through the bust and sides but fits perfect as far as length.  I've had good luck sewing for a tween (and now teen) with Ottobre Design in both the styles and the sizing. 

I try my best not to push my sewing on K.  I'm happy to purchase RTW as long as it fits and is in our budget. Most of her dresses, shorts, and sweatpants are sewn by me as it's hard to find a good fit in the store.  And I refuse to spend $$ on clothes that I'm going to have to do a ton of alterations on.  Might as well start from scratch!

Thank you, Sally and Major Moma for having me.  Sew Cool for the Tween Scene is a great resource for those of us sewing for older children.  I hope the blog continues to grow!


  1. I totally agree with you about consulting before making decisions and getting honest feedback.
    Great tip about pinning.
    That red, white and black dress is so stunning.

    1. K doesn't pin much on that board anymore as she has her own pinterest account now. But I do follow her boards!lol

      Thanks, Rachel...she picked the fabric for that dress. I believe I sewed that one 2 years ago? She wore it to her cousin's wedding and for church that summer.

  2. I love the pictures of your daughter showing how she's grown through the years. The entire post was very good, very informational and helpful.

    1. Thank you, Ruth! It was fun to go back through my pictures and see how much she's grown over the years. Some of those pictures were from when she was still in elementary school...I can't believe she's in high school now!

  3. Great post, Cindy! I don't sew nearly as much for my girls as you do for yours, but you are sure inspiring!

  4. I've always loved that duffle coat, Cindy. Three year's use is pretty good going for any age group. K. not wanting to hurt your feelings shows what a lovely nature she has, but not helpful to you at the same time. Having a Pinterest board for K. is a brilliant idea!!!

    1. Thank you, Pam! It's definitely one of my favorites. And that it is still being worn means it was a very worthwhile sewing project.;) K is a very sweet girl (though she does have her moments, like we all do!). I can always tell when she's not enamored with something I've sewn. She'll get quiet and tell me it's "nice". Nice meaning "this is the ugliest thing I've ever seen and I wouldn't even sleep in it". Ha! But she's gotten better about articulating what it is she doesn't care for which means I don't have as many misses.;)

  5. Cindy!! I wrote a post today about tween sewing too! And one of my tips was to pay attention because you're kid may be too sweet to tell you she doesn't like it:) I already pinned this post, but I just got over to read it:) I loved every bit of it. I've told you already, but you are a HUGE part of the reason I didn't give up sewing for my daughter this summer:)

  6. I am so inspired by the sewing you do for your daughter. I like to sew for my sons (12 and 14) but they will not let be blog them. I love the coat. will have to sew a similar for my daughter next winter.

  7. Great post Cindy. My girls love to see what K is wearing.

  8. K always has such great mama mades. You guys are a great team;) And you are totally inspiring that it is possible to keep sewing for your kids as they grow!


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