Friday, August 29, 2014

Designer Interview: Jenn from A Jennuine Life

Don't forget to check out the give-a-way to celebrate our one year in Blogdom!
Today we have Jenn, from A Jennuine Life and Jennuine Designs here with us to talk about the designing process and to introduce her LOL top...which would be perfect for a tween.

How long have you been designing patterns? I listed my first pattern for sale in 2013 (Camper Hat), but I've been drafting for personal use since somewhere around 2011.

 Where or how did you learn these skills? The drafting part I learned through studying patterns, trial and error, and drafting texts and tutorials. Taking a pattern from a single size to a graded, digitized and illustrated pattern I learned entirely from Lauren Dahl's Pattern Workshop course, Creating PDF Patterns: From Sketch to Sale *affiliate link

  What motivates you? I really love the design process. Taking an idea and setting it to paper and then a finished garment is really fun and amazing to me. It's like the perfect storm of creative and analytical thinking. Now that I have a few patterns under my belt, I have to say it's getting to see how other sewists take my patterns and interpret it to work for their style and aesthetic. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing pictures from testers or customers sharing their garments. I love it!!

  Can you tell us a bit about your design process? Thus far my designs have all been garments I originally drafted for my daughters' personal use. I begin with either measurements or a sloper that I know works for their sizes and go from there. I like clean lines with visual interest - so far I've been a business in the front, party in the back kind'a girl!

  What do you think is most important to consider when designing something for an older child to wear? First and foremost that it's appropriate for them - coverage and fit. But not too old looking, they're still kids even if they're twelve going on twenty!

 What patterns do you have that come in sizes 10 and higher? So far my LOL Swing Top is the only pattern for sizes 10 and 12. I do have plans to offer more patterns in these sizes. Instead of having one standard size range, I've been assessing the pattern and deciding what age range is most appropriate based on the design itself. The LOL Swing Top happened to work beautifully for newborn through size 12, though I don't expect all patterns to be flattering on that wide of a range. The next pattern I'm working on is a coat which will definitely work for older kids and will be unisex to boot! You can see in the gallery of pictures all of my tween testers. Several of these girls have said it's their favorite top to wear, which makes me soo so happy! The LOL Swing Top is available in my shop and I'm offering Sew Cool for the Tween Scene readers 20% off with the code "sewcool" in my Jennuine Design pattern shop.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing Jenn! It's always fun to hear the though process behind these great designs! And thanks for the discount code!

Birthday Givaway

What birthday party is complete without presents???

Well, we wanted to make sure our celebration of Sew Cool for the Tween Scene's first year was complete, so we are having a giveaway.  The lucky winner will receive a $25 Gift Card to Go To Patterns!  We chose Go To Patterns because they offer tween size patterns from several different designers.  This gives you all the chance to pick and choose patterns that are best for your particular tween.

Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Guest Celebratory Post--Sabra from Sew a Straight Line

Today, to help us celebrate, we have Sabra from Sew A Straight Line, sharing her favorite pattern. She always has something awesome she's sewn up for her boys. I love her style. 
My favorite pattern for tweens is the Paperback Writer pants from Ottobre 6/2010.  The size range doesn't go too far into the Tween Zone, ranging 92cm-140cm, which I estimate to be about 2T-10 in US ready-to-wear sizes.  But it does go larger than many patterns. 
Original Post HERE
 And pants are so easy to lengthen, that I can still get use of the largest size option for my 11 year old by lengthening the legs.  Because it does have such a wide size range, it's also easy to trace out a custom size.  My eight year old has super long legs, but has the waist of a 12 month old (I'm serious).  I love patterns with lots of sizes, so I can get the exact fit by combining the sizes that my kids need where they need them. 
Original Post HERE
 And I just love Ottobre patterns, in general, for all things tween.  Many of their patterns go up to 170 cm, which I think would be around a size 14.  The fit is always awesome, the finishing professional, and the style so good.  I love that these pants don’t look homemade, but they also aren't basic jeans you’d buy at the department store.  They're just cool!  It’s because of patterns like the Paperback Writers, that I totally enjoy sewing for my older son.  I love going into a pattern knowing that I’m going to end up with something we’re both happy with, and I get that with the Paperback Writer pants.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Celebratory Guest Post--Falafel and the Bee

Next up we have Michelle from Falafel and the Bee stopping in to help us celebrate.
When my now teen was a tween, my go to pattern for her was the Seafarer Top by Sew Much Ado.
It is such a flexible pattern, and knits are always good for the ever-changing body of a tween. There is room to expand and grow in whatever direction they need to, without it looking like a tent. Comfortable while stylish.
This dress was made using that same patten (with some obvious changes)!
Happy Anniversary Sew Cool for the Tween Scene!
Thanks for including me in your celebration.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Celebratory Guest Post---The Land of KA

We just hit our one year mark here at Sew Cool for the Tween Scene and to celebrate we asked some of our favorite bloggers, that sew for tweens, to tell us about their favorite pattern for tweens.  First up, Stacy from The Land of KA.
I am happy to be here today for the one year anniversary for Sew Cool For the Tween Scene. I was overjoyed when these ladies started this blog, since it is rare to see sewing bloggers sew for their older children.
I tend to make a lot of my own patterns for my tween, but one pattern that I used this summer was The Breeze Top by Peaches and Peanuts. It is so fun in that you can use woven or knit and mix and match patterns to get a unique style. My daughter loves this top, and so do her friends, which in the big picture is what you want when sewing for a little person that has their own opinion.
Here is the top, where I actually doubled up the bottom with a stretch lace and white knit.
This is another version of the top, where I simply extended the front piece, and made a quick facing.
I find that adding embellishments are pretty important, too. She loves the shirt with the kitties on it, which is iron-on vinyl.
Happy sewing!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

One Year Celebration

Can you believe it?!  Sew Cool for the Tween Scene has been around for one year!  And what a fun one it has been. To celebrate over the next 2 weeks, we have some guest posters coming your way to share their all time favorite tween pattern. It's always fun to get some good opinions on a pattern that is loved.
As for us here at Sew Cool, we've enjoyed this year of searching out and trying new tween patterns. If anything it has made us more aware of what is out there and hopefully it's put a little bug in designer's ears that there is a demand for this age group. Lately it seems like patterns in the tween sizes have been crawling out of the wood work, there are so many of them.  We're liking this trend!

It's also been fun to see what you have been making with the Linky Parties each month! Please continue to share...we've found some good patterns and great ideas from those.
Another fun bonus has been the exploring of tween fashion...the trends, the colors the crazy's made us think about what we are sewing as well as the opinions of our tweens.  We'll be doing more with this as well...mostly because Major Moma is still not able to get any sewing done. Doing things like this gives her a chance to blog too:)

What has made this year the best though, is the sense of community we've found with fellow bloggers/sewists that are trying to navigate the crazy tween years and for that we just want to say THANK YOU!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Choosing Colors

Earlier in my post on how I plan my sewing, I told you all that I usually pick a handful of colors to use throughout my sewing. I usually pick at least one main color, a couple secondary colors and a couple neutrals that coordinate well. And then I use those colors as a guide when I go to buy my fabric. I try to purchase at least one print that has all or most of those colors in it so that everything can mix and match together.

Often, I go off the Pantone colors. Way back when, Pantone got to the place where they basically announce what the “it” colors are for each season. Even if you do not follow the trends strictly, this can be helpful because the odds are; the stores are following these trends and will have collections that have those colors in abundance.

Another option to determine what colors you want to go with is to simply Google “fashion color boards” and find things like:

art design fashion

Mood fabric has “mood” boards from which you can draw inspiration.

Or, if there is a fabric collection that a store offers, you can simply use the coordinated fabrics. JoAnn has one called Doodles that has several varieties of knit, woven, and pant weight fabrics.

Online fabric stores like also have “design walls” that you can post your fabric choices to ensure they all coordinate.

How do you pick your colors?   

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Linky Party Wrap Up

There were a lot of great looks this time around...hopefully we'll see some more back to school sewing next month too. It seemed like this month a lot of you shared some new patterns that came out this summer that were sized up to tween sizes...YEAH! the designers are catching on I think. Here's just a few if you want to go check them out:
A great pj pattern (GYCT Jammies) shared by Kopy Kat Kidz

Girls Chino Shorts from Blaverry | SewsNBows
Chino Shorts (Blavery) shared by Sews and Bows

EYMM Think Fall Blog Tour
A great Fall top (EYMM) shared by mimismom.

Hope there will be more to share next month and stay tuned as we have some fun things planned to celebrate our one year blogging anniversary coming up!

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Sewing Plan ~ Major Moma

How do you decide what to sew for your tween?  Do you have a planned and organized approach,
or do you haphazardly make things that seem fun at the time? Or are your projects more event based … he needs a vest for Aunt Suzie’s wedding?

I (Major Moma) normally sew according to a plan; especially when I am sewing for a new school year.
My kids pick out three main colors and a neutral and I buy fabric in quantities that are high enough for multiple clothing items.  My thoughts are that then they can mix and match and have different looks that will all coordinate.  This greatly reduces the “you are not wearing that shirt with those pants to school” announcements 5 minutes before we are supposed to leave.

Pantone is THE place to find out what are the latest colors in fashion, if you are into that sort of thing.

I then pick one really basic top pattern that I can make a couple different ways, a basic pant, and then a couple fun patterns.  I figure something like a t-shirt can be made simply in a different fabric or have an embellishment added to it so that it does not look the same clothing item.

Burdastyle corduroy pants 11/2013 #141
For girls size 12 and up, the Parisian top is a great option.
Figgy's Seraphic raglan T

I also try to pick out one sweater or pull-over pattern and one dress to round out the wardrobe.  My
goal is usually to make 6-7 tops and 3-4 pants.  And then I just supplement with RTW to fill any gaps.
Willow & CO Hawthorne Zip-up

I am in Afghanistan right now, so none of the above will apply this year.  She will have to suffer through clothes shopping with her father. I just hope they find things that fit.

How do you plan your tween sewing?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Linky Party is Back--Back to School Addition

 Here are the rules:
1. Show us something you have created (sewn, knit, get the idea) that your tween can wear or accessorize with.
2. Make sure it's something for the ages of 9-13.
3. Grab a link and spread the love...we really do want to see what others are making for their tweens!
So link away! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Round up: sundresses

Though school is just around the corner, I know it is still warm in many areas of the U.S. and will be for the foreseeable future.    And since it is still warm and there is plenty of time for enjoying the sun, I thought it would be fun to do a roundup of pretty sundresses.  Most of the summer my children are riding bikes, camping, and generally getting dirty.  But there are those occasions when it is nice to clean the dirt off their knees and put the girls in a dress.

So, here are some fun options for church, summer weddings, and the more civilized family gatherings.

The Fawn Lily Tunic & Dress has a nice modern vibe and goes up to size 12.  It is from the new designer collaboration at Willow & Co Patterns.

I really like the simplicity of the Go To Shift Dress.  It also goes up to size 12.

The Caroline Party Dress is a little more fancy but has cap sleeves and would be a great summer dress for those more formal occasions.

Burdastyle has a beautiful long dress with wonderful detailing on the bodice with the deceptively simple name Long Capped Sleeve dress.

Do any of you use vintage patterns for your kids.  I think this shift dress would be so adorable and easily made modern for your tween.

Do you have a favorite sundress pattern? 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Pattern Review: McCalls 6548 view B

I wanted my kids to wear something special as they said goodbye to me before I left for Afghanistan.  I decided to make them coordinating outfits and embroider a seahorse on the front of their shirts.  You see, my unit’s patch has a seahorse prominently displayed (The history of the seahorse is linked to engineer amphibious roots in WWII.) in the center.
Pattern review
This picture was taken shortly before I left for Afghanistan.  That is my amazing husband on the left.

I did not want the outfit to really look like the patch, but having a large seahorse done up with red, white, and blue sent the message pretty clearly.
The skirt I made was from a tutorial by MADE.  It is a fabulous tutorial and I make all my circle skirts using her instructions.

The pattern was view B McCalls M6548.  I have been pretty unhappy with McCalls lately but this pattern is a WINNER! I used it for my son for view B also and for Abi view A.  I like the t-shirt best of the two shirts.
Sizes available:  This pattern comes in sizes 3 through 14.  And since it is unisex, it is extremely versatile for sewing for a family.  I frankly have a different raglan t-shirt that is my favorite from another pattern designer, but it does not come in a size higher than 8.  So, this is a good second choice if you have a tween.

pattern review

Special materials required:  View B calls for knit fabric.  I finished the neck edge with the same knit as the body but you may choose to use ribbing or fold over elastic (something I tried with my son’s version and it looked great!)

Skill level required:  This shirt is most certainly a beginner level top.

pattern review

Good:  The instructions are clear and the pattern is basic.  This is the type of top that you could do a million times with different fabric and for different children.  It is just a great go-to t-shirt pattern.
Bad:  I don’t know if it is bad … but it does run wide.  I took it in a couple sizes in the width for my daughter and it is still fairly loose.  But, if you have a plus size child, this negative is certainly a positive.

Overall pattern rating:  I give this pattern   (4) bolts.