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Preteen and teen clothes

judyann | Posted in General Discussion on

I have several granddaughters that I have always sewn for.  Now one is learning to sew and they are reaching the age of being aware of their clothes.  I would like ideas and patterns for pre-teen and teen clothes that are “cool” and fashionable.  Also, we live in Southern California, and that adds another dimension.


  1. stitchmd | | #1

    My personal experience is that my 11 year old dd rarely wears things I make, even when she chooses the style and fabrics. She says they never turn out the way she "expected", which I think means the way she imagined since they turn out just like I expected. She has been thrilled lately with some denim purses I've made, both of recycled jeans and yardage. She has also liked things we've worked on together where she got to design the details. This has included embellishments such as appliques made from her sketches.

    The key seems to be to let them communicate what interests them and try to incorporate it into projects while keeping the difficulty level within their reach. Sometimes this gets tricky and sometimes there will be frustrations and failures and this is OK too. It's part of life and it's part of sewing, so learning to rip, redo, keep your cool, are all useful skills.

    1. judyann | | #3

      Thanks for the help.  They do enjoy making tote bags and other things with me.  I also notice that if she "sews" the item (which means pick it out, start it and wander off somewhere before completion) she wears it more.  I think it is a period of life where you need to conform and OMIGOSH if anyone knew GRAMA made it!  I have fun with pj's and nightgowns and summer tops.

  2. sarahnyc | | #2

    I have a fifteen year old daughter.. . when she was 10 or 11 i started making her fancy clothing.. because nothing appropriate was available in the stores... what she loves now is when I remake or customize RTW clothing for her - addibng gussets to flare jeans, embellishements to jeans.. remaking men's shirts into peasant shirts.. you probably need to look at the teen magazines and the wesites of teen focused catalogs and go through them with her... we spend lots of time catalog browsing together so i get a sense of what she likes before I either buy or make her clothing.. it saves lots of frustration in the long run.

    sarah in nyc

    1. judyann | | #4

      Looking a magazines or patterns together is a great idea.  I also like the idea of buying denim items or shirts and adding to them.  She does like things like sweatshirt that I embroidered with a Doberman that looks like theirs.  One problem is finding clothes that don't already have some kind of logo...but if I look I'm sure I'll find some.  Thanks so much.

      1. Sue2000 | | #5

        Judy, my daughter's 15 and we find a lot of patterns she's open to wearing in New Look.  Stylish, trendy, modest.... check that one out.  Simplicity and Burda also have quite a few younger looking styles but I find that NL seems to combine style and modesty the best.  Oh, we're also in Southern California so we're sewing for the same weather/lifestyle!Karen

        1. judyann | | #7

          Thanks.  I'll check out New Look.  Trendy and modest are hard to find.  I think I'll take her pattern shopping with me.

      2. SewTruTerry | | #10

        One way to find clothing that does not have a logo is to look at independent stores and that means nothing that is targeting the younger crowd.  Also if you are really having a difficult time I have an embroidery business and have a catalog that pretty much covers the basics so in a pinch you can send me an email and maybe I can help you out.

        1. judyann | | #13

          Thanks.  I have a couple of ideas, but if I can't find anything, I'll take you up on it and email you for information.  Everyone is so helpful...this is the first time I've tried anything like this forum.  Fun and great.

  3. Susannah | | #6

    Hi Judy

    I do some sewing for my daughter, with variable success (in terms of acceptability to her of the final product).  I agree with the comment that my daughter's expectiation of how an item will look, and my expectation, are often quite different. 

    We had a recent success which involved Emily and I identifying a skirt in a boutique that she liked, and we then jointly shopped for fabric and pattern.  Emily's biggest problem was looking at a pattern and getting an idea of how it would translate to the item she would actually wear. (Sometimes she was attracted to a pattern not because of the design, but because of the illustration - a trap for young players!).  Another factor that helped in our recent success was that a family friend (a vivacious 22 year old who Emily (just 15) thinks is wonderful) was shopping for fabric at the same time, and she gave advice on which fabric would suit the style.  Despite the fact that her advice was the same as mine, it carried much more weight!

    I also have found that involvement is another success factor.  When Emily helps with cutting out, sewing some of the more straightforward bits, etc, she is happier with the end result.  Of course this is only practical if your granddaughters are nearby.

    Good luck, and I hope they realise how lucky they are to have clothes custom-made!

    Sue from Tasmania

    1. judyann | | #8

      Thanks for your advice.  I might take my husbands youngest daughter (22) with us...her advice would be the same as mine...but then she is young.  Also, she is close so I should probably only buy things she picks out.  She has always been proud of the things I've sewn, but now is so peer conscious.    She has had some sewing classes and loves to spend time in my sewing room, so having her pick out and cut out and help me is probably the best solution.  Then she'll feel she made it herself.  I agree that the hardest part is not to have her taken up with the illustrations in the book.  Thanks again.

      1. Susannah | | #9

        Glad to have been of help.  Good luck!

        Sue from Tasmania

  4. SewTruTerry | | #11

    Something that is really working for me right now is to copy current clothing that my dd already has and seems to wear until thread bare.  I try to find a similiar pattern or make my own from her clothes if it is a really simple garment and copy all of the measurements and make it up in some really fun material. 

    1. judyann | | #12

      Good idea.  Thanks.  I have her mother rummage through her closet.  Summer is coming and those things are easier to copy too. 

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