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Sewing for Grand Teen-agers

GailAnn | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I always enjoy reading your “Sewing for Grandchildren” posts.

Never had any grandchildren of my own. (sigh) (pout) —  No grand nieces, no grand nephews, either.  (sniff)

My only child, daughter (30) seems to be developing a friendship with a man, a father of 3.  Oh, my!  A girl age 14, and twin boys 12.

We are not a fertile family.  The youngest person in either my family or my husband’s family is 23.  Holidays have been sedate, mature, highly civilized, quiet events in this neck of the woods, for way too many years.

You can imagine how visions of family Christmas celebrations might begin dancing in my head!  “Cart before the horse”, “False hopes”,  “Lots of water to go under the bridge”, etc. etc. etc.  I see, I understand, but I AM beginning to get my hopes up.

Question:  What fun things are there to be sewn for Step-Grand-Teen-Agers? 

Or, Yes, I can stand the truth, are gift cards and trips to the mall, better options?

Your thoughts on the subject?  Gail


  1. sewchris703 | | #1

    The teen years was when I started sewing again for my girls, after the long dry spell of the elementary school years when t-shirts and jeans were the costume of the day.  Think special occasion gowns--prom, Christmas formal, etc.  There are the choir/show gowns that need altering or even custom made.  Team outfits for that beloved stuffed mascot to take to the game/meet.  Even start up the tradition of new pjs/lingerie sets every Christmas. 


    1. GailAnn | | #2

      It is my fondest hope that we will become close enough for that to be a reality.  Gail

  2. MaryinColorado | | #3

    My grandsons are 11 and 16, my grand daughter is 14.  All of them just love quilts that are the size of "throws" (a bit longer for the 16 yr. old boy).  They take them along to sleep overs to show them off, they use them as an extra blanket on the bed, for watching tv, playing video games, to sit on, sometimes even for a pic nic or beach blanket.  I even have on I put on the back seat of the car for my dog.  As you can imagine, some are more fancy and more work, some are simple and inexpensive.  You can make matching pillow cases or toss pillows.  All you need to know is what colors they like and maybe what sports/activities/etc.  One of my grand daughter's is in lavenders and pinks, some embroidery, applique, quilting of butterflys and more elaborate-it stays in her bedroom.  11 yr. old's tigers in the jungle quilttop is large squares of dark fabrics with no batting and a fleece faux tigerskin backing and serged outside edges that look like piping.  It gets drug all over the floor and outside and is holding up well.  I'm making the 16 yr. old a new one with his high school colors of red and white and adding blue as he's a 4th of July baby.  It will have patriotic, basketball, computer, game wizard, cross country running, mascot, etc. embroideries and such.  They are always bringing me thier old ones to repair too so they are well loved.  You don't have to be a quilter, they can be one layer of denim or made like a pillow cover or tied or seam line quilted or more complex.  Mary

    1. GailAnn | | #4

      Thank you, what a great, GREAT idea!  Especially since quilt/throw/comforts don't really have to fit a growing body.  Not too personal or pushy either.  A wonderful place to start.  Thanks again, I knew all I had to do is ask.  Gail

      1. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #6

        PJ pants for at home sloppy wear, hoodies, mitts for cool weather, scarves, throw pillows for beds, bags for stuff, trendy accessories, footwear, even just personalizing something with an initial gives them a kick.

        1. GailAnn | | #7

          Good to know that.   Yes, I'm a little, perhaps too, excited at the prospect.  Gail

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #9

            I practise Grandparenting on my nieces and nephews who are all getting to be pre-teens. They are all 10 yrs younger than my kids. This was the first year I didn't make them anything. Thought they wouldn't notice. They actually did. The parents didn't notice but the kids did. Won't make that mistake again. I only ever did little things like mitts or hats or pj bottoms or boxers or bags and stuff like that, but I guess they really looked forward to them. We all draw names at christmas, from oldest to youngest in one hat. All the kids put my mitts on their list. The men all wanted their boxer shorts.
            It is the simplest stuff they like the best.There is always Hope GailAnn. You can always borrow a few kids in the meantime. I'm sure there is a lonely mom who could use your upbeat attitude out there somewhere. Cathy

          2. GailAnn | | #10

            I've worked with kids in the Youth Mission program at our church. 

            I made a personal ministry to a few individual unwed mothers. 

            The things I've made are baby sweaters, mittens, hats, contour diapers, blankets, nursing shawls, stuff like that.

            Not quite the same as having a family to call my own.

            Truthfully, my sister and I have been afraid our family would be extinct by the end of the next generation.

            Save the Gails

            Edited 6/5/2008 1:07 pm ET by GailAnn

          3. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #11

            Then I will add you to my prayers. Hope things work out for you. You will keep us posted of course? Cathy

      2. MaryinColorado | | #8

        You're welcome.  They have been a huge hit at my house for years.  You never know, they might want to learn how to sew so they can make gifts for thier friends!  Oh, that reminds me, my grand daughter's friend made her a fleece hat and scarf for Christmas, she loves it!  The boys won't wear them anymore. 

        We have two little girls across the street who have adopted us as extra "grandparents".   That added some spark as we are invited to parties at thier house.  My grand daughter is thier babysitter now so we will be making some fun things for them I'm sure.  Mary

  3. MaryinColorado | | #5

    CD cases, etc.  My grand daughter has a stuffed animal that holds her MP3 player with a hidden pocket for the earphones.  Jewelry and make up cases, purses, swim bags, beach towels with thier name or an applique, beach cover ups, pj's, toss pillows, pillows to sit on.  Personalized Christmas stockings.  Kits so they can make things possibly.  Find out what music they like and if they have a CD player as CD's and cases are nice gifts.  Do they have a computer game system that they'd like games for?  (You need to know what brand and model as the games are unit specific).  My grands love Gameboy or Nintendo Ess games which are portable hand held, but we also have a system hooked up to our tv and then there are ones for learning on the computer too.  Movie DVD's.  T-shirts and hoodies  Gift certificates for fast food or thier favorite store

    My adult son loves Hawaiian style shirts, he even has one with St. Patricks' Day fabric.  Specialty drink shops like Starbucks or those Juice shops or ice cream too often have gift certificates if they like those.

    I can tell you are so excited at the prospect of possible youngsters in your life!  "Visions of Sugarplums Dancing in Your Head".  They do bring much joy and laughter and shenanigans!  Mary


  4. sewfar | | #12

    Don't know too much about teen age girls but I know my boys loved zippered bags that I made them from guy cloth...like denim from worn out jean legs. In fact I just saw one of the bags I made when they were in Junior High in his car trunk holding tools and he is 38 years old now. It was originally a pencil bag with a D ring to fit in his binder and hopefully avoid his famous "I couldn't do the classwork because I forgot my pen or pencil." He said that I would be surprised to see how many of those bags he and his brother are still using.

    I liked to use the felled seam as a design feature down the center of the bag. I also made pouches to store maps from old jean legs. I guess they liked the old denim better than the store bought plastic equivalents

    1. GailAnn | | #13

      Good idea, and thanks, I know nothing about raising boys.  Have two nephews, one a genius, the other, am Aussie Rules football player.  I doubt either is very typical.  Gail

  5. kaitydid | | #14

    as a teen girl myself, i might be able to help you with this. purses and bags are some of my favorite items to make. check out the book chic bags for some good ideas. pj pants are a simple gift, but they're fun if you use cute fabric. floor cushions and stuff to lounge on would also be a good idea. i saw instructions for a "couch", really just cushions all stacked and shaped to look like a couch, but i don't remember where. i think it might have been joann.com. i also have instructions in a magazine if you would like me to send them to you. the best idea of all though would be to get her interested in sewing. nothing beats that! then she can make her own things (with your guidance and assistance of course!) hope i helped.

    1. GailAnn | | #17

      Really great ideas, thank you.  Gail

  6. kaitydid | | #15

    oh and i forgot something. depending on what kind of girl she is, gifts cards and occasional trips to the mall might be good options too.



  7. sewelegant | | #16

    I really enjoyed this discussion mainly because it is so hard to think of items for boys!  I do have grandchildren, but they all live a considerable distance from me.  One set is coming out to California in late July from IL. and are looking forward to the pool and the beach.  Maybe personalizing a towel with a large fabric initial would be nice!  With the advent of velcro I could probably make this removable or changeable.  In April I went to a jewelry workshop and came away with two coil bracelets that I took to my son's daughters up north when we visited.  They are 10 and 12 and to make the bracelet more desirable I made jewelry pouches for them.  The circular kind with the inner circle divided into compartments and a drawstring to make it a pouch.  They loved it and before we left the older one was using hers for a little purse to carry her (I don't even know what it was... a phone?!).  It seems they have always loved anything I have made for them, maybe it is just the personal effort they treasure the most.

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