Ladies who have rediscovered sewing in order to provide stylish and well-fitting clothes for their children. As our kids are growing up, they are not yet physically ready or mature enough for adult clothes, and thus adult patterns. So we are in search of fun, functional, and fashionable pre-teen patterns to share with you. Our primary goal is to assist in making sewing for tweens a fun experience for the sewer and the model!
You know you have a great pattern when your daughter's friend asks you for the same thing. I had the honor to test Shannon, of Little Kids Grow, new pattern the Breeze Top/Tunic. When Sophia's best friend (they've known each other since they were 9 months old!!) saw it she asked if she could have one too. It is a great, summery top with lots of character and is simple to sew up, so it's easy to see why she would want one. It's also got lots of style with a razorback yoke and high/low hem, just what these 2 style loving tweens thought were cool. (Scroll down for the give-a-way and discount code)
Like I said I think that means it is a good pattern that a tween is asking for it. I gave her the measurements for the fabric and she picked out her own. Her's are both knit from JoAnn's and I love what she picked out...it is "so" her.
For Sophia's I wanted to try a knit on top and woven on the bottom. And it worked out great as well...although Sophia says she prefers the all knit one the best because of the way it hangs. I've made 6 of these now, 1 all woven, 2 all knit, 1 knit/woven and 2 knit and terry cloth. You can see the 2 I tested on the 'cover' of the pattern and you can check out the terry cloth ones over at Daisy Chain Creations tomorrow.
Once the shirts were made, we got the 2 together for a little photo shoot. Sophia is wearing her's with layers, which is another great thing about this pattern...it should layer well with things like turtle necks too making it wearable all year long.
Both girls both wanted the non-banded look because they like the "flowiness" of it, but it does come with the option to put a band, perhaps contrasting, around the bottom.
These 2 were so silly...but you can see the shirts well. I think I made her friends a little too large, but didn't have the luxury of trying it on as I sewed. I sized up to a 12 for her because she was on the edge of the 2 sizes and has been growing like a weed lately. I figured she'd grow into it if it was too large.
And just so you know that it is a comfy, easy to play in shirt...here are some action shots:)
So you should really go and check out some more versions and then go buy it yourself! Shannon is offering a discount right now as well of 25% off. Just type in "BREEZETOUR"
Towards the end of the school year, the 4th grade put on a silly play. And I received a note from the music teacher to dress the kids in "western clothing" and bring a stick pony. The note emphasized that there was no need to purchase anything and to be creative with items on hand. The only requirement was that it could not be a t-shirt or very modern clothing. Well, most of what I make Abi is pretty modern and she really had nothing that could fit the western theme.
But I had recently purchased McCalls M6548 really for the shorts and t-shirt pattern. I had been looking for an older kid's raglan t-shirt, and another pattern geared for boys is always welcome in my house. But, the collared shirt seamed perfect for this project.
In order to save some money and stick a bit to the intent of using what you already have, I found some pink linen blend that I had left over from a previous dress shirt I made her. And to make it truly have some western flair, I drafted pockets with western-style flaps and bought pearled snaps for the front and pockets.
The pattern is actually pretty good.
Sizes available: It comes in sizes 3 to 14 so it will be good for a whole range of kids. The cover makes it clear that this was intended for boys, but it is basically a unisex style. Special materials required: For the dress shirt, view A, you will need some sort of button or snap and some interfacing for the collar and button placket. Skill level required: This shirt is very easy and was a smart choice for me to pick for a last-minute, unplanned project. The collar does not have a stand and the sleeves are pretty basic in shape.
Good: It was a simple project for a classic look. I would like to use this pattern for my boy who loves a collared shirt. I like a more traditional dress shirt with a collar stand and a separate button placket. But the fold-over placket sure made it come together fast and it is a great option for beginners. Bad: I did not conduct my usual narrowing of the shirt and as you can see it is quite wide on her. I did not mind because in the summer she will appreciate the breeze and this fall she can layer. But, I do think the shirt runs big and you should keep that in mind when choosing your sizes.
Overall pattern rating: I would give this pattern an overall rating of 4 bolts.
Over here at Sew Cool for the Tween Scene, we were so excited to see this new pattern, the Mimi Dress and Shirt released by Filles a Maman! Why were we so excited, you may ask...well it's because it happens to be a great tween pattern(it goes up to size 14!). There are loads of options sure to satisfy any picky tween. It calls to be made out of knit, which is perfect for the ever changing and hard to fit tween bodies. And most of all it's a stylish, yet easy to sew pattern! Throw in that the pattern is well written and comes together beautifully and you have a winner in our books!
As for my version...well here it is, although I did add a few changes. The biggest change was that I made 2 dresses in 1 by making it reversible. The actual pattern has a collar facing, which looks great on all of the pictures I've seen. I had plans on doing one, but when I realized the brown and white striped fabric, although a dream to touch because it was so soft, was terribly see through, I knew I'd either have to make a lining or my girl would need a slip (she's outgrown the one she has).
This got me thinking of what I could do and that is when I came up with the idea of instead of lining it, I would simply make it reversible. This really meant that I followed the instructions for the collar facing, but did it rather with a whole dress.
For an added touch, instead of finishing the hems of the sleeves and bottom of the white side of the dress, I ruffled them by stretching the fabric while zigzagging over it (I think this is called lettuce edge hem). I finished the brown/white striped side with a simple hem and this allowed the ruffle to peek out from underneath...a detail my daughter loved.
And here you can see the white side. You can kind of see the stripes through the white, but it makes it a little more interesting to look at. By making it reversible, the button ends up on the other shoulder when you flip it around. I also added a button to each side.
As for my picky tween, she loves the dress and says it is super comfortable and perfect for summer. She wore it to church and kept it on afterwards, which is her way of saying she loves it...usually she is fast to change out of her dresses and church clothes. There will definitely be more of these to come.
Thanks again Filles a Maman for sharing this wonderful pattern with us and letting us be a part of your blog tour! You should head over to see what everyone else comes up with...she has an amazing line up!
She also has a great give-a-way going on as part of the tour, so hurry and check it out!
Also, she's offering a discount code at her etsy store...just type in MIMITOUR20.
Boy sewing can be a bit frustrating. Your options are pretty limited when it comes to traditional pattern companies and even independent pattern companies. You get a lot of basics and not much with some personality or interesting lines.
This is why I really like Ottobre for boy sewing. They have a range of sizes for boys and girls, and have some fun and unique styles. Now, they do not have a ton of older boy patterns, but the ones they do are interesting designs. I looked through my 2+ years of subscriptions, and there were a few per issue. Most of them were in the winter issues where they had several options. The summer had less in the ones I have, at least.
The best thing to do with Ottobre is to look at each issue and see which one you would get the most use of it. Just order the ones you want (though, if it is older they may not have it). I received the subscription as a Christmas gift for a few years, and that was enough for me to stockpile some of them. There are only so many ways you can design kids' clothes, so that gave me a good bunch of patterns.
There are two things to know before diving into Ottobre.
First, this is what you have to use to trace the patterns. They are not the most user-friendly. You have to trace the patterns and add seam allowances:
It is a bit intimidating at first, but you get used to it. I used parchment paper and a Sharpie for tracing.
Second, the instructions are sparse in the directions. They will carve out picture directions for harder things like welt pockets and putting in a zipper, but the rest has just dialogue. It is best to know basic construction before tackling one of their more detailed garments. For example, with the cargo shorts here, there were pictures of the back pockets, the zipper, and that was it. The rest had some dialogue that made sense, but still not a lot of detail.
This outfit is from Ottobre 3/2010 and the pieces are #35 and #36. I used an appliqué from the Silhouette store that I cut out on flocked grey iron on vinyl. The shirt was supposed to be color blocked, but I just did it as one piece. Special Materials required: The cargo shorts are a bottom weight fabric. It uses elastic in the back waist, velcro on the pocket, and a zipper and a snap/button for the front fly. The shirt is two soft knits.
On the cargo shorts I topstitched in red to give it some color punch. Top-stitching in boy clothes is pretty important. You can't do ruffles, ribbons, sequins and rhinestones like girl clothes, so you need something to give it some punch!
Skill Level Required: I would say that the cargos are at an intermediate level with the zip fly, welt pockets and cargo pockets. The shirt is easy for a beginner to make, went together well and l like the fit. It doesn't say to finish the waist edge with bias tape, but that is how I tend to do it for my kids clothes. It looks nicer that way!
Good: This is a great outfit for a boy, and it is something that is very much on trend for them. The cargo shorts take a bit to do with all the top-stitching, but it makes them look more professional. The top has a great fit and he found the whole outfit pretty comfy.
Bad: The Cargo Shorts are a great design, but some pieces didn't fit together so well. It was also a bit of guess work on the construction. Overall Pattern Rating: This outfit turned out very nice, and he loved it. I will definitely be using these patterns again, and I will make him more outfits. I would give it a 4 out of 5 for the cargo shorts (due to difficulty) and a 5 out of 5 for the t-shirt.
If you want to check out more Ottobre patterns that I have used, I did an Ottobre S.W.A.P. for my son a few years ago.