Sewing for Tweens – Fabric Choices

After a little break in which I had a baby, I’m excited to be back to talk about sewing for tweens!  I have 2 kids in this age category, and 3 that have gone through it, so you might say I have a little experience!  In this post I’m going to share with you my experience on fabric to use in sewing for tweens.

Choosing fabric for tweens boils down to what they will wear.  If they won’t wear the garment you sewed because you chose that really cute little bear fabric and they are OVER their bear stage, it’s a lot of wasted effort!  To achieve success in getting your tweens to wear your handmade clothing, get them involved in selecting the fabric.

CamoShirt

My son is really into camo fabric, so this desert camo jersey fabric was perfect.  It is the perfect weight for a t-shirt.  Plus it’s soft and does not pill.  And it’s a mid-weight, so it was very nice to sew.  Basically, this was the perfect fabric for my tween boy.  He has worn it for 3 days (and nights!) straight…

Carhartt3.JPG

The next thing my son requested was some Carhartt pants.  We live on a few acres and have a hobby farm which means daily chores for him.  Because he is tall and thin, Carhartt pants from the store don’t fit him.  Ever.  Because you can’t milk a goat with one hand while you hold up your pants with the other.  So that was that until Cali Fabrics started carrying Carhartt fabric.  Plus I owed him a pair of pants!

CarharttPockets.jpgI showed him the different colors of Carhartt canvas in the CaliFabrics shop (there are 21!) and he chose this Tan 12 oz Carhartt Canvas.  This boy is so delighted to have a pair of Carhartt pants.  And I made them much like store bought Carhartts with loads of pockets and topstitching.  These tips for sewing with Carhartt fabric were very helpful.  The pants look little stiff in these photos, but if you’re familiar with Carhartts, you know how they soften with wear and washing.  And chores.

Girl2.JPG

It just so happened that I had enough leftover camo fabric to make a pencil skirt for my girl tween.  (Watch for another post coming soon about maximizing garments from cuts of fabric.)  This girl is girly and tomboy all mixed together in one.  She loves to dress up and look nice with a cute hairdo styled by one of her teenage sisters.  And she also loves to tear around in the woods with her brothers, playing hide and seek.

Girl3.JPG

So a girly-fied camo garment it was for her!  This pencil skirt has shorts underneath (also squeezed out from that cut of camo fabric) so she can stay covered during those rambunctious games of hide and seek with her brothers in the woods.

Girl4I’ve discovered that tweens begin to notice the quality of fabric as much as the prints on the fabric at this age.  So while you may have been able to get away with that bargain fabric purchase when they were younger as long as it had ponies on it (and saved the good stuff for yourself!) it’s going to be harder to pass off that trick any longer.  My tweens notice if a fabric pills, frays, doesn’t lay right, and so on, and sometimes it’s enough to keep them from wearing handmades.

Girl

 

 

So while it was super hard to do it, I used Indigo Ranchero Rayon Chambray to make my tween girl a button up shirt.  But seriously, I wanted to save this fabric and make myself something from it; it’s so very soft and the drape is heavenly.  When my daughter put this shirt on, I could see in her eyes how amazing the fabric made her feel!  At which point I vowed to get some more for myself!  (I just noticed there are only 2 yards left of the Indigo color left, but there are 2 others colors.  Race you!)  I do recommend a good pattern that includes instructions for finishing all the seams due to how easily the raw edges fray.  And speaking of raw edges, that selvedge edge was so amazingly gorgeous, I had to incorporate it into the shirt along the front button plackets!  What do you think?

BlackGirl1.JPG

Finally, I sewed my tween girl a sporty swing dress from bamboo jersey knit fabric.  It’s lightweight, soft, and perfect for summer.  In fact I can’t think of another black fabric that would work for the hot humid summers where we live!

BlackGirl2

While this tween girl used to wear all pink all the time, she’s started to request more saturated hues in her closet, and wanted to try out a black dress.  I think she looks great, and she’s so very delighted with the results.  Plus with a sweater and leggings this dress will easily stretch into fall.  Although it might be tunic length by then if she keeps growing at the same pace!

I hope these tips for choosing fabric for tweens has been helpful.  If you want to read about my pattern recommendations for tweens, you can find that post over at my blog, Skirt Fixation.  

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