Growing Up Handmade

I have a teenager.

Weird, right? This itty bitty girl is now nearly 14 and in the 8th grade:

This was a flower girl dress that I made her. Back then, she liked party dresses with fluffy skirts, and ruffles, and bows, and really anything Mommy made her. Things sure have changed! She still likes the things that I make her, but the focus has changed. I think now it’s more about my taking the time and thought to make her something, while still wanting to look like her friends. The hardest sewing lesson I’ve had to learn is to listen to her and use fabrics and patterns that she likes. We still have our disagreements, but giving up the ruffles and florals when I sew for her has gone a long way. Now, if we could only find the perfect compromise to hemlines and NOT having everything fit like dance wear…

This is the Ellie and Mac Breezy Women’s Dress. It’s a fun and simple skater dress with a twirly skirt. The key here was the fabric–something soft, with a nice drape, a great color, and a simple pattern.

And the accessories. A girl needs her accessories. This scarf was super simple–half a yard of gorgeous gauze and a spool of mini pompom trim from Hobby Lobby; a flat felled seam, two hems, with the trim sewn on top and voila!

I’m thinking we’ll make a couple more of these for summer. I did add a few minutes on to the sewing with a minor alteration (I cut two bodices and lined it; I like the clean finish you get by using the “burrito roll” method, and using a lining neatens up the inside of a dress), but it was still under an hour from start to finish for this one.

I decided to make a casual outfit, too. I’ve had this custom cotton lycra from Backstitch Fabrics for a while now, and she’s been dying for me to make something for her with it.

Yup, that’s Severus Snape, along with all the awesome HP characters in a fun toss coordinate. I finished it off with some Girl Charlee BOLT fabric that made a fun contrast. This shirt has been made for about a week now and she’s worn it at least twice. I’m pretty sure she likes it.

This is the Patterns for Pirates Favorite Tee, and it really is wonderful. It has variations in the neck, hem, and several sleeve and hem lengths. I really like the fit, too–I’ve made them for myself and both daughters, and it’s spot on.

Last, but certainly not least, I attempted, AND SUCCEEDED, at making jeans. That’s right–I went to JoAnn Fabrics, chose denim, cut it, sewed it, and it ended up looking like honest to goodness, real life JEANS!

I used the Laela Jeyne Women’s Scarlett Moto Skinnies, which comes with a fantastic guide to fitting and troubleshooting pants. This girl is a dancer and is well-muscled through the hips and thighs, but slim in waist, so storebought jeans are so hard to find for her (and I’m so sick of jeggings…) I was able to combine three sizes to end up with pants that fit her well. I somehow managed to not take a single full length photo of this outfit (seriously, G, what happened there??), but I did manage a great detail shot that shows the fun pocket stitching on the back pockets, the flat felled seams, AND the super cool geeky waistband I snuck in.

I think you may have noticed a trend in the patterns I chose for this post. They are all relatively simple pieces that can be custom fit and detailed to suit the kidlet. Every kid wears tshirts, but being able to change up the options, add color blocking, and mash sizes as necessary makes it special. The same holds true for the dress and jeans patterns. Now that I’ve discovered the trick to sewing for my teen, I can’t wait to continue making things for her so that she can really grow up handmade!

There are some awesome prizes up for grabs (can you say fabric and patterns?), so claim your entries with Rafflecopter below, and don’t forget to check out our tour host’s kickoff post for a full list of the prize packages AND a second chance to win with a linkup party.

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Monday – April 17th
Handmade Boy | Paisley Roots | Cucicucicoo: Eco Sewing & Crafting

Tuesday – April 18th
Beri Bee Designs | Phat Quarters | Sewing By Ti | Sew and Tell Project

Wednesday – April 19th
Courtney Zadik | Rebel & Malice | Vicky Myers Creations

Thursday – April 20th
Pattern Revolution | Skirt Fixation | SewSophieLynn | EYMM

Friday – April 21st
Round Up and Giveway Winners



  1. Angela Short | 18th Apr 17

    You made beautiful clothing! I think finding a pattern teenagers will wear would be difficult.

    • MadebyGenie | 19th Apr 17

      Thank you!
      I took my daughter window shopping. We had a fun afternoon out, and I got a better idea of the styles, colors, and patterns that she actually likes. That really helped me when it came time to choose patterns!

  2. Janet Murry | 18th Apr 17

    Thanks so much for this post. My GD is 12 and I am struggling to find the right pattern size and the right look. Love that dress – will be buying the pattern! She lives out of town, so pants are a struggle – lots of skype fittings with the muslins. Your daughter is so lovely, by the way!!

    • MadebyGenie | 19th Apr 17

      Thank you! Tweens/teens are so tough to sew for! How wonderful that she has you to do it for her, especially with the distance!

  3. Audrey | 18th Apr 17

    Congrats for making jeans!!! I sew for my kids because they are all over the chart on sizes too. Love the dress you made for her.

    • MadebyGenie | 19th Apr 17

      Thanks! It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected.

  4. Lisa // Cucicucicoo: Eco Sewing and Crafting | 19th Apr 17

    What perfect clothes for a teenager! She looks gorgeous and– more importantly– HAPPY wearing what you made her! 🙂 Lisa

    • MadebyGenie | 19th Apr 17

      Thank you! It’s always a juggling act to keep them happy!

  5. Rita | 19th Apr 17

    Biggest challenge sewing for growing boys here….getting them to try things on to check fit! LOL

    • MadebyGenie | 19th Apr 17

      Oh, the fittings! Lol. They’re stinkers sometimes, aren’t they? Thanks for stopping by ☺

  6. Felicia | 19th Apr 17

    My daughter is just starting to have more of an opinion about what I make for her. The biggest challenge for me is that she’s outgrowing many of the patterns I haven’t made yet. LOL Luckily she still likes cute fabric and novelty prints. You did a great job of making your daughter grown up yet age-appropriate things.

    • MadebyGenie | 22nd Apr 17

      My middle daughter is at that stage. She still likes dresses…as long as they’re “not itchy” and “comfy.” lol. Yes, I have so many kids’ patterns that I bought to use for my oldest, who no longer fits in girl’s sizes. Sometimes, a girl’s 16, but she’s pretty solidly into women’s now.
      Thank you!!

  7. vicky Myers | 20th Apr 17

    WOW you made jeans which fit beautifully:) They look great. I love the dress too, very stylish.

    • MadebyGenie | 22nd Apr 17

      Thank you very much!

  8. Garilyn | 20th Apr 17

    My biggest challenge seems to be finding patterns that she likes enough to wear.

    • MadebyGenie | 22nd Apr 17

      You know, I had to stop showing her the patterns. I found that window shopping helped–I got a good idea of what she really loves, and then I could choose patterns that were close or I could modify to her tastes. Good luck!

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