My niece, Miss E, came to visit the other day so we could work on her first skirt ever. She has sewn a little before and was quite familiar with Grandma’s sewing machine but this was her first time following a pattern and making an item of clothing for herself. Her mum is an excellent seamstress but this was a fun way for us all to spend some time together. So my sister-in-law played with my kids while I played with hers!
Miss E had chosen a Simplicity pattern and two fabrics for her skirt – a solid tan and a lighter check. She wanted to do version F with two tiers, and to also add a third tier. So we talked about how to do that, then cut all our pieces. We also talked about how to lengthen the skirt. I didn’t touch her sewing machine at all. Miss E did all the sewing – side seams, gathering, waist band and hems. There was just that one little hitch where I pinned the waistband on the wrong side of the skirts and had to “adjust” it for her – but let’s call that learning how to avoid unpicking! We decided to stitch the hems with a zig zag stitch to make a feature of them – and disguise any wavering in the stitch line. She was very excited with the finished skirt and is already planning to sew a vest, shirt and jacket to go with it.
Tips for Sewing with Teens
- Help them to choose the pattern and fabrics – it doesn’t hurt for them to understand the cost of their project as well
- Talk not only about how to do things but why you do them that way
- Safety first – make sure they understand how to be safe with the machine, pins and needles. (By this age I’d hope they already know how to be safe with scissors!)
- Encourage creativity – a little change in the pattern can be pretty easy but make them feel they’ve made something individual
- Encourage them to do as much as they can – even when they are reluctant or not confident
- You can’t praise too much!
If you’d like to check out the pattern, here’s a link to it on Amazon.com. (Note: this is an affiliate link)