teen sewing



Princess has in the past resisted sewing ‘properly’, you know with patterns and pins and stuff. She preferred to ‘freestyle’ it by cutting bits of fabric in a general shape and sewing them together as best she could. Zip insertion was a deconstructed expressionism, sometimes they suited the task, sometimes they were decorative. But I recognise the glint in her eye when she spies fabric she loves, like mother – like daughter!

Our family were off to a 21st party and Princess decided she’d like a new skirt “to wear tonight” – da da da dummm 🎶. I hauled out this spandex poly satin I’d been saving for her. Oh no, lined… semi fitted… maxi length seams… spandex… disaster? Bought in Spotlight, it screamed “youthful exuberance” and “pair me with olive skin while you’re at it” like literally! There may have been arguments about elastic in a casing. But I stood fast, this skirt would be done properly, drafted from a 70s dress pattern to fit my baby, full on slippery lining (cos white) and invisible zipper insertion. If she was going to do this, she was going to do it right dammit!

WARNING! choose your moments when you stamp your foot and lay down the “my way or the highway” rule! Teens need to be receptive… or desperate, preferably both!


I was a proud Mummy. Princess sewed all day (about 6 hours) without a hitch and we all know how putting together silky lining on maxi seams can lead to tears right? The zipper went in first time miraculously, thanks to the strip of interfacing to stabilise. Great zip tips here and here. Oh and if you’re a visual learner, check out Craftsy’s free zipper class – its excellent.

All went swimmingly, she was looking to be on track for the party. Then… “OMG, I haven’t got a top… oh look, here, deep in the pile on my floordrobe… a suitable top” phew.


Top tips for new sewists (does anyone else get sexists when you type that??).

Get the fit right or make stuff thats loose and doesn’t matter (Grainline’s Scout tee is a good example if you’re B – C cup). Skirts with and without waistbands are pretty easy, this one has a facing instead.

  • Choose fabric that gets you all enthused
  • Try to include at least one new technique, but practise them first on scraps and use the same technique a few times on garments.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the experienced sewists in your life, hopefully they remember what it was like to be newbies.
  • Remember, not everything will be fabulous first go, put it down and come back to it when you have renewed enthusiasm to fix the problem. Fixing less than fabulousness is time well spent and quicker than driving to the shops!

Then like magic and golf , you’ll be back for more.

Gotta love a budding sewist!

Happy 2016 everyone!!!! I’ll leave you with a pic of my Christmas present hand stitched by Princess, no pattern of course – its a cactus pincushion!





Add yours →

  1. Your daughter look wonderful in her outfit and I love your new pincushion!

  2. Hi Lesley, thank you for the links! Your princess looks lovely in the outfit, My princess has no interest in sewing at all, except the odd hem or change which she leaves in a pile for me to do? I love the cactus. Wishing you and yours a great and happy new year, including lots of sewing of course!

  3. Handmade presents are the best, especially when they turn out rather nice actually!!!

    Well done to princess on patiently making her skirt.

    Happy New Year to you and family, from a cold and wet (and glistening in soaked anticipation) South London. Mx

  4. Spotlight has so been on their game lately! The skirt looks fresh out of a RTW website. Lovely images 🙂

  5. Princess looks lovely in her new skirt. It takes me back to when I was her age. On a Saturday morning I would go early to the local market. Buy the fabric and make a dress to wear that night. How things change. Now it takes me forever to finish a garment!

  6. sewingkeepsmesane 06/01/2016 — 12:32 am

    Impressive, your daughter is a natural to master zipper first go, both of you
    must be so proud and motivated. Most importantly the fit and fabric is fabulous!

  7. sewingkeepsmesane 06/01/2016 — 12:36 am

    Impressive, your daughter is a natural to master zipper first go, both of you
    must be so proud and motivated. Most importantly the fit and fabric is fabulous!
    This cactus pincushion is to die for, a gift to treasure.

  8. Great job, Princess (or as they say, “principessa”). I meant to comment earlier but had to sneak peeks at blogs in between gorging myself on panettone….In my family it is my mom who hates sewing, which is why I tried to teach myself the first time around.

    • A friend of mine did a very bad thing.she came to lunch and brought panettone as a gift. Ahem, the rest of the family may not have noticed because I ate it all before they could turn around! Sounds like you’re having a good start to the year S. X

  9. Cute outfit. At least she sewed it herself. My daughter asked for a top to wear on New years Eve on 29 December. I completed my assignment but she wont supply a photo to show it off!

    • Don’t you just hate when you get your homework in on time and then they fail at the photo hurdle! I’m hoping she gets to understand that when she buys a skirt at the shops, it took someone an awful long time to make it and she’d better wear it more than once… unlike the stuff I make for her which is often ‘single use’ – drives me crazy!! Happy New Year to you Gail x

  10. Isn’t Princess beautiful? What a lovely skirt, and you have floordrobes in your house too! I adore that cactus – she has talent!

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