Sewing with teenagers
Teenage girls are totally awesome! I have one at home, so I should know, but I also ran a teen sewing class this autumn and my studio was filled with them. I had a feeling from the planning stages of the class that it would need to embody the improv way – I always had a project that they could choose to work on, but I allowed them to follow their own inspiration. What this meant, was that everyone was usually working on something completely different from everyone else. This was both good and bad – though it was mostly good. They were busy, and so was I…
They have an excellent sense of style, of course, so teaching them to construct their own clothes was really fun. They were all interested in upcycling and tweaking things they already have, so I taught them the basics while working on the projects. I wasn’t about to push my style onto them – me being a 40 something and them, well, not – so providing them with something basic and then illustrating how they could alter it/use it was a really creative process. One of the things I wanted them to understand was that there are usually ways to make things work, even if it seems like there isn’t enough fabric, or a pocket is in the way. This was exemplified when we made mini skirts from flannel men’s shirts. They were all different and needed to be worked on in different ways.
The skirt itself was very simple – just an a-line with the buttons of the shirt front being the closure on the skirt. Very minimal measurements needed to be taken and flare needed to be understood. With the basic skirt shape cut, it was simple to draft facing for the waistband from unused scraps of the shirt. These skirts are very quick to whip up and just look how great they can look!
You can see, she decided to keep the bottom of the skirt unhemmed. She just ran a small zig zag along the edge to minimize fraying. There were also a couple darts that were needed for such a good fit and she managed to do those after the facing was already in – scrappy!
Of course, the kids also made patterns from well fitting tees – it is the most liberating thing ever for the modern sewist! This girl made this top- with a little smocking at the neckline – for herself and a truly wonderful color blocked tunic for her little sister’s birthday. And she made much much more – it was all covetable!
Teaching is the best thing ever – especially when the students are so darned game. This class took place in the evening during the short days, so getting pictures of everything was impossible, which is too bad, because you would just die if you saw what these kids made!