|My daughter made this purse, using soda can tabs (we got ours from Ebay, dirt cheap!) - She guesses she used about 400 tabs to make this one.|
Yes, my daughter made this purse. On her own. No help from me to find the instructions, understand them, or source the supplies. 100% her own effort. It is incredibly light and strong, and required only soda (pop, depending on where you're from) can tabs, yarn, and a crochet needle. The instructions can be found here.
As the parent of a 12 year old girl, who is quickly approaching her tween-hood (eek!), in size, appearance, and interests, I am looking for more opportunities for her to explore her creative side. For those of you with young girls, grandchildren, or young girls in your neighborhood/life, maybe you can sympathize with me when I say that I am finding she is part of a "forgotten group" in many industries. Recently, we were very happy to find facial and skin products from a wonderful company, Ottille & Lulu, who I found on a random excursion to FAO Schwarz this winter. Okay, but that's just one area so far...
But what's up with creative fashion? Yes, we've been to the mall... and yes, there's plenty of stuff there. But what about the truly creative kid who marches to the beat of a different drummer? I've looked at the patterns offered by the major pattern companies, and, just like my own mother did, asked my daughter to go through the sites and choose things she would like to make together. She came up empty. Completely empty and uninspired. We have put a few things on my Pinterest tween fashion page, as we come up with more ideas.
When I was employed by a major pattern company years ago, I learned a very important piece of information that I never forgot. Pattern companies don't sell patterns; they sell dreams. 75% of patterns purchased never even get opened by the person who purchased them. Look in your own storage, and tell me I'm not wrong on this... right? But you need the inspiration! Let's see some really artistic stuff in those pattern advertisements. It's fine if we can't tell what age the model might be, but I would love to see them presented in a way that translates.
The major pattern companies jump from Kids to Misses, and a tween can't easily envision which Misses styles would be appropriate, because the photos don't show anyone with her pre-teen body type, nor do they typically show very youthful faces or fabric choices. Are there other companies out there, with a specific interest in the far younger set? If not, I would love to see that change.
When it comes to fashion, creativity and sewing, there seems to be a gap in ages from true "kids" 10 and younger, and "teens", who I consider to be 16 and up. Perhaps specifically in New York City, where our kids don't do too much solo travel and public interacting until they are true teenagers, I find that many of the activities we find for her are things we make up ourselves.
She has come along with me to countless fabric and notion stores over the years, watched me make things, been my guinea pig, and the proud recipient of some of my most successful projects. She has learned to sew for herself, and, while not a sewing fanatic, feels an enormous sense of pride when she finishes a project successfully.
I am also the parent of an 8 year old boy, who loves to design clothing... Let's call it "theoretical design", since it usually involves some sort of wild innovation. These things don't exist unless WE make them. He imagines the thing he wants to wear in his head, draws it, and requests (begs, actually) that I make it. His designs are so specific and unique, I almost never have the time to do it, and that must be rectified. Well, maybe. What he really needs, is a place to learn to sew for himself. My machine is a bit too fancy to set him free with for experimenting, but I do think he would fall in love. What the world needs is to support boys who are creative in this way, and I know of at least one place that is supporting that "forgotten group", very well! (Note to all: that "one place" is now closed...)
School will be out soon. Do your kids want to take sewing classes in NYC?
See my old post which lists The Sewing Studio, then visit their website to see more.
If you've seen any particularly great and unusual things for kids lately, let me know!