Oliver + S

For a Tween

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    mrskanuckles @mrskanuckles

    I usually make my friends daughter a dress for Christmas. She loves pretty dresses, but she is getting older and more mature. Being the very old age of 11 and in sixth grade, I am wondering if the apple picking dress is a bit young looking for her. I also have the seashore, school photo, and badminton dress patterns. They all go up to a size 12 and I think she is only a 10 right now. Any ideas on how to make any of these dresses for a hip tween, or even example of older children on flickr. I have seen Nicole’s daughters.. which are super adorable and have a great eye for clothes… But I rarely see other older children.

    My daughter is only 5 and loves everything I make, so I just dont have this issue *yet.

    sayiamyou @maraya

    My go-to response is almost always, “check out Nicole’s girls”. I think the School Photo would be a lovely present, and the Music Box pattern came to mind as well. Nicole made a great modification of this dress for her teen: http://www.flickr.com/photos/motherof5/5792639325/in/set-72157625490496083

    I like her first version of the School Photo as well, and think it would be great for a 6th grader: http://www.flickr.com/photos/motherof5/5025128713/in/set-72157625264559742/

    IsableDecibel made a dainty version for her daughter as well: http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabeldecibel/6331987884/

    And this one makes me smile: http://www.flickr.com/photos/58540020@N05/6254607144/

    Good luck!

    Jane @jesims

    You could check out Tween stores and see what ideas you could take from them. I do that even for my little one when sewing. I take ideas and inspiration from things I see being sold commercially and tweak them to my individual preference. This way you have something that is still personal but feels fresh and young.



    beachmom @beachmom

    My best advice would be to sit down with your friend’s daughter and have her look through your patterns and choose one that she likes. My oldest girl is 13 now and I don’t dare sew for her unless she throughly approves the fabric and pattern. She likes to troll the internet and pin styles that she likes to one of my boards on pinterest. I then go look through the clothes she’s pinned and then find a pattern I have that’s a similar look. She’s pretty much outgrown the O+S style despite my best attempts to sway her by showing her pictures of Nicole’s girls. At least I have 2 younger girls!:)

    I have sewn the Jumprope dress for my oldest before and she did like that.

    The most recent (last year):



    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    I have recently made the hula hoop skirt for both my 13 and 18 year old neices. I haven’t spoken to the younger one but the 18 year old loves her’s and wears it a lot, it was made of black lace and purple poplin (enlarged to a 16). Maybe seperates?

    The thirteen year old was very taken by the Sea Shore dress Nicole made for one of her twins’ birthday last year. So much so that the 13 year old asked for a dress from the same pattern, ans was ultra excited when the pattern turned up so she can make her own!

    Sarvi @Sarvi

    You could even ask her for links to images of things she likes ffrom online catalogs or similar, and then try to reconstruct something with a similar feel using O+S patterns as a base. I’ve seen a lot of people make their own customized versions that are just gorgeous. It might not be as obvious to somebody who sews that a pattern styled one way on the envelope could look utterly different with different fabrics and details.

    Nicole @motherof5

    Wow,what a huge compliment to me and my girls!

    I never ever sew for them with out checking first,Cindy is so right!

    I am lucky that they know how to ‘read’ a line drawing so they are good visualiser’s.

    We also have a website http://www.witchery.com.au/8fourteen where we both like the clothes so we draw inspiration from that.

    As my girls are paid for cleaning my house they truly appreciate money and think it is great they can buy fabric for $6.00 to make a tee instead of spending $35 on one (Mum doesn’t charge for the beading)!

    As the oliver+s pattern have such a good shape they are easily adapted to many styles. I have so many ideas for the Fairy Tale dress,we need a busier social life to use them!

    The Cargo pants are a fabulous addition too,Zara wants some made in orange velvet. The Sketchbook shirt is awesome as it it is so quick to make(compared to other shirt patterns) Elsa would like a pale pink shirt in shot cotton with a silk collar and back yoke.

    So,in a nutshell,we probably find a garment we like and then think how can we make it using an oliver+s pattern.

    Sorry to waffle on,can you tell I enjoy sewing for my big girls?


    Tamara @justsewit

    My daughter has just turned ten and I have noticed just these past couple of months she has developed more of a taste for NOT wearing mum’s sewn items. Generally she is quite happy as long as it has pink somewhere in it. Her cousin who is 13 sent her a dress for her birthday which is miles too big on the top and made of stretchy eyelet type fabric. She adores this dress!

    I am now on a mission to source more of what she likes rather than what I prefer and see if we can’t meet in the middle somewhere. Granted there are pretty designs out there but she’s very much a stay at home sort of girl and you can’t go around in Broderie Englaise skirts and heels on the farm! I also think she is too scared to tell me she would prefer other things so using mum intuition is the only way.

    We generally still look at http://www.pumpkinpatch.com.au for ideas and because she fits both the girls and the teen section we have more to choose from. She has definite ideas on denim – hates it! So I am forced to source coloured denim from somewhere so that she can at least have a pair of jeans to wear.

    My son is only 7 and is happy to wear whatever I make him. I just wish they could have that attitude for a bit longer.

    I generally go for stye and colour that would be seen in shops and on other kids. It is too hard to get exactly the same and this is a doable alternative. Sometimes you can get a similar fabric for example I purchased some ruffle knit the other week but it is multicoloured – it has been brought to my attention that this is best as either skirts or dresses so that is what it’ll be used for.

    Big girls can be just as good to sew for as the littlies. I just think that compromise is the name of the game.


    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    Just looking through the two links fron Nicole and Tamara maybe a way to do it would be to add a lace overlay? I have been thinking of the School Photo as a lace dress with a plain contrast lining, so you have the contrast show through the lace. Do you have the fairy tale dress? As a number of the clothes from both those places look like they could be made reasonably easily from the fairy tale dress.

    meleliza @meleliza

    So that’s how you get so much sewing done, Nicole! Lol. I firmly believe in child labor, and I am trying in my oldest for sure, but there’s only so much a 7 year old can do. He empties the dishwasher every day, sweeps under the kitchen table and is getting pretty good at dusting. He can a,so help dad build and paint, important tasks when you live in a construction project! The middle one is not naturally inclined towards neatness or helping, but I’m working on him too. Baby girl, on the other hand, is a mothers dream! She always wants to help and sweep or dust or fold clothes of anything! However, she’s two. 🙂 so while I encourage her “help” as much as possible, it’s not all that helpful.

    Anyway, I think the school photo dress is elegant and sophisticated while still being entirely appropriate for a child. If I were sewing for my young cousins, that would be my choice, particularly for Christmas.

    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    What about turning the sketchbook shirt into a shirt dress? My brain is in overdrive here!

    with love Heidi @with love Heidi

    I just put the hula hoop I made for the 18 year old on flicker. Here’s a link


    mrskanuckles @mrskanuckles

    Thanks so much for all of your input. Last year I made her:


    Which works well as a tween dress and she wore it alot! But I was hoping to make another style. I am loving the crewcuts designs: like: http://www.jcrew.com/girls_category/dresses/party/PRDOVR~28370/28370.jsp Which is similar to the book report/school photo.

    I was wondering if I could adapt the school photo to be a bit slimmer fitting, then I think it would look more tweenish. There are a ton of pieces to that pattern, so I am not sure where to take it in to make it a bit slimmer.

    I made her the fairy tale dress already with the sleeves, but she thought it was a bit childish. I dont think she was a fan. I was thinking I could do the sleevless version with no bow like this and she may like it.


    with love Heidi, I do love your hula hoop skirt, That is so clever! Alas, I dont have that pattern, but I do have the music class skirt which may be very age appropriate for her.

    And the sketchbook shirt dress could also work! Thank you all for the ideas! I will let you know what I come up with, and if she likes it or not. I think this is a bit of an untapped market, as these tweens are a bit fussy huh.

    paula @paula

    Keep the ideas coming! Both my children are tall for their ages, 10 year old girl wears size 14 and 7 year old boy wears size 10. They both love the Oliver + S patterns and I have been struggling with finding things big enough for my daughter. I am so glad that some of the O+S patterns will probably still work for her, but I’d also love ideas as to where else to look for patterns in the 14/16 size range.


    Tamara @justsewit

    This is one of the most irritating things about trying to sew for tall children I think. My kids are both tall aswell and the same ages as your two.

    Have you looked at Ottobre design for your daughter? They have some really nice styles and go upto 170 cm in height so surely she will have some use from them for a good couple of years. I have sewn a few things from that mag for my children. You do have to add the seam allowances but other than that they are pretty good – and they are in English so they are easy to understand. http://www.ottobredesign.com. I think there would be stockists closer to you though. If you are in Australia then check out Crafty Mamas as they are the wholesaler for them at this end of the planet. Oh this has boy fashions as well as girl ones.

    Citronille patterns in France have larger sizes for some of their styles now and some are now printed in English. They are VERY SIMPLE sewing so you may want to apply the Oliver + s way of sewing to these patterns should you get any. They go up to a size 16 and they have teen looks also.

    There is a new magazine called Young Image from the Netherlands that is published in English that may be worth looking at. They are a totally different style so just check them out first with the preview online just in case they aren’t really your cup of tea. The magazine has several patterns in it but not all cater for all sizes.

    Farbenmix but they are in German so you will need a translated version of the instructions off of their website. They have patterns for girls and boys. Again some are an acquired taste but you will find some nice ones in amongst them.

    Other than that, I’m stuck to tell you more I’m afraid. I am hanging on by the skin of my teeth with the Oliver +s patterns as my daughter is starting to outgrow the 12 – I’m already sizing them up just to squeeze another year out provided she will still wear them that is. And as luck would have it the Croquet dress is what she is wearing now instead of pj’s being home unwell from school.

    Hope this helps


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