Kristi Rains of the Maryland Gazette writes, "Teenagers of today's generation, mostly girls, have taken to making and wearing their own creative attire." With popular magazines like Teen Vogue publishing do-it-yourself fashion articles, young women are now taking their fashion cues from their own imaginations. Homegrown fashion saves money, gives a sense of accomplishment and can even be make a social event. As self-generated style becomes an alternative to brand-conscious spending, the DIY trend will continue to grow in the U.S.
Why DIY Works
Many teen girls love to express their creativity while developing an independent sense of style. However, this desire for self-expression may be a pain in a parent's wallet. Do-it-yourself fashion is an attractive option for satisfying everyone's desires. Also, the teen gets the fashionista bragging rights that accompany a one-of-a-kind outfit.
Many DIY projects are low-cost, take a short time to produce and can even be completed with old garments. While some may require simple sewing skills, others may just need scissors and glue. For even more fun, create a large crafting session with several teens that includes food and shopping for materials.
Joseph Altuzarra's Cap Sleeve Jersey Dress
Designer Joseph Altuzarra, formerly of Proenza Schouler and Givenchy, converts a simple jersey turtleneck dress to a cap-sleeved variation with emphasized shoulders for Teen Vogue. The project requires a set of shoulder pads, a pair of scissors, needle, thread and tape measure. Using a long-sleeved jersey dress, Altuzarra cuts of the sleeves and uses the excess fabric to create a cover for the pads. He then sews the concealed pad into the shoulder cap and hand-finishes the sleeve hem. This variation works on most stretchy dresses, except those with a very loose knit.
SImplicity's Paper Corset
For more advanced sewers, or non-sewing teen designers with assistance, Simplicity has a garment that combines environmental savvy with fashion. Pattern 2966 includes a variation that uses magazine pages instead of fabric for the outer shell. This fully lined top isn't as sewing-intensive as the other envelope designs and is guaranteed to be unique. Simplicity supports their patterns with extensive phone customer service, so there's help if your teen is stumped on a tricky section. Another variation: use self-generated art on glossy paper stock as the body rather than magazine pages.
Denim is probably one of the simplest things to customize. The tough cotton takes color well and is easy to design on. Your teen can paint, draw, dye or bleach her jeans, or can add a large array of beads and rhinestones to create some sparkle. In addition, jeans can be sliced in different spots and laundered to create fraying. If bleach is being used to distress or discolor jeans, it's crucial to provide supervision, adequate ventilation and eye protection to ensure safety. When bleach and dye are used, be careful to wash garments alone afterward to rinse out any extra product.
Some Sewing Tips
When hand-sewing a garment, remember to take time and use small stitches. Not only will the edge finish look better, but the stitching will last longer. Measure and mark cutting lines in order to get a more professional and precise result, and don't cut blindly. Keep an iron handy to flatten seams before stitching--this creates a cleaner appearance and makes construction a lot simpler. Finally, try using a sewing machine if one is nearby. They may seem intimidating, but these machines guarantee a stronger garment than one that's hand-stitched.