Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Help... teenager emergency

Okay.  I love it that J14 is a sweet, generous thing but there are limits.  She came home tonight from school and announced that she is planning to make two of her friends dresses. One a formal for prom and one for Homecoming next year.  A noble sentiment but not very practical.  I told her that I wasn't saying 'NO' but I didn't think it was a very well thought out plan.  She proceeded to stomp upstairs and rattle off a rant on her blog about it, essentially saying that she will do it with or without my approval.  
Now, J14's previous sewing experience is making a skirt when she was 10 and piecing the top of a lap sized strip quilt (all straight line sewing).  For the curves on the pockets of the skirt she needed lots of support and help.  So I envision several problems with the prom dress idea:
1. Funding- She thinks she is going to purchase the fabric for these dresses from her savings- money she has been collecting for several years for college expenses.  She would have enough to do it but I hate to see her use so much of her money on something like this.  I don't think she has any concept of the price of good fabric- especially what you would want for a formal dress- or the quantities involved.
2. Time-  She has difficulty already fitting in everything she wants/needs to do- we can barely get her to practice her violin so I don't see her having lots of time to sew... and I will NOT do this for her. 
3. Skill level- Sewing a formal is not an entry level sewing project.  She has very little sewing experience.  I know that improving her sewing skills and making some of her own clothes is one of her goals for the year but I think this is a bit of a big leap.  I know she has until next year to do this but I don't think a year is long enough to really develop her skills to that level.  She doesn't seem to think of this as a barrier.
She already has a grand plan to make her friend Teara a purse for her birthday in February and I'm okay with that.  She has fabric from another project and we went out to get a zipper last week.  I found an old zipper in the craft/sewing cupboard and we need to pick fabric to make a sample purse before she tries on the nice stuff for the gift.  I thought this would be a good time to teach her how to put in zippers (something I can do but dislike intensely).
A purse for a birthday present is a little different than making someone's prom dress for them.
HELP!!! Any advice on how I field this one successfully would be appreciated.  I'm really hoping that this is one of those wild schemes that she will forget about in a few days but then- she's stubborn- just like her Mom.


  1. My daughter got a very pretty prom dress at a resale shop. Maybe they would have a lot of fun shopping for the perfect deal?

  2. Thanks Joyce- I had thought of suggesting that, especially since we found her dress for the Winter formal at a thrift store for $20. It was a beautiful dress and there is no way we could have even purchased the fabric for that price- let alone the pattern and thread, etc.

  3. Maybe let her "practice" on some thrift store sheets with an appropriate pattern so she comes to the conclusion on her own just how hard it is. I made Jessie a party dress (9 year old appropriate) for Christmas this year - what a B%)#*%#). This would also give her a chance to practice some of the skills that would be needed.

  4. Thanks Kris- I think I may even have the pattern from one of my prom dresses years ago (I never throw anything out). J14 has worn the sundress my Mom made to try the pattern- see, I REALLY don't throw anything out :) Whatever she does- she'll need to have lots of practice before she cuts into expensive fabric- even if it's something for herself.

  5. Not that I remember anything about teenagers, but it sounds like the advice is on the right track. Something about 1) explain your concerns, 2) let her know you'll support her VERBALLY (not save the day by doing it) whatever she chooses, 3) give her plenty of room to change her mind without losing face.

    Um, good luck with that!

  6. hey mom. I talked with teara (I'm trying toget a hold of Riley) and as far as I know, she's fine with going shopping and then doing alterations, something that should be a bit easier. Don't know about riley yet, but i'll tell you.

  7. Thanks to all for you comments. As you can see from her comment, we had another chat and talked about finding thrift store dresses and 'tweaking a bit'. I think she would still like to make her own prom dress but I'm fine with that. We still need to work on sewing skills since those are something that she will want to know anyway and are just good skills to have.

  8. Hi there! I wonder if your daughter is just wanting to feel valued by her friends and by you and that this is what this is really about. Perhaps just strongly affirming her kind-hearted desire to help a friend, be creative, and use her own hard-earned funds and time, those are valuable qualities to have, esp. at her young age! Then, once you affirm that and she knows that you are pleased with her heart's intent, you will have a better and wiser position to share your valid concerns and offer your alternative suggestions. "I think we can do this darlin' but let's think of a different way, where you will be happy with the outcome..." Hope it continues to go well!

  9. Hey, I just happened to see this (it's for a wedding dress... but obviously, useful for any kind) and thought of you and your kiddo. While she may not need it for this time, who knows? :)



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