Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fashion Forward: A tween fashion design program

I used to be a huge fan of Project Runway (haven't seen the latest seasons cause we don't have cable anymore which makes me sad and, while I'm on the subject, Tim Gunn is a master and a gentleman.... but I digress), so I thought I would use some of that enthusiasm to create a teen/tween program.

First, you need dolls. I made some fleece dolls for last year's program, so I brought those out again, and this year I also added some Groovy girls that I picked up at various garage sales. The girls (I had all girls this year, though that has not always been the case) could pick the doll they wanted to dress.

The fleece dolls. 
The Groovy Girls. 
I then put out fabric, safety pins, hot glue guns, and a set number of threaded needles. It's easier to start the program with the needles already threaded, though I do end up threading them again as we go. I put out ten needles and make extra sure that I get ten back.

Threaded needles in their holster. 
I also put out buttons, feathers, sequins, beads, pom poms, and ribbon in case the kids want to add embellishments to their outfits.

They don't really need a lot of instructions, but I let them know that the dolls will be on display in the library and to keep in mind hairstyle and shoes (to "use the accessory wall very thoughtfully," to quote Tim Gunn). I also make it very clear that they may glue outfits together or glue accessories to the outfits, but they may NOT glue anything to the dolls. Some of the girls choose to work in groups, some prefer working individually.

I spend my time during the program helping with ideas and giving suggestions as needed. And threading needles. I re-thread a lot of needles. Because it can take some time to help each group or kid, I suggest having at least one other person volunteering or helping so that no one has to wait very long.

Here are some of the results from this year (the girls name their own dolls and then tell me something about them).

Alyssa has flowers in her hair. 

Bella works as a farmer.
(Seriously. That was on the information card her dresser wrote for her.)

Crystal is bold with patterns. 

Mary has a fascinator in her hair which is amazing. 

Note Julianna's awesome shoes made of flowers. 

Other iterations of the program that have worked in the past:

Once, I received a donation of large pieces of fabric so that year everyone worked in groups and chose someone from their group to be the model. The rest of the group dressed that model and then we had everyone walk a runway and fill out comment cards to vote for the best one.

Another time, I had the girls work in groups and then we displayed the dolls for a month near the entrance of the library. Patrons were invited to vote for their favorite and the winners got a prize.

The program has always been a hit. The kids always surprise me with their creativity and their capabilities and being able to display the results in the library makes everyone proud.

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