My 12yo daughter began making doll clothes this summer. She wanted some expensive shoes for school and would have exceeded her school shopping allotment. So, I told her she had to find a way to earn money to buy them herself. She began designing and sewing doll clothes (with a lot of help) and earned enough to get those shoes (YAY for a sale!), some additional clothes, gifts for friends, and add to her washi tape collection. She began by using clothes from our donation bag as a fabric source. So, the initial start-up was $0. It was hard to find things that matched in the bag. Some of the finished doll clothes had to be kept because they didn't pass my quality control. I also had to help her a lot with the T-shirts.
She also made matching beaded bracelets to go with each outfit as her signature accent.
After the first doll clothes sold, she reinvested a small amount in fabric with plans to create a "fall collection". We came up with two simple patterns that worked well with cotton fabric- a 3/4 sleeve peasant tunic and a simple dress. She upcycled some shirts from the donation bag to make the leggings and headbands, which were soooooo soft! This time, she only needed a little bit of help with sewing some details, like velcro or topstitching. When everything was finished we did an official photo shoot.
She sold out very quickly and had requests for more, so she decided to make a few more outfits. Again, she reinvested part of her income to get more fabric. This time, she also bought knit to match her fabrics, so the leggings had to be hemmed. For some reason, things didn't go as well this time. I unknowingly folded the top of a pattern piece before we cut the fabric and several pair of leggings came out too short. She had to do a lot of seam-ripping for various errors. Also, she accidentally ruined the skirt of a dress by catching it with the cutting blade on the overlock machine. She wanted to quit several times and learned an important sewing technique... walking away! After a few weeks they were finally finished.
She wants to make more in the future, but this was a good lesson for her. She learned some sewing skills, but she also learned to persevere when things are challenging and how to work towards a goal. Sometimes, the work ethic and thought process that accompany learning something new can be the truly valuable lesson.