Sewing For Kids
“I don’t know why people spend so much time sewing for their kids when they outgrow the clothes so fast”
This is what I used to wonder. *BEFORE* I became a mom. And even though I still didn’t sew for Dia too much in her first year, I now know WHY. Well at least I know why I sew for her. And this blog post is MY answer to the question above for anyone who may be wondering like I used to.
This post is also a little bit about gushing… you’ll see why.
The First Year
In their first year babies do outgrow their clothes every 2 to 3 months, so I didn’t sew too many things for my little one. However I still wanted to, so upon a friend’s suggestion I decided to sew for special occasions and events. I made birthday clothes, and one for each age bracket (0-3, 3-6… you get the idea).
When it comes to patterns for kids, there are two pattern companies I absolutely love and admire. Oliver & S and Jalie. Both of these indie companies produce REALLY high quality patterns with EXCELLENT instructions and sewing techniques. Not only that, I admire the people behind O&S and Jalie. Both are family owned businesses who have a passion for sewing. Like us they SEW! Over the last few years I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and connecting with them personally and I like them even more. I guess this is one of the perks of running PatternReview. I have made some lovely friends!
A Learning Tool
As I was finishing up a Swingset Skirt (elastic waist twirly skirt) for Dia, following the instructions and making the drawstring, it struck me how much I learn with each and every pattern I have sewn using Oliver & S. Even though this is a simple elastic waist skirt, but the fact that there are channels of narrow elastic on both sides of a drawstring casing, combined with a lining which can be totally reversible is what sets this apart from millions (ok maybe not millions) of patterns out there.
I’ve always been terrified of making jackets for myself, but I made this gorgeous unlined, jacket for Dia using liberty bias bound (self made of course) seam finishes. Pattern – Oliver & S Sunday Brunch Jacket.
I think of sewing kids clothes as mini-lessons. Even if they don’t work out, its less investment in time and fabric 🙂 And if they do? Your child is probably going to be the best dressed kid in school (like mine).
Faced hem and piping was a first for me when I sewed this Tea Party Sundress.
This Ruffled Halter – a Free Pattern was my basis for many gifts.
Every summer, I make a new summer hat for Dia and up until this year, I used the Bucket Hat pattern. I practiced my topstitching skills with rows and rows of concentric circles.
I did my first Vent Hem in a skirt when I made this thanksgiving outfit for miss D. Also my first time making a partial elasticized waistband. Pattern Sunday Brunch Skirt.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used the Hopscotch shirt pattern.
This may be simple PJ bottoms but the addition of contrasting bound hem and casing takes it to a whole different level.
I’ve been a Tea Collection Fan for years so imagine how thrilled I was when there was a pattern hack post on Oliver and S blog for hacking their library dress to make the famous Wrap Dress. I’ve made two already and on my way to the third. This is one of my favorite dresses on Dia.
Here’s another project I made for her following a tutorial on Oliver & S blog. How cute are these leggings?
Taking it slow
I have my #mommysweatshop moments when I am cranking out leggings and basics for her (because I love it) but when I am sewing with Oliver & S patterns, I take my time. I enjoy each step and do it leisurely, taking care to press each and every seam, making sure everything lines up. Carefully pressing the bias tape. There is no need to rush because I know when I am done with the project, I am going to be proud of it. So don’t look at Oliver & S patterns if you are in need of some quick and easy sewing. But do try them if you want to create a quality garment you’d be proud to claim as me-made and when someone asks “where do you buy your girls clothes“, tell them with all the smug you can manage “Oh I make them myself” and then watch the expression on their faces 🙂 Precious!
I LOVE Jalie Patterns
Because they make some of the best knit garment patterns out there. And I know my knit patterns. I’ve used Jalie for years for myself but did you know that they come in teeny tiny sizes also? In the same envelope! What a bargain! After gaining confidence in hacking patterns, I hacked the 2805 knit t-shirt so many times, the pattern is in tatters..
Another winner is the Dolman Sleeve Top – 3352 for a quick t-shirt. I’ve also used it to make Mom-n-Me Matching outfits 🙂 because they have 22 sizes in one envelope!
Most recently I’ve used Jalie pattern to make applique gymnastics leotard and I can’t believe how easy it was. Not to mention so cute.
Rewards are great when you sew for kids!
Its definitely rewarding to sew for your kids, especially when they “pay” you in hugs and kisses but its also a GREAT way to learn and practice new sewing techniques. Things which I am hesitant to do for grown up clothes, I can always “try” them out on her. Now that she is growing up… (almost 5 years old), I take even more joy in sewing for her because not only can she wear the clothes for a longer period, these are the clothes I will save and cherish and perhaps pass on to a dear friend or her cousins.
So thank you Oliver & S and Jalie. Please don’t ever stop making patterns for kids.
I hope this post encourages some of you to sew for kids. Even if you don’t have any kids to sew for, they make great gifts for friends or even charity!
Yay for Kid Sewing! On another note – Kids Clothes Week has just begun.
Are you participating?
I could not agree with you more! My daughter is still wearing that beautiful linen jacket, and since it is the ONLY handmade gift she has ever received except from me, we will always cherish it. Thanks a million! And keep on sewing for your daughter. My mother sewed for me when I was a child, and it is such a special bond we share.
Mary, I am so glad that your daughter likes that jacket. My husband’s grandmother knits so Dia is the lucky recipient of many of her hand knits. Truly special.