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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).


Jalie 3133


Minikrea 20003 (Thanks to my friend Maria of MariaDenmark)


Ottobre 04-2008-02


Pattern Hacked from a free Ottobre t-shirt


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).IMG_5752


Faced hem and piping was a first for me when I sewed this Tea Party Sundress.

IMG_1193_comp IMG_1201

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.


Oliver & S 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.


Oliver & S Bedtime Story Pajamas

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.



Hacked Oliver & S Library Dress

Here’s another project I made for her following a tutorial on Oliver & S blog. How cute are these leggings?

Oliver & S Playtime 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..

A Shrug


Peplum Top

Fit and Flare Dress,

Elsa Dress – Costume


Circle Shirt



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.



Jalie 3138


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?






A new pattern company – ooh la la!

Just before we were about to leave for Martha’s Vineyard, I received a package containing two new patterns which I’d been lusting after for a long time!


And pretty they sure are! I ordered the Belladone Dress because I love the back cut out and streamlined skirt of the dress and the Blouse Datura. I can see myself using up a lot of the cottons I have left over from making things for Dia. I didn’t blog about it but last year we went to Paris and what can I say. I am in LOVE! I love all things french now 🙂  Ok back to Deer & Doe.

So last night  I traced off Datura and I even have the perfect fabric for it. I got this hand block printed fabric (all vegetable dyes!  ) from India years ago. It’s the softest cotton ever. I have used a similar fabric in this top and I wear it all.the.time.

Colette Sencha

But, I needed a contrast fabric so I decided to check out my local fabric store – Quilter’s Way, right here in my town and right next door to a knitting store and a kitchen store. See where I am going with this… Yup, I came back home with a lot more stuff than I needed 🙂

I picked up these two basic cottons. Actually the maroon is quite cool with a slight tone on tone print.  Donna, at the store was super helpful and I was able to find just the right fabrics.

Check it out. I am making the peter pan collar version. Black or Brown? Not sure…


Most of my fabric still comes from online stores but I sure am grateful for Quilter’s Way.  The quilting manufacturers have actually started making really nice apparel quality fabrics and the prints are breathtaking. I’ve been using quite a few for Dia and starting to use for my clothing as well. Here are some photos I took there. I’ll write a full review on PatternReview soon too. Aren’t you dying for those polka dots? I AM!


Oh and Martha’s Vineyard, it was a blast. A perfect day! And this is one of the reasons I will never move  🙂


Cutting up a storm

You’ve heard of “Sewing up a storm”. I am not sewing! I am cutting. Yup, that’s right, a cut-a-thon. For some reason I am enjoying the prep work more tracing, cutting, feeling the fabric more than the actual sewing. Look, I’ve filled up this whole bin.

I am not going to set myself any sewing goals this year but I am trying to sew more to fill the holes in my wardrobe. The problem is, they are all TNT patterns so while they are quick and easy to sew, I miss a challenge every now and then. I had a little one last night though. I had a yard of this really yummy bamboo knit I had bought years ago at Vogue fabrics in Chicago but never got around to using it.So I pulled it out and got to work. I decided to make this top. Kwik Sew 3032

Man that is an old picture! ok, moving on.. So as I was cutting I realized I am not going to have enough fabric for the cowl. Are you kiddin’ me? That’s the most important element of this top. So I decided to “Make it work”. I come from a family of frugal women who have always created wonderful things within their means so I closed my eyes and thought of them.

The problem with the cowl was that it was too wide and it’s cut on the fold and I needed two of these! I didn’t want a seam down the center front so I re-drafted the pattern to take some of the drape off so it would fit on my left over fabric. You can see in the photo below, the original cowl pattern is under the sheet. I took off about an inch, but marked another line in case even that won’t fit.

Look, it FITS!

Moving on to the next piece. I could just make this a one piece cowl since my fabric is the same on both sides but I decided to cut the other piece on the fold.  Since it will be technically the facing, the center seam won’t show.

Added seam allowances at the fold line

Problem solved! It may be a simple change but it allowed me to use the pattern I wanted in the fabric I wanted. The sewing… well that’ll take care of itself later on whenever I have time. Now what can I cut next 😉 ?

The year at a glance


Jalie 2909 I wore these pants a lot when I first made them but now I am not in love with the fabric. Its too polyestery for me and truth be told the waist is too tight. It barely fits me! I went a little overboard in interfacing the waistband. It has no give! A quick to sew basic pants pattern which I plan to make many more of.


BurdaStyle 12-2009-122 When I sewed this skirt, it was mainly to practice topstitching on denim before I made the jeans. This however became the most worn piece of clothing in my closet. I wore it to two PR Weekends, two vacations and wore it to work all summer long. It’s starting to look a little ignored now that it’s winter. Very comfortable and stylish. I got a lot of compliments on it.

Jalie 2909 – Jeans In the photo it looks like I am pulling up the jeans but it’s hardly the case. Almost a year later these are the most worn jeans in my wardrobe. I love em. If you haven’t tried this pattern you need to.

BurdaStyle 02-2010-104 The skirt looks sharp but because its sort of limited to be worn with purple and this being the only purple top I have, I didnt wear it that much. I do like the fit of the skirt.

Jalie 2921 After this top I fell in love with the color purple. I wore this so much that its starting to pill!


Sew Liberated Emmeline Apron We went to see a 50s apron exhibit at the Textile Museum in Lowell and this apron was made for that. Supposed to be a simple project but it took me over  6 hours! The reversible concept is nice in theory but it made the apron very bulky which is why it doesnt get used much in my kitchen. Pretty though!


New Look 6895 Oh gosh! This is another one of those tops which got worn so much over the summer that everyone must be wondering, is that all she has? Love the fabric and the style on me. And above all it is very roomy and comfortable.


— No Sewing Done —


Burda 8558 Morphed with Textile Studio Madison Avenue Dress It looks pretty but somehow I feel it also looks incomplete. I didn’t wear it much because I kept searching for a belt to go with it. Any ideas?


BurdaStyle 07-2008-108 Meh… Not my favorite top. Uncomfortable and weird on me.


— No Sewing Done —


— No Sewing Done —


Burda 8558 My first time sewing on sequin fabric. Never again! But I do love this top. I still haven’t worn it. I just keep admiring it in my closet 🙂


— No Sewing Done —


— No Sewing Done —

Before I started this post I was feeling guilty of not sewing enough last year and especially since I’ve been reading everyone’s blogs and how much cool stuff you guys made, but in the process of writing this post and collecting the photos of my work in the past year I realized, I loved whatever I sewed and it got used so mission accomplished. I will not set any major goals for myself this year and just sew when I want to and somehow I know,  I’ll end up with something I’ll love. And so,  I’ll leave you with this happy thought and wish you a very happy new sewing year!

Sequin Top Progress

I am sewing again! Baby steps though. Thanks for all the advice on sewing with sequin fabric. I think for this round, I am just “winging it” and see what happens when you do that. The pattern – Burda 8558 was a good choice in theory. Because see what’s happening with the cowl here. Too POOFY!


Solution? To take that poofiness away somehow. Lucky for me, it was movie night last night with Emily who suggested putting tiny tucks in. BRILLIANT!

So this morning, I brought the top with me to work and my good friend Donna helped me out. While I stood there patiently wearing the top, she measured, marked and basted the tucks in. Aren’t I lucky to have such good friends around?

And after 45 minutes of patient hand sewing, what do we have here!

After: Nice and Flat

I still have to hand sew the hem in place and add lingerie guards so the top remains on my shoulders, but I am sure pleased with how this turned out. I guess now I can use this pattern for sewing more tops with tucks! Same pattern, another look, how cool is that!

Bling Bling!

S.A.D. you’re not the boss of me!


So even though I love glittery, sparkly stuff, I’ve never actually sewn with it. Until now. At the Novi show following my ONE Piece only goal, I bought this beautiful sequin fabric for only $14!!! (it was $44/yard originally but this was a remnant).

Testing with serger and on the sewing machine revealed this will be better sewn on the good ol s/m. I did have to reduce the tension a bit. I picked my tried and tested Burda 8558. Worked just fine. The top is almost done… except…

1. I have no idea how to do the hem. The weave is too loose. I basted it for now.

2. I don’t know how to tame this fold.  It’s too poofy! I can’t iron on it obviously. Any ideas?

If you want your sewing mojo back…

Spend a weekend with a sewing friend…
Talk about sewing…
Ask to take a look at their projects…
If they are your size, ask to try on some of their stuff…
And then…
chances are if one of them fits you, it might come home with you. Like it did with me 🙂

read about it here

But more than that, I was so inspired by the stuff Karen made that the first thing I wanted to do when I got back home was to SEW! Now, I didn’t mention this before but we’re in the middle of home reconstruction. So there is only one room in the entire house which is usable and despite that, I cleared out my kitchen counter, traced the Burda pattern from the magazine and sewed this top.

I wish I had taken photos because it was quite comical actually. My little table top ironing board on top of the kitchen counter, the cutting mat on the floor, fabric everywhere, the sewing machine balancing on the little table. And yet, somehow I was able to to sew. What can I say? I wanted to SEW. I needed to do it. The top however is not as flattering on me as on so many others on PatternReview but I’ll still wear it. It’s linen, its comfortable and I am sewing again! This is also my July project for the One Garment a Month Sew Along.

Burda 07-2008-108

Thanks to Karen, not only am I sewing again, I have a list of a whole new set of patterns I want to try. So take my advice, hang out with a sewing friend and you’ll see it’ll do wonders for you.

More Sewing! Someone stop me … or not

So I admit. I think I am obsessed with sewing these days. I think it’s because I am too sick of winter and just desperate for spring. What better way to dream of spring than to sew some spring outfits right? What do you think of this one?

It’s Jalie 2921 Scarf Top with Burda 02-2010-104 Skirt.

The skirt was inspired by Dawn (cabinbaby on PatternReview) actually. Ever since I saw her whipping out her pencil skirts, I’ve been on the lookout for a pattern which would work for me. See pencil skirts don’t really work for me because I think they make me look too bottom heavy. In other words, they make my butt look too big. And I’d rather not have to put a slit for walking room.

So this skirt in February Burda fit the bill perfectly. It has all the features I like, A-Line, back zipper, yoke instead of a waistband. It even has pockets!

I can see myself making many more of these!

So what’s the count for this month? THREE garments. Not bad huh! Including the Jeans. And I have a new outfit to wear to Puyallup and my Belize vacation. It’s been a good month.

Review of Jalie 2921
Review of Burda Skirt

Quick Photos of my Jeans

Ok you guys, this is how much I love you! I dropped everything and took some quick photos to show you the fit of the jeans. There are a few things I would like to change. For example, see how you can see the zipper pull from the front? It’s because a) they are pretty snug and b) there is not enough fabric covering the fly. Now, this is something I’d like to figure out how to change. Any ideas?

The flare is pretty substantial because I added an inch in length at the bottom because I wanted even more flare. But the photos don’t really show it. All in all, I LOVE THEM! And you know you did something right when a bunch of teenagers agree. I was modeling these to my friends here at the studio who run drawing and painting classes. The girls there exclaimed “YOU MADE THESE!”. They kept looking at it. Isn’t that the best compliment ever. I am so proud!

You know, I am going to try to control my emotions when I finally write the review tomorrow but I am noticing that as compared to the quick and easy projects I used to enjoy sewing before, I am loving the details in my last few projects. I sew only on the weekends, which gives me a chance to get away from PatternReview work and enjoy the reason why I started PatternReview in the first place.

My plan was to sew a little bit all week long but as I started working on these on Saturday, I just couldn’t stop. Who needs to eat, right?

A Visit to the Textile History Museum

This week I decided to take a long lunch and visit the Textile Museum in Lowell, MA. I mean how crazy is it that there is a textile museum less than 20 miles away and I haven’t seen it! Diane volunteers at the museum so she hooked me up with the special exhibit coordinator – Diane Fagan Affleck. So this was “work” but also a lot of fun!

It’s not official yet, but a couture clothing collection is scheduled to be shown at this museum in August. I think this is a great opportunity for PatternReview to do something in conjuction with the exhibit. So we threw some ideas around and finally settled on a possibility of doing a fashion show where local PR members would want to show off their own formalwear. The museum curator or another guest could be the judge. I asked them to schedule some time for us in September.

The exhibit coordinator was very excited to learn about PatternReview as she sews herself. She told me that she made her wedding dress using 5 different patterns. How cool is that?

But the thing which I am really looking forward to is our group meetup in March. Tentative date for that is March 14th. They will organize a special group tour for us. There is a really cool 50s aprons exhibit going on right now. I also requested them to give us their classroom for a few hours where we could gather after the tour and bring our own aprons to show.

As I walked from room to room I thought how much you guys would love this museum! I mean it’s textiles, what’s not to love? The museum takes you on a journey from the early 17th century to modern fabrics. While I did enjoy seeing the rayon and space age fabrics, it’s the history which really captured my interest. How women dressed back then, what kind of fabrics were used, the hand crank sewing machines. The hand stitched dresses.

Diane pointed out that the sewing machine wasn’t invented until 1830 so all the clothing was probably sewn by hand before that. There are amazing dresses in there, all the textiles neatly swatched and labeled. If I had the time I could easily spend 2 hours or more in there.

This place is a hidden gem and I know you will love it!

Watch out for more news regarding our meetings at the museum. I am even thinking of inviting Kenneth King for a day here. They have a great classroom which we could really use.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking…

Complete Photo Set on Flickr with labels

Loom: circa 1865!

Fabrics were sold in a general store back then

There are many more photos in my Flickr set with descriptions. But the real treat would be to go there together in a group and exploring it.

Needless to say, I came back home very inspired, excited and my mind is right now spinning with ideas for the future.

I hope you will join us for our group tour on March 13th. It’s going to be a lot of fun! Post here if you can make it.

American Textile History Museum (Web Site)
491 Dutton Street Lowell, MA 01854

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