As the rest of the Divas know, I have strong opinions about sewing children clothing. If you go onto Pattern Review, the vast majority of projects are from Moms making clothes for their kids – a wonderful expression of love. Children’s clothing is also a good way for beginners to learn sewing. Children’s patterns are simpler than adult patterns, and the little ones will still wear your project proudly event if your skills are still developing.
But let’s be frank – nothing suffers from the “happy hands at home” syndrome more than home sewn baby and children’s clothing, and this distressing fact is not always related purely to sewing skill.
But there are a few things you can do to make you children’s sewing look as good as your adult sewing. The shirt above incorporates several concepts I apply when making clothes for small fry:
Print Scale & Pattern Repeats – Originally, I wanted to make this shirt from a black cotton festooned with chilies. However, as you can see, the motif size and pattern repeat on the chili fabric was just too big for such a tiny size garment:
No Cheap Fabric – Everyone loves a bargain, but using poorly made fabrics just makes your project look cheap. If you wouldn’t wear the fabric yourself, don’t make children’s clothes from it. Last year I made a wool/cashmere coat for a toddler, which sounds ridiculously extravagant; but remember these are tiny garments that use so little fabric you can often use remnants or less than one yard of new fabric. Plus you’ll create something special that will definitely be handed down gratefully.
No Juvenile Prints – children are so beautiful that they don’t need to be adorned with dinosaurs, soccer balls and ballerinas. Expand your fabric choices and consider looking beyond traditional kids prints.
Sew it Like an Adult Garment – We sewists think nothing of changing pattern details we don’t like, and the same concept can be applied to children’s clothing. The pattern for the shirt above is Butterick 6030. I really liked the sport shirt styling, but the pattern collar piece was pretty crudely drafted and it didn’t give me the sport shirt look I wanted. So I modifed it to this:
…which gave me the more RTW-looking collar you see above. Also, as with an adult garment, good sewing habits get results – so press as you go during construction, and clean finish your seams.
These concepts will make your childrens sewing as impressive as the garments you do for adults. You can read a full review of this shirt on Pattern Review.