Saturday, 16 June 2012

Sewing for the Kids

There was a long blurrr of sewing in this house last weekend, then another shorter mid-week late night blur. And there are some wearable winter clothes for the kids to show for it:

Birthday dress - 

This dress still needs hemming but it was getting late when I was finishing it off, and I wasn't feeling confident of my little girl's height. It's mostly around a size 6, but a mix of patterns and tweaks. I will explain, promise - but the mixing makes me wonder... at what point of mixing and tweaking patterns does a sewn garment stop being of those patterns and become something else?  I definitely see this dress as the sum of two patterns, and I'm not planning to start omitting pattern accreditations - which seems rude and sort of dishonest to me - but I think it's a theoretically interesting question... I guess I could be swayed by a strong argument.

I used Burda pattern 9979 (OOP I think), a top and pants pattern, for the top part of this dress. I extended sleeves from elbow to wrist length and swapped the turned over sleeve hem for separate little bands (LOVE sleeve bands - so classy!); sleeve shape was tweaked for more of a straight & narrow style. The bodice was lengthened, as the pattern is for a cropped top, but generally I was aiming for a size 6 length and a size 5 width. I also added a neck band - not sure if this was already in the pattern as by this point I wasn't paying it much attention. I used Simplicity 7211 (well and truly OOP) for the skirt part of this dress, graded out to about a size 4 in width and what I hoped was about a size 5 in length from my pattern's size 3. The skirt waist width was only a little bigger than the bodice waist so they just got eased together.

Final touch - a rosebud hand sewn onto centre front neckline. Of course this is the best part of the dress :-) (that's the recipient's perspective).
The birthday girl has been sick all week - not even able to contemplate birthday cake - and got herself thinner than usual, but I expect when she's back to normal she'll fill her dress out a bit better.

Leggings - 

Leggings - such easy peasy sewing and they always get worn to death, starting at the knees - what did girls wear before these become so popular? I have a friend who will not allow her daughters to wear them. She thinks they look....ahh...I guess rude? They are definitely not banned in this house, but if they're too thin and clingy they get a skirt or dress on top. Problem solved.

No pattern required, just traced around a slightly too long pair onto butcher's paper, then had the joy of tipping stretch fabric scraps all over the living room to be selected from.  The stripey pair have joins at about knee length, and the stripe mismatch is intentional.


Interestingly for the same "pattern", cut out at the same time, the purple leggings look loose and the striped ones look tight. Obviously I forgot to think about stretch fabric type, stretch recovery and that sort of thing, but it's not affecting their popularity.  I should be making more of having a mini sewing fan in the family! :-)

Long sleeve T -

For most of the year my son seems to need few casual clothes - he seems to live in his school uniform, various sport clothes and PJs. Every now and then of course a lack of something or other becomes apparent. This winter his jumpers / warm long sleeve Ts looked to be lacking in length. He cautiously joined his sister in picking through the fabric scraps, and came up with some tentative choices including the blue merino I used for my own long sleeve T.

This top is made from Burda pattern 9614, style A, in a size 8, pretty much as is + with sleeve and neck bands. The fabric is left over from my own long sleeve T from the same fabric and there wasn't quite enough, so there's a join half way down one sleeve. 

Reluctant to try it on - "no, I'm sure it fits mummy" - then reluctant to take it off :-). 

I've now been asked if I can make a top with geometrical patterns on it; I've got some ideas (who amongst us doesn't???? Ideas isn't the problem!) and if I get to it I'll share it - of course.

See you!


  1. Happy birthday to your sweet little girl, her birthday dress looks very cute. I love making leggings and t's for the kids, quick to sew and always gratefully received :)

  2. Cute birthday girl! The leggings are my favourite!

  3. Cute and comfy looking clothes for your little ones! I just love stripes of all kinds on children. Happy Birthday to your daughter!

  4. Geometric patterns should be easy. Just stitch some diamonds on like those old school type sweaters.

    I don't tend to do long sleeve tees for my boys for winter. I just do polyprop type tops or plain long sleeve tees that they can wear under their summer tees. This means they only need a couple each winter.

    My daughter is 16 and as a preschooler leggings were her staple clothing (they kind of went out of fashion for a while after that) but really they were invaluable for comfort and practicality. When the knees wore out I just cut them into cycle shorts....easy!

  5. I need to sew my daughter some leggings. It's all she'll wear. If it's not full length ones, it's those small ones that they wear to's that for rude! I've given up trying to get her to wear anything else.


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