A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sewing for Kids: Yes, I still do!

Although this blog has become much more about my sewing for myself in the past year, I do still sew for my children.  I tend to stick to easy (and comfortable) knits, and I generally sew for them in huge batches over the course of a couple of weeks, two or three times per year.

I'm gathering up a bunch of the pieces I've made recently and dumping them all in this post.  It is going to be long, so bear with me.

I found this fall that Natasha (who is now 8), needed some fall/winter dresses.  And when you sew for one girl around here, you kind of have to sew for the other one, so 7-year-old Z was getting a new dress, too.

My intent was to make very simple jersey dresses that were roughly knee length.  But I sewed Natasha's out of a very unstable knit (probably poly and/or rayon with some lycra, though FabricMart listed it as a cotton/lycra), and the weight of the skirt pulled the bodice down much more than I had anticipated. She begged me to leave it long, and now she swishes around in what she calls her "simple dress," pretending to be a 19th century prairie girl.

I used the School Bus T-shirt pattern from Oliver+S for both dresses, in a slimmed-down size 5 for Natasha, and a straight 5 for Z.  Then I cut long width-of-fabric rectangles for the skirts and gathered them up, then stabilized the waist seam with knit interfacing before sewing them together.

Of course, after I made Natasha's dress, Zoia decided that hers also needed to be ankle length.  It's sewn out of a less drapey cotton interlock with a cotton/lycra jersey scrap for the neckband.  It turned out a little nightgown-esque because the interlock has less drape than the jersey, but she loves it.

The School Bus pattern has gotten a workout here lately.  I used it to make cotton interlock nightgowns for my daughters and oldest niece (hers is not pictured, but it's a tank version of the same nightgown).  These are constructed just like the dresses, but with an added ruffle at bottom.

As my kids have grown, my ability to use up small scraps for their clothing has decreased.  When the boys needed new pjs, I tried to use up most of remaining knit scraps.

I made these pjs out of a red and blue stripe cotton interlock I found at the thrift store last year.  The body of Niko's shirt is a cotton rib knit that's been hanging out in my stash for awhile.  The pants are Oliver+S Playtime Leggings - definitely my most-used pattern ever - in a size 4T + some length for Gabriel and size 2 for Niko.  I added a cuff on the larger pair to make them even longer.  Neckbands are cotton/lycra jersey scraps.  G's top is the School Bus T-shirt, and Niko's is the O+S Field Trip Raglan.

The second set is made from the same patterns (both shirts are Field Trip Raglans this time) and all cotton/lycra jersey except for Niko's pants, which took out the rest of the navy rib knit.

This set, for Gabriel, is another School Bus + Playtime and is made out of striped interlock and a really nice and thick brown cotton/lycra jersey, purchased years ago from Fabric Mart.

Natasha also needed some pants, so I made two more pairs of Playtime Leggings for her.  These are a size 4 with the length of an 8.  Next time I'm going to make the 5 plus length for her.  The gray ones are French terry with cotton/lycra jersey knee patches, and the black are cotton/lycra jersey.

Last, I wanted to use up the less-than-a-yard of this flannel from Joann's that I used on my Bonn No. 5.  I also didn't want to buy a new pattern.  So I flipped through my one issue of Ottobre Design (Winter 6/2015), and found the Tiny Pussy Bow blouse, #21.  I traced it out in a size 110 with the armhole height of a 128 and the length of the 134.  I left off the pussy bow and just bound the neckline.  I wanted a bit of extra length so I added a ruffle at bottom.  I had so little fabric left that I had to piece that ruffle in five sections.  N loves the shirt and I feel good, having used up every scrap of fabric.

This pattern only has five pieces, which makes the tracing more tolerable.  The instructions were fine, and it went together quickly.  My only quibble is that the yoke is a single layer.  I didn't cut it on the bias because I was afraid it would distort without a facing.  But in this thick fabric, cut on grain, it works fine.  The pattern has a tiny bit of gathering at the front shoulder, which is hard to see in this fabric.  The back is supposed to be gathered too, but I decided to do an inverted pleat instead.  I'm very happy with this make.

There are a few other recent makes that I didn't manage to get pictures of - another pair of pjs and two pairs of leggings for Z and another School Bus dress for N.  Coming up for the end of the year, I will have my end-of-year sewing review and some Top 5 posts that I'm looking forward to sharing with you.

Thanks for reading, and see you next time!


  1. Such great makes! I love the full length "plain dresses" - I remember as a girl I LOVED swishing along in long skirts. And the plaid top is adorable. Side note: now that I don't see your kids on the blog all the time, it seems like they are growing and slimming out at warp speed. Our kids are growing up!!

  2. Go you! I'm good about making the girls' summer dresses, and knitting some sweaters for winter (their pink Pascha sweaters from two years ago are still going strong!) but not great about winter stuff. I did make a French terry knit dress for Ponchik last winter that actually fits her quite well this year (it was pretty big on her last year). I always have good luck finding long sleeve knit dresses second hand on ebay or thredup, so I just can't force myself to be bothered, but I figure the day is coming when I won't be able to find that stuff in their size easily, so I'll have to bite the bullet. :)

    1. I wish my oldest fit easily into rtw! I'd happy buy her leggings instead of sew them, but I just haven't found any that fit!

    2. Ditto here, especially with Lidia, soooo tall and sooo slim.


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