Making clothes for my kids is one of my favourite things, such a shame I can’t make money from it! The feeling of accomplishment I get from seeing them wear my work and having all my friends and family admire the clothes, I will admit gives me such a great feeling.
The question I’m asked so much as a sewing lecturer is what patterns are best for a beginner or which ones do I think are best. In future posts I intend to go into further depth about ladies patterns and individual makes but in this post I want to cover my favourite kids patterns, my thoughts and where I got the fabric from. My copies of these patterns are very worn out because I keep coming back to them! The photos below are my highlights of these patterns.
Pattern one: Two Stitches – Grow babygrow
My first attempt into kids wear was after a trip to the Eternal Maker in Chichester where I picked up their Two Stitches Grow babygrow pattern and this cheeky monster jersey. The great thing about babygrows is that you can usually get two from the width of the fabric and I liked it so much I made another one in a bigger size for when he was a year old.
When I was pregnant with Edith I came across a panel piece from Frumble. With panel pieces you get a few different prints and they’re a set size. I think this one was 140cm by 100cm. On this one it had the strawberry, the green floral print and a rainbow stripe. As I was making such small sizes I used the rest to make a shortie romper as well (annoyingly I don’t have a decent photo of that)
It goes together really well but I wouldn’t use interfacing on the inside leg opening as the pattern suggests. I used it the first time and we fell out, I can’t feel it in any shop bought babygrows and I feel its not needed. My only criticism with this pattern is that there is a lack of notches, I think beginners might struggle muddling their way through matching the crotch gusset without them. I have found with this pattern that the legs come up a bit short, (but I think I have long legged children), otherwise it fits really nicely on both kids.
Pattern two: Brindille and Twig – Ringer tee and Cuff leggings
You can get all sorts of panels. This one had plain white background with the giraffe picture and the rest was the giraffe print. These pjs are such a good pattern combination, patterns from Brindille and Twig are as PDFs so if you lose a piece you can print them off again and again.
These pjs are the same pattern combination but with short sleeves. Leon loves space (he can name all the planets!), he was so excited when I made him these pjs. I decided to experiment with cuffing as I’d never played with it before, more appropriate for sweatshirts but a bit of fun. I think Brindille and Twig patterns are really well written especially for beginners, the instructions have clear photos and instructions for each step. They often have a few free patterns so worth keeping an eye on their website. The ringer tee and cuff leggings are so versatile and the cuff/waistband finishes look great even if you have a only basic sewing machine. The ringer tee also looks great if you use a twin needle (one of my favourite tools), instead of the sleeve cuffs and waistband, it gives you effect of cover stitch machine. Any machine can use a twin needle provided you can hold two thread reels, you don’t need to change the tension or stitch.
Pattern three: Burda BD9424
Who doesn’t love dungarees. Leon hasn’t worn them for a while as he’s only been potty trained 6 months and still needs easy clothes he can get undone himself. This pattern I have made so many times, I absolutely love it. In the envelope you have a dungaree dress, shortie dungarees and two variations of full length dungarees. I made them with traditional dungaree clips the first time but I actually found that I preferred using heavy duty poppers instead. Dungaree clips are so expensive compared to a pack of poppers and I also found these particular dungaree clips went rusty quickly and kept falling off in the wash.
The only problem with these dungarees is there isn’t an opening in the crotch which means you have to take them off completely to change a nappy. my notes on this one is that it’s really tempting to trim seam allowances down when an area is faced, but with the straps and the back bib bits I wouldn’t. The straps are under so much strain that the seam allowance can fray and come out if trimmed. It goes together really well, if you’re a little confused by all the side opening instructions, you can actually do away with the side opening completely, we found that the side didn’t need to be opened for dressing. My final word is it’s a fab pattern but I do have an issue with the lack of decent instructions and confusing notches/tailor tacks for beginners with Burda patterns.
Pattern four: Kwiksew – 2433
Now that I have two kids, I need to make the most of matchy matchy outfits while I can, its so cute. Leon can be very picky about what he wears but thankfully he’s going through a phase where he loves what I make especially if he matches Edith and thinks its exciting. My husband rolls his eyes at me but I think he secretly loves it too.
Kwiksew 2433 has quite a few variations in the envelope. I don’t like the sleep suit (its really short in the legs and unbelievably baggy) and the hat is huge but the basic vest is marvellous, it goes together so quickly and easily. The only tricky thing is hammering in the poppers (make sure you buy nickel free ones), you can get them from ebay or amazon and usually has the tool included. These poppers don’t need a hole punched or anything, you just push the spikes through the fabric. This envelope neckline is great for beginners, even easier than the Two Stitches one mentioned above, you don’t need to tuck anything in and just trim closely, it looks brilliant.
So there you have it,
I probably could draft my own patterns but life is too short and I’d rather just make the clothes rather than go through the effort of trialling and developing my own. There are lots of great patterns out there, I generally get my big name commercial patterns from websites like jaycotts.co.uk, I love the layout and its really easy to search for something specific although they do have soooo much choice. Or I get straight from Brindille and Twig‘s website (brindilletwig.com)
I have some Christmas fabric on pre-order from Jelly Fabrics, I plan on making matching Christmas tops once it arrives, probably ringer tees. Can’t wait to share in a future blog!
Thanks for reading