Sewing for Your Creative Child
I don't have children of my own, I do have many wonderful children in
my life, and I love sewing for them. I can never get over how adorably
small their little clothes are, and it is so gratifying to be able to
whip up a little outfit at the sewing machine in no time.
Reversible Baby Sweatshirt and Reversible Bubble Pants, from Growing Up Sew Liberated.
When sewing for little ones, I definitely approach it a bit differently with their unique needs in mind. I make my seams extra strong so a kid can move, run around, and play in the clothes with no worries.
I also pick soft, comfortable fabrics that will feel good on their
skin, otherwise you know they won't wear it, and all that work sewing
something will be for nothing!
the past couple of years there has been a creative explosion of fun
patterns for babies and kids from independent designers. One of my
favorite designers is Meg McElwee, designer of the Sew Liberated
pattern line and author of the blog of the same name. As a Montessori
teacher and mother of two, she knows how kids play and interact with
their environment, and she designs clothes, toys, and accessories for
them that encourage creative development. As a former Montessori student
myself, I love this holistic approach to making things for kids that
emphasize learning and creative play.
In Meg's new book, Growing Up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes + Projects for Your Creative Child,
she features adorable and innovative projects for babies and kids for
each part of their day. From getting dressed in the morning and playing
outside to mealtimes and bedtime, she offers not only kid-friendly
projects, but also activity ideas that encourage creativity in your
are many helpful sewing tips throughout the book, and one of the key
things Meg points out is to pay attention to the seams on the inside of
the garment. Exposed seams can be very irritating to babies and kids-the
inside of the clothing should always be soft against their skin. Here
is Meg's simple tutorial on creating a smooth seam finish for your
Itch-Free Finish for Exposed Seams
order to make finishing seams easier, I find it helpful to prepare the
edges before assembly by zigzagging or serging 1/8" (3 mm) from the raw
edges. Be sure the edge finish does not compromise the accuracy of the
seam allowances by distorting the raw edges. If you choose to finish the
edges first, skip Step c below.
fig. A: clip along curves in the seam allowance
fig. B: tack remaining seam allowances
fig. C: parallel stitching brackets the finished seam
a. Clip about every ½" (1.3 cm) along any curves in the seam allowances, being careful not to cut into or through any seamlines (fig. A).
b. Press the seam open.
Set your sewing machine to a zigzag stitch, 1.5 mm long × 3 mm wide.
Fold the main portion of the garment out of the way, leaving only one
seam allowance under the machine's presser foot, and zigzag near the raw
edge along the entire length of the seam. Turn the garment and repeat
to zigzag along the remaining seam allowance edge. Press the seam open
Adjust the needle position to a point ¼" (6 mm) from the presser foot's
left edge and align the left edge with the seamline. Set the machine
for a straight stitch 3.0 mm long. Sew along the entire seam, using the
seam as a guide, tacking the seam allowance to the garment as you go (fig. B).
Continue stitching across any gaps created by clipping. This stitching
will be visible on the outside of the garment, so keep it neat and
e. Turn the garment around and repeat Step d to tack the remaining seam allowance to the garment (fig. B). From the right side of the garment, you will see two parallel lines of stitching bracketing the seam (fig. C).
This finish will not only keep the seam allowances from raveling in the
wash, but will provide a smoother finish inside the garment against
I hope this inspires you to sew fabulous new projects for the kids in your life!