Sewing Kid-Friendly Clothes
In recent years there has been an explosion of children's sewing patterns from independent designers, with designs ranging from colorful and embellished to modern and tailored. While there is an amazing selection of designs to choose from now, many of these patterns focus on clothing for dressing up as opposed to everyday wear. Children, just like adults, need those everyday go-to clothing items that are comfortable, easy-to-wear, and practical.
Practical, everyday clothes don't have to be boring to wear or to make. On the contrary, combining comfort with style is the ideal combination for making clothes kids will want to wear over and over again. Since kids grow so fast you want them to get the most wear of what you make for them before they outgrow it!
Designer Meg McElwee, author of Growing up Sew Liberated: Making Handmade Clothes + Projects for Your Creative Child, has a great philosophy on making kids clothes, focusing on making them comfortable, kid-friendly, practical, and adorable. As both a teacher and a mother, she designs clothes that are made for active little ones who are continually exploring their environment. In her book, she offers some tips to keep in mind when sewing children's clothes:
Is it comfortable?
– Babies and young children should always be dressed in comfortable clothes. I avoid synthetic fibers, as they don't breathe as well as natural fibers.
– Pay attention to how a fabric feels against the skin and remember that young children have more sensitive skin than most adults. Go with the highest quality fabrics that fit your budget.
Does it allow free movement?
– Children of both genders need to be free to move their bodies, to climb, to explore, and to get dirty outside.
Does it promote independence?
– Children tend to prefer clothing that they can put on and take off themselves. Look for elastic waistbands, large toggles, or button closures instead of zippers.
Keeping those ideas in mind, Meg has created a FREE project, a Child's Apron-something every child can use whether they are spending time with you in the kitchen, creating artwork, or helping out in the garden. It's quick to make and easy to sew, plus it offers the perfect canvas for custom embellishment from appliqué to embroidery. Or just have fun with your favorite prints and make up a bunch of these in no time.
Here's Meg's overview of the Child's Apron project:
Wearing an apron while preparing food, cleaning, watering plants, or creating art keeps clothes clean and dry, but it also helps kids focus on the task at hand-to "become" the chef, the dishwasher, or the artist. The Basic Child's Apron features an elastic neck strap that fits easily over a child's head, even one with ponytails. A Velcro waist strap is easy for young children to manage. Since the child needs no help from an adult to put on or take off the apron, it fosters independence and contributes to self-confidence. A sturdy, fully-lined construction means that the apron can withstand years of use.
Have fun with this great project and check out Growing Up Sew Liberated for more great children's clothes and projects for your creative child.