Monday, 23 August 2010
Making children's clothes
Last week some gorgeous fabrics arrived from Melanie of Above All Fabric - one of my prizes for winning the A-line skirt category in Crafterhours' Skirt Week. I chose some of the Patty Young knits, as I've been coveting them and they are so expensive to buy in England. They are gorgeous. Thick, stretchy and soft, in beautiful colours. I love them. I chose half a yard of the lime and half a yard of the flower print and managed to make a twirly skirt and vest top from them...I had a 1/2" square of fabric left at the end...it really did use every last snippet in making them - I can't believe how perfectly these two projects fitted into one yard of fabric! Thank you so much, Melanie!
The skirt is just like the last one that I made, which has been worn and worn, and is made from the Patty Young Yoga Skirt tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew! Zebra-girl declares it to be her comfiest skirt ever.
It has huge twirl appeal.
Despite not being happy with the vest top that I made, I am completely enamoured with the book that the pattern came from. It's called Sewing Clothes Kids Love and is worth buying just for the inspirational pictures and excellent text alone. However, the patterns are wonderful - the vest is in theory a simple garment, but I was struck by the beautiful curve on the bottom of the pattern pieces and how nicely the underarms were shaped. I found the instruction as simple as a Japanese pattern (in that I didn't look at the text, just the pictures).
The book has a comprehensive introduction, that is so well and interestingly written that I read every word of it, and by the time I came to the patterns I had complete confidence that they would be perfectly drafted and come together well (the vest top did come together really well - it was my fabric choice that was at fault...or at least not thinking to compensate for the extra stretch)...as the book feels like it's written by an expert in childrens' garment construction, which is reassuring. I loved some of her logic behind fabric choice - even though I don't have a child who would wear such a bright mixture of colour and pattern, I can see that the pieces in the book do work visually - and I loved her rule that any motif on a fabric should be no bigger than 3" wide to avoid the pattern overwhelming the wearer - this makes perfect sense to me. The book instructs you on some really useful things, such as making a duct tape mannequin, and sewing with knits. And just like Japanese patterns, these come without the seam allowances included, which I find makes things so much easier.
It also includes many unisex patterns for jackets, t-shirts and hoodies and I'm planning on making this jacket for Zebra-girl, and possibly for Dinosaur-boy too, for the autumn...and what delights me most is that it's lined. So many pattern books don't include a lining for clothing, relying on beautiful-looking pictures to delight the reader, rather than the pattern being truly versatile and wearable. This book is very different in that respect - many of these patterns are quite involved and none of them feel like page fillers or as though the simplest option has been taken. Additionally, where an item is unisex the pattern nearly always includes an option for more feminine shaping at the waist, or for added gathers at the sleeve.