Tag Archives: Kids CLothes Week

kids clothes week – my attempt

Last week I participated in Kids Clothes Week where you are challenged to spend one hour a day sewing clothes for your children.  The idea is to find one hour in your day to do a little bit of sewing.  That might be cutting out a pattern, cutting fabric, ironing, or actually sewing a garment together.  And, if you stick with an hour a day for a week, you are likely to end up with at least one finished garment.  Last KCW challenge I did pretty well.  I won’t say I did not do well for this challenge, but I did only finish one garment.  I made Hythe a shirt.

He had been quietly longing for me to make something for him and I had him in a quilting store looking for some marking chalk about two weeks ago.  I found what I wanted and was at the checkout counter where a few bolts of a beautiful fabric with horses painted on it were leaning.  Hythe insisted I get some of the fabric for Anne and Evva.  Then, we turned around while they were cutting that fabric to find that just behind us was a bolt of the most fabulous fish print.  I knew right away this one was perfect for Hythe.  He has been asking to go fishing nearly everyday since spring has arrived (and fishing season has opened).  While we were looking at that fish fabric, Hythe said he would like me to make him something to wear from it because, “Then the fish won’t see me when I am fishing.  They will think I’m other fish and I can catch them.”

So, I made the Sketchbook Shirt from Oliver + S for him – a pattern I already had in my stash.  It turned our really well and he loves it.  He wore it as soon as I had finished it and was quite proud (just the reaction I hope for when I present a hand-made garment).  It also fit well and looked good (I was a little uncertain, thinking it might be too loud).

He has not gone fishing in it yet, but probably this weekend it will see some more use by a stream or a pond.

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I think brother wants one next!

 

 

lately made

I have completed a few sewing and knitting projects in the last few weeks.  One was the lap blanket that I have been working on for quite a few months now.  A row or two whenever I got a chance was how it got done.  It is just what I wanted it to be.  Perfect size for pulling over your lap to read or watch a movie.  Perfect size to pull over little ones when they are sick and laying on the couch – and we had a lot of that this last week (luckily everyone is well or nearly well at this point).  This blanket has a great weight to it.  It is heavy, but made with a cotton linen blend that is warm, but not too warm.  I love the colors too: brown (from walnut shells), yellow (marigolds), natural, light green (goldenrod).  I just hope the colors have set well because this blanket will need to be washed fairly often, I predict – which means it is getting used and loved.  Just what I hoped.

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I also made Anne a quick Easter dress the day before Easter.  I had a simple pattern by Figgy and some printed cotton voile and pink cotton twill in my stash – perfect for this dress.  Anne loved it, but it was a little cool on Easter morn to be sleeveless.  This dress will last all summer, though, and I love the print.  Thinking of what to make myself with that fabric . . .

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And, I did make something for myself from the green linen I bought last year.  Watching spring emerge, and the indescribable green that the grass becomes this time of year, made me remember why I was attracted to that vibrant linen which I bought this time last year.  I am sure I bought it because it is the color of spring grass, which to me is a color of life.  Beautiful.

I envisioned a button up short sleeve shirt that I could wear all summer.  Linen would be perfect for this type of shirt and that green in a shirt will not overpower.   I went first to my grandmother’s patterns and found one that I thought would work.  I made a muslin, a few adjustments, and sewed up my first button up shirt.  I was easier than I thought it would be – even all those button holes, I found kind of fun to make.  I wore it on my birthday and am very happy with it.

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Next project is jeans!  I have the pattern pieces cut out, but have been too tired every night since I cut them out to do anything with them.  I am also planning to participate in Kids Clothes Week again – next week.  I am planning a few things.  Thinking about t-shirt dresses for the girls, something for Hythe (because I think he felt a little left out when he realized I made the girls new dresses for Easter, but nothing for him), and something for Steven from that lightning bolt fabric  (he keeps asking about it).  If anyone is interested in sewing for children, you should check out Kids Clothes Week.  They have a huge listing of patterns, tutorials, ideas, fabrics, etc. that are great resources and inspiration.

 

sewing camp and thoughts about learning to sew

Last week’s sewing camp was a success, I believe. The children enjoyed it (most important) and learned a few new skills. One sweet girl looked at me on the last day and said, “I can’t believe it’s the last day of sewing camp! I wish we could do this longer.” That made the whole three days of untangling thread and ripping out stitches worth it.

What I loved about the class was seeing the children’s ideas become reality. Their creativity was fun to watch and it was an honor to help usher their visions into reality through fabric and thread. One child appliqued a battle axe made from flowered fabric onto his bag. Anne frescoed a sailboat from fabric onto her bag. Their fabric painting was creative and diverted from my vision, but I wanted to let the children make decisions about what and how they wanted to create. I had boundaries (for safety and so that supplies would not get wasted or destroyed), but I did not have many rules for this class. It made the class easier to teach when I let them have freedom to make decisions, to make mistakes, and to be creative. I did have to do a lot of running around, though!

A mother of one girl in the class told me her daughter had gained a lot of confidence in her sewing abilities in the three days of the camp. The daughter had taken a sewing class the summer before at a fabric store but the teachers hovered over each student through the entire class to make sure the students did not mess up (go out of line, forget to put the presser foot down, sew the wrong seam, sew a fold into the fabric). This daughter liked this year’s camp better because I just “set them loose” to sew what they wanted, to pick whatever color thread they wanted, to make mistakes, to help them figure out solutions, and to use their imaginations. This girl went home on the last day of class wearing a new outfit that she had sewn. It was not part of my planned curriculum but she saw the fabric, came up with ideas, which I helped her shape, and then started sewing with a little instruction from me (and one major seam rip).

This got me thinking about learning to sew and how and why people do or do not learn to sew (or enjoy sewing). There is a recent Colette Patterns article about beginning sewists which I think is very accurate, and could apply to children as well. People (children, too) want to learn to sew because they are creative and want to bring an idea to reality. And, when the reality is a usable and (hopefully) beautiful object, it is a huge bonus.

My grandmother (an amazing seamstress) gave me my first sewing lessons (I’ve written about it before). I started out hand sewing Barbie dresses before finally progressing to machine sewing lines down a sheet of notebook paper to practice going in a straight line. I lost interest. I would never measure up–learning to sew would take forever, and I would never be good.
When I was in college, I lamented to a cousin’s wife at a holiday gathering that I wanted to sew clothes but had never learned to read a pattern or really use a sewing machine because I gave up learning from my sewing-perfectionist grandmother. This cousin said “That’s ridiculous! Sewing is easy! Come on, let’s go make something.” At that point I had an old black metal Singer that only did a forward and backward stitch. She found a vest pattern laying around the house, some fabric, and she showed me the basics of sewing from a pattern. She took the mystery out and gave me confidence. I couldn’t believe that in a few hours I had made a garment I could wear (of course I never wore it because it was a vest which was 10 years out of style made from what looked to me like polyester old-lady material). But, I was so proud and impressed!

That is the feeling I think (hope?) those sewing campers had when they finished.

I went to a sewer meeting recently made up of older women who were very creative and skilled and who knew a lot about sewing (much more than I). At one point in the meeting, a woman was lamenting the lack of young sewers and thinking of ways to attract young people to the craft. A few moments later, another woman was scornful of the many “easy” pdf patterns that could be downloaded from the internet. She thought these patterns were cop-out sewing—did not provide the challenge of tucks, fitting, and intricate detail. “People who sew those will not create like us.” I thought, “That attitude is exactly why young people aren’t sewing”. To think that a beginning sewer would be able, or even want, to attempt the details of an advanced garment is asking for failure. But to encourage simple-ness and creativity in “easy” sewing will give legitimacy and confidence to a whole new group of sewers. Those simple garments or projects teach skills which build upon themselves and allow someone to move on to the next set of skills. We would all love to sew couture garments or fancy quilts, but don’t have the skill (or frankly, the time—hello, 4 small children and 2 jobs). But, one day, we will, and we need older and more experienced sewers to provide encouragement and creative space, and to teach us their skills.

Sewing camp projects (items made at camp):

cloth book marks, painted (dyed) fabric, pillowcases, simple bags, circle skirts, heart pillow, elastic waist skirt, tank top, American girl doll skirts, pillow made from a sweatshirt

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KCW: Day 3

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At our house, Day 3 of KCW was also the day that a somewhat informal kids sewing camp started at our house.  I started planning this camp a few months ago as a way for my girls to get to hang out with some of their friends and have some constructive and creative time together.

So, with 5 sewing machines and 7 children, we embarked on a few small projects.  I did a little safety talk and pretty much set them loose on projects.  First, a cloth bookmark to get used to making stitches on a sewing machine, and a simple bag which they could embellish with applique. Then, I let them dye a yard of muslin with watered down tempera paints.  The idea was that they could do sun printing with botanicals (leaves, ferns, etc.), but it did not work out as well as it has for me in the past.  However, everyone seemed very pleased with their fabrics and I think their ideas were really great and that they turned out very nicely.  Tomorrow, the colored yard of fabric will be made into either a pillowcase or a circle skirt.

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Tomorrow, I think I will spend a little time talking about the parts of the sewing machine and reiterate the steps for making a seam.  The biggest sewing problem was that each one of them forgot multiple times to put down the presser foot and so would tangle their bobbin thread terribly and I would have to come over and sort them out.  And, sometimes, as they were getting ready to start to sew a seam or an applique, I would say “put your foot down” which only made them press harder on the foot pedal of the machine while the presser foot remained up — and tangled thread, again.

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They were all so excited about their projects and I was impressed with each one’s creativity and good spirit.

Also, last night and tonight, I cut out and sewed a little t-shirt for Hythe from a knit cotton (with lightning bolts!) I got on sale at Hancock fabrics.  He is very excited about it.

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Kids Clothes Week: Day 1

Yesterday was day 1 of Kids Clothes Week (KCW).  KCW is a challenge to spend 1 hour every day for a week making/sewing clothes for your kids.  It was thought up and developed by Meg Freeman, and has become a great resource and inspiration for patterns, ideas, designs, and fun.  I participated in the spring and really enjoyed it though I did not post anything about it.  This week I am trying a little harder to document what I am doing and will try to post about it.

Last night I decided to make the t-shirt I have been promising Anne for weeks.  I already had a pattern I’d drafted from another shirt of hers and I cut out it out of the pale pink organic cotton knit I had in the stash.  It took about 1.5 hours from start to finish, but it went by really quickly.  I was glad to have finished one garment in one night.  Anne was so glad to have her t-shirt.  The theme of KCW this time is kid art, so I might see if Anne wants to embellish this tee a little with some other appliqued fabric or ruffles, etc.

Plans for the rest of the week include making t-shirts for Hythe and Steven, sewing some shorts for the girls and maybe a skirt (or a skort!).

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**shorts are from Oliver+S Picnic Blouse and Shorts. I made these earlier this year and she loves them.