“So, how many children do you have?” I am frequently asked.
“None” is my reply.
This of course always leads to the next question, when the conversation is about sewing, “Then why do you make so many clothes for kid’s?”
Its a reasonable question and I will give you 3 good reasons why I sew so many kid’s clothes even though I have no children to wear them.
The first reason is my casual style, and that of the husband’s. I wear mainly shirts and pants/shorts. I basically wear 3 styles of shirts. A t-shirt, a collarless v-neck shirt (a baseball shirt) and a collared camp shirt. I don’t wear dresses or skirts regularly.
The husband wears tab front knit shirts and on the rare occasion a button down the front shirt both with pants and shorts.
So, over the years I have sewn many shirts and pants for both myself and the husband and I have our basic sloper patterns for these items fine tuned to perfection.
Over the years, I have varied the basic slopers with small changes to the designs, but basically it is still the same pattern I have sewn for us for years now.
So given this, how could I learn any new sewing techniques and expand my sewing skills by just making these same tried and true patterns over and over again?
How could I learn different seam finishes? How could I learn about sewing with different fabric varieties like fur and pleather?
Why would I waste my fabric and my time to make myself a dress or skirt that I would seldom if ever wear just to learn sewing skills and techniques like gathers, pleats and linings?
There are no pockets on my shirts or the husbands shirts, so where would I learn to make different pocket styles?
There is no bias tape used in the construction of our clothes, so where would I learn to make and sew items with bias tape?
The answer to many of these questions for me is by sewing clothes for children of course!
It has been my experience that kid’s are very forgiving when it come to their clothes.
They don’t care if the fit isn’t quite right. As long as the colors and designs are fun, they are willing to wear the item.
So, while I have been learning some great new techniques and skills while making the children’s clothes, even if it isn’t perfect in the end, I still have a usable item that a child will love to wear.
Plus, just how many shirts can I and the husband have with Snoopy or Mickey Mouse on them? I have so many fun embroidery designs and fabrics for fun kid’s clothes that I would probably never be able to use if I didn’t sew for children.
And how could I not sew and embroider up some of these great items for some children to wear and enjoy?
Reason number 2 is practice. You could also think of this as making mini muslins.
I would like to make me a spring/fall polar fleece jacket. I want it to have a collar, a zipper, multiple pockets, and for the jacket to be fully lined. I have already purchased the fabric that I want this jacket made from and I have a basic jacket pattern to use as a guide to sew this jacket for myself.
But, I felt that I was lacking in the skills to sew this jacket. Skills that I need to be comfortable and confident using such as working with polar fleece, sewing pockets, inserting a zipper, and lining a jacket without a pattern.
To remedy this lack of skills, I started out by making some smaller kid’s jackets and vests. I could learn and practice the skills that I needed to make my jacket by practicing first on the kid’s jackets.
I would waste less fabric if it turned out all wrong and I could repeat the skills that I needed to by practicing them first on the kid’s jackets.
If you are a reader of my blog, you know that is exactly what I have been sewing recently.
I have made several kid’s jackets and vests. And in the process I have learned how to finish fleece seams, and I have learned to sew several different pocket styles, patch pockets, side seam pockets, welt pockets and others. I have practiced inserting zippers and sewing different collar styles.
And, more importantly, I have learned how to line an unlined jacket without using a pattern.
I now feel much more confident about cutting into my expensive fabric to make my jacket and in my ability to successfully sew my jacket together now that I have made all of these kid’s jackets and vests first.
In fact, I only have just a couple of more sewing skills that I want to practice and perfect on a couple of more kid’s jackets before I will finally be ready to make my jackets.
So stay tuned later this fall, as I might just be wearing a stylish new jacket (or two or three)!
Reason number 3 that I sew children’s clothes is that sewing clothes for kid’s is really FUN!
I enjoy sewing! A LOT! I really enjoy focusing my time and attention into the creative process and completing a functioning and fun item for someone to wear.
It does not matter if that item is for me, the husband, the house, the garage, or a kid, I (for the most part) enjoy the steps of making that item.
Plus, I enjoy learning. I learn from each sewing project that I make.
And, yes, sometimes what I learn and learn again, is patience!
As I mentioned in reason number 1, I have a lot of fun fabrics and embroidery designs that neither I nor the husband is ever going to wear, so for me anyway, it is just fun to sew and embroidery these fabrics and designs into clothes for children to wear.
As I mentioned in reason number 2, I made the kid’s jackets to learn and to practice the skills that I needed to make my jacket in the future, but each of the kid’s jackets or vests was very fun to design and to sew.
I learned from each project and for the most part I was pleased with what I made and what I learned in making them.
In other words, I really enjoyed the journey, from start to finish.
Lastly, I really love to make something from nothing. I love to take the scraps from mine or the husband’s shirt and to make something from them for a child.
In doing so I feel like I am cheating or beating the odds somehow. I was able to take something that was useless, scraps that I could not use to make something for myself or the husband from, and was able to make a functioning, useful item from them.
This is extra fun to do when I get to stretch my skills by using my creative process to make the scraps work in almost any situation.
So, that in very long form is my answer to question of “Why do you sew so many kid’s clothes?”.
With this complex of an answer to a simple question, you’re now probably afraid to ask any other questions, but don’t be.
In my own way, I will give you an answer that might be longer than expected, but enjoyable to hear.
Until then, sew forth and ask away!