Hi I'm Abi from The Sewn Edge and this is my first Lamazi Blog post, welcome!
During Childrenswear week in this year's Great British Sewing Bee one of the contestants was heard to say "No, I never make my kids clothes, they just grow out of them, what's the point", OK, that may be a misquote, but close enough, we're all friends here... I'm sure this "should I?" or "shouldn't I?" dilemma is now causing sleepless nights for many of you. In this blog post, in a gentle rebuke to the ever so talented GBSB participant, I hope to inspire you to sew for your youngsters and to share with you why I love to do it...
Firstly a little about the outfits and my choice of fabric. Picking fabric for a childrenswear blog post from Lamazi's website was really difficult. I don't really think of fabrics as being "children's" fabrics or not, most dress making fabrics will work for kids clothes, depending, of course, on the garment you are making and whether you are happy that the washing instructions will work for you. There are so many lovely options and I had originally planned to use the See You At Six Scribble Cloud or Watering Cans French Terry for these outfits. I love the graphic nature of all the See You At Six Collections and as I hadn't sewn with their fabric before I was really keen to give it a go. Just before crunch time See You At Six launched their latest collection and like a magpie, my head was turned, this is the Tropic Flowers!
The brief from my daughters was to make something "spinney", I wasn't surprised, this is always the brief and this time I decided to heed it. My eldest daughter is wearing a dress I designed for her and this post. I loved the idea of something fitted around her chest and back, but flowing and voluminous below. This fabric is contemporary and bold and I needed a shape that would tie in with that. It is a large print, so it was important to make sure there was enough of it, uninterrupted, in the dress, to really appreciate it. As a concept I also had a notion about a big swooping curve juxtaposed with a straight line somehow - so the shape was born. Emulating the curve on the bodice the hem dips at the back and front, although, I think less successfully. I have run a cotton piping around the curve to emphasize the shape and add a little highlight. Adding piping is reasonably easy and very effective, for me the key is to make sure that the piping is pinned securely in place at close intervals, be really rigorous with your seam allowances when you sew, don't stray and take it slowly. Remove your pins just before they get to your foot, if you leave the pins in the extra thickness of the pin under the foot will often throw your needle very slightly and you'll get a wobble in the seam line. To highlight the straight line on the top of the bodice, I did the straps in a black french terry, these have poppers at the back, to give a little growing room. I have faced the upper portion of the bodice with a very lightweight fusible interfacing which means that it has lost most of it's stretch in this area but holds the shape really well, even during her most daredevil gymnastics moves. As she spends most of her time on her hands, underneath she is wearing MadeIt Patterns, Play pants, which I squeaked out of the scraps, in about twenty minutes. I have added a waistband to these, as my daughter hates anything with a low waistline.
My youngest really wanted a matching dress, but has a wardrobe full of them! She compromised with an, again, "spinney" top and shorts. The shorts are the Siem Shorts, a free pattern by Beletoile. I have added pockets, they are very simple to make and use next to no fabric. I've used clear elastic tape on the pockets to reinforce the seam and make sure they hold their shape. The top is a version of her sisters dress, but this time the back and front are identical. The dip in the hem line is less pronounced and in hindsight more successful. I find scale is so important in designing children's clothes, what seem like very small moves can have a big impact on the overall look of the garment in these small sizes. I have bound the hems. I really love bound hems, especially for kids dresses and skirts, it is such a pleasure to get that peep of colour when they spin around, it is also a useful technique to reduce the bulk in a heavy fabric or to get a clean line on a curved hem.
So why do I love to make and encourage you to make clothes for your children, well there is the obvious and unselfish reason - they will have something made with love to their exact body type and taste, but honestly, this is only a small part of why I do it. Mostly I make Childrenswear to test out shapes, ideas and techniques. Kids clothes can be big, bright and bold, playful and joyous in a way that adult clothing (well the stuff you actually wear day to day), just isn't and unlike the discerning adult - they don't notice the mistakes!
I hope you have enjoyed my first post. Thank you for reading, I'm off to order some Scribble Cloud to make version number two (actually it's version four, there were toiles, which I forgot to mention!) of these outfits and who knows, I may make them into a pattern one day!