It has been so much fun having some of my favourite sewing friends join me on the blog for Sew the Year and share something I believe them to be an expert on. I think we can all agree that Abby of Sew Much Ado is the expert on sewing for kids. Her kiddos are the cutest in all their mommy made clothes and she is a great pattern designer to boot. I have had the pleasure of hanging out with Abby a few times and she is just as lovely in person as she is on her blog. Today Abby is going to be sharing all about sewing for kids.
Hi sewing friends! I’m Abby from Sew Much Ado, and when Kimberly asked me to share some thoughts on sewing for children today, I was excited and immediately started to think about my own personal processes and reasons for sewing the way I do. My process of sewing has definitely evolved over the years, and is much different now that I have four kids than it was when I just had one infant.
Today I thought it would be fun to share a few different aspects of sewing for my children, in the form of What, Why, Where, When, and How.
The “what” of my children’s sewing is perhaps the aspect that has changed the most over the years. I have two boys, ages 7 and 9, and two girls, ages 3 and 5. When each of them were babies, I did a lot of sewing while I was pregnant to prepare for their arrivals. Between blankets, burp cloths, and wraps, it always felt so good to have a lot of handmade items to welcome my new babies with. Now that my youngest is three, I have to take advantage of my friend’s having babies so I can get my baby-sewing fix!
Before I had my girls, I sewed boy clothing much more often than I do now. And although I still love to make them things for special occasions (like the Schoolboy Vest that Kimberly was generous enough to help me test!), it’s just not as practical to sew for them anymore now that they’re older. They are rough on their day to day clothing, and the thought of them wearing holes in pants that I took hours to sew is enough to make me not want to sew them ;).
Combined with that, I have to admit that sewing for my girls is often more appealing because dresses are one of my favorite things to sew. Even with my girls, I still normally avoid sewing pants that have a high chance of being ruined at the playground, but in addition to dresses, I also love to make them clothes that they can wear on a daily basis and will wear well. Their most-requested item are simple skirts and Pretty in Peplum Tops, which they refer to as their “skirt shirts,” hehe.
When it comes to deciding what to sew for your own children, I recommend considering what you like to sew the most, what your kids will get the most use out of, and how much time you want to invest, and then find a balance that works for you and your children.
I sew for my children for many reasons, but at the root of it all is that I truly just love to sew. I love the feeling of browsing through a fabric store, coming home with a pile of fabric, and being able to transform it into a piece of clothing. Sometimes the whole process feels so magical (of course, sometimes magic is far from what it feels like, hehe), and I love seeing the finished product that I was able to create with my own hands.
I think we all go through times where we feel like we’ve lost our sew-jo, and when I’m feeling that way, it helps to think about why I love to sew, and if I just actually start a project, I’m always reminded of the joy it brings me to create in my own way.
Thanks to my mom, I started sewing at a pretty young age, and had many years of her allowing me to take over half of the dining room table with projects. Now, as an adult, I’m lucky enough to have a sewing room all to myself. I feel so lucky to have a space of my own, and especially love that I can leave my messes out whenever I want to (which is pretty much all the time)!
Whether you have a corner in your bedroom or an entire sewing room, I recommend finding ways to make your space functional (I love Heidi’s space saving peg board), because more function = more sewing!
As a new mother, I quickly learned the value in nap time. Any mom of little ones will agree that those couple of hours each day are priceless, and over the years that’s often been the easiest time for me to sew uninterrupted. I have some sewing friends that are able to sew in short spurts – 15 minutes here and there – but I am not one of those people. I prefer less often, longer sessions where I can accomplish more in one sitting. I’ve always loved projects that I can make from start to finish during one nap. Plus, it’s so much more fun than using that time for housework!
I also love to sew at night when my kids are in bed. While I should not be allowed to sew after midnight (after that time I use my seam ripper more than the sewing machine), if I’m in the middle of a project, I will gladly stay up into the wee hours of the morning to finish.
Thanks to the wonderful world of online tutorials and PDF patterns, sewing has never been more accessible to so many people. A lot of my sewing friends began to sew once they had their first child, and are completely self taught with the help of the internet. I’ve also personally learned so many techniques and tips from tutorials, patterns, and fb groups. I love the online sewing community, and it’s become a huge “how” in sewing for my children and myself as well!
If you aren’t sure of a technique or are nervous to try something new with sewing, don’t be! Remember that even advanced sewists keep their seam rippers close by, and often a quick internet search or reaching out to an online sewing friend will help get you on the right track and gain confidence in your abilities.
I would love to hear what your process is like when it comes to sewing for your children. What works best for you? Thanks so much for having me, Kimberly!