Archive for the ‘kids clothes week challenge’ Category

christine from heidi and finn

I learned of Heidi and Finn patterns during last fall’s KCWC.  So many people sewed up her Urban Hoodie for their kids, that I had to go check it out. And it is fantastic. Heidi and Finn patterns are simple and comfy and, as you can see by the bubble dress below, stunning. Christine is the woman behind this wildly popular etsy shop. And I am happy to introduce you to her…

1. How did you get into designing patterns?

Probably a very similar story to others on etsy….When I had my daughter, Heidi, three years ago I had a hard time finding clothes that I wanted to put her in (and could afford!). So, I decided to get a sewing machine and try making my own. I have always loved designing and making things and was up for the challenge. Although I am not trained in fashion design (I studied architecture in school), i knew what I liked and figured I would give it a go. Knowing nothing about sewing, my mother showed me the basics, handed me a store bought pattern and some fabric and wished me luck. It went horribly! I found it really hard to follow “big name” patterns when I knew so little about sewing. I started to go online to find tutorials and videos and to teach myself. Soon, I got better, and began making outfits for my daughter. After lots of positive comments,  and a lot of asking, I started to make patterns for my designs.

2. Do you have a specific kind of child in mind when you are working on your designs?

No specific child, but a specific parent, I guess. Let’s face it, it’s the parents that dress the child most of the time, so if they don’t like it, it most likely won’t end up on their kids. I think I appeal to most parents that want  simple and comfortable clothes for their kids. Trendy, but not following any fads that you end up hating a year later.

3. How do you think children should dress?

I truly believe, that a happy child is a comfortable child (and a happy child is a happy parent!). So if your kid is going to be tugging at their clothes all day, no matter how great it looks, it doesn’t work. I also really really really can’t stand crazy patterns on kids. You know the ones….the ones that look like it should be a curtain or a couch or a tablecloth.  I don’t know many people that would wear a shirt with zoo animals or vegetables on it, so why put that on your child? :) I guess, I would like my daughter to look back at pictures of herself and not ask “mom, WHY would you dress me in THAT?!!!”, and see the cute kid and not the clothes.

4. Do you think what you wear influences how you dress your kids or design your patterns?

For sure! i always wear solid colors, lots of black, gray and muted colors. And almost all my designs are inspired by clothes i already own, or have seen for myself. I also try to dress in natural, soft materials  like cottons, linens, sweater knits, and wools. I mainly use these in my designs.

5. Do you also sew clothes for yourself?

I wish I had time! i don’t, but I hope to start. My daughter is much better dressed then me half the time! :)

6. What children’s clothes designers do you admire?

I don’t have any specific designers work that I follow, but I get very inspired when I just search the web. My favorite children’s wear sites that I love to check out are Imoga New York and Sudo clothing – both are so creative and beautiful lines.


Christine has generously offered all Elsie Marley readers a buy one/get one deal for her pattern shop! Purchase any single pattern in the shop and let Christine know which free pattern you would like, along with the coupon code EMBOGO in the note to seller section (package deals and comfy yoga suit excluded).

Christine has another shop called Heidi and Finn Studio (the dress pictured above is from HF Studio) where she sells ready to wear children’s clothes. For Elsie Marley readers she will ship any items from the studio shop for free with the code EMSTUDIO (only good for Canada and the US). Both offers will be valid until May 12. Amazing!! Thank you so much Christine!

emilie from mani mina

Emilie makes strikingly beautiful clothes. Her story is amazing, as is her shop. So I won’t waste your time blathering on. I’ll just let you see for yourself…

mani mina studio

1. How did you get into designing patterns?
I started making children clothes 4 years ago, when i was pregnant with my child and muse, Luzmina. I had been sketching and drawing costumes during the 6 years i lived in Taiwan and China and during my pregnancy, i had time to put those ideas and visions and practice and learn to sew. I spent a few months in Paris learning the traditional techniques of making children clothes and after the birth of my child, i came back to my long time job, dancing flamenco, but i also continued to create clothes for my child. Our little family moved to New York 4 years ago and i was offered the chance to sell my children clothes through various designers shops in Brooklyn. Then i started an etsy shop 3 years ago and i sold a few thousand clothes in less than 2 years. I realized that my best talent and pleasure is into designing so i came with the idea to design PDF patterns, which allows me more creativity and freedom. Also by being a dancer and traveling very often, the flexibly of pdf patterns that can be sent from anywhere on the globe is a great chance and a perfect balance found between my flamenco dance career and my sewing path.

2. Do you have a specific kind of child in mind when you are working on your designs?

Of course, my daughter is my constant source of inspiration. But all children are inspiring. I observe their movements, their love of freedom and that is mainly why the clothes i design are simple. Children are fantastic enough to transform a simple little dress into something so graceful. Also i always have in mind the vivid curiosity of kids, i love to add unexpected, surprising details to the clothes i make so that it nourish and tickle their imagination.

mani mina handmade clothes
3. How do you think children should dress?
I don’t think children should dress like little grown up, simple because they are not and i don’t think they should be a living mirror of the adults. But like us, they deserve to wear natural, soft, high quality fabrics. I believe fabrics are like a second skin and can change your feeling of the world. What is more beautiful than a simple garment made from natural fibers, linen, silk, cotton that reflects the beauty of nature? I do believe in simple shapes. In simple, plain colors too. It is striking how just a creative combinations of colors can be much more beautiful than the greatest patterned fabrics. It is best to talk to the imagination rather than overcrowd the eyes.4. Do you think what you wear influences how you dress your kids or design your patterns?

I wear clothes that reflect my feelings and identity, it is also due to the fact i live in a country that is not my homeland and after having travelled all around the world, my clothes helps me to feel home anywhere. The clothes i create also reflect all the places i loved to live in: China, France and Spain. Spain maybe for the bright colors, France, my homeland, for the sense of elegance and China for the beautiful simplicity of  the clothes designs. I am in love with all the treasures carried by clothing traditions and always have this in my heart when i create a new pattern.
the eva dress by mani mina

5. Do you also sew clothes for yourself?
Strangely, i don’t sew for myself but i make my own flamenco costumes, including sophisticated skirts with ruffles, fabric flowers and tops that i use in my dance tours and on stage. Here too i praise simplicity and unexpected combinations of colors but always in plain shades. I think the human body is so beautiful in movement that too much colors or patterned fabrics don’t serve the eyes.
I am also exploring natural herbal dyeing of fabrics and wear all the cotton dresses or accessories that i dye. I mostly dye with spices or fresh herbs gathered in my garden. My next professional step is to create a line of children clothes that are hand dyed with plants in my studio. Maybe this will happen if i find a way to have 3 lives instead of one…

6. What children’s clothes designers do you admire?
Not long ago i came across the work of Marylin Tov, a parisian designer working in NYC. Her clothes are amazingly beautiful and my first impulse was to wish i could feel the fabrics of her clothes and contemplate them for a long time. Her work has a great artistic value. I also admire one french pattern maker, Sister Alma who lives and creates from a convent. Her patterns are exquisite and designed with a great sense of elegance.  Her line of patterns is called “C’est dimanche”, “It is Sunday” in English. The children clothes line “Neige” also inspires me.If you are searching for imaginative and highly inspired children clothes, go visit the world of Mishalulu.
My greatest source of inspiration are our kids from all over the world, they deserve our hardest work to wrap them around clothes made with LOVE !!!


Thank you Emilie for sharing your amazing story with us and leading us to some new and fantastic children’s clothes makers! Please check out Emilie’s shop for all her patterns and her handmade children’s clothes as well!

interview with sophie from too sweets

I had a hard time picking photos from the Too Sweets pattern shop. There are just so many adorable dresses that Sophie makes for her little girl! Sophie is a talented pattern designer who has cute down pat, not to mention the little bit of awesome she throws in now and then–look at that jumpsuit!! And crocheted accessories?! She’s a pattern maker after my own heart. All the little girls in your life will be happy that you met Sophie:

too sweet pdf patterns

1. How did you get into designing patterns?

Is it cliche for me to say it was because of my daughter? (And the fact that simple but cute clothing costs a lot more than one would think.) Being a new mom, I wanted something comfortable, functional, and modern for my daughter to bounce around in. Not having the financial resources to dress her in fifty dollar dresses she would outgrow in three months forced me into getting creative with her wardrobe. So, I decided to design my own simple stuff. And then share it with others!

2. Do you have a specific kind of child in mind when you are working on your designs?

I figure that most children appreciate being comfortable, so I keep that in mind most when designing patterns. Children are only young for so little time, and they deserve clothing that allows them the freedom to really be a kid. I know that sounds silly, but I’m all about function (as in, comfort) while still keeping things fashionable and reflective of a child’s personality. It’s for this reason I keep many of my patterns simple and open for alterations, embellishment, or whatever change one might wish to add.

3. How do you think children should dress?

It really depends on the child’s personality, I think. My daughter is already insistent on dressing herself (at the age of 2, lord help me), and I find that her taste changes daily. So, rather than battle her about clothing, I give her a nice selection of different styles I like: modern, understated, playful, comfortable, and not too matchy-matchy. That way we both win!

4. Do you think what you wear influences how you dress your kids or design your patterns?

I wear a pretty basic, primarily black wardrobe (fun, I know) where I don’t take many risks. Instead, I’d like to believe that in a way I’m living stylishly and vicariously through my sewing patterns; it’s much more fun dressing my daughter in styles I wouldn’t necessarily consider for myself! Plus I’m sure she looks way better in them than I would.

5. Do you also sew clothes for yourself?

I have yet to jump the intimidation-hurdle when it comes to sewing clothing for myself; I do however enjoy sewing home items and other things for my family and friends. We’re expecting baby girl #2 here in a few weeks and I have a ridiculously long list of items (clothing, blankets, bibs, etc) I’d love to sew for her.

6. What children’s clothes designers do you admire?

I really love Stella McCartney’s childrens lines, Imoga, crewcuts, Yeppar, Misha Lulu…to name a few. Target also carries some great clothing in which I am constantly finding inspiration.

Thank you so much Sophie! Check out Sophie’s etsy shop, Too Sweets, for all her patterns. And her blog, Much Too Sweet, for more goodness.

interview with hagar from sepa designs

You might not have heard of Sepa Designs yet, but you will be happy that you now do!  Hagar is a professional pattern designer who started a small children’s line on etsy. She is a mother to three lovely children and lives in Israel.  Her designs are simple, but with just the right amount of detail to make them interesting to sew and beautiful to look at. So let me introduce you to Hagar:


1. How did you get into designing patterns for children’s clothes?

I’ve been designing children’s clothing for 9 years now for large Israeli companies. As a freelance designer, I sit behind the computer all day and send production files to be manufactured in China. During the past few years I have been loosing the excitement of designing and seeing kids wear my clothes because I didn’t feel a connection with the process. I am designing for a certain client (not my own style necessarily), behind a computer all day, rushing to get things done, didn’t feel the fabric at all…

When my daughter was born (almost 6 years ago), I spent a lot of time looking for inspiration to decorate or sew unique stuff for her. I came across this amazing community of people that I felt so connected to (even if they didn’t know of my existence…) on the internet: blogs, etsy, DIY tutorials, Martha Stewart… They were (and still are) so talented and I felt like I was learning so much from them.  I knew that some day I will try it for myself.  After my twin boys were born, and I was consumed with kids (literally, ah) I realized that designing for kids gives me a sense of fulfillment but I also wanted to design for myself, sew on my machine again and touch fabric! Thinking of a way to combine my strengths and my passion, I decided to make sewing patterns for kids.  It combines technical skills, sewing, graphic design, passing on of information and of-course designing. In my patterns I try to let the sewer become part of the design process themselves and give ideas to use the pattern in different ways.

Even though it is still not me who is making the actual jacket/skirt/pants, I feel so connected. I love the hand made process and the feeling of accomplishment that you get.

sepa designs

2. Do you have a specific kind of child in mind when you are working on your designs?

I do think that my kids influence my designs.  They will not wear anything that is not comfortable for them but they do want to wear: “jeans, like Daddy!” or to “look awesome/festive/groovy” (their words, not mine) like us.  However I am still is search of a unique “handwriting” and style that is my own.  It will take some time for me to find it, but I’m having fun in the meantime…

3. How do you think children should dress?

First of all I think that they need to feel comfortable.  But this means different things. My daughter would be the happiest child in the world if she could wear head to toe pink-fluffy-sequined-tulle-gathered-princess-gowns all day and everyday, but that would make my comfort level drop…

I think that children should still look like children and not style-iconic-fashionistas, but there are elements in grown-up clothing that fits them too. I do love bright colors on children and happy graphics that they can relate too.

4. Do you think what you wear influences how you dress your kids or design your patterns?

My kids usually wear what their grandparents and aunts buy them (I don’t have time to go shopping, and they get great stuff). But in creating my patterns I do try to keep a balance of different factors aside from the design aspect.  I want them to be accessible to as many people as possible by keeping the instructions clear and detailed, the fit a bit on the roomy side, the sewing difficulty to a minimum and an added value of a template/stencil and styling options. This usually sets the tone of the design more than the way I dress. Did that make any sense? Well, to tell you the truth, I’m usually in my pajamas most of the day anyways…

5. Do you also sew clothes for yourself?

I used to. A great deal actually, but as time passes I have less and less time to do that. I’m sure that in a few years I will get back to that. It was fun.


6. What children’s clothes designers do you admire?

There are many clothing labels that I love. Not necessarily for kids but that have a handmade look, sense of humor or somehow seem like they have an effortless chic to them. In no particular order these are just a few:

But there are so many gifted crafters, designers and makers of things on the web that have been such a big inspiration to my life these past few years.

I owe them and you a big thank you.

So thank you.

And thank you, Hagar! Check out Hagar’s shop on etsy and maybe add a pattern or two of hers to your KCWC list!


kcwc goodness

kids clothes inspiration

Next week is the Kids Clothes Week Challenge! Are you making big lists of what you’re going to sew? In the past during in the week leading up to KCWC I posted sewing tutorials and beautiful children’s clothes for inspiration. But this year I’m putting all that good stuff on Pinterest. Pinterest, if you don’t know, is a new bookmarking site where you can easily post pictures of things you like and it will automatically link back to where you found it. It is an incredibly handy tool. For KCWC I’ve created a few boards that I will continue to fill with amazing kids clothes. One is full of sewing tutorials and the other gorgeous clothes:

The photos in this post are some of the awesome tutorials and clothes I have found so far. You can follow me on pinterest to see when I post more.

tutorials for kids clothes

If you’re not on pinterest or have no interest in joining, no worries. There is plenty of inspiration out there, like  all the round ups I’ve done for KCWC in the past. Now in one handy spot:



And if that isn’t enough there is a flickr group full of clothes too! If you are signed up (if not, what are you waiting for?) you should join the elsiemarley flickr group if you haven’t already. That’s where we show off all the things we’ve made all week and check it to chat while we’re not at our machines.

There is one more big of KCWC goodness, if you can believe it. All this week I will be posting interviews with children clothes pattern designers. They all are amazing women with small business on etsy and most of their patterns are in PDF format. So you get to meet some fantastic creative people and then, if you like their patterns, you’ll have them right away! Not bad, eh? The first interview will be up later today, so stay tuned….