pattern making for children

May 6th, 2010

Making patterns sounds like it should be hard, but making patterns for children is super easy. Up to a certain age, kids are basically little rectangles and as long as you have some straps or elastic to keep the clothes up you are good to go.   I think the pattern everyone starts with is pants: turn a pair they have inside out (oops forgot that part), fold it in half, trace it and add some seam allowances. For babies and toddlers you can get away with same pattern for the front and the back. I like the way pants fit my kids a little better when I make an actual front and back pattern, but even then it’s not difficult at all. There is a very helpful guide on sewmamasew for altering the pants pattern you may already have for your growing kids. And if you haven’t made pants yet there are about a 1000 tutorials out there. If you have a favorite please leave a link in the comments.

I like to use freezer paper for all my kids’ clothes patterns: a big roll is pretty cheap, it’s wide enough to accommodate kid patterns, you can write on it, you can see through it (for tracing patterns), and you can iron right on your fabric so you don’t have to use any pins.  I use knit fabric for most of my kids’ clothes and I find it hard to pin. The only problem with using freezer paper is directionality. You can’t flip it over, well technically you can, but then you’d have to pin it, defeating the purpose. But honestly, I don’t run into this problem very often.

The challenge starts next week on Monday! Remember the challenge is to sew (or make patterns!) for an hour a day, but Tim Gunn isn’t going to tell you to stop when the hour is up. Mostly the challenge is about momentum–just start sewing and see where you end up. My list of clothes I want to make is ridiculously long and I know I won’t get everything done. There are over 200 of you participating! I don’t think lack of motivation should be a problem when 200 people are cheering you on! Be sure to add your photos of finished or half finished garments to the elsiemarley flickr pool as the week goes on and I’ll showcase some here on the old blog.  And if you plan on sewing for your kids after they are asleep be sure to measure them before they fall asleep because I’ve tried to get their measurements while they are sleeping and it doesn’t work too well.

20 Responses to pattern making for children

  1. Julie says:

    Where would one buy a roll of freezer paper?

  2. Chris says:

    I haven’t officially signed up…but I’m following and playing along. I’ve been playing with making kids patterns, and have some tips/tutorials on my blog. I’ve got some commitments where I may not be able to sew every day, but I love the idea of momentum!

    First, some things I’ve done to use a purchased pattern, including adjusting the size:

    and creating your own pj pants with contrasting cuff:

    Thanks, Meg for creating this forum, and for some fabulous inspiration!

  3. Islay says:

    If I measured mine while he was asleep he’d wake up and that would be the end of the hour’s sewing!

    Loving the freezer paper idea, will definitely be investing in a roll asap.

  4. Natasha says:

    I’ve always wondered where to find freezer paper, then one day I was dragging my feet through Wal-mart, following my husband through the fishing supplies, and BAM! there it was! Freezer paper! I couldn’t believe it!

    Hope this helps.

  5. Ha, ha! You’re funny. Looking forward to next week. Just found your blog through Soulemama. It’s so awesome!

  6. Ha, I only have about 2 / 3 projects planned – and I’ll be happy if I get just one finished, with the way my sewing has been going lately… Still, summer is rapidly approaching and I keep not buying kids’ clothes as ‘I’ll be making some clothes soon’ – my kids are too old to run around naked, so this Kids’ Clothes Week is badly needed…

  7. trula says:

    Meg, i can’t wait for it to start. I’ve got so many things on my list. And with your great selection of ideas and tutorials I could add a few more things to the list. What’s on your list?

  8. Belly says:

    Ah, freezer paper… we don’t have it here and it’s truly missing. Can’t wait for the challenge to begin!

  9. I’ve got a long list of projects too, and have done some material cutting in preparation. I want to spend the week in front of the sewing machine (so I can actually see some progress!). 200+ people – that’s fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration.

  10. Kayanna says:

    Thanks so much for the freezer paper tip I will have to try that! I just recently bought a few yards of Pattern Ease and I love it so far. It’s kind of like interfacing, it’s see through to trace and what I love about it is that it’s kind of static-y so it stays in place nicely on your fabric. Whereas regular pattern tissue seems to shift a lot.

    I’ve started the challenge a week early because I’ve got two girls to sew for. So I’ve been sewing all week this week for my eldest and next week will be devoted to the baby. Last night I totally tried to measure my girl while she was sleeping, lol! Just like you said, doesn’t work so well. :)

  11. Ellen says:

    We have freezer paper most everywhere here – just look in the aisle near the parchment paper, aluminum foil, baggies, and cling wrap.

  12. tlbor says:

    Ha! That was funny about Tim Gunn… :-)

    Thanks for the refresher info in this post. Most of all, though – THANK YOU for organizing this. It’s exciting!

  13. britt says:

    looking forward to it. i still need to get things ready this weekend.

  14. Antoinette says:

    I’m sorry I won’t be sewing along with you — but I like this idea very much! I’ve got a great 70’s book on drafting clothes for children and it was so helpful this winter when I made a coat for my then-6-year-old. It is so reassuring that there are no darts and everything for our little cylindrically-shaped angels gets put together quickly and painlessly!

  15. Terri says:

    quick question: we are leaving for vacation the end of next week (challenge week) so I am going to be busy getting everything ready to go — can I start now is my question? Thanks so much for inspiring me. : ) I can’t wait to post my pics of my creations!!!

  16. marielle says:

    I use painter’s plastic (I think 6mil) for tracing. Makes it much easier on my eyes especially with multi-sized patterns.

  17. Is it too late to join the challenge? I was afraid to commit, but I’m going to go for it! My list of things to make for my girls will surely never end.
    I have on several occasions tiptoed downstairs and measured sleeping children…
    Thanks for all the wonderful inspiration!

  18. ane says:

    Hey Meg- I havent signd up, but the idea is so fun I´ll try to tag along (sewing by hand with no electricity out on the Mexican beach) thanks for setting this up.
    Here are some of my favorite kids patterns:


  19. Erin says:

    I’m so excited…I need this to get my goals done :)

  20. ritva says:

    what a charming blog you have!

    thank you for your comment in mine :)