the making cycle

March 7th, 2013

raglan tee


I get caught in this kid clothes making cycle (it’s a long cycle, so stay with me):  When the season changes, I get really excited about making my kids clothes and make them like crazy. Then usually burn out a bit and take a break from all the making. While I’m taking a break my children either A. refuse to wear the clothes I’ve made or B. destroy the clothes I’ve made by wearing them.

raglan tee

This sends me into a “why do I make their clothes by hand anyway?” downward spiral. Meanwhile my children have grown and now actually need clothes that fit–rather than “need” clothes for the new season.

raglan tee

Inevitably, I end up at Target, where the pants are on sale for 8 dollars. Pants, mind you, that have zippers and pockets and belt loops–all of which take time and patience and way more than $8 in effort. I swear off making clothes forever!

raglan tee

Despite myself, I see something (again probably at Target, damn you Target!) so stylish and so simple, that I think, “well, I could make that.” And the whole cycle begins again.

orange and blue raglan tee

the fabric: two old shirts from the thrift store. The blue one was a V-neck. See the little part of the V peeking out? Even though it’s super wonky, it’s my favorite part.

the pattern: Tee for Two. The good ol’ raglan pattern from Figgy’s. It’s in the book, Sewing For Boys.

the sewing: I sewed this at the beginning of winter and it came together super fast, but now it’s been worn and washed and loved so much it’s coming apart a bit at the seams. ARGH!

Posted in sewing clothes.

23 Responses to the making cycle

  1. Clover says:

    Ya, Target. Damn them.

  2. Annelies says:

    That’s exactly why you should make them yourself. If stores can afford to sell those pants for a bargain and still make profit, you don’t want to know in what circumstances and for what paycheck people actually sew them.

  3. Amanda says:

    This made me laugh! I have the exact same cycle that runs through constantly for me! It is a clothing sickness, we need clothes so I plan to sew, then go shopping and see how cheap some things are and think I can’t make it for that, then I’ll see a basic skirt and think no way am I paying for that I’ve got bins full of fabric I’ll just make it. :)

  4. Jenny says:

    I absolutely LOVE the colours! Here on the other side of the world (NZ) we are just about to leave our Summer and enter the colder months so I might have to make my little boy something inspired by this. I have some teal merino fabric after all! Thanks for the inspiration! I’m off to pin this!

  5. kristin says:

    Very cool shirt, and looks really comfy. Yeah I’m with you on boy pants especially – the details have to be just so, the stuff is so cheap for the time it’d take me, and I tend to go more basic in style anyway. But I almost buy NOTHING for the girl anymore – her clothes almost all come from me or were gifts. Both of their closets are full of handmades (his also with hand me downs); they actually don’t need much right now. So you know what my dream is? I’m gonna try to get more SELFISH in my sewing. I need clothes too, dammit! ;)

    Anyway I’m glad you’re on a sewing kick again.

  6. Carla says:

    You have pinpointed the cycle exactly. KCWC has become when I do the most sewing for my son. We are in the everything must have a pocket phase, which means more work for me. But I’m cheap so even with extra effort sewing holds major appeal. I love the colors on that shirt!

    • meg says:

      oh pockets! Pants feel naked without back pockets, but no one uses them. Still I insist on making them and then the kids insist on front pockets–the more the better! Arg!

  7. Frances says:

    I can really relate to making cycle and the downward spiral into “why, why do I do this?!”. But then look at your little boy and that adorable smile. That makes it worth it :) I love the colours too, by the way. Very cool.

  8. Upstatemamma says:

    I just started making raglan tees with that pattern for my son. I love them! :)

  9. imene says:

    You just made me smile because I use the same argument if I’m in a sewing/knitting slump. I try not to think of the cost factor because some sweaters my kids are wearing cost as much as the rest of their wardrobe. The process is just so much fun

  10. Ledys says:

    This happens to me too! Sometimes (a lot of times, actually) I wonder why bother? Making clothes, pretty clothes, is so time-consuming, can easily become very expensive. But, when I really think about it, it’s so rewarding to see them wearing the stuff. I recently had one of those rewarding moments when I was packing for a little trip and realized that I have sewn enough clothes for the girls that I could fill at least half the suitcase with things I had sewn for them, and things they really like. It was cool.

    Live your tee and the color combination is spectacular!

    I had meant to tell you, too, that I made the coco it butter and it was so decadent that I ate the whole thing before I could buy the bananas to make the bonbons! Thanks for the recipe!!

    • meg says:

      that is awesome! and I’m so glad you liked the coconut butter. I just made a new batch today!

  11. First off, CUTE shirt! I love blue/brown. It’s one of my all-time favourites. And I can tell your little guy is loving it too, counting strictly by smirks. I have something similar happening re: making. I get some of my son’s wardrobe handed down from cousins and a lot of it when I’m out thrifting. Jeans, for example, are about $4 – $6 dollars and they have *everything* — like the little studs on the change pocket, the proper jean button (or snap), a metal zippper, etc. I don’t find that they’re very worn, either. I found a really great sweater with a zipper, more of an outdoor coat/sweater, the other day and it was $2.00. It’s really hard for me to compete with that. However, I do find that there are things I almost never come across or that are just out of my price range. I was so happy to make my kid a blazer and I’d been looking for one forever. Dress-y pants that are also comfortable, classic or retro inspired clothes are hard to come by. I was really inspired by the suits Delia made for her two boys. ( I also need to start thinking about outerwear because classic stuff is either expensive (retail) or worn/nonexistent second hand.

    Obviously I struggle with this too!

  12. Katie says:

    Your frustration brought to mind the skin horse in “The Velveteen Rabbit”. He was new and beautiful once but got put away out of sight when he got shabby. It might be a bit of a stretch to compare loved toys to much-loved t-shirts, but the shabbiness of those homemade clothes is a sign of your success! They’re “real”, or in the words of the skin horse: “Real isn’t how you are made. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, you become Real. Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off and you get very shabby. Once you are Real, it lasts for always.” Happy sewing!

  13. Cafosco says:

    Ive been following you for quite awhile. And I’m so glad you started sewing….well posting sewiing again. You do so many wonderful creative things with your kids. You’re fabulous and I’m glad you are posting again!

  14. GREATTTT post Meg! There’s nothing else to be said. I think we all can relate. I am still trying to get over the trashed state of some of my most favourite hand-made boy clothes. Love this outfit by the way, great colors. Makes me want to break out the boy fabrics…

  15. lindsay says:

    love that you put the “cycle” into words- like many have said, the sentiment resonates so well. and love the shirt, the colors are so retro and perfect.

  16. Tara says:

    Omg this is literally my exact sewing issue too. Haha. Target is even the store that makes me go “why am I making something that I can get for cheap and cute there?” “Oh wait, I could make that dress there…” My husband doesn’t like picking out clothes for the kids that he thinks I could make myself. Right now I’m feeling the springtime clothes sewing bug.