Recently I’ve started making clothes for my eldest daughter, I’ve never made any sort of clothes before (apart from a few knitted babies things) so although I’m confident with a sewing machine it was a bit daunting. The first dress I made for her (pictured below) I didn’t use a pattern or even a guide. I just measured my daughter, looked at how some of her shop bought clothes were made and had a go. It’s not perfect and definitely has that home-made feel and although I was reasonably pleased with it I knew I needed help before continuing to make any more clothes. At first I looked at books, but found the reviews online so ambiguous I couldn’t decide which one to buy. So I turned to the ever helpful Google and quickly found loads of amazing and inspirational sites full of handy hints and ideas. Here are some examples of things I’ve made and where I found the patterns.
Here is the first dress I made, if you look closely at the photo you can see the problems I incurred. At first I wasn’t going to join the bodice at the top but let it gently curve into the armpits, but then I changed my mind so they don’t match very well. The straps don’t sit right either, I think is partly because they’re too long, but mostly they’re just not positioned in the right place. However my daughter loves it and because it’s made from needlecord it washes and wears really well.
The Layered Skirt
This is a skirt I made from bits in my remnants bag, I love Cath Kidston’s cowboy print but it’s quite expensive so I never have very much of it. Which made this style of a layered skirt the perfect option. I found the premise for it at ‘made‘ this site is perfect for beginners as it explains everything you need to do very clearly with loads of photos so you can check your doing it right! here is another example I also made using the same pattern. The floral fabric is Cath Kidston rosali, a print which was sold through ikea, I bought it about a year ago and I think it’s pretty hit or miss as to whether or not they’ve got it in stock.
The Collar Top
I loved this idea as soon as I saw it on ‘craftiness is not an option‘ another brilliant site with a wide variety of projects I can’t wait to try! I modified the pattern a bit choosing to simplify the collar and not add the sleeves going for a more conventional style. However looking back at the original design I kinda prefer it to this one now. Both of the fabric’s I used are from ‘Fabric’s Galore‘ in Battersea, a reasonably priced treasure trove of fabrics.
The Pleated Top
This is my favourite thing I’ve made, its got a great vintage throwback appeal and this fabric is such strong soft cotton it really holds the pleats well. This pattern is also from ‘craftness is not an option‘ although I added some simple sleeves and pearl buttons to add a bit more detail. It’s funny how once you add pleats to something it automatically looks smart, really tempted to make myself one too!
The Pocket Dress
I didn’t use a pattern for this but did look at two tutorials from ‘made‘ to refresh my gathering knowledge and learn how to make the cute pockets. Yet again all the fabric is from ‘fabric’s galore’ and the hello kitty buttons are off Ebay. This is my daughter’s favourite dress and it’s really simple to make I will endeavour to add a tutorial soon when I get round to making another one.
The Drinks Dress
I used this dress as a chance to practice sewing with elastic also known as ‘shirring’, there’s a great tutorial on ‘pretty ditty‘ . I found it took a few attempts to get it right fiddling both with the settings on the sewing machine and how I held the fabric. Eventually I found the right combination and gathered the top of the front of the dress. Again I didn’t use a pattern, but it’s basically just a gathered front with a solid back, some simple straps and pockets from the tutorial I used to make the pocket dress. My daughter fell in love with fabric and its got a great retro 50’s feel.
The Jersey Cardigan
I made this from an old ‘new look’ jersey cardigan which was too big for me, I didn’t use a pattern just made one using one of my daughter’s t-shirts as a guide. I really like the ric rac detailing, I got the idea from Cath Kidston ‘sew‘ book which is full of inspiring projects.
The Summer top