Thursday, 16 February 2017

My Favourite Free Children's Sewing Patterns


If you're reading this then I'm going to assume that you're into sewing. And therefore you'll already be acutely aware that, these days, sewing clothes is almost always more expensive than buying them from a shop. However, there are a number of ways that us sewers/sewists can keep the costs down (I've written about this here and here), and today I want to focus more on saving money on sewing patterns, specifically for children. Thanks to the generosity of many sewing pattern designers, it is entirely possible to create most of a fantastic child's wardrobe (or simply some lovely additions), just using free patterns.

This is not intended as an exhaustive list of free patterns, mind. These are patterns that appeal to me: that I've already tried or intend to try. Plus, I'll freely admit that I'm writing this post as a resource for myself as much as for anyone else! If there are any other free babies' or children's sewing patterns that you like, please do mention them in the comments section of this post.


Tops:



sizes 0 months - 6 years

I really enjoyed making the hoodie pictured above, and seeing my then-much-smaller little girl wearing it. I used some lovely, soft interlock which worked a treat. I'm already planning one for Frankie for when he gets a bit bigger. I'm not sure a hoodie is suitable for a baby who has yet to grow much of a neck! 


(image source: Shwin and Shwin)

sizes 1 - 5 years

This cute jacket/cardigan pattern is made from ponte de roma knit, and you could go to town with the embellishment or leave it plain. I think the biggest challenge would be finding an open ended zip that short! 


(image source: Brindille & Twig)

sizes 0 months - 6 years

This would be a great pattern for reusing old adult T-shirts, plus you could easily lengthen the sleeve piece to make a long-sleeved version for cooler weather. I've just downloaded this to make as sleepwear. 


(image source: Petitboo)

sizes 2 - 10 years

There are some super cute versions of this top pattern out there on the interwebs. I love the curved hem and folded sleeve details, and it could be lengthed into a dress pattern. 


(image source: Ikatee patterns)

sizes 3 - 8 years (also Copenhagen blouse sizes 6 - 24 months) 

This beautiful summer blouse pattern is one of the five free patterns on offer from the gorgeous French sewing pattern company, Ikatee, when you sign up to their mailing list. 


Bottoms:

(image source: Elegance and Elephants)

sizes 12 months - 9 years

These look so comfy!


(image source: Ikatee patterns)

sizes 3 - 8 years (also Barcelona jogpants sizes 6 - 24 months) 

Another of the five free patterns on offer from Ikatee when you sign up to their mailing list. I'm seriously struggling to decide which to pick!


(image source: Sprouting Jube Jube)

sizes 2 - 10 years

I'm excited to give this one a whirl as my previous toddler/kids leggings attempts didn't fit well. This could also be lengthened to make a full length version.



(image source: Made by Rae)

sizes 3 - 6 months with instructions to modify pattern for larger sizes

I think that Rae is such an excellent designer, and being able to sample her work for free is a real treat. It can be hard to find fun baby tights, and even harder to find any that you might want to put a boy in (the benefit being that they feet stay covered, unlike with socks which so often come off). I reckon this could be a super useful pattern which could easily be made from the leftovers from other projects or from unwanted adult garments. 


(image source: @botterman_empire on Instagram)

sizes 2 - 11 years (plus adult women's sizes)

I had forgotten all about this pattern until my amazingly talented friend Emily made the utterly perfect pair pictured above. I'll have to wait until Dolores is out of her phase of exclusively wearing dresses, then I will make a million pairs!



(image source: @horsesloveapples on Instagram)

sizes 6 months - 12 years

Check out this incredible festive pair pictured above! It immediately makes you start to think about what small pieces of awesome fabric you own to make into these shorts, doesn't it?! I think this is a wonderful basic shorts pattern, however I know I'm not alone in finding that it comes up a bit small, so you might want to opt for a size larger than you'd usually pick. These also could be lengthened to make trousers or pyjama bottoms. Fun patch pockets on the front or the bum would make great additions too.  


(image source: lilypadmontana)

tutorial for full width of fabric, adjust elastic to fit wearer

There are probably about 20,000 basic gathered skirt tutorials out there, but Oliver + S instructions are always excellent so I'd be inclined to try this one. I like the little addition of the ribbon around the hem. This would be a great project to give as a gift; no non-sewer would realise how quick and simple it was to make!


Dresses/Playsuits:


(image source: Elegance and Elephants)

sizes 12 months - 9 years

It'd make sense holding off making this until the child you are making it for can tell you that they need to wee more than four seconds before it starts to happen.


(image source: Made By Oranges)

Scarlet dress by Made by Oranges
sizes EU 74 - 164 (approx. height in cms)

The 'Made by Oranges' design team are the people behind My Image, B*Inspired and B-Trendy pattern magazines, and they've made a number of their patterns available in PDF form also. This spec drawing may not look super inspiring, but the modelled images that you can see here look really sweet. Plus a dress pattern with long sleeves can be a rare and valuable thing, depending on the climate where you live of course.


(image source: Elegance and Elephants)

sizes 6 months - 9 years

Knit dresses don't need ironing. Fact.


Underwear and accessories:


(image source: Shwin and Shwin)

size approx. 5/6 years

Sadly this is not a multi-sized pattern, but if your lad is about this age I reckon it would be fun to try. It might also work as swimwear pattern by using the version without the fly.  



Sizes approx. 6 months - 8 years

This version was my first whirl at this pattern, but I've made five in total so far and have no intention of stopping any time soon! It's such a fun and satisfying make, and my daughter completely lived in hers last summer. 


(image source: swoodsonsays)

This useful blog post reviews four free beanie hat patterns. I like the look of the grey and black striped one and the blue one, both of which I'm hoping can be made from scraps or old garments. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Your Dolores Batwings

It's been yonks since I shared some of the wonderful Dolores batwing pattern creations out there, so if you'll indulge me, let's have a wee update.


(image source: Gabby Young/@gabberdashery on Instagram)

Fantastic sewing blogger/vlogger Gabby (AKA Gabberdashery) showed us this 70's style poppy print short-sleeved Dolores batwing dress on one of her excellent vlogs, and in turn caused quite a number of her viewers to buy the pattern for themselves. Enormo-thanks to Gabby for spreading her influence in my direction!


(image source: @felicityfrance on Instagram)

Oh my goodness! Such a stunning, vibrant long-sleeved Dolores batwing top. How pretty does it look with that little silver necklace?! Damn those effortlessly stylish French women!


(image source: Tina Harvey/@tinabella83 on Instagram)

Having said that, the polar opposite (a hella jazzy print) works awesomely with this pattern too! This fabric makes getting caught out in a storm look really appealing and magical, doesn't it?


(image source: Tina Harvey/@tinabella83 on Instagram)

Umm, there Tina goes again choosing epic fabric to make Dolores batwings from. This one features origami dinosaurs with lightning bolts. I hope you were sitting down when you read that last sentence.


(image source: Thea's adventures in Sewingland

Thea's flawlessly sleek dress reminds me how solid black can really make the style of a garment sing. I, personally, have a solid black long-sleeved top version, a solid black long-sleeved tunic version AND a solid black short-sleeved dress version. But having seen this I'm feeling that a gap has just opened up in my wardrobe for a solid black long-sleeved dress version too...


(image source: Alison Turner/@alicatturner on Instagram)

Alison chose the perfect bathroom-selfie background to pick out the turquoise in her vibrant floral print Dolores dress! I don't know if she adjusted the fit at all, but this dress looks amazing on her, doesn't it?


(image source: Clare Williams/@eclare71 on Instagram)

Clare made herself and her beautiful little girl fabulous matching sparkly garments for a special night out, and they could not look any cuter together! Judging by her Instagram feed, it appears Clare is rivalling Tina Harvey (above), Alexa/Almost a Hippy (below) and myself for most prolific Dolores batwing maker.  


(image source: kalimak/@swarmofchickadees on Instagram)

Now these are some pyjamas I certainly wouldn't be embarrassed to answer the door in! I love the slouchy oversized Dolores top as part of this cosy ensemble.


(image source: Alexa/@almostahippy on Instagram)

Last September Alexa took part in the OWOP (one week, one pattern) challenge, with the Dolores batwing as her chosen sewing pattern. This peacock-esque printed version is my personal favourite. 


Thanks to all these lovely ladies pictured above for sharing their Dolores creations. If you have a version of the pattern you'd like to show off, I'd LOVE to see it! Please email me at sozoblog (@) gmail dot com, or via Instagram using the hashtag #doloresbatwing. If you wish to see more amazing versions, check out how the Dolores batwing pattern looks in solids, prints and stripes.
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