Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Back to School: Sewing clothes your kids will actually wear

 Have you ever taken a bunch of time and effort to sew things for your kids, and then they languish in the closet?  Yeah, we can't stand that either!  So today we're sharing some of our favorite ways to make sure they wear what you sew for them.

Alice Top & Becky Skirt pattern from Project Run & Play

Tip for Clothes they'll actually wear #1: Get them involved in the design process

When a child gets involved in designing their future garment, whether that's helping choose the fabric, or decide which pattern to use, or what graphics to add to the shirt.  This almost guarantees they'll wear the clothes they received because they are invested in the design.  And when they get a little older, you can even begin teaching them to sew as you are making their garment, and they really start to get excited and involved!  We've put this one at #1 because it's probably the biggest determining factor in whether or not they will wear what you sew for them because it removes the guess factor!

Alice Top and Becky Skirt sewing patterns from Project Run & Play

For this Back to School outfit, my daughter had some very specific requests during the design phase.  She wanted the top to have short sleeves (an easy hack of the Alice pattern - I just hemmed the sleeves where she requested!) and she helped pick out the stunning dragonfly fabric from Bobbins 'n Buttons.  If you're concerned you'll never sew anything but sparkly rainbows and unicorn fabrics, try this tip: offer them an edited selection of fabrics that you would be happy to sew with.

Tip for Clothes they'll actually wear #2: Use good quality fabric

We know.  You got this really cheap fabric and it turned out you don't really like the feel of it, but you don't want it to go to waste, so you sew something for your child.  (Ask us how we know...)  And then, surprise, surprise, they don't like the feel of it either!  Or they love it and it wears out within a couple weeks of them wearing it 24/7.  (Why is it always one extreme or the other with kids?!?)
But using good quality fabric not only means there's a good chance they'll wear it, but it will last through allllll the wearing.

Alice Top sewing pattern from Project Run & Play

In the photos in this post, I used good quality fabric.  The Alice Top is made from a beautiful, drapey rayon swiss dot fabric from Alyssa May Design.  

Alice Top and Becky Skirt sewing patterns from Project Run & Play

The Becky Skirt is made from dragonfly cotton lawn from Bobbins 'n Buttons, and is very high quality.  

Tip for Clothes they'll actually wear #3: Make a muslin to check fit

Okay, so this is where you can use cheap quality fabric if you must.  A muslin is intended to check the fit of a garment before you sew a final version.  Why is this encouraged?  Well, if you want them to WEAR the final version, fitting is necessary.  We can't tell you the number of times we've skipped this step and wasted time, fabric and been so disappointed!  And sewing a muslin doesn't have to take tons of extra time...you can just baste the seams and leave off any extra options.  For example, on the Prose & Poetry Cargo Joggers, you would skip all the steps that involved sewing the cargo pockets and just sew the basic pants or skirt to quickly check the fit.

Alice Top sewing pattern from Project Run & Play

Do you want to know a secret?  The Alice Top she's wearing in these photos is actually a "wearable muslin."  This means that I used leftover fabric from another project (for me!!!) and sewed up the top to check the fit before using a different fabric to make an Alice Dress.

Tip for Clothes they'll actually wear #4: Coordinate with what they already have

Do they have a favorite pair of shorts?  Make a t-shirt to go with it!  A favorite hoodie?  How about a dress for underneath?  Some sparkly shoes they insist on wearing with everything?  Sew a special skirt to pair with them!  And this brings us to capsule wardrobes.  If your child has fewer amounts of clothes to wear, and/or if all those clothes coordinate, they are more likely to wear each and every item.  Unlike if you sew them a top and they have no bottoms to match.

Alice Top and Becky Skirt sewing patterns from Project Run & Play

Each of the pieces I sewed for this back to school outfit coordinate with other clothes I've made her.  Like this skirt and this top.

Tip for Clothes they'll actually wear #5: Go shopping for inspiration

Often kids want to wear what their peers are wearing.  Or what they've seen advertised somewhere.  Or insist on only wearing their favorite color, or are reluctant to try a new feeling fabric.  It's fun to go shopping for inspiration!  They can try things on to see if they prefer a v-neck or a scoop neck.  Maybe they thought they'd LOVE a maxi skirt, but once on, they realize it's just a trip hazard for them, or they would really prefer midi length.  Don't know if they like a certain color?  Try on a blouse in that color and see how it looks in those big dressing room mirrors!  It's easier (not to mention free!) to pare down ideas, likes and dislikes, fabric types, feel, look and so on in this way, rather than sewing up something they think they might like, but end up not wearing.

Noel Top and Evergreen Skirt patterns from Project Run & Play

Do you want to know a secret?  All Project Run & Play brand patterns (like the Noel Top and Evergreen Skirt picture above) are thoroughly researched to make sure they are on trend with the current fashions, yet classic enough to be sewn for years and years.  So you can sew them for your kids and they will love them too!

If  you're sewing for Back to School, be sure to grab these:

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