New Goal: Make a Line of Children's Wear Sewing Patterns

As the title of this post suggests, I have decided to make a line of Children's Wear Sewing Patterns. For now I will sell them in our shop, but I would like to digitize them, grade them, and sell them like BurdaStyle do theirs. I came across a tutorial by the Scientific Seamstress on sewmamasew that shows you how to do this without getting Adobe software.

So how did this goal come about? I have a very young niece called Libby, she is only two and a half and I would like to make dresses and things for her (and things for her brother, aged four and a half, as well). In one of my Sewing World magazines from a few years ago there was a pattern for a 3 year old's dress with an "average" chest size of 26 inches (which seems far to big). As I was tracing the pattern out, I was thinking of all the different ways the dress's style could be changed. Change the undo-able straps into permanent ones and add a buttoned front, add pockets where I like, add little sleeves, peter pan collars... The possibilities are endless! I have already been studying pattern making a bit for a while and understand the basics.

Anyway, I made up the dress out of some red twill I had, bound the edges, leaving the seam allowances on or else the dress would definitely not fit, added a pocked shaped like a lotus, and used snaps instead of buttons and buttonholes.

I used only a straight stitch on this dress. The seams are flat-felled seams and the hem is double-turned. I hope it looks Nautical (except that it's red) because that is what I wanted. I sewed white ribbon along the bottom and used some more to make a little bow.


The pocket has a fairy embroidered on it. I don't do a lot of embroidery so it doesn't look expert. The wings, wand, tiara and monogram are done in glittery thread.

Since I am not very good at satin stitching by hand, and I don't want to waste thread, I just make a tiny stitch at the sides and then go back across to the other side. This way I use about half as much thread and the underside isn't as messy.

Another thing that motivated me to start my own pattern line is one of our regular customers. She has twin grandchildren and loves to sew things for them. She came in recently wanting a sewing pattern for a dress with a sailor collar. There are only two in the Simplicity pattern catalogue: one is in a baby's size (and her granddaughter is three) and one which we didn't notice at the time that is a Project Runway pattern. Both are to be discontinued this month.

As it happens, Pattern-making for Fashion Design's instructions for making children's patterns start at age three with a chest size of 22 inches (that's more like it). So I have drafted a pattern for a Sailor Dress (Pattern number 32101). I am currently writing the instructions and will probably have to trace a copy of the pattern by hand.

By the way, 32101 is not an indication of how many designs I have made; it is a code. The 3 means "children's wear", the 2 means "woven fabrics", the first 1 means "dress", and 01 is the dress design number.

Here is a photo of the design. I have drafted it so that the sleeve has very little (if any) ease. Despite that, the sleeve still has to be eased in a little because of the seam allowance on the sleeve - it is naturally bigger than that of the armhole.

I think the pattern will work best in a Summery cotton that is not too stiff, or linen. The instructions are written not quite like the usual commercial patterns instructions; more as if it were all in a letter. It's easier for me to write that way. I also draw all the necessary illustrations or take all the photos. I will probably have to scan any drawings into the computer.

So far I have only made a test of the sleeve and the part of the bodice at the armscye, and the "bow". I cut the bow on the bias and didn't interface it. It turned out quite well, I think.

Here, I have added it temporarily to the dress I made for Libby (which she may have to grow into : )).

Another reason for me to draft patterns professionally is that my Mum (and she's not alone in this) wants a particular style of blouse that is not obviously available in ready-to-wear or from pattern companies anymore. So I will have to draft that with the appropriate skirt and variations of style.

I will start with children's patterns though. I think about five styles is enough to begin with. I am already working on the second.

I think I will sell the test garments (made of wearable fabric, not muslin) on the Internet. I may set up an Etsy shop (which will be named Pretty Little Dresses).

Do you have an Etsy shop? Do you recommend Etsy or is there a better market place online? Do you have any advice for success? Please let me know. It will be a big help. : )

Until next time, happy sewing!
Sabrina Wharton-Brown
The Sewing Corner, Hornsea

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