My little girl needs some clothes. I have a little hoard of fabrics for her wardrobe and a stack of Oliver + S patterns. Since I made my own Blank Canvas Tee pattern last year, I’ve wanted one for Lila. It’s easy to alter the cut for fun designs, it’s simple to sew and comfy to wear. I also find the BCT sews together very quickly, always a plus.
I haven’t played much with patternmaking for Lila, mostly because kids’ bodies differ greatly from adult bodies in terms of topography. I’m more used to making patterns for women’s bodies. With a kid, I don’t need to worry about accommodating the bust. Easy, right?
However, many little kids have nice round tummies that poke out in front. Lila is still young enough that’s true for her, that’s her fitting “topography.”
She and I talked about this, and she’s happy for me to share with you all the process of making a capsule wardrobe for her. I thought if I documented dolly’s process it would help me show how I put together a wardrobe sewing plan. She’s small, so the sewing will go quickly!
But first I want a good basic tee pattern in her size. Despite her belly, she’s rather taller than wide. I grabbed one of her old shirts in a size 3 that fits well through the shoulders and arms and torso, but is too short:
When I laid it flat, the seams wanted to twist. This is because it’s a mass-made tee and in that environment, they cut t-shirts off grain to “save” fabric. I ignored the seams and just patted the shirt flat.
I used one half of the shirt as a template. I made dots at the neck-binding seam, at the shoulder, at the sleeve openings, the underarm and the lower edge. The template shirt has regular sleeves, but I’m making one with cut-on sleeves.
First, I connected the dots along the straight edges and the CB using my ruler. I’m making the back piece first. I also extended the side seams and CB several inches beyond the original shirt hem. If it’s too long, I can call it a tunic and she’ll grow into it anyway.
At the CB, I added a scant 1cm (about 3/8″) because I want this shirt to be just a little wider than the template shirt. Then I drew a curved line at the back neck. I decided at this point I didn’t like the shape of the sleeve, so I corrected it.
To finish the pattern, I measured the neck and the sleeve openings and made bindings. I think I’ve written about that before, but if you want a refresher just click on the mini-tute. My bindings for knits are almost always 1.5″ (2cm) wide.
Then I stitched the little shirt together. I used a tiny piece of cotton interlock I bought on sale some time ago, with the idea I’d make some baby pj’s. It never happened. I grouped these photos together as well, it’s just a basic tee construction like the adult Blank Canvas Tee.
You can see the pull lines in this photo, too. It’s not a big deal, it’s just because I didn’t draft her tummy into the front pattern piece. Other than those two tiny details, I was quite happy with the draft. She likes the shirt, too, and wore it all day.
On the front, I dropped the underarm curve and retraced all but the CF line. The blue line here shows the original CF. To accommodate her tummy, I swung the bottom of the CF out by about 1/2″ (1.2cm) but kept the same CF point at the top. These little tweaks were minor enough that I didn’t make a second muslin. Instead, I’m looking forward to chopping into it for a little mini-hack!
I want to open the floor to questions about wardrobing, from those who may not have sewn one before. I’m planning the posts I’ll write for this and I’d love to answer questions or clarify the process as much as possible. I find “wardrobing” is the most efficient use of my sewing time and materials, and I tend to put together collections of garments to be sewn at the same time rather than one-offs. This is what I am working on for Lila. Even though she’s a little girl, I use the same “framework” I’d use for a grownup wardrobe.
So… What are your questions about wardrobing? What would you like to see covered while I document her wardrobe process?
If you use this tutorial, let me know or link me… I really love to see what others do with the ideas I send out into the universe.