Saving money is usually the main reason that parents and even grandparents try to learn to sew clothes for their little ones. Store-bought clothes are always more expensive than those you sew yourself. There are many fabric sales in your favorite craft stores to watch out for, which makes it easier to get quality clothing at lower costs. The second reason is to have custom-made clothes that last forever.
Well, maybe not forever, but a decent two to three years of use is worth the effort of sewing yourself. No more clothes that shrink quickly or sleeves that are too short or necklines that are too baggy. Lastly, parents and grandparents find joy showcasing their kids’ apparel they made themselves. Plus, it is another way for grandparents to spoil their grandbabies.
But before you start snipping and cutting and sewing, check first the following tips below when sewing your kids’ clothes.
Use The Right Fabric
We want cute designs, lovely textures, good quality, but also comfortable and safe fabrics for our little ones. Always pick natural fabrics rather than synthetics types. Synthetic fabrics are heavily treated with chemicals that will irritate your child’s delicate skin.
Natural fabrics types include cotton, wool, and silk. It is required to prewash your fabrics. As per the industrial process, fabrics are usually chemically treated. Better prewash your fabrics before all the snipping and cutting and sewing.
Also, fabrics like cotton shrink after prewash, so it better to do so before you start cutting your patterns. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a piece of fabric too short for your desired pattern. Fabrics should be resistant to fading. Children’s clothes get washed more often than adults’ as their clothing gets dirty easily and frequently. Constant washing tends to fade clothes, and this is especially apparent in brightly colored pieces of clothing.
Children should be comfortable in their clothes. Fabrics should be light, bright, and breathable. However, this is not usually the case for fabrics used for parties or special occasion clothes. So, try to prewash the fabric two to three times to make it softer. Heavy fabrics do not allow many movements. Cotton, silk, and satin are lighter kinds of fabric, but are also more sensitive. Cotton clothes are the lightest, extremely comfortable, and allows for more fluid movement.
Place the fabric against the light to check the weave. Tightly woven fabrics are more durable and can withstand rough usage and repeated washing.
For rough and tumble toddlers, denim is the most durable fabric. Since children tend to grow so fast, select stretchable knitted wear and elastic sports pants. They will last more than a season. When choosing the fabric color, let older kids pick their fabric colors. For younger ones, consider the best color to complement your kid’s skin complexion. For pants, pick darker colors to hid grass and many other stains.
Below are some fabrics options to consider:
- Lawn Cotton is 100% cotton, lightweight, and easily dries; soft and with high thread count. It is crisp to the touch but also very soft. It has a very fine thread. Lawn cotton is customarily used for a christening gown.
- Voile is a gauze-like, semi-translucent fabric. It is like lawn cotton, but is thinner and more transparent. It also has a crisp feel. It is a fluid fabric and a very common choice for girls’ dresses. Swiss voile is a kind of fabric that has dots woven, preferred for smocking and pleating.
- Broadcloth is a smooth and lightweight fabric. It can be cotton or cotton-blend. Cotton broadcloth has a glossy texture and fine rib effect. Retail showrooms showcase kids’ dresses and tops made from broadcloth fabric with dainty embroideries.
- Handkerchief linen is a soft lightweight, semi-sheer fabric. It has lumps or thick spots of threads called slubs. Handkerchief linen is traditionally used for heirloom projects. It is elegant as well as soft. Linens are usually wrinkly, but cotton-blended linen is not. It is also used for christening gowns, and dresses in pleats and gathers minus the undesired bulk.
- Muslin is a varied type of cotton fabric. It can be very fine to dense and rough. Thin muslin is best for baby clothes like cloth diapers, burp cloths, and swaddles. It is not a very pretty fabric and is used for linings and petticoats.
- Gauze is a somewhat wrinkled-looking cotton muslin fabric. It is a loosely-weaved fabric making it breathable and airy. It is available in single and double gauze. Gauze can be very soft depending on its make.
- Batiste is a soft, lightweight, open-weaved cotton fabric. It is not transparent and is more durable than most cotton fabrics. It is commonly used for baby dresses and nightgowns.
- Eyelet cotton is also known as Broderie Anglaise fabric is a beautiful embroidered fabric. They are great for dresses and nightgowns as well as accents and trims like pockets and yokes.
- Cotton jersey knit fabric is a highly favored fabric for baby and children’s clothes because they are soft and breathable as well as stretchy. Knit fabric moves along with your child’s constant movement and their growth spurt. Commonly use jersey knit fabrics for babies and kids are interlock, double knit, and cotton spandex.
- Light fleece fabric is the common choice for winter clothes, an alternative to wool. Fleece keeps the body warm, is machine-washable, and fast-drying, which is perfect for making swaddle blankets or kid jackets.
- Microfiber fabric is a new kind of fabric that is non-allergenic and super soft. It is the ideal choice of making clothes for kids with hyper-sensitive skin.
- Fabric with pile/nap-like terrycloth is very absorbent and is the go-to for robes and cloth diapers. Other kinds of fabric with pile/nap are velour, flannel, corduroy, and brushed denim.
- Bamboo rayon is made from the cellulose of bamboo plants. It is organic and non-allergenic. It is preferred by eco-conscious parents because it is perfect for sensitive skin and it adjusts to body temperature.
- Waterproof fabrics are used for diaper coverts, training pants, wet bags, bibs, and change-diaper blankets. You can choose Polyurethane Laminated Polyester and Vinyl-backed Terry cloth. Always make sure that your fabric is breathable to ensure the comfort of your child.
Ensure Comfort And Safety
Check the content of your fabric, the percentage of cotton plus other materials such as polyester and lycra. Polyester tends to make the wearer sweat more and uncomfortable for babies and kids alike. Also, natural fabrics that are untreated are more likely to burn quickly. Wool, for comparison, is tougher to ignite. Check the stretch of your fabric. It should not be too tight nor restrictive of movement. It should be breathable and loose enough for free movement.
It is recommended for newborn to three-month-old babies to have snug-fitting clothes to avoid, in extreme cases, suffocation. For four-month-old and up babies, choose more loose-fitting clothes as they start being physically active at this age.
Consider The Design
Big-sized designs on fabrics are not fully showcased when used for small kids’ clothes. Go for a smaller design when sewing clothes for babies and smaller kids, always remember cute and dainty when you’re designing their clothing.
Check the Washing Instructions
Save yourself time, effort, and money when choosing fabrics for your kids’ clothes. Avoid fabrics with special washing instructions. Pick fabrics that do not require hand washing, delicate, separate washing, and dry cleaning.
Pick Wrinkle-free Fabrics
If you do not like ironing too many clothes, then consider wrinkle-free fabrics. Ease your workload by avoiding fabrics that need ironing. To check, squeeze a fistful of fabric. If it wrinkles, discard that fabric. Linen is most likely to wrinkle.
Pay Attention To Your Kids’ Movements
Watch your child play, run around, and rough play. Take note of which part of their clothes is stretched out the most. See what and how used parts of their clothes are. These notes will guide you in the construction of the kids’ clothes.
Pick The Correct Closure
Babies are hard to dress, are wiggly, and inattentive. Zippers are the most convenient closure to use. Newborns and babies up to four months old are mostly on their backs so avoid hard and irritating closures at the back. Snaps are the most ideal. For five-month-olds and above, Velcro’s and elastics work best. For much older, drawstrings and buttons will do as long as they can dress alone.
Consider The Autonomy Of Your Child
It means designs and constructions should be age-appropriate, like the correct closure discussed earlier. Check if they can dress on their own. Drawstrings and buttons are tricky, especially during bathroom breaks.
Check The Fit
At every stage of sewing, try it on with the child. It will save you the time and effort than when redoing it.
Always measure your child. Do not simply follow the standard sizing chart for children. Kids have different body types. They grow at different pacing.
Leave Options For Sizing Up
As common knowledge, kids grow up so fast. To make their clothes last more than one season, create big seams. Add extra inches of elastics on overlaps to let out when needed.
This is a handy and useful part of your child’s clothes so always make sure to sew in pockets. You can even try sewing in pockets in store-bought clothes for your kids. This is also applicable for party and special occasion outfits.
I hope the following tips give you the confidence to start sewing your kids’ clothes. For a wide option of fabrics, you can use for kid’s clothing, visit Spandex Warehouse today! We are located at 776 Gladys AVE, Los Angeles, CA 90021, right in the heart of L.A’s Fashion District. You may also contact us through our website or give us a call at 213-629-7433.