Sewing Classic Clothes for Girls

A line dress size 4 for a friend’s daughter

Sweet Dress as 2nd birthday dress . It was too big for her.

A line dress size 2 . This is a good fit.

I recently purchased this book from an online bookseller. It has lots of reviews on Amazon so I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say that it is a good book to have with basic patterns that can be modified to make lots of different looks.  Some of the details like armholes which are too wide , need adjusting to personal preference, but on the whole the patterns are a great fit. I made a few dresses from the A-line pattern, and also the Sweet Dress pattern , which is essentially a basic bodice dress. This one incidentally is rather generously sized.


Shirts and more shirts

Jalie 2111 size 12

Jalie 2111 size 12 in fabric woven so that both sides are coloured differently

Kwiksew 2973 size 4

I sew a lot for my boys – mostly shirts. I am still on the lookout for a good boy shirt pattern in the teenage sizes . I used Jalie 2111 a lot but now find it quite tedious to alter the pattern to get a good fit ( the pattern is a VERY loose style). I now have Kwiksew 2973( sizes 4-7) for my younger son and Kwiksew 2000 for my husband – both a very good fit. The boy pattern is available in short and long-sleeved versions, while the man’s shirt is actually a overshirt with long sleeves, but works well as a regular shirt with shortened sleeves.

Pattern review – New Look 6767 – toddler dresses

There are apparently two different patterns in circulation by this description, the one I use has sizes 6mo to 4 years while the other is sized  XS to L . Both are baby and toddler dresses with a basic bodice ; my pattern is sleeveless while the  other one ( which I do not possess) has sleeves and a sash. Both appear to be out of print now.

Anyway, the sleeveless New Look 6767 is my all-time favorite pattern for little girl dresses. It has a round-necked bodice, a gathered skirt of basic rectangles, a back zip opening  and cute pockets. There is also an accompanying bloomer pattern. The look can be varied by adding shoulder bows and a scallop at the waist. It comes in 5 sizes in one envelope, 6months to 4 years.

The great thing about this pattern is that it is a good fit and can be used to make lots of variations on the basic bodice dress. I have used it with back buttons instead of a zip, shortened the bodice to make a smocked front dress, created a wrap back from the basic bodice , and have plans to make a dress with a circular skirt .  The only regret I have is that this pattern does not have sleeves. A point to note is that if the dress is made adhering strictly to the pattern, the skirt is really long , almost  calf length, which is not really evident in the envelope illustration.  I always shorten the skirt pieces when using this pattern.

Collecting Sewing Books

Since I began this blog, I have found out that a fellow sewist has a blog in Northern England with the same title , but she specializes in historical costumes, so there should be no confusion.

I had intended to begin with a round up of all my variations on Citronille Rose, a versatile yoked tunic pattern  for 3-24 months sizes.  Since I haven’t photographed all of them yet, I will instead list some of the sewing books I have accumulated over the years.

Flipkart,  Infibeam  and other online bookstores have dramatically improved my chances of access to internationally published sewing books , including some Japanese titles . 10 years ago I could never have dreamt of owning  the books I own today. My sewing library now holds, among others, the following titles:

Metric Pattern Cutting  for children’s wear and baby wear by Winifred Aldrich – a really good book with useful sizing charts  and plenty of information on drafting al kinds of children’s clothing. It describes how to draft basic slopers and then modify them. I tend to use the drafting instructions to modify commercial patterns that I already have( New Look 6767, my current staple) , for example the petal sleeves on this dress, and the wrap style of this one.

ShirtMaking By David Coffin –  Also a very good book, but sometimes a bit rambling and conversational in style. I was already making a lot of shirts , so I bought this book for some help with collar and cuff sewing techniques. Unfortunately the  information is in a scattered manner, so I can’t just flip to  ‘cuffs’ or ‘collar’  when I need help. But there is a lot of information in there.

Happy Homemade Sew Chic Kids by Ruriko Yamada   – a Japanese book recently brought out in English as well.  Very good basic kids patterns with lots of variations, 100-130 cms heights. The good thing about Japanese patterns is that they match Asian sizing better than U.S. patterns like Simplicity . I made my three year old son the size 100cm pants from this book and they fit perfectly.

I also own a few others , some not so useful. ( I tend to read reviews by other bloggers before venturing on buying a book; but occasionally a review has misled . Buying ‘The Art of Manipulating Fabric’  by  Colette Wolff was , for my needs, at least, a waste of money.   I won’t be using all those techniques described in almost clinical detail.Maybe I’ll review the book in detail another time. )