Tag Archives: kids’ clothes

A new fall wardrobe for boys

If you have been to the store in the past few months, you may have seen the sweet collection of girls’ clothes hanging in our window. As summer turned into autumn, we decided it would be great to make a new kids’ wardrobe, this time for a little boy.

NSB - boy fall wardrobe header

Full fall wardrobe sewn by Tamara. Sock monkey and sock dog sewn by Kitrina.

We have loved Japanese pattern books, like Pattern Magic and Drape Drape, for many years. This year we received a large selection of new titles that are all equally fascinating and charming, including She Wears the Pants, Basic Black, Stylish Dress Book, and Casual Sweet Clothes. We also got in a handful of the pattern books that focus on children’s wear. The girls’ clothing in our last window was created using patterns from the book Sew Sweet Handmade Clothes for Girls. For our boys’ wardrobe, we used patterns from two books: Stitch Wear Play and Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids, and a tee-shirt pattern from KwikSew.

From Stitch Wear Play, we selected the unisex jacket and boy’s shorts patterns (though we lengthened the boy’s shorts into a full pant). From Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids, we chose the patterns for wide-leg pants, pull-over parka, and boy’s shirt. The tee-shirt pattern we selected is KwikSew 133.

Once we had the patterns picked out, we started pulling fabrics that would be appropriate for a little boy: comfortable, durable, and fun! At first, we pulled all the fabrics we thought fit the concept, then we narrowed by color and pattern. We came up with a great collection of fabrics that includes flannel, corduroy, canvas, and French terry.

For the jacket, we landed on two-color twill weave in warm gray and black, to be lined with a red & gold plaid Mammoth Flannel from Robert Kaufman. While Stitch Wear Play recommends a cotton jersey for this jacket and leaves it unlined, we wanted to make this a cozy fall jacket, so we simply created a lining from the flannel using the body pieces. For the button closure, we selected a metal button style that is painted to look rusted, which makes this feel like a bit like a barn jacket.

NSB - boy jacket

For the Stitch Wear Play pants, we used lovely fine-wale corduroy in a golden color. As mentioned above, this pattern is drafted as shorts; we lengthened the leg into a full pant. The pattern features a drawstring waist and a yoke that is cut on the bias, giving it a very relaxed silhouette.

NSB - boy corduroy pants

For the pull-over parka, we selected another cozy Mammoth Flannel, this time a small blue/grey gingham motif and used cotton twill tape for the drawstring.

NSB - boy pullover

We made two versions of the wide-leg pants pattern from Happy Homemade: Sew Chic Kids. For one pair, we used a casual cotton/spandex quality in blue-grey featuring both herringbone and double pinstripe details. This pattern features patch pockets on the back, which are too cute.

NSB - boy double pinstripe pantNSB - boy double pinstripe pocket detail

For the second pair, we used a lighter-weight cotton canvas in cement grey. We altered the pattern to add pockets to the front and faux fly details. Because this is a pull-on style with elastic waistband, we made the waist casing in cotton broadcloth for a softer, more comfortable alterative to the canvas. Our fabric choice for the waist casing is a cute sloth print from Cotton + Steel.

NSB - boy canvas pants

For the boy’s button-down shirt, we used cotton broadcloth in a great new arrow print. The fabric has a muted blue ground and arrows in yellow, chartreuse, grey, and tan. For the buttons, we picked out the same rusty looking painted buttons as used for the jacket, which pick up some of the colors in the print.

NSB - boy button front shirt

We also made two versions of the KwikSew tee pattern. For both versions, we used a super soft French terry quality, made of rayon from bamboo, cotton, and spandex. We carry the fabric in a bunch of great colors, so to coordinate with our other fabric choices, we selected red, blue, and citrus green.

For one tee shirt, we used the red french terry and appliquéd a band of sloths, wrapping from the front to back on the left side.

NSB - boy red tee

We made the second tee in the blue and citrus green colors and made a few cool adjustments to the pattern. The first change was to splice the front and back to create color blocking (an effect that was continued on the cuffs and neck band). The second adjustment was to shorten the neck band. The final change was adding a sloth to the back of the tee, peeking out at the hemline.

NSB - boy color block tee frontNSB - boy color block tee back

Each of these patterns was fun and easy to construct. In fact, the lengthiest part of making this wardrobe was tracing off all the patterns!

Any questions about the books, patterns, or fabrics we used? Leave them in the comments section below!

Get to know a Nancy’s employee: Kristina

I am excited for today’s interview; join me as we “get to know” Nancy’s employee Kristina. She is an important component of our team, who takes care of ordering buttons for the store, has a great eye for arranging fabrics, and is one of the most patient people I’ve ever met.

NSB - get to know kristina

Who are you?
I’m Kristina.

How long have you worked at Nancy’s?
I guess twelve years? I started about eighteen years ago and left after about nine years to get my cosmetology and esthetician licenses. I returned to work the Sunday shift a couple years ago and have picked up a few additional days as there has been need.

How long have you been sewing?
I started in 7th grade home economics, but I’ve always been around sewers. My grandmother sewed clothes all the time and my mother made dolls.

Do you have a special focus?
No, not really. I manufactured children’s clothing for 18 months about ten years ago. It was a LOT of work for not a lot of money, so I stopped, though I love making clothes for little girls.

NSB - kl girls dress

Kristina’s daughter in a linen dress.

NSB - kl sunflower dress

Cutie in a sunflower dress, made by Kristina

NSB - kl kids clothes

Kristina’s daughter, sporting a dress she made, and her son.

These days, I primarily sew bags, pillows, and other small projects. I also make dolls.

NSB - kl skeleton doll

A soft body doll with skeleton applique and great printed legs.

I also spin my own yarns and knit them. I’m interested in how things are put together, which is why I started spinning. I took a weaving course in college, which was incredibly inspirational.

What was your first sewing project?
My very first sewing projects were done in school. I made a pair of shorts, followed by an apron. After I learned to sew, I started picking up pieces at thrift stores to alter them. One time, I found a wedding dress at the thrift store and altered it for a Renaissance Faire.

What is your most recently completed project?
[laughs] I have a bunch of half-done projects and fully conceptualized projects! As soon as my kids go back to school, I’ll have more time to sew.

NSB - kl doll hand in progress

Work in progress: a soft sculpted doll hand, showing the inner armature, built from real pipe cleaners. The red nubs in the pipe cleaners help grip the stuffing inside the body, which allows for better positioning.

I think the most recently completed garment is the dress I made from one of the Italian shirting cottons for my two-year-old niece. We displayed it at the Sew Expo back in February. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the dress before it was gifted to my niece.

Do you have a most memorable or favorite project?
I think my favorite project is the Willy Wonka costume I made for my daughter when she was about ten. It was modeled after the costume worn by Johnny Depp (Gene Wilder’s performance always terrified her). That costume got a lot of use, too, as my son used it for dress up after my daughter was done with it. Once, when my son was five, he wore it to the barbershop; the barber said he looked like a pimp, in his velvet blazer and top hat. Sadly, I don’t have any pictures!

What project is next?
I’m working on some dolls: some made out of cloth, some will have hands and heads sculpted of clay.

NSB - kl doll torso front

This fabric doll is being needle sculpted and will then be painted. Kristina uses the sketched lines as guides for stitching additional dimension into the doll’s body.

NSB - kl doll torso side

From the side, you can see more of the dimension that has been added to the face through needle sculpting.

NSB - kl doll hands

These hands also have wire armatures, built from pipe cleaners, which allows the fingers to be posed. The hand on the left has already received some detailing with a needle and thread, the hand on the right awaits the same treatment.

NSB - kl doll feet

Like the hands above, one foot has started being needle sculpted (right) and the other is untouched. Stitches define toes and a small dart creates an arch in the foot.

I have some ideas for a few dolls that are inspired by sideshow attractions and oddities. I’ve always been fascinated by anomalies. For example, I want to do a set of conjoined twin babies.

What do you love most about Nancy’s?
It’s like family! And you get to play with fabrics all day, so what’s not to like? It’s great being surrounded by color and texture all day; it’s nice to come to work and just be inspired.

Thanks for sharing your works in progress, Kristina! The construction of your doll is fascinating and I am excited to see it completed!

Have any questions for Kristina? Leave them in the comments below.