Back To School-Sewing For Children-By Victoria-The Secret Workshop

As a child, August was always a wonderful month for me – not only because it was still summer holidays but also because it meant my mother would soon begin making our new clothes for back-to-school. With four children to sew for, she always started early. Back then, the variety and style of fabrics and patterns was somewhat limited. Sergers were never found in the home and notions that were available were basic – nothing like we have available today. Today’s home sewer can find and use a variety of fabrics and tools to make garments comparable to or even better than those available in the ready-to-wear market. Here are some tips and ideas to help with your back-to school sewing projects.

Before you begin to cut and sew, spend some time and decide what clothes will best complement an existing wardrobe. Take a good look at the clothes your child is already wearing and ask yourself some questions. What is it your child really needs for the fall? Plenty of pants but short on shirts? Do they need a bit of everything? Look at the colors of the clothes in the closet and work from there. It is not very practical to add a color that does not coordinate with anything else in the closet. Consider what your child really needs, but remember to leave some room for FUN – choose something that isn’t really necessary but would be fun to make and fun to wear. I have a weakness for jackets and hats and I always seem to be making one or the other.

Before picking out fabrics and patterns, be sure to plan ahead. Make garments that will be good for both fall and winter or even spring. Clothes that can be layered with a variety of colors and styles work great. A polar fleece vest can be worn with a short sleeve shirt in the fall or a long sleeve knit top in winter. The same vest can also be worn under a jacket for added warmth in the winter. By making a few good basic items, you are able to mix and match to achieve a different look. Layering garments with different textures and shapes will give lots of variety and opportunity for children to “express” themselves.

Once you have a good idea of garments that are needed, involve your child in picking patterns and fabrics. Doing this can only end in a winning situation. If kids don’t like something, they won’t want to wear it – better to get it right the first time! Start by looking through pattern books, magazines and even department or chain stores to come up with design and sewing ideas. Many of the fabrics used by large manufacturers are available to the public. You might need to search a bit, but it is probably worth the time. After learning what the child would like and finding some patterns, sit down and decide what to do first. Each year, I start out with great expectations of the many projects I will complete. More often then not, I run out of time and some projects are left unfinished. Plan your sewing time, considering the time you have available to sew and the amount of time it will take you to construct each garment from start to finish including pre-washing, cutting and all those little finishing touches. You’ll probably want to start by sewing those items that are needed the most.

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