It’s Kids Clothes Week! This fun event is held twice a year (spring and fall) and challenges sewists to commit an hour a day, or more if schedules allow, sewing children’s clothing. No competition, no judging; just a personal commitment of time and effort, and a chance to simultaneously enhance sewing skills and wardrobes. KCW was created by Meg at elsie marley, and now has its very own blog and community site here, where participants can post the results of their efforts and cheer on each other.
Even though this week can be rather exhausting, with all the rushing around to sew, photograph and post projects in a short timeframe, it is one of my favorite times of the year. I love seeing all the wonderful clothes that fellow sewists are creating. There are truly inspiring projects in the KCW photo pool every year. And I always discover new sewing blogs to follow. I’m pretty confident, however, that the KCWs do not rate quite as highly with my family! My children are made to endure multiple photo shoots, we all eat more take-out than usual this week since meal prep takes a back seat to sewing, and I’ll admit that a string of later-than-usual nights at the sewing machine takes its toll on my temperment, as well.
My goal for this KCW is to step out of my sewing comfort zone by trying new patterns, new skills, new fabrics. I sometimes have a bad habit of underestimating or discounting my own abilities, and too often I’ll see a pattern or a project on a blog and think, “that’s SO great, but I’m not ready for that yet.” So this KCW I’m stepping up my game. I’m sure there will be missteps along the way, but at the very least it will be a learning experience — and hopefully the good will outweigh the bad and potentially unwearably ugly!
So, now that I’ve revealed my philosophy for this Kids Clothes Week, let’s get to the project reveal, shall we?! More photos, less talk — that will be another theme for the week.
My Day #1 reveal is a double breasted coat with a peter pan collar for my daughter. The pattern is by dmkeasywear, purchased on Etsy. I used a stretch denim purchased at Jo-Anns for the exterior, and a Dear Stella cotton print for the interior. I think the lining fabric is so great! I was back and forth about whether to use a solid or a print for the exterior, but the practicality of a solid finally won me over. The compromise in my internal battle was to go bold for the lining.
My new machine has an embroidery feature, so I thought it would be fun to include my daughter’s name on the lining. I like the concept, but I think I might have preferred a block script to the cursive.
This was my first time sewing with stretch denim. It’s somewhat stiff, but I think that lends nice structure to the coat, and I bet the stiffness will subside a bit with more washing. I was surprised at the level of wrinkles produced by just one wearing, as evidenced by the pictures; although the coat was the subject of some extra handling as I set up for the photos. While sewing, I had to remind myself not to force or stretch the exterior stretch denim fabric to avoid a misshapen exterior or wonky seams. My new machine feeds fabrics so nicely, and I’m more accustomed to having to “help” my old machine along at times.
What do I think about the outcome?
The misses: Generally I found the pattern to be well-written but there were a few parts where I misunderstood the instructions. I haven’t seen this mentioned in other reviews of the same pattern, so I think it’s more an issue of my mind working differently than the pattern drafter’s mind; and I would have described the step a bit differently. I ended up sewing the coat exterior twice because I messed up attaching the arms on my first go around, and simply wanted to start fresh. The back pleat on the jacket, hmmmm. First time for me with a back pleat, and being unfamiliar with it shows. My buttonholes also didn’t turn out as nicely as I’d hoped, and I should have made the top row a bit higher to avoid the sag in the top corner. I also wish I’d added a facing to the coat, for a more professional look on the lining side. I didn’t even think about it, but then I found this post after the fact and was kicking myself for not finding it sooner. Next time, perhaps!
The highlights: The pattern comes together pretty quickly. Despite a couple of construction misses due to my misunderstanding, I would give the pattern a thumbs-up and will probably make it again in a few years. The current coat is going to fit Daisy for a while. I intentionally sized up because I would like the coat to fit her again in the spring. I hate when I sew the kids something and it’s outgrown in a matter of weeks! I made a 2T without any alterations for fit (she’s still wearing mostly 18-24 months right now), and it’s definitely roomy and the sleeves are long. The bonus is I get to roll up the sleeves for a peak at the lining fabric! There also won’t be any problem fitting the jacket over sweaters, so that should extend its wear into early winter.
And I should probably mention, I did NOT sew this entire coat today on Day 1 of KCW! I am hoping to be able to share a project each day of KCW (perhaps a bit ambitious!), so I started a little early.
Now, back to my sewing machine. Day #2 will be here before I know it!