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Where would we be without Little Girls?
Sewing for little girls
Janie Viers
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Janie Viers  Friend of PR
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Ohio USA
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Date: 4/4/11 9:16 AM

the last girls I got to sew for were my DD's #1 and #2. And a lot has changed in the last 20 to 30 years! My Dear Great Niece is now 4. I made up a bunch of garments in different pattern sizes and sent them to be tried on. The size 3 fit, the 4's fit with a drawstring and the all others (Small's, size 4-5) didn't. The sad thing is that one of the outfits was a "copy" of a girl's boutique outfit with five fabrics and ruffles and overlays and etc. Little did I know that DGN's slender body would make her look like a ball of fabric with pipe cleaner legs! The shorts and skirts were only wearable due to the fact I used draw string elastic with cord toggles!

Back to the drawing board for more simple outfits which bums me out since I love ruffles on little girls! Sewing long distance is so much fun (not). I used to have my long distance relatives lay their child on a sheet of paper (like the back of wrapping paper or shelf liner) and then draw around the child head to toe, having waist, neck, shoulders, knees and ankles marked as such. I asked them to put crotch to ankle measurements as well as waist to ankle, shoulder to wrist/elbow, neck to waist (back AND front) and circufrance of hip, waist, ankle, neck, upper arm and wrist. With the drawing I could do a really good job of making sure even pants fit.

I am reduced to making all drawstring garments (with elastic for at least one half of the waist and fabric or string ties sewn to the elastic and the elastic stitched in the ditch center back) so the fit can be adjusted. Button hole elastic is another idea but I hate the way it dangles when tighted up!

Not everyone understands the need to know this kind of stuff. This shouldn't be rocket science, but if someone doesn't know WHY you need these measuremets to be accurate and the drawing to be a close outline then you better plan on created a form with specific instructions on what you need and what they should do to give it to you!

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JanieV

Hilary
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Hilary  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/4/11 9:33 AM

oh, that's too bad about the ruffly outfit not fitting! My Dd (who is 7 now) is very tall and slender too (at least according to pattern back envelopes!). I often have to make her a size 4 or five in width and lengthen it to a size 8-10!! Ugh! But it's not too bad since she is right there to try it on, so I can usually tell in advance that it's going to be too wide.

I made her a McCall's top last year that turned out way too big and I put a lot of work into binding seams for a really neat finish and although its wearable it really is baggy and I was disappointed. You might try New Look patterns (if you haven't already) or Kwik Sew; for me they tend to fit better and more true to size, although the New Look pj necklines are waaaaay too wide and I had to take those in too as I recall

Good luck! I bet if you explain that each child is unique (obviously) and the clothes you make would fit perfectly instead of hit or miss, they would send you the measurements you need. Maybe?

sharkycharming
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sharkycharming
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Date: 4/4/11 9:50 AM

I totally agree -- sewing for little girls is the best. Having little nieces is one of the main reasons I started sewing -- they already have every toy known to mankind, so if I want to give them presents that make an impact, they have to be handmade! And I really enjoy the process of sewing things for these kids I love so much. (I like sewing for charity kids I don't know, too, though.)

Personally, I don't like ruffles at all, and I think that little girls look better in simple clothes that let their natural beauty shine through, but simple doesn't have to mean dull. I like to appeal to their personalities with the clothes I make them and use their favorite colors and ensembles inspired by the story characters they like, etc.

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Heather in Baltimore

Mermie
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Mermie  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/4/11 10:19 AM

I sew a lot for little girls (5 granddaughters) and I agree with you. The fit of the Big 4 is all over the map. Of the 5 granddaughters there are 2- 5 yr olds (twins), 2- 4 yr olds and 1- 2 yr old. For width in dresses and skirts I still make the 4 & 5 yr olds size 3. These are very standard sized kids, none of them is tall for their age, none are especially petite, none are underweight or overweight. Kwik Sew runs just a smidge big for them, but WAY better than the Big 4.

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Kathy

EveS
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EveS
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In reply to Mermie


Date: 4/4/11 11:23 AM

Quote: Mermie
The fit of the Big 4 is all over the map.

Exactly. I refuse to sew kids' patterns from the Big 4 anymore. It's just too much of a crap shoot.

While I do agree that measurements are SO helpful (heck, even measurements of garments that DO fit if they can't/won't do body measurements), I would also ask you to consider Ottobre patterns. They are beautifully drafted with that nice, European (aka, realistic) fit and their details are totally boutique. They don't have many illustrations, but their instructions are some of the best and, considering that your skill level is listed as "advanced," I'd say you'd have no problems whatsoever. You can get single copies from Sewzannes Fabrics, SewBaby, and other online sources, as well as the Ottobre site itself. Their website also has a really nice archive of all of their magazines (ARE YOU LISTENING, BURDA?!?!) so you could perhaps pick one that really appeals to you.

I was blessed with 3 boys...I love everything about little boys, but I'm kind of sad that I can only sew from 1/2 of all of my Ottobres...I'd love to make a frou-frou something-or-other once in a while.

Eve

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it - Chinese proverb

Lisabeth60
Lisabeth60
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Arizona USA
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Date: 4/4/11 11:39 AM

Here is where my mind is at. When I saw your title, I thought you meant "girls" as in the "girls" we have to adjust our patterns for on top. I guess it is because I am reading about FBAs.

I do have a friend who just had a baby girl and I have been looking at these
Mod Kids patterns. I think they are just adorable. Since I am a beginner sewer, I will have to find an easy one.... If anyone else has easy easy suggestions for a little girl (age 1-3 or so), I'd love to see them!

And yes, Ottobre really has some adorable patterns! Being new, I am very frustrated with Burda as I started reading their site just as they changed it.






-- Edited on 4/4/11 11:42 AM --

Mermie
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Mermie  Friend of PR
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In reply to EveS


Date: 4/4/11 2:41 PM

Oh Eve I do use Ottobre for the grandkids ( I also have 4 grandsons and waiting for the delivery of 3 more). Love em' all a lot!

Ottobre fit true to size and I use them quite a bit. I have found that their infant sizing is really spot on. In the Big 4 infant sizing, I have made a couple of the preemie sized sleep sacks and even PREEMIE size is WAY too big for an average weight infant.

I love sewing for kids, but wish the pattern companies could get it together on sizing. And to your point, I love sewing for my grandsons, but I have to admit that sewing for the little girls is just about my favorite thing in the world.

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Kathy

Speech girl
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Speech girl  Friend of PR
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Date: 4/4/11 4:26 PM

What I do is to find out the RTW size of the child andcthen take a measuring tape to the store and I measure the waist, pants length, dress length etc of clothing that size.

I also like Ottobre as you only need the child's height. Burda and Onion too. Kwik sew's toddler and kid sizes seem to be consistent with RTW sizes.

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Kim
formerly mikkim
http://girlwithatimemachine.wordpress.com/

Janie Viers
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Janie Viers  Friend of PR
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Ohio USA
Member since 4/8/02
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Date: 4/5/11 1:22 PM

I have to go to a thrift store and buy a sample in the size the children wear in order to compare the pattern to. My rule is, if I give a gift of handmade clothing to you or yours, it may be given away if it doesn't fit or you've outgrown it. I only have one rule... you cannot sell it at a garage sale!

I rue the time I spent on the unwearables (for her at least, I told my neice to pass on the ones that are not right to another child who they would fit and if that child is poorly dressed, all the better!

I am just glad that the one garment fitted so I can sew some more using that pattern for a litmus test.

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JanieV

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