Despite the fact that I’m a terribly selfish sewist lately, I actually learned to sew so that I could make things for my eldest daughter when she was a baby. Back then (almost 5 years ago!) I had no clue what I was doing and I didn’t have anyone in real life to help me.
So I did what most of us do and I relied on the internet. A few online friends kept directing me to various patterns sold on Etsy, or through Facebook groups, and I honestly found most of them to be so ill-fitting and poorly executed in even promotional images. Searching through Pinterest is hard too; if you’re in experienced how do you know which of a billion peasant dress patterns is actually drafted well with decent instructions?
A book like Laura Strutt’s new release Sewing for Babies and Children published by CICO Books would have been perfect for me back then. It has 25 clothing and accessories patterns for ages 0-5 years old and the full size patterns in an envelope so no printing out endless PDF pages and taping them together. I loathe printing PDFs.
A quick flick through this book could have you thinking that you’ve seen these patterns on Pinterest, for free. Yes, there are baby shoes, a peasant dress, bibs, burp cloths and more that we’ve all seen before but what makes this book good is that Laura knows what she’s doing. She knows how to draft a good pattern and how to write detailed instructions. She’s definitely got a good eye for fabrics too, there are so many bright colourful choices in here which make for some beautiful photos. I really appreciate that there is a good balance between patterns for knit fabric and patterns for woven fabrics. I think as a beginner it’s easy to be put off knit fabric but for babies clothing it’s perfect.
My girls mostly live in leggings and t-shirts now, so in all honesty there are only a few things I would make for them from the book, including the Peter Pan Collar Dress for special occasions (I really need to use the My Little Pony fabric I’ve been hoarding before they move onto their next obsession). Incidentally I think the Peter Pan Collar Dress should have been the cover photo, I think it’s far more striking!
I wanted to whip up something quick from the book (although all of the patterns are nice and quick compared to making for myself) for my cousin who is expecting her first baby very soon. I have some lovely cotton with rainbow raindrops on which was leftover from another project and it seemed perfect, especially paired with a grey quilted jersey I have leftover too. Annoyingly I didn’t have a lot left which dictated what I ended up making – a smaller version of the taggy blanket. I guess that is a good thing about sewing for children, you can use up all those bits and pieces that aren’t quite big enough for anything else.
I think that a couple of the garments could be improved slightly by changing the pockets on them; they seem a bit oversized which looks too home sewn to me. I’d also make the kimono-style pyjamas in a knit rather than a woven. These things are just personal preference though and that’s the beauty of making clothes yourself; you can change anything you like as you go!
I think that this book is a great starting point for someone who is new to sewing, new to sewing children’s clothes or just a quick reference for anyone else because of the full size patterns.
Disclaimer: CICO Books sent me a copy of Sewing for Babies and Children by Laura Strutt to write about, but all opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any way for this blog post. This blog post contains affiliate links.