Renee from Nearest the Pin on KCW

the first garment I ever made for my kids: Renee

Hi sewers/sewists/seamstresses/people who read the KCW blog, this week we thought it would be fun to have a look back at some of our earliest sewing projects. I’m going to show you the first two patterns I sewed for my daughter.

My earliest projects are not that old, I’ve only been sewing seriously for about 2 years – but they are pre-blogging. There are no photo shoot shots, just candid real life ones and mostly from my iPhone, so apologies for that. I’ll show you some of these and then talk about a few things I’ve learned between then and now.

Rae’s Big Butt Baby Pants

I didn’t even appreciate back then what a great learning pattern this is. It’s a really simple sew. I’m sure you’re all familiar with this pattern, but just in case, there is a really cute separate panel at the behind to give extra room for the nappy/diaper. It introduces sewing curves which is helpful as these curves are less intimidating than setting sleeves. For a simple pattern they still look pretty professional IMO. And apparently babies can get away with some pretty crazy fabric combinations (see below – not sure what I was thinking)!!


Abby’s Polly Peasant Dress

Also a great beginner pattern – there are only two pattern pieces, the front/back piece and the sleeve. The elasticated neckline slips over the head so there are no zips or buttons to worry about. The other great thing about this pattern is that my little girl could wear this as a dress at 15 months old and now she can still wear it, but as a tunic at 2 and a half!

Polly Peasant 1

So my first garments didn’t turn out too badly – it was when I first started sewing with knit, not too long after this that I really produced some disasters!!

What have I learned from these first sewing adventures?

1. Quilting cotton is not the best choice for clothing. Do you agree? I find it a bit stiff and scratchy – especially the fabrics I chose here which were just bought from a chain fabric store. I know some of the designer quilting cottons are of a much higher quality and nicer to wear, but generally dress fabrics are the way to go.

2. Indie patterns are the best – when you’re starting out, I’ve found that indie pattern designers really go out of their way to create easy to follow patterns with great instructions and diagrams (Obviously this is a generalisation as I haven’t tried them all). In addition to the pattern instructions you can often find further help on the designers blog in the form of further tutorials, sew-alongs and pattern tours.

3. Mistakes are ok – not every project turns out and that’s cool. While it can be really disheartening at the time, we all learn something from these argh moments and become better sewers. The key is not to let these fails erode your confidence – they happen to all of us.

So tell me, what was the first pattern you ever made for your kids? Was it an indie pattern? What is your stance on quilting cottons? Do share!


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  • Reply Rae May 8, 2014 at 7:43 am

    AWW that is so cool! Thanks for the vote of confidence. I’m so glad you enjoyed the B3Ps!! 


    • Reply renee May 8, 2014 at 7:56 am

      Thanks Rae – looking at photos of my two years ago daughter was so fun, I didn’t know squat about sewing then but you taught me well 😉

  • Reply Natalie May 8, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Ooo!  I love the big butt pants – so cute!!  The first things I made were the bloomers and baby shorts out of the Simple Sewing for Baby book by Lotta Jansdotter.  I’ve since put them on my second bub and realise how much my sewing has improved in those 3 years!!  

    • Reply renee May 8, 2014 at 7:58 am

      Your sewing must have been awesome to hold up for two babies Natalie – I doubt mine would have 😉

  • Reply honeymadeit May 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I still remember the first thing I made my daughter. She was almost three and I made her a nightgown and a matching one for her new cabbage patch doll. They were for Christmas. I have a picture of them but that was over 25 years ago. The picture is a polaroid not digital. That started my obsession with sewing and fabric. Where has the time gone? Making things for my granddaughter and her American Girl doll now. The more things change the more they stay the same.

    • Reply renee May 8, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      How fantastic that you now sew for your granddaughter and her doll – I hope I’ll be able to do that one day too 😉

  • Reply Abby May 8, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Hehe, I love that she can still wear the dress! That’s the beauty of peasant dresses, lol!

  • Reply Jenya May 9, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Of course babies can get away with any colour combos hehe Thank you for sharing Renee 🙂

    The first thing I ever made for LM was a self-drafter knit tee with snaps on the shoulder. I spent forever studying one of her t-shirts first. and then cut up one of my husband’s tees to make it. I knew nothing about sewing with knits (and next to nothing about sewing full stop), let alone pattern making. I had no idea one was supposed to use stretch stitch, and I stuffed up with seam allowances. The tee (surprisingly) turned out almost wearable – almost because it was too small, but LM did get to wear it twice. Luckily for me she was too little to care!

  • Reply Stephanie May 9, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    I just wanted to comment on the quilting cottons for clothing. Most of the clothes I make myself and for my daughter are with quilting cottons. I usually check the feel of the fabric and check the drape on it in the store before buying. There aren’t many places for me to get the designer fabrics near by, so I do shop at the chain stores more often.

    Another thing that I’ve done that helps a lot is pre-washing all of my fabrics in the hottest water possible and dry on the highest heat that’s safe for it. Doing this before I begin any clothing sewing project helps so that the clothing item doesn’t shrink. I’ve noticed by doing this, it also makes the clothes feel softer, but maybe that’s just me. 🙂

    • Reply renee May 11, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Thanks Stephanie – I know my thoughts on quilting cottons is not universal and that’s cool! It fact I’d love to be proved wrong as the colours and prints available are so fun! I never wash in hot water – maybe that’s my problem 🙂

  • Reply Magda E. May 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I used a selfdrafted pattern for the first outfit I made for my daughter. 

  • Reply Brooke May 14, 2014 at 11:10 am

    That peasant dress is awesome! And I have decided that I like quilting cotton for kid shorts but not much else. Also indie patterns are the only way I roll! I don’t like the big box patterns at all!

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