April 12, 2011

sewing for children: what, exactly, is the point again?


i woke up saturday morning with a strong desire to cut and serge this vintage simplicity pattern. having had great success with my last foray into jersey, i was sure i could be done within an hour. and as we were seeing friends this weekend, of course i needed something new to wear. really, i had NOTHING. 

our friends happen to be blessed with children of various ages. it has been called into question that i do not babysit. it's true. i don't. i'm afraid of killing the child (accidentally, of course). ruggy babysits often. but that's okay, because i sew, and i make handmade things for the children! or at least i thought i would, until i realized it would A) cut into my sewing time and B) become useless within a week's worth of growing spurt. but i am also understanding that C) now it's sew, or sit.

ruggy makes us caffeine, the best espresso in town to be exact, as we ponder our saturday morning goals.

oona: maybe i can whip up a little apron for The Child. 

ruggy: oh, babe you should, that'd be nice.

oona: yeah, i can just make a little half apron from my sew weekly challenge, i already have the pattern and it's super easy.

ruggy: no, you should make a top half for it too and a pocket would be great, i mean wouldn't her parents love it if she wore it at the dinner table and it was really cute and covered up her clothing so she wouldn't get messy but she'd still look pretty, hey make it ADJUSTABLE so she can grow into it, you know just make the neck part longer and as she gets bigger you can let the waist out and add fabric to the bottom, you know?

(oona blinks at ruggy. he has had too much espresso.)

so yeah, i didn't make the dress. i stomped away from the table to make a HALF apron, godammit, but of course ruggy's idea was stuck in my brain, and every step of the way i added another unbearably cute and totally time consuming detail. i mean, a child's apron must have pleats, bien sur. and cute trim. this is half apron stage, which took, appropriately, half an hour. then the madness began.


i'd been saving this trim for 5 years now, i found it for a dollar a yard when i met russell crowe in lalaland's garment district. it's a good thing i saved it to bestow on a child who could give a rat's ass about such details. oh yeah, and every time i didn't get the topstitching perfectly straight, i had to rip it out. because, you know, she would definitely notice.


oh, wouldja look at that. a top half. and an adjustable strap. with buttons. and a nice little pleated pocket. and ALL of my trim. i was left with like two inches when all was said and done. yeah, you bet your ass i saved it. maybe i'll put a ridiculously tiny bow on something adult sized.


several hours later, i wrapped it up in some red tissue paper and presented it to The Child. 

she was quite enamored of the tissue paper.

oona: here, Child, an apron for you! 

parents: oh, look what auntie oona made for you!

(The Child grabs the tissue paper, holding it across her shoulders as if it were a garment.

child: red.

i mean, seriously.

she did love the pocket, though.

ps: parents, i ADORE The Child.

18 comments:

  1. I actually like to sew for others (but not too often). The next project on the pile is a white dress for the tiny girl of a friend. It is so easy to pack on the cuteness!

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  2. omg. this post made me laugh so hard! I've never sewn for a child (though I have quite a few UFOs for my niece...so that's another story). The apron looks absolutely amazing!!

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  3. >> laurwyn: ain't it the truth? the cuteness just takes over, akin to a disease...

    >> debi: i love to make you laugh!

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  4. Jaxon is always asking me to sew costumes for him, but I make them all 3 sizes too big so he doesn't outgrow them...and ten he doesn't want to wear them because their too big....


    .....boys!

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  5. no see, you're missing the whole purpose of sewing for children:

    1) the almost never require fitting... children wear potato sacks for the most part, and poorly made as well if they're store-bought, and so anything you sew is bound to be Better.

    2) children's clothes only require at most 1 yard of fabric. It's ridiculously cheap to sew a dress for a child.

    3) children don't notice if something is poorly sewn, which means anything you sew is Oh. Kay. You can still force them to wear it anyway.

    4) children are deeply impressed your magical abilities to produce a party dress in your office and think you are a superhero or something.


    It's all about the Selfishness.

    Very nice apron, btw.

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  6. *lol*
    That apron is seriously cute, though. Especially the trim... ;)

    I'm planning on a couple of cute little dresses for my friend's little daughter. She's turning one next month...

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  7. Cute apron!

    When I was about kindergarden-age, my mom made my sister and I the cutest smocked dresses growing up. As an adult I love looking at the childhood photos of me and my sis in our handmade garments. As I child.... I'm embarrassed to say I didn't like wearing the garments b/c A) they didn't have a tag (really??) and B) they didn't look like the other kid's retail garments (they were actually better, but as a kid I didn't know that).

    So, will I ever make anything for my kids? Probably, but hopefully they'll appreciate more than I did. :)

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  8. I love sewing kid's clothes. My friends are all starting to have babies and I'm enamored with making miniature things. The cuteness definitely does take over!
    Your apron is adorable. I especially like the pleated pocket.

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  9. I totally feel this way about sewing for kids - and they're my own! I've made a number of dresses, skirts, etc that have never been worn because they inexplicably refuse to put them on. It's a beautiful apron and I'm sure her parents were touched!

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  10. That is a disgustingly cute apron. While I mostly agree with Beangirl, I'll add: I generally only sew my kids what they ask for. I'm beginning to add to this "and I know they will wear", thinking of Tyo's couture winter coat with not one, not two, but three muslins and pad stitching in the collar, which I finished in November and has been worn twice. Mostly because it's way too nice for a ten year old to wear to school. And it's elegant instead of tomboyish...

    As for other peoples' kids, I sew for them as a bribe to the parents. Mostly my SIL who gets saddled with my children for a good chunk of the summer these days.

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  11. omg--I am laughing so hard I can barely type! I made "matching" aprons for twins... not so matching... oh well! your apron is adorable!!! I also made a quilt once for godson, and he proceeded to drag it down the streets of the north end... are you kidding me?!?!
    Love your blog!

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  12. I WANT THAT APRON!!! GIMME GIMME!!!

    Sorry, that was my inner child, throwing a tanty. But I still want it!

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  13. you've done a spectacular apron, the point in making clothing for children is...showing us!:D we can appreciate a good thing when we see one, plus just think- The Child will grow up and see the pics and it will be like ...oohhh!! Antie Oona made this for ME!...:D

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  14. I need to stop reading your blog at work because my coworkers think I'm choking to death on my coffee. You are too hilarious! I love the apron - I think it turned out wonderfully :) Pssh - what do kids know anyway??

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  15. Too funny, and cute apron! I've only once sewn for a child, more like a 'tween--I made a hot pink camo hoodie for a dear friend's 9-year-old daughter coming to visit from Europe. The minute I saw the fabric, I knew it was so her. She squealed and immediately threw it on and didn't take it off for several days. Now that was a happy I-can-sew moment - if only all sewing-for-others experiences could be like that...

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  16. good points, all. i do love to look at childhood pics and wonder who made my favorite dresses, ashley. and i do like receiving praise without putting out much effort, beangirl.

    but kids dragging shite down the street? or flat turning up their cute young noses altogether? y'all might be on your own here.

    now, emilykate, an adult apron i can DO!

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  17. If it helps, that apron is AH-DORABLE! If the kid doesn't want it, send it to me and I'll just hang it in my office and gaze upon its cuteness!

    I *do* like the idea of sewing things for kiddos who ask for them though: that's kinda the method I go by when knitting for The Hubbs: if he picks out the pattern and colors, he's marginally more likely to wear it.

    Also, it sounds like Ruggy REALLY wants to learn to sew, so he can make his own *$&% apron with adjustable straps and a pocket...

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  18. ● elise: you tread a dangerous path. when i give ruggy those sort of options, he then asks for the moon. french cuffs. covered buttons.

    you may wonder how he knows to ask... well, it's because HE. SEWS. oh yes. tailored garments, to be exact. he's made a vest for himself and two skirts for me, but apparently he's done.

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!