mix and match super quick holiday wardrobe.

Despite having zero time left before setting off for a family holiday a few weeks ago, I was really determined to make a mini quick, practical holiday collection of clothing for each of my kids.

There were two reasons for this. Firstly, I now pretty much make all my own clothes since I set myself a challenge in 2014 to only make my own clothes for a whole year (You can read about my challenge here on my blog). I enjoy the whole process of wearing lovely good quality fabrics and well fitted clothing, safe in the knowledge that no slave labour has occurred in the production. As well as having fun creating and sewing of course! I also like the fact that everything handmade is more considered. I’m always rushing round at 100 miles an hour and in the past have been prone to just buying an item of clothing because I was short of time and ‘something was better than nothing’. Since making all my own clothing I’ve had to be organised in advance and found I focus much more on gaps in my wardrobe and clothing that will definitely fit my lifestyle. You can’t impulse make like you can impulse buy! So now that making my own clothes is ingrained in my lifestyle I naturally feel inclined to extend the whole process to my kids and their clothing.  The difficulty here is… they grow!! This makes it less practical to make EVERYTHING, nevertheless I still aspire to making most of their clothes.

Secondly having recently embarked on the new leg of my business journey (creating dressmaking patterns) I want to give my patterns a real test drive. The first range of patterns is for children. One of the values of my new pattern line (in particular the children’s patterns) is that the clothing is practical to wear as well as practical time wise to make. I think clothing for kids needs to be practical and pretty in equal measures. I am also pretty sure every mum will agree with me that as soon as you become a mum your own time becomes very limited. Things like sewing has to fit into nap times and later has to fit around, school runs, homework and the washing!  While I have two appropriate aged critics I need to make the most of test driving my pattern styles. I do have two brutally honest critics too!

My eight year old little girl was very keen to have shorts to wear, so although I had planned a skirt and a couple of dresses. I decided to make two pairs of shorts, a dress and three t-shirts for her. She chose the Rico icon jersey for a t-shirt and I based the rest of the fabric choices around this. The shorts pattern was the one I developed for my little boy for his first sewing lesson. I simply shortened it for this girl version. I picked fabrics that I thought sat together and would mix together well in which ever combo she decided to put on.

Of course there were a few variables that didn’t work so well together. ..however not in the eyes of my daughter…. This was undoubtedly her fav combo!

I know by now there is little, to no point suggesting one of the other t-shirts would perhaps go with these shorts a bit better….in my view anyway!  I do actually think style is a personal and individual thing, so though this would not have been my styling choice I am happy to have such a positive response about this outfit.

Her favourite item was definitely the blue shorts. She wore them at every opportunity with the other t-shirts as well as some I made a little while ago.

The dress is one of my next patterns to be launched. This is the first one I have made for her and she absolutely loves it. Again her choice from the selection of t-shirts…. From pattern clash to matchy matchy! She loved this dress and chose between this and the blue shorts as her first choice every time.

The yellow shorts were least favoured. I think this was because they had no pattern on them and yellow is not her favourite colour. Every item got worn, washed and dried once during the holiday. Overall a big thumbs up from my most fussy critic!

My little boys items were all short and t-shirts. He has worn the ones he made in his first sewing lesson so much. This was really the inspiration for making these mini holiday collections.  He gets through clean clothes on a daily, sometimes twice daily basis and therefore never seems to have enough clothes. He loves the shorts he made they are so easy to pull on, loose and comfy, from my point of view they are super easy and speedy to make. It was the perfect solution to make more.

He is less fussy about about colours and patterns than my little girl, its more about comfort, he often asks if he can wear his ‘soft’ trousers. Lots of his shop bought t-shirts he won’t wear because they are ‘scratchy’. So this was really a test of fabrics. I made two pairs of cotton shorts in woven quilters weight cotton and one pair in sweatshirt fabric. I thought he would like the Avengers print the best, but he favoured the star print and the sea splash print shorts the most.

All the t-shirts were adequately ‘soft’the only one not worn much was the pale grey one. Overall a pleasing outcome.

From my point of view I did whizz through these as I was short of time. I didn’t properly time how long it took to make these clothes but roughly after cutting out and without hand finishing it took around 6 hours to make all 12 items.

I am thinking about publishing the t-shirt pattern with a couple of versions, as its such a great stable to a kids wardrobe. With all the fun jersey prints around these days I think t-shirts make great gifts too. I’m sure there are probably already lots of basic t-shirt patterns on the market. It would be great to hear what you think, should I publish this t-shirt pattern or not?


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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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