One of the best things I have ever done to increase my sewing skills is sewing for my kids. I think it was particularly useful for a few reasons. First, I tend to make two of the same thing, one for each girl. We all know that repeating a pattern/project helps us become a better sewist, but sometimes it gets kind of, well, boring. For the kids, I do it production style: trace both sizes, cut both sizes, sew both shoulder seams, finish bodices… you get the drift.
Also, it has been a great way to try new skills with a smaller commitment of time and investment. With a girls size 6 pattern you just need a whole lot less fabric than a woman’s size 12. Plus, the kids are usually so excited to wear things I have made, it feels great when they say “my mama made my new dress” to their teachers and friends. Pretty cute! And if it all ends in disaster, I tend to fret much less because my expectations are just a bit smaller.
Working with knits is an area of sewing that I have much to learn about. I have had some successes (Renfrew top) and failures (mostly in edge finishing), but these two little green dresses were very successful. I used the Hopscotch pattern from Oliver+S. I made the simple view B with no adjustments. I wanted to start by following all the directions so that I can make some changes to the pattern for the next pair of dresses. My goal is to make this sleeveless, take out the criss-cross top, add ruffle cap sleeves, all sorts of small adjustments to play around with. I love the dress Heather made, and want to make the bodice and sleeve adjustments with this pattern that make her version so sweet.