Thursday, 5 March 2015

'So, Zo...' Investigates: Independent Children's Sewing Pattern Companies, Part 1

(image source: Brindille & Twig)


If I'm sounding a bit weary these days, it's because I've been out there on the front line investigating  where exactly to find the bestest children's sewing patterns so you don't have to! So what are my findings? Here's the options:

Obviously there's the Big Four children's patterns offerings, many of which are quite nice and some are full of potential, if you can overlook the super-traditional fabric choices and styling. You could try to scout out some fantastic vintage children's patterns on eBay or wherever. Then of course you've got pattern magazines (Ottobre Design magazine being the most awesome), which can work out great value if you like several of the designs in an issue. And finally, and for me most excitingly, there are a whole host of independent children's sewing pattern companies. Basically, it's just like the world of adult sewing patterns in terms of sources. Who knew?!?




So today I want to start talking about the indies. I've only just scratched the surface but initial research suggests that there are loads. And more seem to be appearing almost every day. There's even a flashy online magazine called Stylo dedicated to them! As you would expect, the independent companies often offer less traditional styles, more like the kind of things most parents actually want their kids (or even themselves, some are that good!) to wear. Something I love about these companies is that many/most of them seem to be run by mums from their homes whilst looking after their own kids, and selling their designs through their own sites and blogs or via Etsy.

If, like me, you are new to this subsection of the sewing pattern world but would like to investigate further, here's Part 1 of my little guide to some of the companies that are well worth a look, with Part 2 coming in a few days time. Please note: due to the fact that I have a daughter rather than a son, I've highlighted a few more patterns for girls' clothing than for boys'. Plus I have to say that, just like the adult sewing pattern world, there sadly seems to be far more choice of products for females than males (boys-and-unisex-only company Titchy Threads being a great exception).



(image source: Brindille & Twig)


You can tell that designer Melissa Hendrickson is a mum herself designing with her daughter in mind because the entire collection is, or can be, made in jersey! The majority of these patterns are unisex and the vibrant fabrics used on this site brings a real sense of fun, and I feel that that is what sewing for kids really should be about.

Check out: My personal favourites are the excellent unisex crew neck sweatshirt (pictured above) and the darling flutter sleeve tunic (pictured at the top of the post).


(image source: Compagnie M)

Compagnie M

This small but perfectly formed selection of patterns is predominantly for girls and I literally want to buy them ALL. Also one of the few children's sewing pattern companies not to include 'and' or '&' in their name. Fact. Their strength lays in the potential for awesome fabric combinations and bold button usage.

Check out: The Louisa dress pattern, which if Pinterest is to be believed simply cannot be made into a bad version (I've already snaffled it up). Also the amazing unisex Charles pants/shorts/dungarees pattern pictured above.


(image source: E & E Patterns)

Elegance & Elephants (AKA E & E Patterns)

These are some pretty hip but wearable patterns here, all modelled (as most are, let's be honest) by the designer's own kids. I nearly wrote 'kiddos' then. I have never actually said 'kiddo' out loud in real life. I've clearly been spending too much time reading children's sewing blogs lately.

Check out: The rather excellent unisex Spring Showers jacket pattern (pictured above). The Bubble Pocket Shorts pattern is also all kinds of amazing!


(image source: Figgy's)

Figgy's

I am not cool enough for Figgy's patterns. If they were made in adult sizes I would not be allowed to sew them, I'd look like I'd stolen someone else's clothes because they are far too contemporary. Figgy's are available as PDF's AND as actual paper patterns from actual shops. Each non-virtual pattern pack contains a sweet little woven label that you can sew into your finished creation.

Check out: The effortlessly chic Stellar Tunic/Dress pattern (pictured above) which is ripe for all many of wonderful contrast fabric fun. The unisex Banyan Trousers/Shorts pattern is also a winner and I'm excited to say that I own it. I'm going to wait a couple of years before I make it for Dolores though, I feel they'd suit older children better.


Ok folks, that'll do for today. Tune in again very soon for the next instalment when I'll reveal a further five independent children's pattern companies that you should know about....

26 comments:

Tammy said...

I hadn't heard of brindelle and twig, they look lovely. It's you see for a girl you may not have come across this company as they make patterns for boys, but the slightly retro 70s feel of the designs would work for girls too.

http://www.zonen09.com

Tammy said...

*as you sew for a girl (auto correct sigh)

Miriana said...

I've always liked the look of Zonen 09 for boys. I'm very interested in their Jacob trousers.

GiddyAunt Lola said...

I love Figgy's patterns and have a couple - I really wish they would bring out an adult sunki dress. I love the patterns at Compagnie too - I've wanted the Lotta dress and skirt look good. That's it - you've inspired me to go download them!
http://asaucystitch.blogspot.co.uk/

Christals Creations said...

Great selection, thank you for doing the groundwork for us. :)

Tamsin said...

Thanks for this review. I so wish that I had picked up sewing when my older 2 were younger, I probably would have done if there were patterns like these around. Unfortunately all of my girls are pretty much beyond the usual age ranges for most of these patterns. Even my 9 yr old has measurements that put her in a 12y size! I have the Figgys Sunki tunic for the 'tween' sizes which worked well. This goes up to age 16 so could be tweaked for an adult?

Tamsin said...

Thanks for this review. I so wish that I had picked up sewing when my older 2 were younger, I probably would have done if there were patterns like these around. Unfortunately all of my girls are pretty much beyond the usual age ranges for most of these patterns. Even my 9 yr old has measurements that put her in a 12y size! I have the Figgys Sunki tunic for the 'tween' sizes which worked well. This goes up to age 16 so could be tweaked for an adult?

Annika said...

I'm one of these kid sewing bloggers ☺ so i know all of these companies and am friends with laura from titchy threads, heidi from elegance and elephants and marte from compagnie m. I'm so glad that you mentioned them as they all well deserve it. If you want to know more pattern companies, just send me an email and i will make a list of my favs for you.... also: i just now have a giveaway for the lotta dress by compagnie m on my blog. Come over and try your luck!

Knitlass said...

Great round up - some new ones for me here, thanks! However, please could you tell me where to find/buy some *time* to sew some of these lovely things. I do sometimes manage to buy/download patterns, and I have even been known to print them out.

But, actually sew them? Not so much.

sigh.

Becky said...

Thanks for doing this! I've been looking into this a little myself while I have a little more time to plan, and I'm definitely already finding that imbalance between boys' and girls' patterns. I do have a few Big 4 patterns that I specifically bought because there were options for either gender before I knew what I'm having (a boy), but after going back and looking, there's really hardly anything for boys! But in case this helps other readers, I did stumble across a Facebook group called Sew For Boys recently. It's been really helpful so far in finding indie options in particular (many of the people who post are pattern designers), and seeing lots of examples of them sewn up!

Margo said...

Thanks for your review! I'm excited for the next installment. I hadn't heard of Brindlle and Twig before, but I love their look. And they even have a free hoodie pattern on their site which I am going to try out. I have a little boy, so I'm always on the hunt for interesting basics for him. He loves knits. :)

navybluethreads said...

Love this thank you! That's my weekend 'reading' sorted :-)

badmomgoodmom said...

The Kwik Sew "Sewing for Babies/Toddlers/Children" series of books are worth tracking down. They are fast, accurate and efficient patterns. The clothes are comfortable and my daughter's favorites.

The books contain full-size patterns on thick paper that you trace. They also show you how to alter the patterns for variations. Really a lot of bang for the buck. For the price of one indie pattern, you get an entire wardrobe of patterns.

Mother of Reinvention said...

I bought great patterns in The Netherlands for Sprogzilla when she was wee. They used to sell them on the fabric stall in the market , a definite one stop shop. They had cute little labels in them too. Cant for the life of me remember the brands though. They sewed up beautifully. Making children's clothes is fun. So little fabric. Xx

gingermakes.com said...

Ahhhh, these are so cute! Thanks for linking to Titchy Threads... I'm trying to sew more for my little nephew and have found the boys' sewing patterns on offer a bit sad, and the TT patterns look really cute!

Heather Dawson said...

You MUST check out Oliver+S patterns - they are beautifully drafted and the instructions are great.

http://oliverands.com/

Jennifer Lachman said...

I made a couple of bubble pocket shorts from E&E. They are easy to put together quickly but look like they took a really long time. I love that about them. But Figgy's patterns have a habit of becoming my children s favorite clothes. The banyan top I made last week has already been through the wash twice.

tialys said...

I really regret that, when my girls were tots, I didn't think about sewing clothes for them, apart from the odd costume for school plays, etc. I really don't know why that was because I had sewn both before and since but not during. Maybe it was because the blogging community didn't exist then and I didn't have access to the sort of patterns that are available now. I was also tackling an Open University course at the time which was very heavy on the reading so that probably took over any spare moments I had.

Louise Perry said...

This post could not have been better, I had been googling away looking for patterns for the terrors tonight. So thank you.
Louise x

Chic Mama in EDH said...

Check out Oliver and S patterns! They are adorable and clever and based in NYC. They have a line of women's patterns as well.

Ellen said...

Totally agree. I found the baby one in an op shop for $1. Outdated styling but great basic patterns to play around with.
Otherwise I stick to ottobr and occasionally Oliver and S (eespecially their freebies). So many kids pattern "companies" out there charging $$$ for simple pattern variations and questionable drafting.

audrielle said...

great idea

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