Thursday 16 February 2017

My Favourite Free Children's Sewing Patterns (UPDATED SEPT 2022)

(UPDATED SEPT 2022: broken links removed, new patterns added, new review links added)

If you're reading this then I'm going to assume that you're into sewing. And therefore you'll already be acutely aware that, these days, sewing clothes is almost always more expensive than buying them from a shop. However, there are a number of ways that us sewers/sewists can keep the costs down (I've written about this here and here), and today I want to focus more on saving money on sewing patterns, specifically for children. Thanks to the generosity of many sewing pattern designers, it is entirely possible to create most of a fantastic child's wardrobe (or simply some lovely additions), just using free patterns.

This is not intended as an exhaustive list of free patterns, mind. These are patterns that appeal to me: that I've already tried or intend to try. Plus, I'll freely admit that I'm writing this post as a resource for myself as much as for anyone else! I do think these are particularly good ones though. All but one are multi-sized and many are from designers that have large, well-earned followings of devoted fans.

One awesome thing about making kids' clothes is that they can often be squeezed out of unwanted adult clothing, or from the leftovers from other sewing projects. Happy sewing!


sizes 0 months - 6 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

sizes 7 - 14 years

My first ever version of this awesome pattern was the hoodie pictured above, and seeing my then-much-smaller little girl wearing it. I used some lovely, soft interlock which worked a treat. Since then I have used the pattern multiple times for both my kids. Brindille & Twig have also kindly released a larger version of this pattern that extends into teen sizes, and includes both crossover and scuba neck hood variations. That crossover neck version is next on my sewing list... Both patterns are accessed by going through the Brindille & Twig webshop (no payment required). 

(image source: Misusu Patterns)

sizes 0-3 months to 5-6 years

This lovely unisex pattern could be made in endless combinations of patterned and solid knits. A Facebook account is required to access this pattern. Join the Misusu Patterns Sew and Tell group for info on accessing their three free patterns. 

(image source: Shwin and Shwin)

sizes 1 - 5 years

This cute jacket/cardigan pattern is made from ponte de roma knit, and you could go to town with the embellishment or leave it plain. I think the biggest challenge would be finding an open ended zip that short! 

(image source: Threads by Caroline)

Ester & Ebbe Top by Threads by Caroline
sizes EU sizes 74 - 146, which equates to height in cms. (approx. 9 months to 11 years)
(I reviewed this pattern here)

The Ester & Ebbe top has a slim fit and includes long and short sleeves, plus optional patch pocket and shoulder ruffle. This free basic T-shirt pattern is available in English or Swedish, and is accessed by signing up to the Threads by Caroline newsletter

(image source: Bobbinhood)

sizes 1 to 10 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

Of all the free sewing patterns listed in this post, this is one that I've used the most (alongside the Lightning leggings and Speedy pants patterns). Bobbinhood is actually a screen printing company and they developed this excellent sewing pattern as a basis for your own screen printing experiments. Please note that this pattern doesn't include seam allowances. Download it directly from the site, no sign-ups or webshop to navigate. 

(image source: Brindille & Twig)

sizes 0 months - 6 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

This would be a great pattern for reusing old adult T-shirts, plus it includes a long-sleeved version for cooler weather. I've made a couple of these tees for my little boy to use as sleepwear, see the review linked above. This pattern is accessed by going through the Brindille & Twig webshop (no payment required). 

(image source: Fleece Fun)

sizes 2 to 7 (years I think?)

This simple, fastening-free knit cardigan could be easily adapted to your requirements and/or customised for more personality. I'd like to make this with patch pockets, plus lengthen and taper the sleeves to the wrists. Watch out though: you may get a headache or want to throw your laptop across the room because of all the ads that are plastered all over this website.  

sizes 3 to 14 years

The tie-front detail, dolman sleeves and relaxed fit make this a really lovely pattern that would look fabulous in drapier single jerseys. I think this could be a real winner with early- and pre-teens, but then what do I know?!

(image source: Misusu Patterns)

sizes EU 62 - 164 (approx. 0-3 months to 13-14 years)
(I reviewed this pattern here)

The Rowan tee is an over-sized, boxy, unisex-style T-shirt with two sleeve variations and optional patch pocket that is designed for knit fabrics. A Facebook account is required to access this pattern. Join the Misusu Patterns Sew and Tell group for info on accessing their free patterns. 

(image source: Hey June Handmade)

sizes 6 - 16 years
(I reviewed this pattern here and more recently here)

This is a fantastic pattern for using up lighter, drape-y knit fabrics. It has real scrap-busting potential and I've had a lot of fun cutting the different pieces from different fabrics for these versions. It's also a great style for hot weather, and looks awesome worn with leggings. Check out my second review post to see how I used this top pattern as a basis for making two different dress styles. The pattern is accessed via the Hey June Handmade webshop, no payment required. 

(image source: Ikatee patterns)

sizes 3 - 8 years 

This beautiful summer blouse pattern is one of the four free patterns on offer from the gorgeous French sewing pattern company, Ikatee, when you sign up to their mailing list. 


(image source: Elegance and Elephants)

sizes 12 months - 9 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

These classic knit sweatpants appear really comfy, IMO. Perfect for lounging around or more sporty activities. 

(image source: Ikatee patterns)

sizes 3 - 12 years (also Barcelona jogpants sizes 6 - 24 months) 

Another of the  four free patterns on offer from Ikatee when you sign up to their mailing list. I'm seriously struggling to decide which to pick!

sizes newborn - 12 years
(I reviewed this pattern here when Waves & Wild used to be called Made by Jacks Mum)

This is a wonderful pattern with many awesome and useful options. It includes two general fits: relaxed fit (which works really well as PJ bottoms) and traditional slim fit (pictured above). The smaller sizes of both fits also include washable nappy version with a wider bum area. And all those options are also available as full length, capri AND shorts lengths. Oh wait, and then you've got elastic or banded options for the waist, and hemmed or banded options for the hem edges on all styles. PHEW. Get downloading through their webshop (no payment or sign ups required). 

(image source: Made by Rae)

sizes 3 - 6 months with instructions to modify pattern for larger sizes

I think that Rae is such an excellent designer, and being able to sample her work for free is a real treat. It can be hard to find fun baby tights, and even harder to find any that you might want to put a boy in (the benefit being that they feet stay covered, unlike with socks which so often come off). I reckon this could be a super useful pattern which could easily be made from the leftovers from other projects or from unwanted adult garments. 

(image source: Misusu Patterns)

sizes 62 - 116 (approx. ages 0-3 m to 6 years)
(I reviewed this pattern here and more recently here)

I really recommend that you click through to see some of the clever variations of shorts and trousers that are possible with this versatile, unisex pattern. You could also go to town mixing and matching fabrics, which could be a really fun way to use up scraps from previous sewing projects. A Facebook account is required to access this pattern. Join the Misusu Patterns Sew and Tell group for info on accessing their free patterns. 

(image source: Bel' Etoile Patterns)

sizes 98cm - 164cm height (approx. 3 - 14 years) 
(I reviewed this pattern here)

I adore the retro sports shorts style of the Siem pattern. I made it for my daughter in some amazing French Terry (AKA loop-back terry), but it would also work in stretch velour, stretch towelling, interlock, Ponte Roma or lighter weight sweatshirt fleece. The binding can be made from ribbing, jersey or strips of fabric harvested from unwanted T-shirts. Please note that this pattern doesn't include any seam allowances (ask me how I know!). This pattern is accessed by going through the Bel' Etoile webshop (no payment required). 

(image source: Brindille & Twig)

sizes preemie to 3T (I've often found that Brindille & Twig sizes come up large, so I'd advise using the height rather than the age when picking which size to use)
(I reviewed this pattern here)

This pattern looks like a fantastic, unisex, modern take on the traditional nappy cover. I'm about to test whether or not these bummies can stop my little boy from whipping off his nappy when it's too hot for him to wear clothes! This pattern is accessed by going through the Brindille & Twig webshop (no payment required). 

(image source: lilypadmontana)

tutorial for full width of fabric, adjust elastic to fit wearer

There are probably about 20,000 basic gathered skirt tutorials out there, but Oliver + S instructions are always excellent so I'd be inclined to try this one. I like the little addition of the ribbon around the hem. This would be a great project to give as a gift; no non-sewer would realise how quick and simple it was to make!

(image source: Small Dreamfactory)

sizes approx. 0-2 months to 10 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

If you're looking for a simple A-line knit skirt then stop the clock. Pretty knit scraps, prepare to get used. The pattern downloads straight from the website, no sign-ups or shopping carts to navigate. Please note that this pattern does not include seam or hem allowances. 

Playsuits and dresses:

(image source: Elegance and Elephants)

sizes 12 months - 9 years

It'd make sense holding off making this until the child you are making it for can tell you that they need to wee more than four seconds before it starts to happen.

(image source: Purl Soho)

sizes 2 to 11 years

The same point above applies here! You could add a simple rectangle shape skirt piece to the bottom instead to make this pattern into a dress.

sizes 2 - 10 years 

A really cool pattern for a sweatshirt or dress with contemporary dropped shoulder seams and gathered sleeves. Made in French Terry or sweatshirt fleece, this would be a really cosy option for colder months. 

sizes 12 months to 10 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

This bodice-and-full-skirt dress has a relaxed style and a number of optional design details (square or round neck, pockets, collar, side ties, turn-back sleeve cuffs). I used this pattern to make my daughter a summer school dress (see above).  The fit of the bodice is quite boxy, which I thought looked really cool but she didn't enjoy and refused to wear it beyond this photo shoot! The pattern is accessed through the Sewpony webshop, no payment required.  

(image source: Made By Oranges)

Scarlet Dress by Made by Oranges
sizes EU 74 - 164 (approx. height in cms)

The 'Made by Oranges' design team are the people behind My Image, B*Inspired and B-Trendy pattern magazines, and they've made a number of their patterns available in PDF form also. This spec drawing may not look super inspiring, but the modelled images that you can see here look really sweet. Plus a free dress pattern suitable for colder months is a rare and valuable thing, depending on the climate where you live of course. This pattern is available in English, French, German and Dutch, and is accessed via their webshop, no payment required. 

(image source: It's always autumn)

sizes 4 to 14 years

This simple knit dress is definitely a project that you could make the evening before setting off on holiday. They've also given instructions to modify this pattern into a raglan sleeved version for something a bit fancier.

(image source: Hey June)

sizes 12 months to 8 years

My daughter used to have several hand-me-down dresses like this which were soooo useful in the summer. They are the perfect holiday garment if you're going somewhere warm because knit dresses don't need ironing. Fact.

Nightwear, underwear and swimwear:

If you want to get more use from free 'day wear' pattern, I can attest to the fact that the Brindille & Twig Ringer tee pattern and the Waves and Wild Lightning leggings (relaxed versions) work really well together as pyjama sets. The Ikatee Barcelona or Jim jogpants (made in jersey or interlock, perhaps omitting the pockets) would probably also work well, but I haven't tested those patterns personally. Hey June's Racerback dress (above) could also be used to make a warm weather nightdress.

(image source: Sew a Little Seam)

sizes 12 months to 12 years (plus adults sizes)
(I reviewed the men's version of this pattern here)

This fantastic basic pyjama pattern is basically a one-stop shop for all your kid's sleepwear needs because it includes heaps of variations: shorts, capri or long length bottoms with elastic or yoga band waistbands, and short, 3/4 or long sleeve versions for the top. Please note: you must join the Sew a Little Seam Facebook group to access a code that will allow you to download this pattern for free. 

(image source: Sewpony)

sizes 12 months to 12 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

I had some fit issues with this pattern, but I think that was largely down to me making this pattern from slinky jersey fabrics, rather than nicely behaved woven cotton. The second version I made (scroll to the bottom of the post) which pieced together lots of jersey scraps has had a long and happy life, and it is my daughter's favourite garment to wear to bed. The pattern is accessed through the Sewpony webshop, no payment required.  

sizes 3m - 14 years plus adults' sizes
(I reviewed this pattern here and more recently here)

This is my go-to pattern for woven pyjama bottoms. They can be worn with any old T-shirt or vest top are super comfy, and are soooo comfy. My kids and I had a lot of fun tie-dyeing some old bedsheets which eventually became the PJ shorts pictured above. The pattern is accessed through the Patterns for Pirates webshop, no payment required. 

sizes 6-12 months to 12 years
(I reviewed this pattern here and more recently here)

This fabulous pattern includes both boxer and brief styles and I've made so many pairs of undies from it at this point, it's almost ridiculous. For my daughter, I used the briefs style but narrowed the widths of the gusset a little. I've made both versions for my son, he wears both but prefers the briefs. This pattern might also work as swimwear if made in suitable fabric. To access the pattern, go through the webshop (no payment required), or sign up to the newsletter. 

(image source: Small Dreamfactory)

sizes approx. 1-2 years to 5-6 years

An amazing scrap-buster if ever I saw one. This pattern requires fold over elastic and those small bits of pretty jersey that you weren't sure why you were hanging on to but couldn't bring yourself to chuck out. The pattern downloads straight from the website, no sign-ups or shopping carts to navigate. Please note that this pattern does not include seam allowances. 

(image source: Small Dreamfactory)

sizes approx. 9 months to 14 years

This is like an adorable kid's version of my free women's vest pattern! They recommend to use ribbing for the binding and straps, but I fancy trying it with some soft fold over elastic. The pattern downloads straight from the website, no sign-ups or shopping carts to navigate. Please note that this pattern does not include seam or hem allowances. 

sizes: 18 months to 6 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

This pattern is listed as a 'girls tank' but it looks super unisex (and very cute) to me. It's a great top for hot weather, or a cosy under layer in chillier months. I made a stack of these when my daughter was smaller and some of them latest for my son to wear also. My kids have used these as nightwear in warmer months as well as comfy daywear. 

(image source: Treasurie)

sizes 2 to 14 years
(I reviewed this pattern here)

If your child has a bikini top that still fits them but the bottoms have got too small, or they need some bottoms to go with a rash vest, then this looks like a fun, quick sewing project to take on. This pattern could probably also function as the basis for regular undies. I might test this theory and if I do, I'll report back...

(image source: Small Dreamfactory)

sizes approx. 3 to 16 years

I was recently given some small pieces of swimwear fabric and I am so excited to give this pattern a try! You could also add some ruffles to the front and/or back like Swiss army wife did hereThe pattern downloads straight from the website, no sign-ups or shopping carts to navigate. Please note that this pattern does not include seam or hem allowances. 


(image source: Waves & Wild)

Sizes: newborn - XL adult

This useful hat pattern is reversible for lots of outfit matching potential. It could also be used to make a rain hat in waterproof fabric. Download through their webshop (no payment or sign ups required). 

(image source: swoodsonsays)

This useful blog post reviews four free beanie hat patterns. I like the look of the grey and black striped one and the blue one, both of which I'm hoping can be made from scraps or old garments. 

(image source: Elvelyckan Design)

Sizes: child and adult

This super useful drawstring backpack could have lots of applications, including nursery bag, PE kit bag, shoe bag or swimming kit bag. It can be made with the contrast panel or without. 

Wednesday 8 February 2017

Your Dolores Batwings

It's been yonks since I shared some of the wonderful Dolores batwing pattern creations out there, so if you'll indulge me, let's have a wee update.

(image source: Gabby Young/@gabberdashery on Instagram)

Fantastic sewing blogger/vlogger Gabby (AKA Gabberdashery) showed us this 70's style poppy print short-sleeved Dolores batwing dress on one of her excellent vlogs, and in turn caused quite a number of her viewers to buy the pattern for themselves. Enormo-thanks to Gabby for spreading her influence in my direction!

(image source: @felicityfrance on Instagram)

Oh my goodness! Such a stunning, vibrant long-sleeved Dolores batwing top. How pretty does it look with that little silver necklace?! Damn those effortlessly stylish French women!

(image source: Tina Harvey/@tinabella83 on Instagram)

Having said that, the polar opposite (a hella jazzy print) works awesomely with this pattern too! This fabric makes getting caught out in a storm look really appealing and magical, doesn't it?

(image source: Tina Harvey/@tinabella83 on Instagram)

Umm, there Tina goes again choosing epic fabric to make Dolores batwings from. This one features origami dinosaurs with lightning bolts. I hope you were sitting down when you read that last sentence.

(image source: Thea's adventures in Sewingland

Thea's flawlessly sleek dress reminds me how solid black can really make the style of a garment sing. I, personally, have a solid black long-sleeved top version, a solid black long-sleeved tunic version AND a solid black short-sleeved dress version. But having seen this I'm feeling that a gap has just opened up in my wardrobe for a solid black long-sleeved dress version too...

(image source: Alison Turner/@alicatturner on Instagram)

Alison chose the perfect bathroom-selfie background to pick out the turquoise in her vibrant floral print Dolores dress! I don't know if she adjusted the fit at all, but this dress looks amazing on her, doesn't it?

(image source: Clare Williams/@eclare71 on Instagram)

Clare made herself and her beautiful little girl fabulous matching sparkly garments for a special night out, and they could not look any cuter together! Judging by her Instagram feed, it appears Clare is rivalling Tina Harvey (above), Alexa/Almost a Hippy (below) and myself for most prolific Dolores batwing maker.  

(image source: kalimak/@swarmofchickadees on Instagram)

Now these are some pyjamas I certainly wouldn't be embarrassed to answer the door in! I love the slouchy oversized Dolores top as part of this cosy ensemble.

(image source: Alexa/@almostahippy on Instagram)

Last September Alexa took part in the OWOP (one week, one pattern) challenge, with the Dolores batwing as her chosen sewing pattern. This peacock-esque printed version is my personal favourite. 

Thanks to all these lovely ladies pictured above for sharing their Dolores creations. If you have a version of the pattern you'd like to show off, I'd LOVE to see it! Please email me at sozoblog (@) gmail dot com, or via Instagram using the hashtag #doloresbatwing. If you wish to see more amazing versions, check out how the Dolores batwing pattern looks in solids, prints and stripes.
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