I have a new favorite sewing book, Sewing Clothes Kids Love by Nancy Langdon, hereafter to be called The Book. See my post from a few days ago for more details about the book and where to find the Flickr pool. After reading this book cover to cover, I'm impressed with the detail she gives about how to measure your child, adjusting the pattern, making a kinderquin (kid-sized mannequin), and tips for embellishing each pattern.
I started today with the Brooklyn Tank Top and Riviera Leggings at Abby's request. I had picked up this pink stretch knit at the thrift shop a few months ago and had just enough to make matching tops & bottoms for A and M. I followed the pattern exactly for the top. Next time, I'll add a little more length on the straps. I made the pants capri length by shortening the pattern and added a banded cuff. The pattern includes a cut line for shorts, but not for capris. The girls are really happy with them, but they look like PJs because of the fabric. Instead of a summer outfit, they got summer jammies!
What I learned:
~ Tracing a pattern - I had never actually traced a pattern before! I used freezer paper and could faintly see though to trace the appropriate sizes for the girls. No issues.
~ Adding seam allowances- This is my first experience sewing European patterns without seam allowances added. This is actually something I didn't mind because I often serge and don't need big seam allowances. I just eyeballed a scant 1/4" seam where I knew I would be serging and about 1/2" where I would hem. I will likely be more precise and measure when making more complicated patterns, but for these simple patterns with only a few pieces eyeballing it worked fine.
~ Take time to measure your body before cutting! I just guessed which size to use based on commercial sizing, but found that the pants were way too long and the shirts too short. If I had measured like I was supposed to, I'd have saved some time and fabric. I ended up tailoring as I went and ended with a nice finished product but it will be easier to do it right the first time.
Up next will likely be the Dortje pants, but not until I get some more summer clothes made!