Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kids coats

Making garments for little kids is very liberating.  You can test out new skills and techniques and the recipient, if little enough, appreciates the end result (or at least can't refuse to wear it) and always looks cute.

This is a pattern I bought when my son (now almost 21) was an infant.  I made many little jackets for him until he grew out of it.

Here's one I made when he was 2 years old.  I realized that on little kids' clothes, I could combine colours that really popped - here, purple and green.  I'm not a big embellisher but I had fun making the dragon appliqué for the back of his jacket.

The dragon design was lifted from a strange little stuffed object, which you can see at right.  I have no idea what its origins might be.  I think it was mainly red on the other side.

I traced the shape from the original and cut it from some sturdy green fabric.  I must have interfaced before applying the eye and machine stitched decorative zig-zag pattern since there is no puckering at all.  The teeth and nails were little folded pieces of white fabric, and the tufts were made from some white yarn.  The eye is a black button.

I balanced the back's fanciness by making up a star and moon for the front pockets.

The coat itself is super simple.  For the shell, I used an outerwear fabric called Commander (according to the MacPhee Workshop site, it's a 75-25 poly-cotton blend).  To line, I used a 200 weight polar fleece.  With a pair of bib-front overall snow pants (from a Kwik-Sew pattern, also much-used) in the same fabric, the suit kept my two-year-old warm and dry all winter.

The following winter, my toddler had turned into a little boy who was pretty interested in fire trucks.  He told me he wanted a snow suit that looked like the uniforms then in use by Ottawa firefighters.  I found the guys on the trucks quite willing (after they had verified the call to our street was a false alarm) to talk about the features of their suits so was able to take notes and sketch the details, including the distinctive pattern for the retro-reflective tape.  It's different for the front and back which is useful in a dark and smoky environment.   The hardest part was locating yellow retro-reflective tape but somehow I did it.

Again, the outer shell was some sort of cotton-poly water resistant stuff.  This coat was insulated with Thinsulate.  The collar is black corduroy, apparently traditional.  The matching snow pants have red elastic shoulder straps, repurposed from a pair of men's braces.

The year after that, dinosaurs were the all-consuming passion.  You've already seen his Hallowe'en costume.  Well, his winter jacket had dinos on it too, but they were pretty subtle... (click to enlarge).

This coat also incorporated retro-reflective features - piping at the collar, shoulder and forearm.  I probably put some in the back too.  It's a really great safety feature during our long dark winters.

If you have a little one, experiment and enjoy!


  1. That dragon jacket is a work of art!

  2. Wow, they're all amazing! :) I especially love the cute dragon.
    Ashley x

  3. The dragon coat is so cute and looks like it is a recent design .

  4. You do such amazing work! What a fabulous set of coats! Hopefully he has a son that he can pass them on to.

  5. I feel the same way about making kids' clothes! Although, none of the jackets I've made yet have been quite as intricate as these... I LOVE the fireman snowsuit.

  6. Fabulous work! I can't tell you how much I get from your blog-it is so inspiring. Thanks!

  7. I love the dinosaurs on the green coat. Who would think that dinosaurs could be subtle? Great job on all the coats.

  8. What a shame we can't be as creative with adult garments. I miss sewing children's wear - my daughters are now 19 and 15.

  9. Really nice! I've never had little ones to sew for, although now and then I find a victim to take something I've had an itch to make. Love the fireman's suit. My nephew was hooked on those too, for a while. The dragon is absolutely darling, and what a charismatic dragon. The dinosaurs though, are perfect for a boy who loves dinosaurs but is a little past the 'cute' clothing stage. What a thoughtful Mom!

  10. I loved that Burda pattern! I made it for my son who is now 22 out of corduroy and flannel, and kept the pattern and made it for my daughter out of leopard print cute. There was a matching pants pattern that I made for him too.