We always take customer feedback seriously, and one thing we’ve heard clearly in the last year is that people want more patterns for boys’ clothing.
Most boys’ tops are either T-shirts (no fun to make, in my opinion) or shirts with collars and plackets and cuffs and such. In other words, they have a lot of fiddly details that can be very tedious to sew.
Instead of doing something along these lines, I wanted to design an outfit that would be fun, a little different from the norm, appropriate for both boys and girls, and relatively easy to sew at the same time.
While I was contemplating all this, it occurred to me that I adore my old French navy shirt. It’s a little slouchy and very comfortable. I love the navy and white stripes, the soft knit French terry, and the buttons at the shoulder. “Hey!” I thought, “That would be such a great style to re-interpret for kids.” This is my version of that beloved shirt.
Not only can this pattern be sewn from a printed cotton, linen, or other woven fabric, but it’s also great for knits. I made this green-and-white striped sample with interlock, which is my favorite knit fabric because it’s a bit more substantial than jersey and doesn’t curl up the way that jersey tends to do. A couple of friends have been telling me about the many new knit fabrics that are available, which is great because it used to be so difficult to find them. The worst part of sewing with knits is finding matching rib trim. But that’s not a problem with this pattern, fortunately, as it doesn’t require any trim.
For this garment, I stitched the interlock pretty much the same way I sew any woven fabric. I don’t have a serger or use any special stitches on my machine, so obviously those of you who have more experience stitching with knits will be able to do many more interesting things than I did here. One thing I did do, though, is to put a heavier thread in my bobbin when I did the topstitching. And I love the result I got. The stitching really stands out and doesn’t get swallowed up in the stretchy fabric the way ordinary topstitching might.
And what about adding appliques to a solid or a woven stripe (horizontal, if you please) for everyday play? (Never done an applique? I did a tutorial on disdressed a couple years ago that you might want to read.) I’m envisioning all sort of fun designs you could add. Ice cream cones. Lobster. Dinosaurs. Oooh, robots!
You could also use the freezer paper stencil and instructions from the Sandbox Pants pattern to paint fun shapes onto the shirt using fabric paint, which is fast and easy and actually fun to do with kids.
Anyway, the Sailboat top is is seriously the easiest shirt to sew. It comes together in no time, and the sleeve fits the armhole very easily. No messing around with easing in the extra fabric. I could sew these shirts all day and be a happy person. Could probably finish a mess of them in no time, too. I want to teach this pattern for a class sometime soon; it would be perfect for new students who have never followed a pattern before. It’s not difficult to sew, and it scores high on the accomplishment/satisfaction scale. Perfect.
Up next: the sailor-style skirt and pant that go with this top.