back to school

S started second grade today and was excited to wear a new dress my mom made for her using the same pattern that she used to make a dress for me when I was this age. S still wears my old dress, but her new one is made in school-approved colors (S’s school has a dress code) and with fabrics the three of us picked out together last spring. She wore it with a handkerchief linen Music Class blouse I made a couple of years ago.



I have such fond memories of the sewing my mom did for me when I was in school. I always felt very secure and loved when I wore the clothes my mom made because I knew she was thinking of me when she selected her fabrics and during the time she spent assembling my dresses.

I want S to feel that love too, so I like to involve her in my sewing. She often helps to choose fabrics, and we talk about what we’re going to make. When she was younger she would sit on my lap while I sewed, but these days she would prefer to do her own sewing with no help from me. No matter what, I know she’s proud of the handmade clothing she wears and she knows that it’s one of the ways I show her I love her. Today when I said goodbye I hoped that even if she felt a little unsure of herself, she might look down at that dress her Grandma made and remember all the people who love her!

I think a lot of the projects I’ve designed  would be great for back-to-school. From the Little Things to Sew book, what about the Penguin Backpack or the Messenger Bag? Or the Bento Lunchbox? All fun projects that can be used all year long.

For boys, the new Cargo Pants + Raglan T-Shirt would be great, wouldn’t they? Or, of course, the Sketchbook Shirt + Shorts are good for warm school weather at the start and end of the year.

The Music Box Jumper is a great jumper option for girls. What about the 2+2 Skirt and Blouse, or the Music Class Blouse + Skirt? I can think of so many patterns that would be great for school. Every year I make two pairs of Nature Walk pants for gym class, and S has really been liking the Badminton Skort because she loves the shorts underneath the skirt. (She’s a dress or skirt girl, but she loves to play, too.)

What are you sewing this fall? Have you already finished your back-to-school sewing, or are you just getting started?



  1. When I was a kid, my grandma and my mom sewed all my clothes. And I’d have it no other way! I loved wearing something no one else had. I stopped wearing homemade clothes when I got into fourth grade or so, but now I make most of my outfits for work. You’re right, you definitely have a sense of love and caring when you wear something your relative made for you. S is a lucky girl!

  2. Sarvi

    My mom was a single mom with health issues who worked really hard hours, and she always feels bad that she wasn’t able to give me the handmade clothes and home cooked meals my grandmother gave her. When I cook and sew for my daughter, I feel like I’m doing it for my mom as well, giving her a second shot at a different kind of parenthood by proxy. She loves seeing my daughter in things I’ve made and brags to her friends about me. The connection between the four generations is pretty wonderful — like a very long life story where there’s always another chapter.

  3. Rita

    So sweet. My 2 1/2 year old loves that I make clothes for her. Her daycare teacher told me a couple of days ago that she was playing with another little girl and she told her that she liked her dress, then she asked if her mommy made it for her. I just loved hearing that.

  4. S looks lovely in her new dress!

    Last year, my middle daughter’s teacher mentioned that she liked a shirt MG had on. The teacher was surprised when MG told her that I sewed it. From then on, everytime my daughter wore a new piece of clothing her teacher asked her if her mom had sewn it. MG was so proud that the teacher took special notice of her.:)

    I haven’t started back to school sewing this year yet as it’s still quite warm here. But in the coming months, I’ll be tackling it. My youngest is using her Penguin backpack for school. She was delighted to report back after the first day that no one had the same backpack! Today, 3 of my kids left the house for school in mom made clothes: P had on his sketchbook shorts, M an Ice Cream Top, and B wore a Badminton skort.

  5. Sarah

    I sent my daughter to her first day of preschool in a dress I made her. I told her wearing that is like having me hug her the whole time she’s there because while I making it for her I was thinking about and feeling all the love we have for each other.

  6. mel

    My mom sewed for me when I was young, and I remember being shocked and excited when she first told me that while I was going through baby photos. I love to hear my grandmother tell me stories about the quilting she and her sisters did with their mother. I’m fascinated with and in awe of all the hand stitching that went into quilts and clothing they had.

    I love that my daughter enjoys my sewing for her, and has even said that, “when our new baby gets here I will put him/her in the stroller and take him/her to the fabric shop.” She gets a lot of compliments about her clothes, and it makes me smile on the inside and out when she beams, telling people that her mommy made this for her. It makes me so happy that she and I have this connection. I hope it’s something we can always do together and enjoy.

  7. I have snuck several O+S pattern into my tribes school uniforms. They always look so nice.

  8. Lisa

    Such lovely stories about sewing for the ones you love. Im much the same. I love sewing for my little girls and it’s nice to hear my four year old telling her carers or other family members that she’s wearing something that I have made for her. She’s not at the uniform stage just yet but I will be going through the patterns to see what will make a great uniform, the suggestions above sound perfect though. We have just started spring and I have made the hula hoop skirt, so easy to make and it looks great too. Have also made several Sunday Brunch skirts that I really should tackle the Brunch jacket perhaps in a Spring light weight fabric.

    My mother was not a sewer but an amazing knitter. I no longer have the clothes she made for me as a child but she did knit me a baby shawl just before she died 7 years ago. I hope she was looking down when I used it for my two baby’s baptism’s and coming home from the hospital. I shall treasure it always.

  9. She is such a doll, Liesl. What a special memory for the three of you.

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