patterns for toddler self-dressing
13 years agowooly jen @wooly jen
Hi! I love all of the Oliver + S patterns I have, but now that our 22-month-old is in a Montessori toddler program *some* of the items I’ve made can’t be worn M – F. For toddlers, Montessori programs emphasize self-care — so button closures, drawstrings, and so on are out. I have made little F a stack of elastic-waist pants and adjusted the shoulder button placement on the Sandbox top so it is only decorative (she can just pull it over her head). Dresses and skirts are out for school wear until little F is completely toilet trained (the girls just end up sitting on their skirts while on the potty)…so as you can imagine there are some limits on my sewing this year!
Does anyone have suggestions for patterns I could make and/or adjust to make them good for self-dressing? I have to stick to simple pull-on pants for now, but I’m thinking about tops that might be fun. The Hopscotch top seems a natural, but could the 2 + 2 work as a pullover? Is the back button absolutely necessary? Suggestions would be most welcome!!13 years agoicicle @icicle
I did a 2+2 top without back buttons and it worked just fine. If the untied neck strings would bother you, there are a few examples in the flickr stream of people swapping it out for a button loop — an elastic loop might possibly stretch enough for a slip-over style. The Ice Cream top would be a good slip-over style with an elastic button loop too. Also, the sailboat pants have buttons but because of the back elastic waist, my kid slips them off and on without using them.13 years ago
2/3 of my kids have been through Montessori, and the third will start in about 11 months. While they do emphasize self dressing, I wouldn’t worry about the tops so much as the bottoms. I can’t remember a time my kids have needed to do their tops in school. I wouldn’t discount skirts- most Montessori girls just pull them down around their ankles like they do pants, and they’re a great fast option for getting to the potty on time. (I do however, live in the South, so most of the time we don’t need tights with our dresses or skirts.) For the sandbox pants, I would probably just eliminate the drawstring. If you’re really worried, ask your Directress what things have been a concern in the past. Our school has always been able to work with us. Before I could sew, my son always wore overalls because pants and shorts wouldn’t stay up. They figured out a way that he could dress himself with those, even though they are not very kid friendly to put on.13 years agowooly jen @wooly jen
Thanks for the tips about the Sandbox pants, Johanna! That’s a pattern I don’t have (yet:)…), but it might serve really well.
I know each Montessori program is different; our toddler room teacher happens to be pretty firm about the clothing “rules,” which sound considerably narrower than those at your school. *At first* I was a little miffed (what about all those cute dresses and skirts I’ve made???), but now that we’re a few months into the school year I am completely on board — and the little team of toddlers is pulling on their elastic-waist pants and pullover shirts like a bunch of old pros.
Of course, I’m looking forward to next year when Miss F can wear dresses and things with buttons, but in the meantime I’ll have to be creative within certain restrictions.
Thanks again for the ideas — and if anyone can think of other patterns that might work for me this year I would really appreciate the input.13 years ago
If they are being firm about it, what about modifying the buttons that are on the front to have snaps or Velcro underneath? I can see the tea party play suit being easy. I also think the Sunday Brunch Jacket would be an easy one to add snaps or Velcro, which is very easy for toddlers to manipulate. The nature walk pants should be a breeze to get on and off. I’ve found (in a 4) that the 1″ elastic wiggles a bit more than I like, so I increased it to 1 1/4″13 years ago
I’m afraid I haven’t got any great advice, but would be interested to hear more about the school program if you ladies wouldn’t mind going off-topic? My little one is very keen to dress herself and gets quite cross if grown-ups intervene before she’s ready to be helped. Too bad the impulse to be independent is so far ahead of the physical dexterity needed to carry it off (she’s only 13 months so we’ve a ways to go, yet).13 years ago
Sarvi, what we are talking about is part of the Montessori philosophy that children can do more than we expect, but we need to give them the right tools. They have child sized sinks, brooms, chairs, pitchers, etc, so they can begin to help themselves and help their families and classes. My kids have been pouring their own milk starting at about 18 months using this philosophy. I remember people being amazed that my 18 month old son could put on his own shoes, onto the correct feet without help. If you’d like to learn more, this explains more of what we are talking about-
Johanna13 years agoNicole @motherof5
Sarvi , there is an wonderful baby/child book by Penelope Leach with much the same philosophy , it has been my bible. I have very independent children because our home has the tools ( low coat racks , easy drawers, child size tables ect ) to enable them to be. It also has great methods for introducing caring for others and their feelings and sensible discipline.
PS (It is also kind to parents, no guilt or mummy bashing, my copy is from 1980 and it was still relevant with my last baby )13 years ago
Thank you, both! She has such a strong preference for real tools over toy versions, I think she’d take very well to some activities like the ones mentioned on the Michael Olaf site. I went to a Montessori preschool myself and remember being very happy there cutting oranges with a plastic knife, setting out the little blankets for naps, and so forth.
Nicole, was it this book: “Your Baby and Child”?
It’s so exciting to be a parent and see what kinds of things interest your child.13 years agoAnonymous @
Nicole, I have that same book – or I used to – haven’t seen it in some time. Penelope Leach is wonderful. We also have the low closet rods, coat hooks, mirrors, craft table/supply drawers, and snack shelves. I’m thinking about buying one of those pottery water dispenser things that holds a huge jug of water so they can get their own drinks.13 years agosewinginthecity @sewinginthecity
Great thread. We are currently applying to a Montessori nursery school, and I was really impressed. Unfortunately, it’s the furthest from our house. Maybe my girl wouldn’t be so against dressing if she could do it herself (see my post in what are you sewing now).
Tell me, would you Moms choose a Montessori school over other schools with good reputations, even if it was the least convenient to get to?12 years ago
I did- We have a school 3 minutes up the road that is highly regarded, but I drive 1/2 hour past it to my daughter’s Montessori school. We initially picked Montessori as the program was well matched to the strengths of our first born, who is a very unusual child. Montessori was the only place that we felt could keep up with his intellectual curiosity, while keeping him with his peers. (He was reading and doing addition before 2, etc.) While I love their philosophy, and most of their teaching methods, I have seen very creative children struggle, or fail to complete their work. I think you really need to decide if the strengths of a Montessori program match the strengths of your child. My daughter (#2) is a more creative “type,” and has some issues with the “self-control” that school enforces. (Mostly because she talks all day.) Her strengths are probably better matched to a play based pre-school. However, she is eager to keep up with her brother, and she knows that going to school will help her read, so she can be just like her big brother. I don’t know that she “needs” Montessori like her brother did, but it’s still beneficial. We plan to start our third there once he turns 3, so obviously I don’t have many regrets.12 years agoNicole @motherof5
Thats really interesting, I am enjoying this thread!12 years agoAnonymous @
Johanna – I think it’s so true that each child responds well to different things including the type of school setting. Clara will be going to kindergarten at the neighborhood public school down the street. I do hope she fits in well and enjoys it. She is very shy and clings to us even now when we bring her to preschool – her 2nd year with the same classroom and teacher!12 years ago
Great post, Johanna. I would add that it’s a good idea to keep reassessing what your kid needs, too. The best fit at one age may not be the best fit another age.
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