It’s fun to make kid’s clothes, but just a little discouraging to have them outgrow things before their time. So plan ahead and build room to grow in the garment to deal with those unexpected spurts so your handcrafted clothes will still be usable. It’s a well known fact that kids shoot upward before they ever expand outward, so keep these tips in mind to add length.
1. Allow extra large hem allowances so you can let things down. Double hems works well on things like dresses, and on pants you can camouflage the extra by sporting cuffs on the initial wearing, then folding them down as need demands.
2. If there’s a visible line on the garment after lengthening, be creative. Use rickrack, piping, lace or reflective tape to cover it and no one will be the wiser.
3. Ruffles and flounces are good ways to add additional length to a garment where no extra fabric exists. Kids love pattern and color mixing, so don’t try for matching. Insets can also be used for length—just cut the garment in a logical place and insert a colorful band of fabric, ribbon or trim.
4. To add some growable features to bodices–use tucks and pleats that can later be removed for create extra length.
5. Knit fabrics allow for clothing comfort even with some body growth in either direction, as they stretch to accommodate. Kids love knits as they’re soft and comfortable.
6. Elastic waistlines allow for girth adjustments. When you make the initial garment, simply secure the elastic in the casing with a safety pin so it’s easy to alter when needed.
7. If you need to add garment width, inset stripes up the side, mimicking athletic wear.
8. Cover stains, wear lines and worn knees with creative appliqués.
9. Consider giving outgrown clothing a second life by making it into something new—dresses can easily become tops, pants can become shorts, sweaters can morph into leg warmers or arm warmers, and tights with the feet cut off make great leggings.
10. Roll cuffs on jackets or pants for style, then unroll as length is needed.
About the Author
Linda Griepentrog is a writer, editor and designer who lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband (a long arm quilter) and dog, Frank. She loves all things fabric! Linda also leads fabric shopping tours to Hong Kong. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.