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Archive for the ‘Kids Clothes Week Challenge’ Category

A couple of weeks ago, I participated in the Kids Clothes Week Challenge (KCWC). The goal for KCWC was to work just one hour per day (or more, if you have the time) and see what you could create.

During Days 1-5, I did the prep work for two items – a skirt for Sophia and kuspuk for Olivia.  By the end of Day 5, I finished a skirt for Sophia

On Days 6 and 7, I concentrated on finishing the kuspuk for Olivia. What is a kuspuk…you may be wondering?  A kuspuk is a Native Alaskan outfit that is like a dress with a hood and pocket that can be worn on its own or over clothes/jacket. 

Olivia in the kuspuk I sewed for her.

On Day 6, I sewed the bodice together; gathered the sleeves and made the cuffs; gathered the skirt and attached it to the bodice; sewed the pocket (it’s lined with matching fabric); and sewed the hood. 

In sewing the hood and trying it on Olivia (without attaching it to the bodice), the girls and I both agreed that Olivia looked like a gnome with it on.  The pattern makes the hood rather pointy and gnome-like.  That’s okay if you’re going for a costume.  However, when making an outfit that I want her to wear, I knew that attaching the gnome-hood would ensure that the kuspuk would never worn.

So, I opted to attach the zipper and finish the top of the bodice.  The fabric for the hood will be used for something else – doll clothes…a quilt…something small.

Olivia and her sister use the apple tree that fell down
in the November ice storm as a balance beam
and lateral climbing tree.

On Day 7 (which actually ended up being earlier this week since I had to drive 40+ miles to find a zipper that was the right length and color), I added the zipper, pocket, and finished the top of the bodice. 

The sleeves and skirt are a bit long since it’s a size 10 and Olivia has just started wearing size 6 and 8 (depending what the item is – pants run smaller while dresses and shirts she can wear in a larger size).  She likes longer skirts, so she prefers the length (rather than having the skirt be at knee-length).

She says the dress is comfortable, and that she would wear it as a dress with capri leggings on under it (or without leggings…depending on how warm it is outside.

Olivia wearing capri leggings
under the kuspuk.  Kuspuks are meant to be worn
as a dress over another outfit
(as a way to keep it clean and dry).

I’m so happy I did KCWC because it challenged me to make two new items of clothing that I had never made before, and to use a pattern that I had been holding onto for years, but had not gotten around to using.

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I’m participating in the Kids Clothes Week Challenge (KCWC), and am trying to make at least two items this week – a skirt for Sophia and a kuspuk for Olivia (a Native Alaskan outfit that is like a dress with a hood and pocket that can be worn on its own or over clothes/jacket). 

The goal for KCWC is to work just one hour per day (or more, if you have the time) and see what you are able to create.

So, on Day 1 (Monday), I cut out the pattern for Olivia’s kuspuk, found a pattern for Sophia’s skirt, and purchased fabric.  The kuspuk will be a bit large for Olivia, but I don’t have a smaller size pattern since I purchased this one when I visited Alaska many years ago. 

I hesitate to do too much changing of the pattern since I’ve never sewn a kuspuk before.  Maybe after I do one, then I’d be able to see where I could modify the pattern.

On Day 2 (Tuesday), I washed and ironed the fabric.  I laid out the pattern pieces on the fabric for the kuspuk.

WIP - Kuspuk for Olivia
Pattern pieces laid out and pinned for Olivia’s kuspuk.

On Day 3 (Wednesday), I laid out the pattern pieces for Sophia’s skirt.  I also cut out all the pieces for both the kuspuk and skirt.

On Day 4 (Thursday), I pinned Sophia’s skirt together and read the directions for the kuspuk and skirt.  I didn’t have much extra time on the fourth day because I was with my parents for the day helping them and volunteers from Keller Williams who were helping my parents as part of their Red Day 2011.

On Day 5 (Friday), I sewed (and finished!) Sophia’s skirt.  It did not take that long to sew since there were only six pieces (two pieces for the yoke and four pieces for the skirt).  Sophia did not want a ruffle, lace, or trim on the skirt so that made it even easier – just a basic hem.

Simple skirt for Sophia.

She likes the skirts and wants me to make more for her.  “The fabric is really soft!” She also likes it because she chose how tight she wanted the waistband and length of the skirt.  That’s something you can’t do when you buy clothes in the store.

With this simple skirt done, she has requested now more complicated, multi-layer skirts.  She brought down examples from her closet.  “Can you make me one like this one?” she asked. 

“We’ll have to get a pattern at Joanns that matches what the skirt looks like,” I told her. 

That will be the next project…after the kuspuk.


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Finding clothes that fit Sophia properly has been a challenge during the current and past few seasons (spring, winter, fall).  She will be going into 5th grade this summer (we homeschool year-round), and has already had a major growth spurt that has made her too tall/large for fitting into children’s clothes.

When Sophia and I have looked at the next size up (juniors), the majority of the clothes are not appropriate for a child to wear.  The necklines are cut way too low, the tops are often too short, the skirts too short, and the pants too long.  It’s incredibly difficult to find clothes that are comfortable to wear and reflect the age of the wearer. 

So, when I saw that there’s a Kids Clothes Week Challenge (KCWC) on Elsie Marley’s site, I thought it would be a great opportunity to make the time to sew some clothes for Sophia.

KCWC is (obviously) a one-week time period where participants commit to sewing for one hour a day for 7 days. The purpose is to sew clothes for children (one’s own or other people’s kids). 

I’m thinking that it also would be a good week to make at least one item to donate to a child in need.  There are a lot of programs out there that welcome handmade clothes for children (e.g., pillowcase dresses for girls in developing countries, hats for newborns)

Olivia in the Pillowcase Dress for Little Dresses for Africa
Olivia showing a pillowcase dress I made for
Little Dresses for Africa.

The KCWC challenge says that knitting and crocheting are fine as well as pattern making, fabric cutting, and seam ripping.  I think my main focus will be on sewing (rather than on knitting and crocheting) since the weather will be hot in a matter of months. 

The last time I sewed for the girls, I made each of them a dress for their First Communion.  My mother (who made a lot of clothes for my sister, brother, and me when we were children and teenagers) helped guide me in putting in the zippers, making sure the sleeves were done right (and comfortable to wear), and ruffling the skirts and attaching them to the bodice of the dress.  I hand-sewed over 200 clear beads onto each of the dresses to embellish the bottom part of the dress and make them a bit more special for the girls.

Sophia and Olivia in their First Communion Dresses
Sophia and Olivia in dresses
I made for them.

The next step in the KCWC is determining what items would be most useful and worn during the summer; and picking out patterns and fabric. I’ve taken a look at the Flickr group that shows clothes that people have made (HERE), and saw some cute ideas.  There were some ideas for “re-inventing” clothes and giving them new purpose (e.g., jeans made into shorts).

blue jeans to shorts
Jeans to shorts made with homemade bias tape.

I’m thinking that it may be good for Sophia and Olivia also to learn how to make something easy – perhaps a skirt – so they can learn some basic clothes-making skills as well.  They could also learn how to do applique on clothes. 

One woman who did the KCWC challenge last year embellished a new top that had become immediately stained with food.  She did some cute applique work that covered the stains so she didn’t have to throw out the shirt. 

IMG_9378 Applique T-Shirt
Applique shirt that was made to cover stains on a shirt
so it could be worn and not thrown away.

As the KCWC website says, “A lot can happen in a week if you put in a little time each day. And with hundreds of people sewing along with you and cheering you on, well, you can’t help but make great stuff!” 


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