Lots of people like to create clothing patterns and tutorials for babies, and who can blame them? All those little baby dresses, diaper covers, and bonnets are easy to make, simple to fit, and look stinkin’ adorable on those tiny kiddos.
Big kids can be harder to sew for. My two-year-old who was once shaped like a straight little noodle and would wear anything that I put on her is now a nine-year-old with hips and opinions, and anything that I make for her has to have extremely sturdy seams, be easy to patch, and, of course, fit her nine-year-old aesthetic of fashionable wear (which, I’d like to note, is decidedly NOT the mall’s definition of fashionable wear for a nine-year-old).
Here, then, is my collection of free clothing patterns and tutorials for the big kids in your life. Whether you choose to sew using organic fabrics or upcycled fabrics, sewing for your kids is an excellent environmental choice–and the results are really cute, too!
1. button-down shirt circle skirt. You can make this circle skirt from an assortment of discarded men’s button-down shirts.
2. button headband. Whittle down your stash of buttons by letting the kids make headbands. The tutorial asks you to glue the buttons to the headband elastic before stitching it on, but I’ve sometimes had difficulty sewing through glue after it dries, so glue or not at your own discretion.
3. fabric headband. You can use up all your smallest fabric scraps for this project!
4. fleece hat. These free hat patterns include all sizes, so you can match your kids.
5. fleece helmet. Your kid will definitely want to wear a warm hat when it looks just like a knight’s helmet!
6. fleece poncho. A fleece blanket would have plenty of material for this poncho.
7. glasses case. Kids are a *little* less likely to lose their glasses and sunglasses if they’ve got a special case in which to keep them. You can sew this case from wool felt or felted wool sweaters (here’s how to felt your wool sweaters!).
8. halter dress. The bottom of the dress is a circle skirt, and the pattern for the bodice of the dress is taken from a tank top that fits your child well. A vintage sheet would have enough yardage to complete this entire garment.
9. layered T-shirt dress. I LOVE ways to refashion trashed but still-fitting clothes–without these methods, my kids would only wear trashed clothes! This dress is made from the top of a well-fitting T-shirt, with the length pieced from knit fabrics or other T-shirts.
10. maxi dress. This maxi dress starts with a T-shirt that already fits (but perhaps is too short, or has a stain near the hem), so there are no tricky sleeve pattern pieces to worry over.
11. monster mitts. These mitts use up your scrap fleece.
12. muscle shirt. Use an existing T-shirt to help you make the pattern for this muscle shirt.
13. nightgown from a pillowcase. If they’re comfy enough to sleep ON, they’re comfy enough to sleep IN!
14. pajama pants. Start with a pair of well-fitting pants to make your own pattern for these pajama pants; this means you can make them in any (or every!) size!
15. petal skirt. I don’t even do all the measuring that comes with this tutorial–I just keep sewing petals on until it’s the right size.
16. pieced circle skirt. Circle skirts are a lot of fun (so twirly!), but they also use a LOT of fabric. This pieced circle skirt tutorial shows you how to make a circle skirt using smaller lengths.
17. pillowcase dress. I can’t stop thrifting pillowcases! Fortunately, they make great tops and dresses for kids.
18. pillowcase skirt. And skirts.
19. romper pajamas. Use jersey knit sheets or XXL T-shirts to make these cool summer pajamas.
20. ruffled skirt. Lengthen and widen the fabric accordingly to enlarge this skirt past a 5T.
21. shorts. Elastic-waisted shorts are easy to copy.
22. skinny sweatpants. A ruched leg is a great way to narrow the legs in lots of different types of pants, just in case those hand-me-downs don’t quite fit for the season that your younger kid needs them.
23. skirt with pockets. If you know your child’s waist measurement and the skirt length that you’d like, you can make this skirt in any size. The pocket pieces, especially, are good ones to use with smaller pieces of scrap fabric.
24. sleeveless shirt. My kids live in these shirts in the summer.
25. sweater skirt. Make a simple, elastic-waist skirt from the torso of a cotton, acrylic, or wool sweater.
26. T-shirt dress. This tutorial uses two T-shirts–one that fits well, and one that’s too large. Overdye them both to make them match.
27. T-shirt shorts. Make a kid a pair of comfy shorts from an adult’s T-shirt.
28. T-shirt skirt. The torso of a large T-shirt makes a comfortable skirt for a child.
29. T-shirt sundress. Alter an adult T-shirt to make a sundress for a child.
30. wool sweater long johns. You can make these in any size, so make a pair for yourself, too!
Do you know of any other good online tutorials or free patterns for kids size 8 and up? Link them in the comments below!
[fabric and buttons image via Shutterstock]