Desperately seeking unfussy knit patterns for kids

I think it started with Tilly’s lovely Coco dress for grown-ups. Or it might have been the summer Boden frocks, though I could do without the applique. Or possibly the need to replace some M&S gorgeous heavy jersey board-style shorts in a broad pink/white stripe that Small Girl cherishes and has out-grown. Whatever it was, it wasn’t helped by the gorgeous striped organic cotton jersey at Village Haberdashery (right).

I need clean-cut, unfussy patterns for a t-shirt dress and drawstring or elasticated waist long shorts, all for knit fabric, for a six year old. This is proving difficult. I don’t want puffed sleeves, yokes, zips, shirring, gathers, frills or ruffles. I don’t want spaghetti straps, bodices, wraps, faux-wraps or belts. I don’t want a fly front or turn-ups on the shorts. I want a simple A-line dress with short sleeves. Something that the girl can get into and out of on her own and that I can sew up in a heartbeat. She has enough with the frills and trims already, what she needs is easy summer stretchy simplicity.

It shouldn’t be that hard to find such patterns, should it? The ease of wear and laundering of a good stretch fabric lends itself to simplicity of garment design and such a pattern would be great for new-ish dress-makers. An A-line t-shirt dress has to be a classic surely, or does Boden really have the monopoly on design here?

Yet the pattern world is letting me down, the big 4 and indies alike. Even my 12 month stack of Burdastyle can’t deliver. Prove me wrong please, point me to your tried and trusted childrens knit patterns so that I don’t have to scour E-Bay for a cheap Boden frock to take the seam-ripper to. Or I might have to learn pattern drafting, or wait for Tilly to launch a childrens range. Please and Thank you J


17 thoughts on “Desperately seeking unfussy knit patterns for kids

  1. I wonder if there’s no A-line shirtdress pattern because the pattern is fairly straightforward if you have a T-shirt that fits:

    Even though it has some…pleats…. this T-shirtdress pattern is pretty cute:

    As for shorts, DanaMade has a neat pattern that should work for knit fabrics:

    Or these:

  2. Fishstick design has mud puddle splasher pattern for very basic shorts/pants. For the t shirt dress, I would probably just lengthen an easy tshirt pattern. Hope that helps!

    • I love that Fishsticks site, thank you so much! After a lot of indecision I’ve bought the Patrick raglan t-shirt pattern as I think that will work well as a striped dress with contrast sleeves and neckband. I love the Playhouse dress too though…. Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂

  3. I would check the internet for Kwik Sew patterns. They are for knits and while the covers aren’t exactly inspiring, the patterns are quick to sew and very great basics that are easy to adapt. Here’s a tshirt for example
    This would be easy to lengthen and flair out for a “boden” dress for your daughter. I have Sew For Toddlers by Martensson which is the same lady and LOVE the patterns. Fit is good and measurements are accurate.

    • Thanks Em! I had discounted Kwik Sew, as you very generously put it the covers aren’t exactly inspiring, plus the websites here give very little information beyond the cover photo. I do get a daily email of vintage patterns from ebay UK so I’ll resume keeping a closer eye on that (and your site too!) That little t-shirt is very cute. I’m going to try the Fishsticks pattern as a first pass and see how that goes.

    • Thank you. I do wonder why children’s patterns seem to be quite over-engineered now. I’ll keep an eye on vintage ones on UK ebay and see what I can find. I have plenty to be going on with now though 🙂

  4. Great post. I’ve been searching for exactly the same thing. My 7 year old daughter has very long legs too, which is why a good pattern would be great. I love the Zaberry tutorial (without the elastic)

    • Wow. Bingo! Bonus points for Adventure Time quote too 😀 and thank you. I wrongly regard PDF patterns as a low spend, as they look so easy to use over and over. I’ll definitely be making at least one of those.

I always enjoy comments, thank you for reading.

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