Written By: JoEllen Krauss
JoEllen Krauss is a freelance writer for 1800WheelChair. In her spare time she enjoys decorating and designing new room layouts for friends and family and making clothes for her little ones, Matt and Shona.
Mama Does It Best: Hand-made Clothes for Your Little One
The arrival of a new baby automatically puts a new strain on the family budget. Diapers, formula, doctor visits and daycare take a huge chunk out of any extra cash or savings. When it comes to the amount of money new parents spend on clothing for newborns and infants, the family budget gets eaten at an alarming rate. Small children outgrow clothing almost as fast as they are buttoned or fastened on their bodies. Moms who wish to fight the expense may be able to save a little money by making clothes for their child.
First, moms will need to know how to sew, knit or crochet in order to make clothing. If these are not skills she already has, mom will need to take a class or teach herself through online tutorials, educational CDs or watching others who are already good at it. The first projects will be simple ones: diaper bags, bibs, blankets and hats. Mastering any one of these beginner-level projects leads to a natural eagerness to see what else can be made. Classes and tutorials will teach the basics of using patterns to make clothes, taking proper measurements to make patterns and trying new techniques to add flare to clothing.
Once a mother knows how to make clothing for her newborn, it is time to make sure she has the right tools and work space. A designated space in the house is best so that making clothes does not interfere with regular family rituals. A guest room, attic, shed or bonus space above the garage are ideal locations. If this is not an option, it is best to buy supplies that can be tucked away easily to preserve space.
For sewing, a sewing machine will eventually be necessary, and for crocheting and knitting, mom will need sturdy needles. Depending on her comfort level, she may choose crochet or knitting needles made of bamboo, other woods, plastic, aluminum or other metals. The key is to find needles that can withstand her work habits and that she can be comfortable holding for long periods of time. Otherwise, the urge to create new clothing will die often.
Fabric and yarn can turn newcomers to sewing, crochet or knitting into fiber addicts easily. There are so many alluring patterns, colors and textures to fall in love with for a baby. The best practice is to buy enough of a particular fabric or yarn to make your project and store it in a safe place until it is time to use it for a new project. It is never good to lean toward hoarding fabric, yet there should always be enough in a personal stash to complete a new garment for the baby.
Although it might seem a bit extreme, the best way to start learning how to make clothing for a baby is to practice with doll patterns. This does not cost as much as ruining baby clothing patterns because it requires much less fabric. Doll patterns also are a great way to learn about how clothing is put together. It is also a great idea to be surrounded by other moms who sew or community groups of crocheters or knitters. Most who love the craft are eager to offer suggestions, give feedback or assist with difficult projects. The key to fabulous new baby clothes is usually just one single help request away.