Kwik Sew 3309 was a really fun and simple pattern to make, with clear and easy to follow instructions. It is a very versatile set of patterns, with instructions for a baby hat, trousers, frilly trousers, and long and short sleeved tops, for boys and girls, aged 0-18 months. The trousers and hat are designed for woven fabrics, and the tops for stretch knits.
The slightly dated images on the front of the pattern envelope don’t do it any favours, as the styles are good solid wardrobe basics. Because the instructions are so simple and quick to sew up, you can use the pattern to create a fantastic selection of baby clothes, using different fabrics and trims (the only downside is the pattern doesn’t include any dresses). I plan to make several more pairs of the trousers for my daughter, as I much prefer cotton trousers over the shop-bought jersey legging or tracksuit bottom styles. So far, I have made the frilly trousers (“PANTS VIEW B”) and the sunhat.
Because of the scope for re-use of this pattern, the first thing I did was to trace out the pieces on to Kwik Trace (tracing paper for patterns). Then I realised that each of the pieces for the hat fit on A4 sheets of paper – so to save time you could always use a photocopier!
I then read the instructions, something I do each time even when I think I know what I need to do (yes, I am one of those annoying people who always insists on reading the manual before playing with a new gadget). The Kwik Sew instructions always impress me and these were no exception; the introduction was superb, with explicit step by step guidelines for how to lay out and cut out the pattern pieces. They also carefully explained what stitches to use for the seams and how to finish the seams, for each item of clothing.
Pants View B
First of all I sewed the frilly trousers, and they were so amazingly simple. Sewing baby clothes really helps me to understand basic garment construction, without all of the adult complications like darts. For any beginner sewer, I’d really recommend starting with a pattern for baby clothes and building up from there, as it is so much easier to visualise and work out how the pattern pieces fit together.
There were very few steps to sewing the trousers, but for beginner sewers it introduces two incredibly useful techniques – sewing a gathered ruffle, and inserting elastic in to a casing. I keep meaning to post a short tutorial on sewing elastic, so fingers crossed I will get to that soon.
The only thing to watch out for with the trousers, is that for step 1 it took me a moment to work out how to piece together the two trouser halves. Make sure you look at where the notches are and compare that to the diagram in the instructions, and you’ll be fine!
The sizing on the trousers surprised me – it is pretty generous. My daughter is a big 3-month-old (6.7kg) and so I sewed the 3-6m size, but they are far too big for her. At least she will be able to grow in to them 🙂 .
The hat was great fun to make! I’ve never sewn a hat before and was quite daunted by the prospect, but the instructions were so clear (excuse me if I am beginning to sound like a broken record on this, but they really are!!) that I think any beginner sewer can successfully make it.
It was really fascinating seeing the hat taking shape as I completed each step. And it’s so easy to customise the pattern a little bit, to add some extra interest – I decided to add a contrasting ribbon trim. To do this, after completing step 2 you simply pin a ribbon to the shell of the hat, approximately 1cm away from the edge (remember there is a 6mm seam allowance, so if you pin the ribbon 1cm from the edge the ribbon will sit 4mm above the brim of the hat). Make sure the end of the ribbon lines up with the back seam, and fold over the raw end of the ribbon. Then sew the ribbon on using normal straight stitch, as close to the edges of the ribbon as you can get.
I struggled a bit when it came to sewing the brim of the hat to its shell, as the layer of fabric + interlining was so thick that it kept puckering. In the end I reduced the tension on my sewing machine by 2 levels, from 4 to 2, and that solved the issue. Just remember to increase the tension back up again once you’ve done this bit (step 4)!
It’s easy to start doubting if you are doing the right thing towards the end of the hat construction, as you have to place the main hat shell (now with the brim attached) inside a second hat shell, and sew them together (you need two shells so that the inside of the hat is the right side of the fabric too, and doesn’t have any seams showing). As if that isn’t enough, you then have to pull the hat through a small gap in order to turn it the right way round! This part was quite tricky so it’s definitely worth leaving as big a gap as you can.
After being squashed through such a small space it will definitely benefit from the loving touch of an iron, after which it’ll look superb. The most important thing to remember is it is CRUCIAL to press the seams as you go along; it makes such a difference to the finish, and makes the hat look so much more professional. I get so many compliments on it, and my friends were amazed that it was home-made. Pressing the hat isn’t that easy because of the shapes of the seams, so make sure you have a big piece of press cloth to use to pad it out where necessary. I actually ended up using cotton wool instead of a press cloth as I find it a bit easier to shape.
After the generous sizing of the trousers, I expected the hat to be a similar story but the hat is actually only just big enough for my daughter. However I suspect this is more to do with my daughter’s head size than anything else- big heads run in the family- no jokes please! I tried it on my niece who is 15 weeks old and the hat was a perfect fit for her.
I would definitely recommend this pattern as a fun, fast way to sew some baby equivalents of a ‘staple wardrobe’ (excepting dresses, which are not included- such a shame). You can use it over and over to make different variations of trousers, tops and hats – I plan to have a bit of a play with making the ruffles of the trousers in a contrasting fabric. The instructions explain each step explicity and clearly, making the pattern completely suitable for a beginner, though I have to admit I haven’t tried sewing the tops yet so I can’t comment on how difficult they are.
If you’re keen to give this pattern a go, check back in a few days as I will be doing a fantastic giveaway of three baby sewing patterns, including this one!