confession sunday: the rejects

most of the time, the things I make are liked and worn by Em. i try to make her clothes in colors/silhouettes that she’ll enjoy, and she generally does a great job of jumping and posing and doing her ballet moves for blog photos (mostly because she loves to jump and twirl). she acts like she genuinely likes her outfits during photoshoots, and i’m not faking that – she really does seem to love stuff on first wear!


there are definitely garments she will NOT wear more than once or twice. i try so hard to encourage her to wear them, and it doesn’t happen. i mean, she does wear something that i’ve made nearly every day and she does genuinely love most of what i sew for her (which is awesome), but a lot of the time she picks the same favorite dresses over and over (current favorites are her AmΓ©lie dress, butterfly dress, apple dress, and wedding dress). i think a lot of 4 year olds are probably that way, right?

for confession sunday today, i thought i’d share a few things i’ve made that she will not wear right now. honestly it breaks my heart a little.

please note none of these are the pattern maker’s fault – it’s my aesthetic choices + her whims that have caused them to be rejected, not their designs!

1. Flapper Tapper Dress – made during Project Run & Play and probably the garment I’m most proud of designing, with a high-low circle skirt, pieced bodice, invisible zipper…and she won’t wear it. i don’t even think it’s been washed since the photoshoot. she and her brother do wear the headband for dress up, though.

art deco flapper tapper (front)

2. Little Apples Hopscotch Skirt – i really loved this pattern and how the skirt turned out, but recently she decided she doesn’t like skirts (“dresses are more beautiful”) and this one hasn’t been worn for months. she did get quite a bit of use out of her doily skirt this summer, and this hopscotch skirt was worn a good amount last fall, but it’s now been in the drawer for almost a year. it’s probably too short, come to think of it. maybe i’ll try it again in pink or something – it was fun to sew.

little apples hopscotch skirt

3. Finch Top & Shorts – this one is quite upsetting to me; i love it so much. but she just won’t wear shorts (the only ones we can wrestle onto her are the knot shorts and that’s rare). even with pink piping in the pockets, she won’t do it. and since she won’t wear skirts either, there’s no reason for her to need a separate top. sigh. maybe I should add a color block panel at the bottom and make it a dress…it’s such a fun silhouette and i can’t let that washi go to waste!

clever charlotte finch top

i suppose the moral of the story is i should stop making her things in gray! that seems to be the common theme. she is very color driven – she doesn’t care too much whether her clothes are super comfortable, but if they aren’t the right color (or don’t have a “special feature” like ruffles or twirl to make up for that), they’re out.

oh and did i mention Em will be wearing a uniform to school? she can wear blue/green plaid jumpers and pleated skirts, but i’ve been fretting since her wardrobe is strictly limited to colorful twirly dresses at the moment. let’s just hope the “no skirts/no pants/no shorts” thing is just a phase, or i’ll be sewing jumper after jumper in a few weeks’ time! this blog might get very boring.


what has your experience been in sewing for your kids? do they wear what you make? do you cater to their favorite things just to make sure your hard work isn’t wasted? and then do they pick outfits that make you cringe? a couple she likes have sewing mistakes that drive me nuts, or they’re way too small/worn out but she chooses them anyway (i’m looking at you, christmas dress and second birthday dress)!

alright guys, confession time!

52 thoughts on “confession sunday: the rejects

    • kristin says:

      Thanks. Yes actually her “wedding dress” wasn’t worn for months and now she will only take it off to be washed! So maybe there’s still hope. πŸ™‚

  1. cate says:

    I’m devastated for you! I was just looking at your washi finch the other day and it had me hovering over the ‘buy’ button, it’s so lovely! My kids always surprise me with what they will and won’t wear and what elements they decide to combine to create an outfit. My 9 year old fixates on one or two outfits and that’s all she’ll wear for months- it drives me nuts and certainly takes some of the joy out of sewing for her, but atleast the things she’s refused to wear are still good for the other kids. My 4 year old only wears skirts or dresses and sometimes combines them in eye watering ways so that things that should be cute end up looking a little bonkers. Eh, kids!

  2. Amanda says:

    My daughter is also 4 and I totally feel your pain! She has been in a major dress kick for a would say nearly a year. She, like Em just thinks they are more beautiful that skirts and definitely better than pants/shorts! I would love to sew a wider variety of clothes for her but I mostly stick to dresses and few skirts if I can make them in colors she really likes. Also she doesn’t do gray, brown or black much as they are “ugly” colors! She does find it interesting that I like to wear those ugly colors! πŸ™‚

  3. Vanessa@DesignsBySessa says:

    Aw, man, this is no fun! My 2 year old boy didn’t like my Hawaii 5 O outfit the first few times I made him wear it, but he’s still young enough to be forced into things, so he doesn’t complain much. But your items are SO beautiful! I think you should make the washi into a dress, because it is so fabulous! You are an incredible seamstress! I bet she will look back and be sad one day!

    • kristin says:

      thanks, vanessa! i think i really should try to lengthen that finch/washi top. and it’s okay – she wears so many things i make, i shouldn’t get TOO upset about the few she rejects you know?

  4. Amber says:

    Love your stuff! My daughter is the same way, she’s a chronic clothes changer but prefers sparkles and pink. I admit things that I dread her wearing just happen to disappear. Right now she’s been asking me for a purple fairy dress.

  5. Max says:

    That’s sad :< Vincent is 3 and anything I get him dressed into he asks me if I have made it, If I say, "Yes i did!" he goes, "Oh that's wuvwy mum!" and gives me a massive hug and covers me in kisses. He's not at the stage yet where he will choose his clothes, or has a preference. If I ask him to choose a shirt he will always gravitate toward the spiderman, superman or star wars ones.He did go through a stage of wearing his Superman shirt I made him with attached cape for three days before I convinced him to take it off so I could wash it. That was a horrible, horrible day.

    I see what I get to look forward to! I'm worried for the day when he's in school and is all "oh flip mum, can;t you just BUY my clothes like everyone else?" Fingers crossed he's amazing and awesome and is like, "Check it out guys, my mum MADE me this sick shorts."

    hahah. At least I have Eddie to sew for and force homemade clothes onto for a while longer!

    • Cherie says:

      Umm, ADORABLE that your 3yo appreciates the handmade clothes!! i dunno what it is, but I’ve definitely met kids that appreciate homemade clothes and gifts over store-bought, even through their tween/teen years, so maybe your son will be like that!! Wouldn’t that be awesome πŸ™‚

      • kristin says:

        Yes Max, that is SO awesome! i wonder if we raise these kids thinking wearing handmades is totally normal that they might not even care their clothes aren’t from a store? Em doesn’t ask for storebought, she just wants certain OTHER things I’ve made. for that i’m totally thankful!

  6. Laura says:

    I tend to include my daughter (5) in the design process, it ensures that she’ll love it because she helped make it πŸ™‚ She loves picking out fabric or choosing patterns. As long as she gets to help in some way, even helping with the actual sewing of the garment, she’ll always wear it.

  7. Mel says:

    As sad as I am for you, I’m also glad it’s not just me :P.

    My latest “fail” was family reunion dresses in denim. I made one for my youngest’s fourth birthday. She wore it once. My oldest coveted it so I made her one. She wore it once. *sigh*. I’m still not sure it is because of the pattern or the colour of the fabric. Colour, comfort and twirl factor still seem to be very important to my girls. And no pants (or shorts or even skorts)!!

  8. Ana Mitchell says:

    Oh my goodness, my daughter is the same way. She turns 4 next month and I have sewn her so many cute tops, skirts and rompers that she won’t wear and not to mention out of gorgeous fabrics. She’s going through a phase where she’ll only wear dresses, and not just any dress, dresses that are in pretty colors and soft flowy fabrics. She’s more likely to wear something if it looks like a ballerina or princess outfit. Uggh. So, what to do? I say if you can’t beat them, join them and maybe even let them have a say in fabric choices and patterns.

    • kristin says:

      i have had this great romper idea in my head all summer but probably the reason i haven’t made it is because i don’t know if she’ll wear it! i totally agree with you – i’ve definitely started including her more especially as she gets older, and it can be pretty fun!

  9. Andrea says:

    I will happily take every one of Em’s rejects for Charlotte! πŸ™‚ Pass ’em over! Dora needs a break one of these days.

  10. Darci says:

    I have the same issues. My 4 yo is my youngest and the choosiest so there won’t be anyone after her to wear what I have made. I almost want to stop sewing for her. It so upsetting to me if she won’t wear what I have made, especially when I have cleared pattern a nd fabric choices ahead of time. She also prefers dresses and won’t wear shorts. She also doesn’t want to wear things that belonged to her sister, but she doesn’t really have a choice. I think part of the problem is that my kids just have to many clothes. Maybe thats why I have made 4 quilts this summer, I still get to sew and pick out/arrange pretty fabrics but I don’t have to worry about who will wear them. My girls also don’t like gray. 7yo says gray doesn’t go with anything!

    • kristin says:

      oh that’s a rough one, darci! is it a texture thing maybe? Em does tend to love the jersey knit dresses i’ve made no matter what color they are. i just prefer to sew more with woven cotton, and i like to sew a variety of things…oy. it’s true, sometimes quilts are a nice break!

  11. trinh says:

    Aww so sad…I feel for ya. S is getting a little better but I have learned my lesson. Definitely no gray or “yucky” colors, or even items that she views as too plain. I once made her a hot pink Oliver & s sailor top and pants thinking that she would love it because of the color. But alas, she refused to even try it on. On their last visit, my SIL gave her a worn ugly hand me down dress that she absolutely loves because it is pink and twirly. I think it will have to mysteriously disappear someday soon.

  12. Stef says:

    I think maybe you could just package all those up and send them on down here to me – maybe one of mine will wear them. hee hee. I’m not sure the dresses only thing will be a short phase, though. Olivia has never worn shorts until this year and she’s almost 7 and still, it’s just occasionally. What’s nice is that you can at least pack up all Em’s handmade clothes when she’s outgrown them and she’ll have them for her daughter one day. ??? I find that I’m more inclined to sew bigger clothes for a chance that they’ll get the most wear between the three girls. It would be really hard if I just had one that was rejecting my stuff.

    • kristin says:

      I’d totally sew for the eldest most often if i were you too, stef! maybe you guys are right, i should send a few unworns to homes where they’ll be loved or put them in an etsy shop or something! but then again, she’ll reject something for months then suddenly decide to wear it constantly, so who knows?!

  13. kat says:

    I can’t believe she doesn’t like that washi tape shirt!!!!! I love the colors in that one and it is so friggin cute!!
    So for the longest time, when I was just learning to sew, I would make her some pretty awesome stuff and she didn’t wear a lick of it! I mean, I made her the “original” easter egg hunt dress thinking if I filled a dress I made with candy she would wear it… umm… no.
    Rainbow pettiskirt? no.
    But in my defense, she was going through a “I’m not going to wear anything phase.”
    She wears almost all of what I make her now (even if some of them are my earliest sewing projects and I am not super proud of them anymore!) There are a few that she doesn’t seem to like: the rainbow two piece I made at the beginning of PR&P last season, the blue social top I made (I make her wear that one, lol I don’t care! I LOVE that one!), the wacky quacky corset dress : ….(
    Not really a fan of shirts in general, she always expects a dress. I’m so glad she appreciates what I make her now (for the most part). Sometimes, when I finish a project, she’ll exclaim, “Wow! For me? Mommy, your a good sew-er [insert pat on the shoulder]).

    The big win so far? (With the exception of the Rainbow Dash dress she’s not allowed to wear for one more week!)
    The purple bias strip dress. She dig it out of the laundry hamper and run backwards towards me, asking for me to zip her, and she’d wear it to sleep if I didn’t make her change! So you gotta love those wins!!!

    I hope the twilight skirt won’t be a dud, lol. πŸ˜‰

    • kristin says:

      i love the image of Azy running backwards toward you in the purple bias strip dress! hilarious! i do have many wins – she said today “i love that dress!” when i pulled the apple dress out of the clean laundry for her to wear, which always feels good. πŸ™‚

      twilight skirt is definitely not a dud! except i don’t want it to get messed up, it’s so PERFECT!!!!

  14. Cindy says:

    I’ll have to say, I’ve been pretty lucky so far. I try to keep in mind my kids’ favorite colors, personal tastes when sewing clothes and that seems to work. There are a few pieces I’ve made K (the 13 year old) that she’s only worn a few times. She’s a bit brand conscious right now (Roxy, well…really any of the surf brands, Aeropostale, Gap) and will generally choose any of those over anything I’ve sewn, especially for tops. But all the bottoms (jeans, sweatpants, skirts) get worn quite often. I always tell her if she doesn’t like something I’ve sewn for her to let me know and not feel obligated to wear it. I don’t sew much for my son but the few things I have he wears on a regular basis. As for the little girls…they are game for pretty much anything. There is one piece I made and LOVED (the Clever Charlotte Raven Hoodie) and it has only been worn 2x.:(

    • kristin says:

      i made a knock-off Roxy shirt in high school printmaking class. true story! you do such a fantastic job of sewing for your bigger kids!

      i know i must’ve done the same thing to my mom when she sewed for me. i love that you don’t pressure your kids into wearing stuff, too. it is a pretty fun challenge to make stuff they’ll actually use! right now my options are a little limited…but i’m sure it’ll pass.

  15. rachel says:

    i love the name of this post – the rejects. ha! my girls are pretty enthusiastic about wearing what i make… but i don’t make shorts or pants. i know they’d never wear them. my daughter, indigo, loves a couple of things that i made that i’m not so crazy about. for example, i made this one for valentine’s day and she wants to wear it at least twice a week. my daughter evie loves this mushroom dress which i made for her older sister, kind of as a joke. whenever it’s clean she requests it.
    then there was this one that i spent hours on and i loved it… and it only got worn once. wah wah
    but there’s still hope that evie might wear that one!
    anyway, great ‘confession’ that probably rings true for so many of us mamas.

    • kristin says:

      oh thanks, rachel! and thanks for linking to your past projects, those were fun to check out. i can see why the valentine’s skirt gets a lot of use, especially – Em would LOVE that! as for the school photo – that is GORGEOUS and i can’t believe it isn’t worn. boo!

  16. Emily says:

    You should totally make the washi a dress. And maybe auction off the others. πŸ˜‰ Ansley definitely has her favorites- her Snow White dress, her white and blue dress, pretty much anything twirly. Sometimes I say her Snow White dress is in the laundry (even if it’s in the dryer- don’t tell). Oh and she likes the polka dot Coraline dress I made her that I didn’t get quite right. She was pretty sad when I didn’t pack it for our trip. ha.

    • kristin says:

      Well Ansley has good taste – those that you’ve made are pretty great!!! Em loves polka dots too – I think that’s why the Amelie dress is a hit. πŸ™‚

  17. stacysewsandschools says:

    My oldest daughter will beg me to make something and then after a week or two she discards it. My youngest daughter seems to love everything that I make her and will wear them over ad over again. YAY!!! My youngest son, though… SIGH…. He will only wear a few things that I have made. He loves the feel of knits so maybe that’s the way I should go with him.

  18. Heather says:

    I’ve only recently starting sewing clothes for my girls. After a couple of tries for my 8 year old, she told me, “Can’t you just sew for Carlie?” (her 2 year old sister)
    She has to wear uniforms this year, however, and can wear skirts in limited solid colors (green & neutrals) After some questioning (“Are you sure ‘homemade clothes’ are allowed?!?”) she loves the green circle skirts I made for her. And she has gotten lots of compliments on them at school.

  19. Jane says:

    Oh Kristin, I totally feel you!! Yes, it’s a four year old girls prerogative, huh!! For what it’s worth there are definitely things that V will only wear if I suggest and sometimes beg πŸ˜‰ her to wear, mostly b/c they aren’t comfy enough our b/c she can’t take them on and off by herself…lazy days skirts are her fave, quick on and off, with no front or back…HA!!! That being said…man I really love that flapper dress and finch shirt!!! Maybe I could trade you, something that V doesn’t like for something that’s taking up space in your house πŸ˜‰ JK, I’d be too afraid to send you something I made, then you would see all of my mistakes! Maybe I could just offer to buy the flapper dress and finch shirt off of you!! HAHA…

  20. Sarah says:

    My girls will fight over who gets the next thing I sew. But I notice that my 12 year old doesn’t wear what I make nearly as often anymore. She always wants a fancy dress, but then doesn’t want to wear dresses to church (and forget school). She will pick something out in the store, and when I tell her I won’t drop that kind of money on something I could make (and that would hold up better), she rolls her eyes and says, “Oh, Mom…” She has recently requested a blazer and a varsity-style jacket. I love that she has so much faith in me, but I don’t know if I’m up to that.

    My youngest (7 years old) loves dresses and skirts and most of what I make her, but I have noticed that she can be too polite about it. If I ask her if she likes a fabric or pattern, she will almost always say yes. She doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. So then I make it, and she wears it one time. I’ve tried to tell her that *that* hurts my feelings waaay more than saying that she dislikes my fabric or pattern choice.

  21. gail says:

    this is so funny…SO much of what i make gets rejected that it hardly even phases me anymore! i don’t really cater to her because there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to what she likes – so i tend to just make what i want to make and not take it personally if its rejected. right now she’s big into her elephant pants, so i’m happy with that. but dresses, no thanks. doesn’t stop me though!

  22. Tara says:

    Great post! When I first started sewing and Sophie was only about a year old, she would cry every time I put her in something I had made. It was like she was afraid of them! I was so traumatized! After a few weeks of me nonchalantly the handmade clothes in the closet next to her other clothes she finally started wearing them. Now she likes wearing what I make her. Though on her first day of school this past week she did pick a store bought top over the one I had just finished making especially for the big day. that was fun πŸ˜‰

  23. Melissa says:

    Ah yes. My 3yo is right smack in this stage too. She’s full on into the fairy/princess/ballerina stage and deems everything that isn’t pink, purple, frilly, ruffly, twirly or sparkly to be ‘NOT BEAUTIFUL’. I know this is a stage but it still freaks me out. I used to make a lot of her dresses but now I’m a little more cautious. Glad to hear I’m not alone. I did, however, just order a couple of Violette Field Threads patterns that seem to touch on a princess style but with a more modern, hip look. My daughter approved the picture on the pattern so I’ll give it a go.. By the way, that Flapper Tapper dress is so fabulous!

  24. Jessica @ Running With Scissors says:

    Oh it’s so funny what they end up loving and hating. At least you know the trends of what she will wear. RJ, maybe because he’s a boy, doesn’t really have rules. It’s always a surprise. He does do better if I let him choose an elelment, like which of these three buttons would you like, but even with input he may not love something in the end. Or what makes me mad is he hates something until it’s too small then tries to wear it all the time!

  25. Rachel says:

    I also have a big pile of rejects from my 6 1/2 year old (who tends to wear size 7 and up). She is a texture/comfort nightmare! πŸ™‚ She is short with a bigger tummy so I have to make all her clothes so that they fit her comfortably (she will not wear jeans and rarely pants). She loves to wear dresses but is fussy about which ones (I made her 4 to take on vacation with us and when it was time to pack, she didn’t like them). I am now working on some fall dresses-I will definitely have her input when selecting the fabrics/textures. Now, my 4 year old will wear anything (comfort wise) but chooses to dress princessy. My son only gets pajamas from me now since my skills are not quite up to par for boys clothing.

  26. Ursula Ramos says:

    I totally included my daughter in design and fabric choices for the last outfit I made for her. She said she loved it and wanted to wear it immediately. Our problem is she has gotten self conscious at 4 and didn’t like all the attention she received from wearing it. (she looked pretty cute in it) Now she won’t even wear the dress she tie dyed herself because that got too much attention too. I hope she is over this stage soon or her baby sister will be the recipient of all my handmades.

  27. Lucinda says:

    Funny . . . you think once you’re an adult we’re emotionally beyond the power of feeling rejection. And to think a mere 4 year old can bring those feelings out! To be fair, it’s not US they’re rejecting, it’s just what our hands have made! I think the problem is that when you handmake something, whether it’s clothing or different craft, you feel that you’ve invested a part of yourself with that item, and when it’s not loved quite as much as YOU love it, it’s feel like rejection! I too experience this from my 4 year old and struggle with how hard to push it. I tend to continue to sew towards my tastes rather than hers as I know hers will change daily. So I feel your pain – and think that involving her in the decision making, as you do, is a big part to her wearing it. If nothing else, the rest of the blog world loves that you sew for it and share it with us!

  28. Chelise Patterson says:

    I find that if I pretend that Drew wearing something isn’t that important to me, then there is a better chance she will wear it and like it. If she knows how badly I want her to wear something, she seems to resist just to resist! So I just try to play it casual and cool. There are many things in her closet that I have made though that have been worn only once 😦

  29. Jess says:

    I usually have to cater to Sadie’s whims to get her to wear anything regularly-and for the longest time she wouldn’t wear shorts or tees-just dresses and skirts. Now she mixes them up pretty well, but I still wash a lot of her skirts-she loves them! It’s always a bummer when you work so hard on a piece and then they won’t wear it! 😦

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