Capsule Sewing for Kids

There's one thing that's certain, kids will keep growing! Fortunately I have two boys so when I make clothes for my oldest, they can be passed down to my younger guy. What happens when the older guy outgrows his clothes though? Mama to the rescue! 

I've decided the easiest way to create clothes for my 6 year old is to make him a capsule. A capsule is a collection of clothes that coordinate and can be mix and matched. This is a great idea for a six year old because he will always match but still pick out his clothes. It gives him independence too. 

Pro tip: If you want them to take photos, give them your bluetooth remote. You'll get gems like these. 


Start by taking an inventory of the recipients current clothes that fit and what they like to wear. My 6 year old son that's receiving this capsule has pants but has gaps for shorts and tops. This will be a summer capsule so I'm making clothes for warmer weather. Those will be my focus on what to make. If you are sewing for colder weather, keep in mind layers. I'd definitely add cardigans and/or sweatshirts. 

Make your general plan. For me this includes: 
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 tank top
  • 3 short sleeve tops
Next, pick out your patterns. I find it easiest to pick all patterns from the same company if possible. I've sewn capsules for myself from Made for Mermaids patterns or Greenstyle Creations for an athletic capsule I blogged about here. This time I'm using Love Notions patterns since they have quite a few boys and unisex patterns we like. If you are reading this before May 10th, all of these patterns are 40% for a site wide sale. The Vanguard and Moto Maxx patterns are actually collections that include pants and tops in one purchase. Here's what I'm making. 

Selecting Fabrics

The key piece to a capsule is using colors that coordinate. I would highly recommend picking a main color to carry through the items. For this capsule that will be the color black. Other ideas could be grey, navy or oatmeal. This doesn't mean that all of my items will be black or plain, it's quite the opposite. What it means is that if I'm picking a print, I'll choose one with black rather than navy. 

My kids prefer Cotton Lycra fabrics for their tees and French Terry or athletic knit for their bottoms. Be aware that although DBP is soft to the touch, it can be warm in hot weather as it doesn't breath well. This kiddo has some specific sensory requirements with clothing so as you'll see, he won't wear elastic or anything tight around his head. 

If you are making a capsule for a kid, get them involved! This is the point where they can pull fabrics from your stash and show their ideas. Here's what fabrics my 6 year old picked. 


Then here's what I added for solids and coordinates. My plan is to keep the bottoms plain and go wild with the tops.


Usually in sewing apparel, I cut and then sew items individually. I do find it's easier to batch cut with capsules though. I will do all of the cutting first and then sew next. I organize each item by putting it in its own plastic bag (which I reuse) along with a sticky note in the bag with the pattern and size(s). For instance, I had a bag that was labeled Vanguard 6 chest, 7 height containing all the Vanguard pieces. 

Let's talk about sizing real quick. Have you measured your child lately? Do so. They grow so much and so quickly so making what size you think they are might not fit them properly. This kiddo measures into a size 5 or 6 depending on the pattern with a size 7 length. He's grown 2 inches in 2 months. Also, please don't assume that just because they are a size 5 in one pattern means it's the same for all patterns. It changes depending on the style and fit. 

This is the time that my projector comes in handy! A projector allows me to cut the next size patterns without needing to print or trace it. I can just project the pattern onto the fabric and cut away. I have a post here all about my projector setup

A reason I chose to use Love Notions patterns for this capsule is that they have projector friendly pattern files. Here's a link to their current list of projector friendly patterns. If a pattern you want to make on a projector isn't on there, check back because the list is updating all the time. If a pattern isn't available as a projector friendly file, A0 files do work for projecting too. They might not have layers or thicker lines but I do use them to cut frequently too. 

Let's Get Sewing

Now that all of your pieces are cut and ready to sew, let's sort one more time. Now I separate my sewing based on thread colors I'll need. It's easiest to sew and hem all of the items that need black then switch to another color rather than switching back and forth. Since this is for kids, don't be afraid for contrast with your hemming threads. My boys beg for reverse coverstitching in fun colors on their items. 

If you are continuing the batch sewing idea, I usually serge a garment together then move on to the next. I wouldn't recommend working out of more than one bag to avoid mixing up pieces. Then I'll switch to hemming one garment then the next. 

The Finished Capsule

Now you have a finished capsule! These 6 items can make 8 different outfit combinations with just these items. If you notice from the photos below, I was flexible with my fabrics. I ended up switching some out and choosing different options.

Now let's dive a bit deeper in to the patterns I used and what I like about them. 

First up, the Kayak Boardshorts. Although the Kayaks that I made look a little different than original pattern now. I used knit French Terry for both pairs and a Cotton Lycra waistband. This kiddo doesn't agree with any elastic so I needed to modify the pattern for that. I will say, since these are designed as a relaxed fit, the waistband had to be significantly smaller than the shorts and took a lot of stretching to get on. 

For the grey pair, I kept the faux fly but omitted the pockets. As much as he'd love the pockets, I was focusing on making this capsule quickly so skipping the pockets saved some time. They are plenty large enough that he'll have room to grow into them. For the black pair, I used a fleece French Terry from Mily Mae Fabrics that this kid just loves so much. I cut for the color block because it's fun then he picked out these TKB Cotton Lycra stripes to go with it. I will say, for the next pair, I'll keep the same length but size down the width. This pattern has a projector file. 

The Vanguard Top is part of the Vanguard collection which is a shirt and pant combo. This collection is a great value for all you get. What I love about this pattern is the colorblocking! It lends to scrap busting so much even though I cut from full yardage for each piece. Oh well, it's a cool looking top! Don't tell my son but I think this one is my favorite. This pattern has a projector file. 

Next I gave the Kids Game Day Tee a try. Honestly, I've seen this pattern many times before but didn't think much of it. From the title, I always attributed it to be more sporty but that's not the case. It can give such a fun funky look with mixing fabrics. This tee is the one that was the most fun. I don't often do appliqué or embellishments but I couldn't help adding the sleeve stripes. Also, this might be the first v-neck this kiddo has ever had. It was so simple in it's construction too! I cut this pattern using the A0 file. 

The Moto Maxx top isn't new to me. It may be my new go-to kids shirt pattern now. It has a color blocked shoulder that allows for that pop of contrast to an everyday tee. This time I added a grid fabric to pair with a Star Wars Cotton Lycra from Joann. Little brother saw this fabric as I was cutting it out and demanded a matching one too so that's what I did. This is another pattern that's part of a collection so you basically get 2 patterns in one. The Moto Maxx pants have a Moto inspired look with colorblocking that I'm sure will be a hit come winter time. I cut this pattern using an A0 file with my projector. 

Lastly, but actually my first sew was the Sprint Muscle Tank. I made this tank a week ago then realized it fit his capsule perfectly. I had the intent on using the Harry Potter fabric he picked out for another but then in the sake of time, put that off. It'll get done but we have a bit of time to make it. Isn't this pattern just adorable though! It once again has a color block front for that pop of fun. I found the construction fast and simple so I wanted to add something extra with reverse coverstitching rather than top stitching. For tanks, I never skip the topstitching portion. I find when they get washed numerous times, the bands tend to curl and no longer lay flat. If you've topstitched, that doesn't happen. So for this tank I did reverse coverstitching around the neckline and arm bands. This pattern has a projector file.  

Final Thoughts

So did you notice anything about all of the patterns I used? That's right, they ALL have color blocking options! What's great about that is that you can opt for the plain versions or the color block ones. I had no idea Love Notions had so many kids patterns with colorblocking and I didn't even use them all! My kids love prints and colorblocking is an excellent way to mix and match prints. My favorite way to color block is to pair a print with stars or stripes or various colors. You could also use solid colors if that's your jam. Think about all the scrap busting possibilities though. 

So what did I find was helpful?
Using a projector saved SO much time. Do that if you can.
Get your kiddo to be involved so they love what is made for them and want to wear it.
Have a plan but be flexible. 
Batch cut. Batch sew. Batch hem.

Overall I'd say this was a very successful capsule and I'll definitely make one again. I could see a mini capsule being a great idea for a baby gift or heading into a new season. I was able to plan, cut, sew and fully execute this capsule in 4 days while full-time parenting. I know that's not always realistic for others but it was doable for me. By doing each step in batches, I was able to feel accomplished along the way. 

In the end though, all that matters is that the recipient is happy. I think it's safe to say that he loved his new clothes. He took them right off the machine. 

My posts may feature affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase from these links, I receive a small percentage in compensation at no cost to you. I may have received patterns or products to test or review but the opinions I voice are my own. 


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