Sewing for a Winter Toddler: Jumpers

Disclaimer: You’re about to be exposed to some pretty dodgy phone photos of a constantly moving toddler. I suppose I could style him and spend hours taking photos, but I’m trying to save libraries and still get some sewing time in, so this is what you get 🙂

So, I live in Brisbane. Which doesn’t get cold by serious standards, but we also live in houses designed for long hot summers. So when it does get below 10 degrees Celsius, you tend to hear a lot of complaining. We like to talk about weather around here. Squirm was supposed to be born in July (that’s a ‘whole nother’ story) so we spent a lot of time organising nice warm clothes for him before he was born. Then he was late, and 2012 had an unusually mild winter, and it was only really cold for about a week – all while I was in the hospital with Squirm.

2013 wasn’t much better – we organised a bunch of winter clothes, then it was pretty mild. So when I was preparing for winter this year, I thought we wouldn’t need too many warm things, especially since May was extraordinarily hot. Then winter hit hard (it’s actually been colder here than in Hobart or Melbourne some mornings) and I realised that we had a BIG gap in Squirm’s winter wardrobe – it was time for some very quick sewing.

So far, I’ve made him 6 jumpers (sweat shirts) and 4 pairs of pants (he had a few of those already) and definitely filled in some spaces. I thought I’d look at both the jumpers and the pants in this post, but then it got long, so I’ll leave the pants for another time 🙂


I started off making the jumpers just after I’d used Blank Slate Pattern‘s Just a Jersey, and I thought it would be fun to make it in fleece. I used a size up (size 3 instead of size 2) and added some extra length to the arms to turn it into a great relaxed jumper. The first one was made from some red fleece from East Coast Fabrics and a fleecy baby blanket from Big W. The second one fitted right in with Squirm’s current Thomas the Tank Engine love. I used red and blue fleece from East Coast Fabrics, but added some stripes to the shoulders, a ‘Thomas Style’ Number 1 to the back and some railway tracks to the front. He gets lots of compliments on it and I love it because everything seems to wash out of it! (he wore it strawberry picking which should have been a disaster!)

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And some construction photos . . .

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The next three jumpers were terribly simple as the temperatures plummeted! Spotlight had some great printed fleece on sale (down to $5 a metre) so I grabbed 3 (different) metres and used a Size 3 Tee Times Three pattern (Blank Slate Patterns) to make some very basic, but cute jumpers. I did have to shorten the sleeve and they probably could be shortened again slightly, but that’s more because my toddler doesn’t like fabric around his hands. There’s ribbing on the necks and on some of the cuffs.

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Finally, I decided to play with the Tee Times Three pattern and make a jumper that kind of looked like a jacket. I cut the front pieces separately (instead of on the fold) and added extra for seam allowance. Because I was trying to get as much out of my fabric as possible, I cut the pieces a bit short, then added the octopus print to the bottom, which looked awesome. Then I attached some yellow knit fabric (a jersey?) to one of the pieces to give a lining ‘look’ and attached a flap to look like a closure. This piece was sewn on top of the other one, but unfortunately my sewing sucked and it wasn’t straight which bugs me. The rest went together pretty much as normal, with octopus fabric for the sleeves. I used the yellow knit fabric on the cuffs and neck too – I wasn’t happy with the neck to start with, but folded it over again and it looked much better. I’m going to sew the ‘flap’ down with a yellow button, but Squirm wanted to wear it straight away

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