There are some key features to keep in mind when patternmaking for kids clothes. Fashion design for kids should focus on comfortable wear-ability, ease of dressing and undressing, youthful attractiveness and long lasting use.
If you're going the eco and environmentally friendly route for your kids, the very best fabrics to get are cotton and cotton blend knits and woven fabrics.
For closer fitting garments knit fabrics should be used, such as undergarments, pajamas, day wear, play wear, vests and sweaters. Knit fabrics are very versatile. Designed with enough ease, they can stretch with your children's growth, are suitable for all seasons and are also very comfortable.
Woven fabrics should be used for outer garments, jeans, evening and formal wear as these fabrics aren't as comfortable due to a lack of stretch.
Kids always look cute in oversized clothes but there are also some very practical reason for designing them to be oversized. Fashion design for kids should always include dressing ease, and I mean this in two ways:
1. it should be easy to put the cloths on and take them off your child and
2. there should be adequate body, movement and growth ease added to the garments during the patternmaking process
Somewhat oversized clothing also has the added benefit of letting kids stay cooler when it's warm and allow for plenty of layering when it's cold outside.
Adding the extra width and length
An extra 1 - 1 1/2 inches of width ease on each side seam of the garment patterns for pants and tops is welcome growing room. To keep the cold are out of this extra space for younger children, you can incorporate removable drawstrings and / or elastics in the waistbands and sleeve cuffs.
Extra length that you could add to pants hems can also be tamed by this technique. However, although it's ideal to include extra length into any kid's tops to be sure their backs and stomachs stay warm, you can also include additional "growth length" by disguising it as extra wide hems that can be carefully released when the child is tall enough to need the extra length. This technique is ideal for skirt and dress hems as well. Note: this extra length should be proportional to the extra width added to the garment design.
Which silhouettes to use
It's true, some silhouettes are more "ease" friendly than others. Unless you're one of those people (like myself) who like the un-fitted shoulder look, where the armholes actually hang off your children's shoulders, the easiest fashion design for kids to use in this extra ease approach is any silhouette that is more fitted in the shoulder area such as yoke designs in patternmaking for both boys and girls and A-line silhouettes for girls.
Making things easy for dressing and undressing
When it comes to ease of dressing and undressing you've got two areas to focus on, the neckline and closure types to be used. For pullover garments necklines should either be stretchy or simply wide enough to allow the head (and ears) painlessly through. Buttons should be avoided unless they are both large and very few. Instead you want to use chunky zippers, Velcro, snaps (with faux button plackets) and self or contrasting ties.
Some tips on colors
Patternmaking and fashion design for kids should also focus on bringing out the energy and enhance the playful nature of children. Combine attractive colors with the right amount of contrast being careful not to make the clothes too bright as it could be overpowering, drawing more attention to the clothes rather than the child. If you use or create printed fabric for your kids clothes keep these same ideas in mind with light hearted, cheerful designs and have fun designing.