Sunday, 19 September 2010

PB essentials: the clothing

Okay, my lovelies, now onto a fun topic – clothing for the pixies. I delight in its discovering (especially online – ooh! Isn’t that fun?) and buying. Pre-PB, we had no real idea of what clothes the pixies would need. We bought some basics but once they were born, we received generous stashes of clothing from family and friends. It was overwhelming, really – we ran out of space in their wardrobes a few times! It was heart-warming to witness people’s generosity and sharing in the excitement of the birth of a newborn. We delighted in hanging their little outfits on their tiny wooden hangers, feeling like we were playing at dress-up dolls at first!
Seven month old Joshua on a rare Sydney cold winter day 
It took us a while to work out how many clothes they should be wearing, particularly as Joshua and India were born in the heat of Sydney summers. Often a singlet and a nappy seemed like too much! As the days grew colder, we worried that we were overdressing them at night with the attendant SIDS risk. We used Grobag sleeping bags with different fabric weights for the time of year. There was much furtive sneaking into their room to check the room temperature with a torch until we developed some confidence! I often wished we had a Grobag Egg in those moments – have any of you used one? They look so fabulous and must provide so much reassurance in the middle of the night.

Then we discovered the rapid rate at which babies grow in their first year. There was such a poignant feeling of regret when we had to pack the newborn clothes away. At least with Joshua and India, there was always the possibility another little baby might follow them and be able to get some more use out of them. Sammy has been a huge beneficiary of Joshie’s clothes. Packing away the newborn clothes this time, however, has been the most nostalgic as I know Sam’s our last little baby. Some outfits were lucky to be worn once before the pixies had outgrown them. Hmm, that was a guilty feeling, often salved by giving them to friends with littlies (and telling the truth, not just passing them off as new purchases!) or the Salvos.
19 month old India in a pretty German blouse
We soon learnt not to buy 0000 (unless they’re premmie) as they’ll only fit into them for a couple of weeks and that it’s always better to buy a size too big than just right, given how quickly they grow. They rarely wear out of their clothes, mostly growing out of them instead. We found that sizing is rarely consistent. We learnt to use onesies underneath other layers in winter to make sure they didn’t get cold backs. But the thing which took us most by surprise was the introduction of so much primary colour to the house. Children’s clothes can be so dazzling in their brightness, not to mention quirky when your toddlers dress themselves. All sorts of odd creations can result! That said, at this stage, I am still able to proffer a couple of outfits for India’s selection – I’m sure the day will come soon when she wants to take over the dressing herself!

We found brands we loved like Pure Baby (oh, how I miss their Sydney warehouse sales now!), Gaia (their organic cotton wears so well on soft baby skin), Bébé, Woof!, Bonds (especially for their stripy leggings), Fred Bare (especially their summer hats) and Pumpkin Patch, as well as cheap basics at Cotton On Kids (I’ve mentioned them here – they do fabulous gumboots, leggings, tops and pyjamas) and Target (good for cheap skivvies and tops).
Set for daycare with their Fred Bare hats and Penny Scallan backpacks
With India’s arrival, we discovered the pretty dresses at Eternal Creation – do check out their website for a treat. The clothes are made for this Australian company in the Himalayas and sent direct from there in fabric bags with exotic postmarks – they’re a real treat to receive and so beautifully crafted. Here's a favourite.
Melbourne company, Townmouse, is another favourite – I have my eye on their divine Gypsy dresses and tops and pretty wrap dresses for India this summer. Kristine uses pretty Liberty fabrics - swoon!

With our return to Hobart, we’ve been thrilled to discover the following local women making adorable clothing for littlies.

• An old friend, Abi Freeman, runs the delightful Oliv Kids, making striking appliquéd white short and long-sleeved tops. They are essential basics on PB – they look fantastic and wear well. Do read her story about how she started her business – it’s heartbreaking but yet so positive at the same time.
This hippo looks so cute on Sam
• I am a big fan of Anna Jayne Designs for her pretty dresses, fabulous reversible bibs and colourful pencil cases and bags. She makes things to order and is a delight to deal with.
One of India's favourite Anna Jayne dresses

• The talented Sonia at Sunday’s Child also makes divine reversible pinafores, pretty appliquéd tops, colourful shorts, numerous hair ties and clips and delightful fabric knotted necklaces. She sources the prettiest fabrics from overseas (I particularly adore her French ones) and also cheerily makes custom orders.
Whimsical loveliness
• Sweet Miriam at Nara Design crafts the loveliest pinafores, vibrant screen printed tops and pants using tencel, hemp, cotton (both normal and organic) and wool. Her clever use of Japanese and vintage fabrics really makes her clothing stand out.  
Aren't the butterflies so pretty?
• The delightful Courtney at A Silver Nutmeg and a Golden Pear Designs creates the prettiest tunic dresses (India may well score one for summer) and skirts, smart shorts for boys, cleverly appliquéd tops and wonderful skivvies, singlets, smocks, brooches, quilts – you name it, she makes it (and to order as well).
I love the simplicity
• Clever Lauren at Owlet sews the sweetest skirts, cheerful onesies with her signature lovebird and nifty appliquéd tops. I think Sam might just score one of her gorgeous creations very soon! Here's one of her skirts I have my eye on.

We’ve also re-discovered the value of handknitted jumpers, something we rarely needed in Sydney. My mother and my godmother have risen to the task, whipping up cheery jumpers according to the pixies’ requests – pink, pink and white stripes and ‘rainbow’. Chunky woollen scarves have been well used, together with their beanies. Given the snow on Mount Wellington today, they were pleased to have such cosiness at their disposal!

Another wondrous surprise has been my mother finding a bag of smocked dresses made for me by my grandmother nearly 40 years ago. Now, India delights in wearing them – it makes me smile to see Nanny’s pretty handiwork being loved all over again. One day, when life has settled down a bit, I'd like to learn to sew (oh, and smock) so I can craft my own goodness for the pixies, carrying on Nanny's proud tradition.
Isn't it sweet?
So all up, dressing the pixies is fun. Sure, there’s the endless washing, folding, putting away, stain soaking (go Napisan Babycare!) and mending but on the whole, it’s lovely to see their personalities developing as they work out what colours and styles they like. I’d love to hear how you find clothing your children. What works best for you? Do you have trouble finding the right sizes or styles? All new brand or online shop mentions welcomed!



  1. Some great tips there. I actually buy most of my children's clothes from Boden online ( because the seasons are reversed and you can get a lot on sale.

    I love Townmouse too. I went to University with Kristine, she is very talented. xoo

  2. Ooh, thanks, Jane - another online shop to pore over! She is indeed and it's rare to find someone using Liberty fabric for children too. J x

  3. Cute cute CUTE, Jane, your sweet peas as well as the clothes, I love that skirt! Such sweet fabric.
    Thank you for entering my giveaway, fingers crossed for YOU.
    Have a happy new week xxx

  4. Why, thanks, Saskia. I agree - it's very pretty. Yes, I'm crossing my fingers and my toes! J x

  5. They're so lovely and special Jane. I find it hard to pack the really beautiful pieces away when they're outgrown, don't you?

  6. Oh, Sarah, you're so right about that, especially with Sam this time around. At the moment, they're packed in plastic containers in the shed but one day we'll have to make some hard decisions about what to do with them. Just not yet! J x

  7. Thank you j for such a sweet description!! You are such a nice person!! I love reading your updates of life at pb as a mum of 3 also I can relate to so much that you say- even though mine are all over 5 now- gosh where has the time go? If I gave any advice it really would be make the most of the simple small things, focus on fun, laughter love and adventure!!! Look forward to catching up soon xx

  8. Why, my pleasure, Courtney - all well deserved. I like those roadtested tips! J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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