If there’s one mother-daughter duo deserving of the “twinning is winning” crown, it would most certainly be sewing blogger Holly Dolly and her daughter Penny. The dynamic duo has been mastering the art of mommy-and-me matching since day one and their latest make is a match made in heaven. Inspired by retro rainbows (Penny’s new favorite trend), Holly set out to create coordinating outfits that fit her style while still capturing Penelope’s spirit. Keep reading to find out how she mastered the look for two!
Holly: Mommy-and-me matching—some people love it, some people hate it. It’s no secret that I am totally on the twinning train with my little one, Penny. I am 100% that mom. I live for wearing matching outfits with her on a daily basis. Luckily, she’s at an age where she loves matching with me, too! And luckily for both of us, I absolutely love sewing handmade garments, which makes twinning very easy.
When it comes to creating mommy-and-me looks, there are a few different ways to go about it. Of course, there is the pre-planned, super “matchy matchy”, same-fabric/same-garment way to do it. Which is super fun and what I did for the project in this post. But a lot of the time, even though I still use the same fabric, it’s just whatever fabric scraps I have leftover from making my garment are used to squeeze out whatever I can for Penny to match. Same-fabric, different-garment. For example, after making the red leopard dress you see above, the only thing I really had enough fabric for was a simple elastic-waist rectangle skirt for Penny. Or sometimes a little cropped tank or cropped tee is all I have enough for. But it still looks super cute and still gives off that twinning look just the same when you’re using the same print or fabric! This is a fun option if you’re not into the super “matchy-matchy” look.
Choosing the Right Design
For this project, I really wanted to create something for the both of us, but with Penny’s garment more of a priority and not just an afterthought. This included picking out a print that she really likes to wear. And you know what Penny loves? Rainbows! I knew she would go crazy over the fact that I would be wearing rainbows to match her.
But here’s the thing—just because I want to create this set with Penny in mind, doesn’t mean I necessarily need to completely sacrifice my style in the process. Because, let’s face it, at 3.5 years old, Penny will grow out of her garment in less than a year. She may not even like rainbows any more by then either. But I want mine to be a garment that stays in my closet for a lot longer and lasts! So I went looking for rainbow prints that I knew Penny would love, but that were a little more minimal or neutral-colored to fit my aesthetic. Maybe boho, maybe modern, or a little bit of both. I stayed away from anything in a typical primary color rainbow theme, or anything too child-like or that looked like it belonged in a newborn’s nursery. All of those are super cute too! And if I was making for just Penny, I wouldn’t hesitate to use some of those. But not quite for me. And with so many designers with different styles on Spoonflower, it’s almost impossible to not find just what you’re looking for.
So after a whole lot of searching in the marketplace (so addicting scrolling through prints on Spoonflower!), I saved about 30 rainbow designs that I personally loved to a collection in my Spoonflower account. This helped me keep track of them all and stay organized.
From there, I then had all 30 of those designs transferred straight from my collection to a Fill-A-Yard® project. I went with the 1 yard cheater quilt template, and it allowed me to see all of the designs in person right next to each other. So much easier than getting individual swatches of each one and I can turn the samples into a quilt!
After agonizing over all of them forever, because I seriously loved them all (and Penny really wasn’t any help because she said she liked them all, too. Girl loves every rainbow she ever sees), we finally settled on the Indian Summer rainbow print by mrshervi in the Organic Cotton Sateen! I love the neutral colors (more my style) and how it looks as if it has a linen-like texture for some added dimension.
Choosing the Right Sewing Pattern
From there, it was time to get to work. The patterns I chose are a matching mommy-and-me pattern bundle from the Etsy shop Hello Dear Kids. I love finding and supporting small pattern makers, and she designs some super cute children’s looks. Bonus that this one came with a matching adult version too. Easy twinning! I ended up lengthening the sleeves on Penny’s since it’s cold and wintery here in Massachusetts (I threw a chunky cardigan on over mine after we took photos), and added a matching sash belt on mine to cinch in my waist. But other than that, the pattern was perfect as-is.
I had a nice little surprise while working on these, too. Penny got involved in the sewing with me! She’s been showing some interest in what I do lately. Usually she pretends her mixer from her play kitchen is a sewing machine, and pretends to “sew” dresses for us out of dish towels. But this time around, she actually sat on my lap and helped guide the fabric through the machine for a few seams. With me carefully and slowly controlling the foot pedal, of course. Shhhh, don’t tell her, but she’s getting a small kid’s sewing machine with a needle guard for her 4th birthday. I’m so excited!
Choosing the Right Fabric
I chose the Organic Cotton Sateen for these looks because I wanted something lightweight but not too drapey. The sateen is just crisp enough to give the flounce hem some body and not be droopy. I think it was a good choice! Bonus points for being an organic cotton (yes!).
Another substrate that I love for garment making is the Poly Crepe De Chine—I’ve used it for blouses in the past. But for this project, it was too lightweight, drapey, and sheer for what I was going for.
I can always tell when Penny really loves what I’ve created for her and when she’s just humoring me—it always comes down to when we go to photograph them. She was dancing and spinning and laughing and giggling and posing. Just all around loving showing it off and not even caring that we were making her pose for pictures. I know that one day she won’t want to twin with me anymore, and maybe not even want me to sew for her anymore, so I am soaking up every ounce of this while I can.
I hope you enjoyed our mommy-and-me-look! And if you have little ones, I hope you don’t shy away from sewing and creating for them, and this inspires you to make for them. Sure, they grow out of their clothes fast. But I promise you that the memories are worth it. And with Spoonflower, it is SO fun getting them involved with picking out prints they love!
About the Guest Author
Holly Darling is a mom and sewist based outside Boston, MA. With a mission to create a handmade wardrobe for both herself and her daughter, no amount of twinning is too much twinning! When she is not sewing, you will find her playing board games and cars with her little, and adventuring all around New England with her husband, too. Follow along with her adventures and mommy-and-me makes on her Instagram or blog!