Double Gauze Shirts for Hugo that he won’t wear

I recently made Hugo two double gauze shirts. He looks adorable in them, but refuses to wear them. He only agreed to be photographed for this post (in two separate locations) because marshmallows were made available (in both locations). 

Double Gauze shirt for Hugo

The blue and green shirt is a double gauze from Cotton and Steel that he picked out himself (I’d just like to point out that in both cases he pre-approved both the fabric AND the design). It’s from the line of C+S double gauzes called Bespoke and I’ve made a bunch of things from the other prints in the collection (this Charlie, these Luna pants, these moon pants) as well as two other colorways of this painted stripe (this dress, this top). 

Double gauze is the most comfortable of all woven fabrics to wear, which in my opinion makes it perfectly suited to children’s shirts or pajamas, behind knit fabrics. I also went to the trouble of sewing all french seams; he had expressed so much initial excitement over the style (it has BUTTONS!) and print (“it has NINJA STARS on the SLEEVE!”) that I wanted to make sure it was as comfortable as possible. 

Once it was finished and he tried it on, he declared it “too big” at the bottom of the sleeves and waist, and it was set aside.


I made this short-sleeved white one back in August for him to wear because we were having family photos taken. I made a couple of shirts for the boys at that time (including the peach one for Elliot), and this one was the one I made for Hugo.

The fun part is that it’s made from pieces of an old shirt of Mr Rae’s that he used to wear years ago before we were married. The original shirt had yellowed quite a bit around the collar, and was so worn it was getting a bit threadbare in spots, so I cut it apart and used just the beautiful embroidered sections on the new shirt.

After folding under the edges of the panels, I sewed them directly to the front pieces of the shirt, which are a plain white double gauze. For both shirts, I used my Charlie tunic pattern as a starting point, but there’s too many modifications to name here. Eventually I hope to do another boys’ shirt pattern, and perhaps this will be one of the views. As I mentioned with Elliot’s shirt, I really love the bias bound neckline rather than a collar — it makes the sewing ridiculously quick.

Again, rejected. He agreed to wear the shirt for the photos but took it off immediately afterward and hasn’t touched it since. I suppose I could be disappointed that neither of these shirts have been worn, or feel that it was all a waste of time, but I don’t. I actually find it amusing that he won’t wear them (hence the title of this post, which cracks me up), so this is not meant to be a “poor me” post. Guys, I’m three kids into this sewing-for-kids game and I have been here before and will definitely be here again. It happens, and it’s OK! Shrug it off, move on, I say!!

Admittedly this would be more difficult to do if I had put a great deal of  investment or time into these projects, but as far as time, both shirts are made of just five pieces (two sleeves, two fronts, one back — and some bias tape for the neckline), so they were quick to sew. And they took a relatively small amount of fabric, especially when compared to adult clothing, so they don’t represent a large investment in that regard.

Lest someone think “well, why even bother sewing for kids!?!” let me say one more thing, the important thing: I try to keep my expectation of what my kids will do with a handmade thing as low as possible, and put my enjoyment of the thing into the process of making it, not how it’s received. My satisfaction is more about the fun I had making it (something I have control over) than how they feel about it (something I have very little control over). If my kids WILL wear something I make, even better! At the very least, they have to try it on (kind of like trying a taste of something new at dinnertime). 

Which doesn’t mean I won’t hold out hope. I’m not going to give these away, yet. He might wear them next year. See? I’m still an optimist. I know many of you have had similar experiences with kiddos and the things you’ve made them. I love to hear your stories, too, so feel free to leave them in comments if you have a minute to spare!! 

44 thoughts on “Double Gauze Shirts for Hugo that he won’t wear

  1. This gave me a good laugh, especially his expressions-just priceless!! Kids, man, sometimes you win, sometimes you shrug and move on…

  2. They look great on him, but the best part is his face – definitely an “I’m just here for the marshmallows” look.

  3. Now that’s just too funny! I made several things for my kids when they were little, and they happily wore everything. My homemade clothes were not really rejected until the preteen years. Now, they are grown. One of my daughters likes when I occasionally make her something, but the other, not so much.

  4. Oh, kids’ clothes… I once made my daughter a nice, detailed, time-consuming shirt dress. She had seen the fabric ahead of time and BEGGED me to make her something with it.
    But the first time she chose to wear it, I had already left for work that morning and my husband was in the shower when she was getting dressed. She didn’t realize she had to undo the buttons BEFORE putting the dress on, and essentially got stuck halfway in it. She was so upset after that that she never wore it. I was admittedly pretty frustrated about that dress.

  5. Hugo is incredibly cute even if he is being a stinker about the shirts (which are lovely!). My son is 19 and is finally allowing me to knit him a sweater. I’m not convinced he will wear it but I bet the girlfriend will if he won’t!

  6. Oh Hugo! I’m glad you’re so chilled about this outcome – I’d be distinctly less philosophical… I know the day is coming when my handmades will be rejected, just because I made them, but I’m hoping to stave it off for as long as possible.

  7. My daughter has decreed all wools to be itchy (unless it’s something she wants to touch, like my yarn while I’m knitting – the knitted item is itchy, the yarn is not, because reasons), so the sweater I knit for her last year will only be worn if she’s wearing something long-sleeved underneath that keeps her skin safe. It’s a little frustrating, because there was yarn in the stash earmarked for her, but now I get to use it for something else. She will accept cotton and acrylic knits, neither of which are my favourite material to knit with, but I’ll put up with them to get something she likes.

    • I know this makes knitter’s crazy, but there really is such a thing as a wool allergy. I can touch a ball of wool yarn and think it’s soft and amazing, but as soon as I wrap it around my hand to knit I can’t stand the itchiness. Forget actually wearing it. The good news is there are increasingly nice fiber mixes to work with. I’m currently making my girls sweaters with Berroco’s Remix and finding it a nice knit. (it does split, though.)

  8. I haven’t made many clothes for my kids; primarily a few skirts and a dress for my older daughter. She has received them well, but the skirts were quickly ignored because of tutu style skirts that she prefers. I made my kids cloaks in the past few weeks and they all love those (*so far*). As long as the shirts were fun/enjoying to make, it was worth it for mom! 🙂

  9. My kids are both in their 30’s now and eventually did reject the clothes I made when they got older but I just started quilting! They went to Catholic schools so the uniform for my daughter was a plaid skirt and white button down shirt from woven fabrics. I made them out of soft batiste with French seams and she loved them. When she was in 2nd grade I had gotten really busy so decided to just buy them. She came home from school in tears and said her skin itched all day. Needless to say I was up all night making the “emergency” shirt!

  10. My oldest has always preferred Mama made, and at 8 shows no signs of changing. My 3 year old begs me to make clothes, is excited to put it on and then rarely wears it again. I realized recently that she had started specifying “soft clothes” or just insisting on pajamas all day. So, I bought a serger. 🙂

  11. The shirts are totally adorable!
    My boys (teenagers) won’t wear the flannel shirts or button down Hawai’ian shirts (purchased with fabric they picked out while we were there)… but they love t-shirts and PJ pants I make. So that’s what I’ll make from now on … button down shirts in adult sizes are a pain to make to just sit in the closet!!

  12. I enjoyed this post immensely, on many levels. I recognize so many of those facial expressions from my kids! Also, I remember twice as a child myself picking out the fabric and pattern and refusing to wear them after my mother had carefully assembled the garments, and her frustration.

    But also, I’ve been hesitant to sew clothes for my kids because they may refuse them at the end. Thanks for the reminder that it just happens and to carry on.

  13. I have a boy and two girls. I used to sew for them all, but now my son has stopped wearing what I make, so I stick to patching (and re-patching) his pants. I sometimes feel guilty that I sew more for his sisters than for him, but they enjoy the things I sew and he doesn’t, so I try not to worry about it too much. I am helping sew his own Halloween costume this year though- he’s more likely to wear something he made himself!

  14. I always tell my son that every piece of clothing I make for him is a hug from me and a prayer that he’ll be safe and happy. So far, it has worked.

  15. I have sewn so many clothes (mostly fancy dresses) my kids never actually got to wear but this summer I made a knit jumpsuit for my oldest daughter that she wore almost daily. At a certain point I had to ask her “Are you wearing that jumpsuit again?!” but I must admit I was super happy about it.

    • I’ve found that knit clothing is usually a hit with my kids too. It’s so fun when they enjoy the things they make, isn’t it? 🙂

  16. You make lovely things but being southern I can see why he won’t wear them – they look like girls blouses. He is definitely All Boy so make him something that is all boy. Just got to love that face! Both boys are adorable but from their face and body language – all boy. We need more ALL BOYS ! Looking forward to seeing what you make.

    • I couldn’t disagree more. The assumptions about who my kid is based on a few photos, what I should be doing as a parent to shape that identity, and your own stereotypes about what is “boy” and what isn’t…wow. Things must really be different in the south than they are here. That a post about kids not always wanting to wear the things you make brought out these opinions is a bit disturbing (and fascinating) to me, but regardless, it is missing the point. While I’m inclined to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you had the best of intentions with this comment, I do have one piece of feedback to share: the phrase “they look like girls’ blouses” is never kind in this context. Keep that opinion to yourself moving forward.

  17. It is a cute shirt, but honestly I thought he was a girl in the first picture. I can see why he won’t wear it. I’ve made things that grandsons refuse to wear, but I just focus on the pleasure I had creating it.

    • Before using the word “honestly” online, check yourself: is it kind? I don’t mind that my boys look pretty (at all!) or that they are frequently mistaken for girls by older people because of this, regardless of what they wear, but when someone says “he looks like a girl” it’s almost never meant kindly. I’d recommend keeping that opinion to yourself moving forward. As for the second part of your comment: I definitely agree with your pleasure-in-making it philosophy!

  18. It has helped in the past here if I say that if (s)he doesn’t want to wear it, I’ll give it to another child. Then they’re sometimes very eager to keep it for themselves :p

  19. My daughter let me sew for her until pre-teen/middle school. Then it was a no-go…UNTIL this year. She’s is 100% tom-boy and absolutely hates shopping and dresses and finding a dress for the 8th grade dance was torture for all. When homecoming rolled around this year, she showed me a picture of the dress Rory wore to prom on Gilmore Girls and asked if I could make it for her. Made my day that she wanted me to sew for her again!! I found a pattern that was almost a dead on match, sewed it up and she loved her dress! They come around 🙂

    • Oh that’s so awesome!! I love that she got inspired by Rory and you went for it. Sewing around their tastes and styles is key. Yay!!!

  20. I try to approach sewing for my daughter the same way. Even if the finished product is not worn I had the fun of making it and it might (and frequently is) worn sometime later (especially if I’m not looking). Now I also have a baby and she isn’t old enough to reject things yet … but she can grow out of things if I take too long to get them finished. I try to always size up in my making; it vastly increases the chances of me seeing what I’ve made on a human being 🙂

    • That’s a fantastic point — sizing up makes it so much more likely that they’ll end up wearing it at some point.
      Thanks for your comment, Shelley!

  21. Hugo is adorable, and those shirts look so soft and comfortable. I knit more than I sew for my kids, which is more time consuming and expensive—at least with the yarn I choose :)—so rejection stings! I’ve found that allowing my kids limited choice (which of these two patterns/colors/yarns?) gives us BOTH a modicum of control, and increases the chances the garment will be worn. But sometimes, the yarn’s just scratchy! When that happens, I appreciate the process, and hope that it will work as a hand-me-down.

  22. Beautiful pictures, I have never made things for my son simply because he would never let me do cutting and stitching without getting in the way ! My daughter was a calmer child, and I made lovely dresses which she all wore , until she was about 9 and then she quit ! I’m thinking of making her a pair of skirts shorts that really look like a flared or gathered skirt but bit nervous , about making the waistline chunky looking, maybe elastic at the back only ?coulnt find any posts of anyone having made any- I’m in Australia, what is double gauze? Is that what we might call voile??

  23. This is my life with my kids!! It has changed over the years though. When my oldest was little I discovered it had to have pink on it for her to wear it. Now that she’s older I know that it needs to have a soft elastic waist if I expect her to wear it. And my second daughter has the longest list of wanted clothes but then after I make them all she ends up wearing hand me down sportswear. ugh!!!

  24. Ah, totally there with my younger kid who happily rejects. One of them is a button down shirt in double gauze that I bought in Tokyo! I suppose all this rejection could mean that the kids knows his mind so I should perhaps stick with that than feel disappointed.

  25. Hugo is crazy, because these shirts look both stylish AND comfortable. But then, expecting children to be rational is always mistake #1, haha! I think a pattern for these three shirts (including the one you made for Elliot) would be fabulous. I have sewn many Geranium dresses, both as gifts and for my niece, and I would love an equally easy sew for my nephews. And, frankly, my niece would likely get more wear out of these shirts than the dresses, too! I’ll happily be a tester when you’re ready. 😉

  26. I learned to sew at a young age so my mother asked me to sew some new school clothes for my first grade sister.. When she put the finished outfit on for the first time her body language was not what I’d hoped. Mother reminded her that she’d chosen both the fabrics and patterns. She exclaimed that she didn’t know they would be like THIS! Under duress she wore the outfits once then never again. I was relieved of sewing for her. She looked much like Hugo in the most disgruntled photo.

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