covering up

The other day, after a chilly first swimming lesson, Daniel sat shivering in his towel, eating his post-lesson snack, while Anya was warm and comfortable in a cover up. "Why can't I have a cover up?" he wanted to know. Why not indeed? I thought and promised him I'd have a look online for one when we got home.

Well, I looked. And looked. And came to the conclusion that manufacturers of children's swimwear and accessories apparently believe that only girls get cold in the water because they simply don't make cover ups for boys. A couple high-priced websites had cover ups for boy toddlers, but they stopped at size 4T, and Daniel is well past that size by now.

In all my ranting and raving about my issues with gender and children's clothing, this one truly baffles me. A cover up (in case you were wondering) is essentially a long sweatshirt made out of terrycloth meant to be worn at the pool or beach over a swimsuit to keep warm after spending time in the water. I just bought Anya's with her swimsuit when Lands End had a sale online, but you can get them for girls just about anywhere, and in a variety of styles. Some have hoods and some don't, some have long sleeves and some have short sleeves, some are pullovers and some zip up, but they are all made out of terrycloth, and are essentially like towels that stay on. So why not make these for boys? There is obviously a market out there, given that boys get in the water and need to warm up's not like you couldn't appliqué a football or the Incredible Hulk on there to make it more masculine for goodness' sake. 

So, anyway, I couldn't find a cover up to purchase, and he didn't want one made for a girl, so I said I would make him one. I told him over and over I couldn't promise success. I didn't know if I would find the appropriate fabric and pattern, but I said I would do my best.

Happily, the nearby Joanns does have terrycloth in stock (not super-soft quality, but it is 100% cotton and available in several colors). I wasn't sure I could find a pattern, given the absolute dearth of patterns for boys' clothes (I'm actually not going to complain about this since there probably aren't a whole lot of boys who want homemade clothes...), but there was one Burda pattern for a fleece hooded sweatshirt that I figured would work.

And it did. I tell you what, I'm sold on Burda patterns now. The instructions are minimal at best, but the pieces fit together and if you have some previous sewing knowledge you'll do okay.

Here's the result:

Daniel is pretty pleased, I think!

I had a few modifications to the original pattern. I used terrycloth instead of fleece, I lengthened the body by 2" (for more coverage, given its purpose), and I put patch pockets on the front instead of in the side seam as called for. The side pockets just seemed like a pain, and Daniel really wanted a heart on one and star on the other.

Pockets closer up:

The zipper is red because, well, Daniel likes red and besides, there wasn't a readily available separating zipper in bright teal. I'm pretty pleased with this project. I sewed the whole thing in about two hours yesterday morning and finished up with the pockets in about a half hour today. My skills sewing in a zipper aren't anything to write home about, but it's in there and it zips, so just don't look too close at it, okay?

The important thing is that Daniel loves his new cover up and it will keep him warm!


gay said…
ah he's at that perfect age when he thinks it is wonderful to have home made things! it turned out great!!!
Jessi said…
So cute! You know, it never occurred to me, but I don't think I've ever seen a cover up for a boy, and considering the absolute incredible variety of styles, that's crazy. We always have a small selection of cover-ups around the house.
Anonymous said…
I read this post, went to the pool and saw a little boy with a cover-up. I'm not sure if it was made specifically for "boys". It seemed to be a towel poncho with a hood. I wonder if someone made it or if was bought at a store.

I really like the one you made. I am sure it will be really useful this summer.

Dee Anna
Doreen said…
Congrats on the success of the cover-up! I too used to wonder if my four boys really wanted to wear the clothes I made them. Turns out they did. Now that the youngest is twenty-two, he tells me quite often how much better the quality of the clothes were that I made than anything store-bought and he's so glad I sewed his clothes. Who knew? I gave him hand-knit socks for his birthday and he caressed them!! Maybe since he's the youngest of five, he appreciates anything made especially for him since he wore so many hand-me-downs?

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