Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Fit to a T: baby romper, notes and preparing the pattern

**The updated and improved version of this tutorial is at my new blog! Stop on by…

Tutorials, huh. Well, I will do my best to be clear and succinct, but if at any point you find me veering wildly off course into unwarranted verbosity, please recall my tagline up there at the top of the page.

Also, some of my techniques are downright rudimentary. You may not want to be this low class, but then again you may find something that works for you!

This tutorial is for a simple romper. I think it is easier than a snap-down sleeper for a few reasons, not the least of which is that the front and back are identical. It also preserves a centered T-shirt image. Oh, and I wanted to make one for my nephew. Thus, a tutorial is born.


You’ll need: a shirt, romper, onesie, something that fits your baby. Or you can wing it, but for this kind of thing I like to start with clothes that fit and make adjustments so they fit my baby. You’ll also need a T-shirt that is longer than your baby is tall. And snaps, and all of the usual sewing accessories.

Note on sewing knits: I don’t have a serger (Yet. Someday I will and I will flaunt it), and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how my machine handles knits. I don’t use my walking foot because it does not like uneven layers and most of these seams are just that. Here are a few tips for sewing knits without a serger:

  • I use the Jalie method on almost every seam: first, zigzag at the edges without stretching. Then do a straight stitch 1/4″ from the edge while stretching slightly.
  • Always hold on to both threads when starting your seam. You can then use them to pull the fabric through the feed dogs so the needle doesn’t plunge them into your bobbin case and make that icky start to your seam.
  • Use your hand crank a lot, especially when you begin a seam.
  • Experiment a bit first so you know how your machine handles knits, especially in regards to beginning and ending a seam.
  • Pin, pin, pin, pin (yes I am singing “Sing, sing, sing, sing” in my head as I type). Just makes life easier.

On to making your pattern…

1) Find a garment that fits your intended recipient and is similar in style to the one you want to make. Turn it inside out and trace all of the pieces. To make a nicer pattern, I trace the whole thing, then fold my in half, lift it to a light source, and cut on the average (so to speak) of my two traced lines. This way when I open it up, both sides are identical and I get the chance to edit my tracing.


I generally use a 1/4″ seam allowance, mostly because that’s what I like to sew but also because it makes it easy to trace the serged edges of your model garment and use the above described Jalie method of sewing knits.

Make alterations as needed to fine tune the fit to your baby (I added an inch in the trunk and an inch to the legs).


A note on sleeves: I used to try to make fancy-shaped sleeves such as you’d find in a pattern, but I’ve since found that I am just as happy in this case if I just fold the sleeve in half (oxter to shoulder) and cut on the fold. I use a length of yarn to measure my armscythe along the seam line and then use that yarn to fine-tune my sleeve tracing, also at the seam line.

Coming soon: the cutting.


I’m not really here (but I’m not all there, either)

Cheekiness aside, sorry for missing all of your comments!

Last week I was in the land of dial up internet and no cell phone service (aka, rural Ohio), this week I’m back in Boston, next week we close on our condo on Monday and leave for my SIL’s wedding on Tuesday, and the week after that we move. So you can see that my title refers to my physical status in addition to my mental state. I really am neither here nor there (anybody else singing “The Grand Old Duke of York” in your head right now? “And when they’re up, they’re up. And when they’re down, they’re down. And when they’re only halfway up they’re neither up or down”).

The scariest part is, what if this is my new normal?

But look! I’ve finally gotten around to posting pictures of Gracie’s Easter outfit!

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The story is brief: I wanted to make a sweater for her out of this reclaimed yarn (no pattern, just a simple raglan), which happened to match this gifted fabric perfectly. I used view B of Butterick 3782, and contented myself with only a small amount of being put out with pattern makers who believe that a baby’s weight is the only measurement that matters. To make up for it I indulged in a little bit of self-righteous disgust that the inside finishing was so incomplete and lined the entire dress.


Then I made these shoes, which were indeed easy and foolproof. Sorry I didn’t get a good shot of those. Grace is moving too fast for my camera these days.

And, since I made a sweater it ended up being hot on Easter so I made a romper with bloomers, too. Very easy–look for my romper tutorial soon (or maybe in June sometime).

Thanks for stopping by!

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