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.