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Fit to a T baby romper tutorial part 4: Sides, sleeves, and snap carriers

August 26, 2010

Things start clipping along at this point!

Stitch the shoulders. If you made a back placket, stitching the shoulders is just a matter of lining up the shoulders, right sides together, and stitching. If you made a shoulder closure, you’ll need to line up the snap carriers as you want them to sit and baste.

romper, with one shoulder stitched and the other basted.

In either case, I like to do a plain french seam for the shoulders, without the zig zagging and stretching. Sometimes I go back and topstitch it in place because I like the look, too.

french seam topstitched.

(view from right side)

Set the sleeves. Setting the sleeves can be done flat or in the round. Doing them in the round isn’t that much harder and does give a nice round finish to them at the bottom. Setting them flat means there is one nice long side seam, which for some reason gives me a thrill.

1) Mark the center of your sleeve. Line this center up with the shoulder seam, right sides together, and pin like crazy. If you’re so inclined.

sleeve, pinned and ready for stitching

(view from wrong side of sleeve)

another sleeve, pinned and ready for stitching

(view from wrong side of sleeve)

Stitch using the double stitch method (wide zig zag along the edge without stretching, followed by a straight stitch at 1/4″ with slight stretching as you sew). Repeat for the other sleeve. If you’re using a shoulder closure with snap carriers, treat them as you basted them, as one complete shoulder.

Sleeves are in!

Stitch the sides. It always amazes me that we pour so much work into the small things in a garment–neckline, sleeves, details–and then two long, relatively simple seams make it into a wearable garment.

Turn the romper so the right sides are together. Pin and stitch the long side seams from sleeve to hem! Repeat for the other side, then turn right side out and admire.

Shape the gusset, if needed, to prep for snaps. You’ll want to make sure your gusset shape will fit with the front of the romper. My very unscientific-but-hasn’t-failed-me-yet method for doing this is to take a piece of yarn and use it to measure the front leg opening. Mark the length of the front leg opening with a knot. Then lay that length of yarn onto your gusset and back leg openings. Chances are, if your gusset is currently straight across it will be too short. You’ll use the yarn as your guide to make the gusset into a convex curve, as shown below. It is a little bit guessing, but if you use your yarn to lay out the shape first, it is a pretty simple step. I also sometimes take out a few stitches at either end of the gusset to shorten the edges.

gusset shape (note: this picture shows the next step already completed)

(view from inside of romper)

Preparing legs for the snaps. No matter which style of romper you are making, with gusset or without, the following steps are the same.

1) Cut or find your back leg snap carrier, a strip about 2 1/2″ wide and a bit longer than the length of your center leg openings, with the grain running the length of the piece.

2) Fold it in half, lengthwise, with wrong sides together. You can baste the raw edges now, if you choose. Either way, pin the folded leg snap carrier to the back leg opening from hem to hem, with raw edges even.

back snap carrier pinned to back leg opening
(view from wrong side)

another view: back snap carrier pinned to back leg opening
(view from wrong side)

3) Stitch, using double stitching method. Press carrier out and seam allowances toward romper. Edge stitch, if desired.

back snap carrier stitched to back leg opening
(view from wrong side)

4) For the front carrier, use another T-shirt strip. This one should be about 1 1/4″ wide and as long as your front leg opening, or you can cut a curve to fit the front leg opening if you want an easier time finishing. (Both ways are shown below.) Finish the outside raw edge by using a wide zig zag stitch along the long edge (the longest, outside edge, if you’ve cut a curve).

5) Pin the strip to the romper front, wrong sides together and raw edges even. Stitch, using double stitching method. This time, press the carrier IN toward romper so it is underneath the romper front. You may now topstitch it to hold it in place, or count on the snaps to do that for you.

curve pinned to front leg opening (apparently I forgot to finish the edge first, sorry!)

(view from wrong side)

front snap carrier, stitched and topstitched

(view from wrong side)

front snap carrier, stitched and topstitched

(view from right side)

another romper: front snap carrier, stitched but not yet folded inside

(view from right side of romper, with wrong side of back gusset visible underneath)

All that’s left is the neckline, hemming, and adding the snaps, if you can believe it!

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