Now, I've mentioned on this blog before that I'm currently in the first wave of the 'friends having babies' phase of life. It's an exciting, if slightly scary new phase, but one that I'm tackling head on in the manner I usually tend to tackle new scenerios: by doing some sewing.
My first attempt at sewing for a wee person was the African wax fabric dress I made for little Surayya. But I really want to get the hang of making other types of baby clothes that are both quicker to make AND more useful for the parents day to day. The pattern I used for the wax fabric dress was actually part of a small haul of 1970's and 1980's babies and toddlers patterns I got from Snooper's Paradise here in Brighton, another of which is the one pictured above which was published in 1984. It cost £1.50, which was pretty good IMO, considering this one offers more or less a whole baby's layette and is multi-sized.
When my lovely Brighton-based friends Ben and Sophie had their second baby, Joe, I thought I'd skip the gold, frankincense, and myrrh and instead offer a gift of jersey trousers. So I traced off the smallest size (two months) of trousers from this pattern, adapted it a bit to make the waistband less fiddly to sew, and dug out this cute stripey jersey (pictured above) that had been lurking in my stash for a while that was leftover from making a T-shirt.
One of the main factors of this project was speed, so I did away with frivolities such as pins when cutting out. The leg pieces were stitched together by overlocker in what felt like three seconds. Then I overlocked round the waist and the bottom hems and used a normal flatlock sewing machine to make a casing for the elastic and hem the bottoms in contrast red thread. Popped the elastic through the casing, stitched up the hole and Bob's your uncle:
Now, Sophie reckoned that these are more like trousers for at least a four month old, rather than the two months the patterns stated (and yes, I did take into account the 1.5cm seam allowance included in the pattern which was intended for woven fabric by overlocking off the extra as I constructed them). I also had to guess the length of elastic needed at the waist, as the original pattern only had elastic at the back. So I'm going to have to wait a couple of months for Sophie and Joe's review of this garment. Not that I let that stop me from going ahead and making some more in the meantime.
I'd had this pretty piece of jersey (given to me by Harriet) sitting in my stash for a fair few months. Such a ditsy cute print looked to me to be destined for a little lady, and I didn't want to give Surayya the opportunity to forget her Auntie Zoe, so I set to work on that and some stripey stuff I found in a tub of jersey remnants at work.
The result of another lunch-hour session: two more pairs of baby trousers. Well, one pair of trousers and one pair of shorts as the ditsy floral piece wasn't very big. However, the ditsy floral piece was actually the lower half of a T-shirt, so I was able to cut the pieces to include the original T-shirt hem so I didn't need to bother hemming that pair.
Back in the day (about five years ago but it feels more like 15), I used to make and sell a little range of customised baby T-shirts on a market stall. I had some little labels made, most of which I still have knocking about so I used a couple on Surayya's bottoms to distinguish at a glance the back from the front.
Once again, I have to wait a while to hear if these are any good, or if adaptions of some description need to be made. I hope to refine these as I can easily make at least one pair during a lunch break, including taking 15 mins out to eat a sandwich and check my emails! There's a certain joy to be found in starting and completing a project so quickly, especially when you have some other more time consuming, arduous projects on the go. Plus, it's a great project to bust any little pieces of jersey stash that are too small for other projects. Presumably these could also be made in soft woven, but I think I'll stick to jersey for maximum freedom for explorative little legs.
Has anyone else had any experience making a similar baby garment? Please share how it went/what you learnt!!!