Friday, 3 August 2018

Free Pattern Friday: Kids' Bummies


Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes a women's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those of you who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

Dolores has been the main beneficiary of my selfless sewing lately, especially for these 'Free Pattern Friday' makes, so when Brindille & Twig recently released their new free Bummies pattern, I knew I could finally redress the balance a bit in Frankie's favour. This pattern release coincided, fortuitously, with a heatwave here in the UK that lasted for a couple of months, and is probably now set to return for a while after two days of (very welcome) rain. Frankie does NOT appear to enjoy heat. Yet, when he's too hot and we take his clothes off, he also thinks his nappy needs to come off too. These bummies so far, somehow, have managed to fool him into not taking his nappy off whilst he's otherwise nudey. Thanks heaps to Brindille & Twig for sharing their hard work for free, AND for aiding us in this useful deception. 

(image source: Brindille & Twig)

Pattern type:

I would describe this pattern as an updated, modernised version of a traditional nappy/diaper cover, designed for knit fabrics. The waist is elasticated with an optional drawstring, and the pattern includes two variations for finishing the leg holes: elasticated or banded.

Sizing info:

This pattern has been graded between preemie and 2-3T (heights 44cm to 96cm). However, I'd really recommend choosing your size, for this and all B&T patterns, based on the child's height rather the age (or I just tend to pick a size down from their actual age) if you want the garment to be worn straight away. For example, although Frankie is a substantial 22 month-old, I picked the 12-18 month (84cm) pieces and the fit is perfect.  


Fabric info:

The fabric suggestion states 'knit fabric - most types will work'. For both my versions, I used a single jersey of cotton with elastane/lycra/spandex, which seems to have worked well as they are a suitably light weight for the hot weather, but also great for moving about. Although I don't think the stretchy content is absolutely necessary for the main part of these garments, I do think it'd be the better choice for the leg hole bands if you're making that version. Thin loop-back French terry and interlock would probably also be great options for the main parts/elasticated leg hole version, but you'd want to avoid anything thicker (like a ponte perhaps) that would be too bulky for the waistband.

Plus, one of the best bit about making this pattern is that you can bust the hell out of your scraps bin! The 'monsters and snacks' fabric version came from the improbably small leftovers from this project, and the blue and white striped fabric was harvested from this top that had got too worn and ratty in its former incarnation. I'd love to see some made from refashioned/upcycled old logo T-shirts as well. 


Findings:

I'd say that this pattern is very typical of the six or so other B&T patterns I've now tried. The PDF pattern and instructions are bright, very clear and user friendly. I'd say this pattern would hold no significant issues for a beginner sewer (or beginner to knit-sewing), just be aware that the seam allowance is a scant 6mm. However, you could add a bit to all the edges and make the seam allowance larger before cutting out your pattern pieces, if you so wished.

When making the bummies, I had a concern that the measurements included for the length of the waist and leg hole elastic might be too tight for my marginal-chubster (I'm not sure that term is very PC, now I've written it...). So I added an extra 2cm to the waist elastic, but ended up removing it again. I'd been basing my assumptions on the measurement of elastic I usually cut when making him trousers and shorts, but I'd not figured out that these bummies need to fit more snuggly for them to perform their nappy-enclosing duties.

I did find that the length suggested for the optional waist tie/drawstring was a bit short. Also, I didn't like how the instructions recommend to just snip holes into the knit to thread them through rather than making button holes or adding eyelets, or even just adding a little square of interfacing to the back of that area. I know that button holes and eyelets would make this a less speedy and beginner friendly make, and that usually knit fabric doesn't fray, but on my version the holes started to look a bit tatty and stretched out pretty quickly. In the end, Frankie couldn't deal with having a drawstring anyhow and seeing as it was clearly annoying him, I removed it. 

The fit of these bummies is really cute. They are kind of a bit pouchy, and I wasn't sure Frankie would deal with the volume (he's quite opinionated about his clothes for someone who can't really speak yet), but he's been fine in these. I do think that the leg hole elastic could do with being slighter looser for his thighs. Obviously all kids are different shapes and sizes, but I'd recommend you keep an eye out for that if you make the elasticated leg hole version.


Customisation ideas:

I'm not feeling very creative right now, so all I can suggest is playing around with your fabric scraps and old/unwanted knit garment, perhaps using different fabric for the front and back pieces, as well as for the leg hole bands if you choose that version. And of course adding appliques, patches, motifs etc. etc. I'd love to hear any more suggestions... Oh, and I'd DEFINITELY recommend adding a ribbon loop or label of some kind to the back, as at a glance, is can be difficult to distinguish which is the front and back if you haven't included the drawstring.


Would I make it again?

Because of the slight trickiness of getting the leg hole elastic the correct length (or my laziness in re-doing it if it's not right), I'd say that the banded version is my preferred one, and I definitely plan to make Frankie a small stack of banded bummies for next summer. He *may* be potty training next summer, and I was thinking that these *might* make a good garment to help with that process, as a kind of bridge between big-boy underwear and acceptable-as-outdoor-wear shorts, so that there's only one layer to yank down when heading to the loo. Those who have experience in potty training boys might be able to advise me if I'm on to something here or not...

I warn you: making these could be addictive! Two or three pairs of these bummies would make a fun and impressive, but really pretty simple, gift for a baby or toddler. And it could be a useful pattern to have on hand for surprise-hot-weather or last-minute-pre-holiday sewing if additions to a child's wardrobe is required!

1 comment:

Fabric Tragic said...

Cute! Another variation could be a folded waistband which might add longevity to them as the poppet grows, a bit like the Grow With Me shorties....xx

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