Construction of baby garments continue. This month, I’ve begun experimenting with making my own patterns. The greatest thing about babies is that they are rather pear-shaped and they grow so fast, fit is not really something that seems to matter a whole lot. I think. This means that pattern drafting is simpler than previously imagined because there’s no special curves or tailoring to concern oneself with.
My favorite shape for baby rompers is the bubble romper. I’m obsessed with it. However, if you find bubble rompers in the stores and online, they’re either for girls or grossly overpriced (try starting at $50). This is, in my opinion, unfair because the bubble shape can be perfectly gender neutral/masculine, if done in the right fabrics and colors, and is such a simple shape to make.
My Great Grandma Kingsley and her family were deeply impacted by the Great Depression. Great Grandpa Kingsley was laid off from the Clyde Iron Works around 1930 and they had to move from a big house to Oakley Street on Lake Side (Duluth, MN). Norvella, their oldest daughter, told me that if it weren’t for the big garden behind their house, they would have starved. She was around 8-10 years old when they moved and the house only had two bedrooms. One was for the parents and the other bedroom was shared among six children, the boys in one bed and the girls in the other.
GG Kingsley was an excellent cook and sewer and very creative with what little they had. She sewed underwear out of old shirts and bought used dresses, took them apart, and, using patterns she drafted out of old newspapers, she remade the dresses like new.
I decided to take a page from GG Kingsley’s book and try my hand at drafting my own pattern and making some baby clothes from one of my husband’s old t-shirts.
The offering my husband made was of course a bright pink t-shirt from a local brewery. Not really everyday outfit material, but great for a mock-up! And a mock-up it really turned out to be – I learned loads from making this romper and have zero intention of actually putting it on my baby.
Things I Learned From the Pink Brewery Romper:
- Neck holes need to be large enough to slip over the baby’s head.
- No need to remove the collar and reattach it. Next time, just cut the collar of the pattern at the original collar and skip a step.
- I got lucky with my sleeve pattern. I have no idea how sleeves actually work – I just imitated the shape I’ve seen in adult patterns. Here’s hoping they actually fit and aren’t just good looking when lying flat.
- Cutting the graphic on the t-shirt into a top piece and bottom piece was utterly unnecessary and kind of ruined the graphic. Next time, I’ll cut the top and bottom in one go – another step to skip!
- The gathering of the bottom piece just served to make the bright pink romper even more feminine looking. Next time, I will attempt box pleats or gather it only in the back. That will require some pattern adjustment… Eh, that’s for Future Me to deal with!
- When making binding, it is much easier to just cut off the bottom hem of the t-shirt and seam-rip it open. The fold is already built in that way!
- Also when making binding, it is important to sew pieces together before attaching them to the garment. There was some fanagling as the binding warped at its seam.
- Binding needs to be consistent around the entire bottom. I tried attaching ribbon to the front crotch instead of binding and it was terrible. If it wasn’t a mock-up, I’d remove it and replace it with binding instead. But it’s a mock-up so *shrug*.
My husband, heartened and I’d like to think heart-warmed by my mock-up, decided to donate another t-shirt that is much closer to his heart. His Rolling Stones t-shirt is one of the first band t-shirts he ever got after he started playing guitar and though it is a little too short from repeated washings, he still wears it regularly. He decided to give it to me to make into a bubble romper (or Bomper as we’ve dubbed it – patent pending!) and I set to work straight away with all my lessons from the mock-up in my back pocket.
Now I’m just hoping that my baby will be born small enough to wear this. I based my sizing off of some 0-3 month rompers I bought at Kohls, but at our 20-week ultrasound, this little boy was measuring two weeks larger than expected. The reality of the irrevocable commitment I’ve made to eventually deliver this child has begun to set in. Never before have I been so aware of how large my husband’s head is and so suspicious of precisely which of his attributes this son of mine will inherit.
Although no one thinks I’m showing much, I am starting to feel some of the discomforts. Luckily, my discomfort has earned me massages from my husband and my sister-in-law lent me the single-most amazing product for pregnant women I could have ever imagined. The Snoogle. It is a giant horse-shoe shaped pillow that literally hugs you as you sleep and it is the BEST THING EVER. I’m so grateful that I was able to borrow it because I am much too cheap to have ever dropped the money on it brand new but knowing what I know now, I think it is worth the comfortable and uninterrupted sleep. I can’t imagine it would be too difficult to make but there’s something about the stuffing that is super supportive and doesn’t get matted down over repeated use. It’s a miracle product, really.