A Mess of Baby Clothes

A bunch of baby clothes has a nice alliteration to it, but it seems that the proper term for “lots of baby clothes” must be a mess, since that’s what they are all going to turn into once they actually get worn! I started working on this pile of baby clothes during my first trimester. Since it’s been a crummy pregnancy the whole way through, it took me weeks to cut out the clothes and then months to get them sewn. But that’s okay. Each bit of sewing stemmed from a small burst of energy, and I was able to pour that energy into tangible bits of love and excitement for baby’s arrival. I made a range of sizes from newborn to 9 months so that she doesn’t outgrow my work all at once and used a pile of different patterns as well, including several vintage patterns. All the fabrics came from my stash and most from the scrap bin.

babys first flannel shirt simplicity 7807 pattern hack

Since baby girl is growing up in the Pacific Northwest, clearly the most important garment to fit into her wardrobe is a plaid flannel shirt. This fabric was from a very failed attempt at sewing Adam a surprise flannel shirt as a gift last year. The fit was off and not salvageable (grumble), so I was pretty happy to cut it up into something that baby will use and enjoy. I’ve got to make Adam a successful flannel shirt before baby fits into this so we can be a happy flannel family, since I have my favorite plaid flannel shirt. I used Simplicity 7807 from 1997 and drafted a collar in place of the jacket hood. The fleece romper from this pattern has been a go-to baby gift since I bought the pattern in 1997 and I’ll definitely be making one for baby girl by the time winter rolls around.

baby romper from vintage simplicity 5469

I think this little rainbow romper is my favorite make from the lot. It’s so darn cute and happy!!! The straps are quite a bit longer than the buttons so they can adjust, though I did sew the buttons down so that the romper would be finished. I sewed snap tape into the crotch since I knew that I wouldn’t be able to set in individual snaps through the thickness of the elastic on the edge. I bought the fabric at the thrift store and didn’t realize when I bought it that it had already been cut into placemat-size pieces, so it went straight to the scrap bin. I’m glad I hung onto it and found a use for it, because zomg this is cute! The pattern is simplicity 5469 from 1982.

baby sleeper from vintae mccalls 9331 1984

This sleeper probably wins most sentimental garment in the lot. I used McCalls 9331 from 1984. It was my mom’s pattern and she sewed me the same sleeper when I was a baby and helped me to sew this very sleeper. The fabric is a lightweight cotton that was my grandmother’s (my dad’s mom). She and my grandpa were enthusiastic sailors and one of my favorite memories of time with them as a kid was being out on the Shearwater (their sailboat) and sailing into the middle of a pod of orcas! The nautical print on this cotton reminds me that :)

baby kimono shirts from stretch & sew 824 vintage 1985

My mom spent an afternoon helping me sew for baby (several months ago now) and along with the aforementioned sleeper, she sewed the two wrap shirts on the right from Stretch & Sew 824 from 1985. We decided the red pinstripe is baby’s baseball watching shirt (which makes her G-Pa Steve happy as he whispers to my belly “throw right, bat left” every time he sees me). The orange top was made from scraps from my Ph.D. dress (it was the piping). The kimono style sweatshirt was from scraps from my professorial raglan sweatshirt which I have worn quite regularly throughout this pregnancy as it looks nice unbuttoned. I added a little brontosaurus patch to the sweatshirt as I love dinosaurs (my favorite dress ever being my dinosaur dress). In fact, I’ve been stockpiling thrift store baby clothes of various sizes with dinosaurs on them :)

baby tee shirts from stretch & sew 824 vintage 1985

I used the same Stretch & Sew pattern to make a selection of basic t-shirts. The purple was scraps from the dresses I sewed for my bridesmaids. The white was from a failed early draft of the Conifer Skirt and the bright print was from a Conifer Skirt sample I made for the Conifer Skirt Sewalong (that I’ve been wearing throughout pregnancy – nice to find that it’s a maternity friendly pattern!). The blue backs of the print tee and the stripe tee were scraps from a conifer skirt sample I used for the pattern photoshoot. The stripes are scraps from my plaintain maxi dress hack that due to the the super-stretchy nature of the fabric and the empire waist, I’ve worn throughout most of my pregnancy as well.

baby pants from simplicity 7807

Since baby needs to wear something on her bottom half as well, I sewed a few pairs of pants from Simplicity 2291. The denim was from my high waist light denim jeans. I love how the addition of a tiny bit of topstitching makes them look like jeans! The sporty shorts material was leftover from a soccer jersey to bike jersey hack and the orange was from a friend’s gifted stash – I got rid of most of the scrap size bits of fabric that she gave me, but I couldn’t resist hanging onto this cheery print and I’m glad I didn’t.

baby onesies from simplicity 2291

I used the same Simplicity 2291 to sew a couple of onesies. The purple is again from my bridesmaids’ dresses and the gold stripe is from a long sleeve t-shirt. I installed individual snaps on the neckline and at the crotch since I thought it was easier than sewing in snap tape.

baby onesies from kwik sew 243 vintage 1972

Finally, a sleeper and a jumpsuit from vintage Kwik Sew 243 from 1972. I added a patch pocket with decorative patch to the jumper (again from scraps from my raglan sleeve sweatshirt) and installed snap tape along the leg inseam which wasn’t in the original pattern, but having changed a fair number of diapers before, I figured it would be a helpful addition. The sleeper is again from scraps of my plaintain maxi dress hack. There aren’t any openings on the legs, but the zipper goes all the way down the front and half way up the back – time will tell how functional that construction actually is.

I’m so excited to have a pile of clothes for baby and very much looking forward to sewing more for her after she arrives when all I’m dealing with is severe sleep deprivation :) Do you have any favorites from this stack? Or any suggestions about what I should sew next time?

Comments 20

    1. Post

      So glad to be a source of inspiration. And good luck with your next work-in-progress! Feel free to email me if you want a sewing friend (who also happens to be a scientist) to chat with about fertility, conception, or pregnancy. I don’t have many IRL friends that are having babies at the moment, so I know I appreciated any chance for sharing of both personal experiences and research.

  1. More onesies! The thing about tees and little babies is that babies squirm, and are laying down all the time. Tees never stayed down with my babies, they were always riding up around their armpits. What you’ve made is adorable!

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  2. I love everything you make and these clothes for your baby are the best! Couture baby clothes that are so colorful & happy, plus you are you are recycling and making use of fabric scraps. I like the little flannel shirt the best along with the kimono style tees.

    1. Post

      Aw, thanks so much for the very sweet words! It seems that the vast majority of ready-to-wear baby clothes (at least the small sizes like newborn and 3 month) are pastels and I’m just not a pastel person, so I’m excited to have some brights to put her in. And the added benefit of scrap busting is that she and I get to match!

  3. Fun! That romper is amazing. A baby bib with some subversive cross stitch would be funny :)

  4. I love them all, but I like the flannel shirt the best. It was fun looking at the patterns since I was checking to see if I recognized any of them (nope).

    I hope you have at least a few months where you feel better before she is here.

    Oh, and there is at least one engineer (me) who sews also. ( I haven’t sewn clothes in a while, but I am tempted to try again. )

  5. Wow, for someone who has been laid up you sure have been productive! Go you! I love the striped romper the best, and the fact that everything is made from scraps or thrift store finds.
    If only I lived near you (but I’m in Australia…) I could be your cool mum/sewing friend. Or that weird girl from the Internet. Either way ;)
    Enjoy all that sewing, knitting and resting time whilst you can!

    1. Post

      Thanks to the amazing power of the internet, Australia isn’t really that far away! You’re welcome to be my cool mum/sewing friend, even if it’s over the internet and not in person :)

  6. These are so cute! I also think the romper is my favourite. You’re going to have such a well dressed baby, even if she does immediately make a mess of everything. Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy.

  7. You’ve been busy, Erin!! Glad to see that you’ve been feeling well enough to get some baby sewing in. Luckily with 9 months to play with, you don’t have to do it all at one time. HAHAHA

  8. You can never have enough onesies. They were new on the market when my eldest was born in ’91, so I didn’t have many for him, but I made sure that I had plenty for the following four. It’s always useful to have at least a couple of spares in the diaper bag in case of up-the-back blowouts. Nine times out of ten, these will happen while you’re in the middle of nursing. I also always kept a few plain white cotton ones for use as undershirts in our lovely Wet Coast winters. (White can be bleached to keep things relatively stain-free and disinfected on the clothesline whenever there’s a sunny day with a bit of wind.) Oh, and you might as well stock up on oxygen cleansers and borax to keep coloured clothes clean and mitigate all the not-so-lovely aromas that accompany your bundle of joy.

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  9. Utterly adorable. I will pass on my brothers advice to me, baby clothes need Wide Neck Openings. Because sometimes nappies explode and get their clothes all dirty and then you need to be able to take their clothes off. This is guaranteed to happen if you put them in a garment that you have to squeeze over their head. These look like they’ll pass the test!
    I had (RTW) knit sleepers, envelope neck, long, elasticated bottom. Extremely useful for bleary eyed nappy changing in the small hours. Newborn/0-3 month ones often come with fold over cuffs that turn into scratch mitts.
    A couple of summers ago I made 2 babies I know a long sleeved blouse each out of liberty lawn remnants. Both mums were pleased to have something they could wear on hot days that covered them up, the less sun cream you have to put on a baby the better! (Top tip there, buy the sticks of solid stuff for face application if you can, I want to say like cricketers use, but that might not make too much sense to you).
    Good luck with it all!

    1. Post

      Thanks for all of the suggestions! I hadn’t thought about making lawn blouses but that’s a great idea. Baby and I will be hiding from the sun together as I have to stay out of it too, but it’s so true that I’d rather wear a long sleeve blouse than lots of sunscreen so I’m sure the same will be true for baby!

  10. Those rompers are the cutest things ever. It makes me want a tiny person to dress up. My only word of advice is that you make the next set of onesies without sewn in feet because they last much longer. Socks are a pain in the a*& because they always come off but if you make those little elasticated shoes out of soft leather remnants, they hold the socks on really well. x

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      Thanks! I appreciate the sweet comments and the advice. I’ve always thought footies were the cutest things ever, but it makes a lot of sense that they won’t be the most practical. Time to start sewing some shoes!

  11. Really it such an informative post. I’ve read so many amazing things about your article! I like the baby wearing. The baby clothes are so nice and adorable and The clothes look interesting. It’s such a great way to be able to get things done and the baby enjoys the ride. Thanks for sharing.

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