Fabric Selection for the Electron Layette

In general, the most important things to consider when choosing fabrics for the Electron Layette are weight and stretch. For weight, you can generally use your gut – feel the fabric and think “would this be appropriate for a hat/bib/sweatshirt/pants?”.

For the Electron Layette hat, the most important thing to consider is stretch. The hat needs to stretch to comfortably fit onto baby’s head. The pattern calls for at least 30% stretch though the more stretch the merrier. Jerseys (left) are a good choice but you can also use fabrics like ITY knits (right). You probably want a fabric that has recovery to it – when you stretch it, it should spring back – so that it stays well on baby’s head.

The Electron Layette drool bib can be sewn from either knits or woven. Stretch doesn’t matter here, though fabrics with stretch will be a little harder to sew with so if you are a beginner sewist, you may want to pick a woven fabric. You want the fabric to be fairly lightweight so that it’s comfortable on the neck. Quilting weight cotton broadcloth (left) is good choice for wovens and t-shirt weight jersey (right) is a good choice for knits.

For the Electron Layette sweatshirt, there a bunch of different options that would be appropriate.  The most obvious are sweatshirt fleeces. The thicker or loftier the sweatshirt fleece is, the harder it will be to crisply sew the details. Similar to sweatshirt fleece, you can use a french terry – quite like sweatshirt fleeces, it has loops on the wrong side instead of a brushed fleece. If you want to get a bit non-traditional, you can use fabrics like scuba, ponte, or sweater knits – just pay attention to their weight and stretch. The pattern calls for 20% or less stretch because it’s designed to hold its shape, but I had pattern testers use fabrics with more stretch and it works just as well, you just get a softer look.

For the Electron Layette pants, the most obvious choice is a t-shirt weight jersey, but you can easily go up or down in weight. For summer, you can use a lighter-weight knit like a tissue knit or a burnout (far right). Going heavier, you can easily step up to an interlock, a jacquard, ponte, or even up to a sweatshirt fleece or french terry (far left). If you want to make a cold weather pant out of a thicker fabric, you will probably want to go up a size in width (I’ll show how in detail in a sewalong post). The pattern calls for at least a 30% stretch so, while you can use a variety of weights, you want to make sure you have enough stretch that you can easily pull the pants on and off baby and that they will be comfortable for baby to wear.

I hope this gets you excited to pick out fabrics for your Electron Layette! Let me know if you have any questions.

Comments 3

  1. So great to see baby girl clothes that are not all pink or white (how stupid is white for babies!) and not preoccupied with little cute dresses. I quite like a cute pinafore but in reality mine lived in babygros and knitted jumpers. Mary x

    1. I refused to buy anything pink for my daughters, mainly because so much of it was washed out pastels that are a B-with-an-itch to keep clean. That worked well for my elder daughter – she got a few pink hand-me-downs and gifts – but I was gifted so much pink for my younger daughter that I was heartily sick of it by the time she told me that she didn’t like it. My favourite dress that I made for the elder, and which both of them wore, was made from a primary-toned busy floral (a mixture of red roses, blue hydrangeas, yellow daisies, and green leaves on a cream background) and trimmed with 3/4-inch royal-blue satin ribbon. The other dress that was a gift for the elder was a rosy-pink floral, but on a dominant forest-green background.

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      I definitely don’t understand white for baby clothes! I think pink and dresses have their place but I like most of the clothes for my munchkin to be gender neutral.

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