Feathers Flights // Sewing Blog: My Six Essentials For Sewing Baby Clothes

8.27.2012

My Six Essentials For Sewing Baby Clothes

Besides the typical sewing tools and fabric you find near a sewing machine, there are six things that have changed the way I sew baby clothing. As I've sewn for my baby's first year of life, (I know, I have SO much experience.) it's been a slow learning process. I have found certain things make it a incredibly easier for me. Some are cheap or free items that I have in my stash and others were purchased.








1. Old knit shirts and t-shirts
I love re-using the hems and the neckband if I can. I have made onesies and knit shirts from scratch and had to deal with finishing or hemming the edges. Knits can sometimes be a struggle to sew, so I often try to find a way to use something partly finished. I have made shortalls from t-shirts.
 
2. 1/2" wide inch elastic
This one might seem like a given, and you might think I'm ridiculous for putting this. Well, I have found that I need and endless supply of 1/2" wide elastic. It's the perfect width for baby stuff. I have used it on baby shoes, pants, diaper covers, and on the pants and shoes of Henry's blessing outfit.
 
3. Plastic snaps
The best decision I ever made was to buy some plastic snaps. It was a heart-stabbing buy (just like my husband says it was to buy my wedding ring and sewing machine. Expensive, but necessary.). Now that I've used them multiple times I have no regrets at all. It makes the leg opening closures way quicker than hand-sewing snaps and buttons and making buttonholes! I have used them on everything (overalls, onesies, rompers, etc.) since I bought them.
 
4. Men's button up shirts
Again, I like to re-use clothing so my project is halfway finished, and I finish that much quicker. I have only made one man's shirt from start to finish and a lot of work goes into them. There are tons of little details on the shirts that can be re-used like the front button placket, hems, pockets, collar, cuffs and sleeve placket. I have made baby onesies, first and second, and a baby romper.
 
5. Used pants and shorts
I'm not trying to be a broken record, but I keep our used clothes to specifically use for my son. It's impossible to replicate the worn and frayed edges or the worn areas around the thighs, seat, and seams. Re-using the worn areas in a good way can make your babies clothing look store-bought. Besides the worn areas, pants and shorts have really great details to use again like waistbands (I really hate making waistbands.), back pockets, front pockets, cargo pockets, and hems. I have made multiple pants from pants and shorts.
 
6. Fold-over elastic
Even though I love sewing with knits, I still haven't perfected adding ribbing to neck bands, sleeve and leg openings, etc. Sometimes I add ribbing and it looks great, and sometimes I add ribbing and it just ruins the whole project. The product I love that I use instead of ribbing is fold-over elastic. It's simple and easy to use and always looks good. It comes it super fun colors and polka dots. I use it sort of like bias edge binding where I sew one side, then fold over the edge and sew the top down. I like to use it on the edges of a onesie, and onesies and overalls. (I've even used it on bodice edges on dresses for myself and found the elastic made the neck edge look good, but there was still enough stretch that I could pull it open for nursing access!)
 
What things can't you live without when it comes to making baby clothes?

7 comments:

  1. Just wondering- do you prefer plastic snaps over metal ones? I've actually never seen plastic ones, but I don't shop at craft stores often, mostly Wal-Mart.

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    1. I've used both, but I've never tried the metal ones on baby clothes. I feel like the metal ones are stronger and more heavy duty, but you have to use a loud hammer to put them in. The plastic ones are strong enough, but you use quiet pliers to put them in. I found that it was hard to hammer/pinch the metal snaps as much as they needed and so they might fall off. The plastic ones are really easy to pinch and never fall off.

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  2. I bought yards and yards of FOE for diaper covers. That is such a great tip to use them to finish off neck lines. Thanks for the tip.

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  3. Great post! I need to break down and buy those snaps...where did you get them? And I've never used fold over elastic! I guess I need to investigate!

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  4. I've just discovered your blog while looking for baby sewing patterns, and it's amazing! Thank you very much for sharing your skills and your imagination :-) Greetings from Switzerland

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  5. Found your blog from the Sew-vivor posting. (Congrats on making it in the top 15!) I've tried my hand at FOE and just CAN. NOT. get the hang of it. I find ribbing to be so much easier. What's the trick?? Should I not be stretching it as I sew (like I would with ribbing)?

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    1. I do stretch it as I sew. I also kind of do it like binding where I sew the elastic to the inside of the item with a zigzag stitch, and then I sew the front down with a straight stitch but I'm stretching it the entire time. Maybe I'll do a tutorial!

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