Sewing and textiles with Ann
I’m going to be a great aunt. To me that makes me sound so old, but the mother- to- be assures me that its a good thing. Especially a great aunt who sews! So I have dived into the world of baby clothes. My experience ranges from easy, to possibly the hardest thing that I have ever made!
I feel that I am sewing a bit blind, in that we don’t know what gender the baby is going to be, and I am conscious that it may not be a tiny baby. Its father was never tiny. But at least that means that fit is not critical; the baby will wear things when they are the right size, and then probably very quickly, they will be too small. I also hear that their friends have already provided a large number of clothes for a small baby.
So my making criteria are: none gender specific, not small, and not the sort of thing that you can pick up in the supermarket at 3 for £5.
So far everything has been made from the same Butterick pattern. B5585. The baby picture comes with the pattern. Clearly its not my great- whatever, or I would know what sex it is!
It seemed to include everything that a not so small baby could want to wear. And everything comes out of .5m, or thereabouts and in some cases, you can get several out of .5m.
Here are the rather garish set. Well I did say that you wouldn’t be able to get them in the supermarket for 3 for £5, and remember that I don’t know what sex it is….
The romper suit, with feet.
If I make another, it won’t have set-in feet! Where the front opening meets the feet, there must be 9 layers of fabric in places. However much you trim, there will still be 4 spots which are very lumpy. The first attempt to sew them broke both my overlocker needles. I reverted to using the sewing machine, with great caution (hand turning the needles) after that. I hope that poor baby’s feet are comfortable, because it wont be able to say “Mummy, there are some bl**dy big lumps of fabric by my feet and they are not very nice”. Maybe there is a special scream for that……
And then there were the pretty coloured snaps. Reviews suggest that these are the greatest things ever for sewists. The pattern says to use snap tape, but I don’t know where to get snap tape, and loads of places sell the colourful snaps and associated tools. Except John Lewis, who managed to miss a sale, because the sales person told me that the pliers were not the right thing to use to apply the snaps! So I went to reliable and knowledgeable Guthrie Ghani to tap into the brains of the staff there. They informed me that the pliers were the tool that I needed, and charged me slightly less than John Lewis would have done (‘never knowingly undersold’, and all that stuff……)
So I took home all of the bits, and tried to fathom out how to use them. The packaging pictures are actually correct, but they, along with various YouTube videos (Prym and ThriftyStitcher) still didn’t quite deliver a snappy set of snaps. See test results.
Always test! You could say that they were ‘installed’, but they wouldn’t fasten together. And now this is why you should shop at Guthrie Ghani, because early the next Saturday morning, I went back to the shop for advice, and within 5 minutes I had a snapping snap! So then the only question is, ‘At what point do you stop testing, and go for it on the garment, knowing that, as far as we can tell, once they are in, they won’t come out?’
The missing piece of the process was the requirement to get the point of the back / top part actually peaking through the fabric before applying the male / female side, and applying pressure. Then the point will get squashed, and they will fit together. (After which you will apply snaps to everything, and wonder how you ever managed without this method of fastening things!!)
I applied all of one side (male parts) before applying the other (female parts), so that I could get them lined up accurately. That bit worked out OK, but I was so engrossed in pushing points through fabric and getting male and female parts lined up, that I omitted to line up the snaps evenly on both sides of the romper. But hey, baby wont notice, and its possible that neither will Mum or Dad. Mission accomplished, and a new string added to the fastening bow!
I wasn’t really concentrating when I made the long sleeved T-shirt. I was just thinking ‘Oh, this is easy; it wont take long.’ It was easy. It didn’t take long. But I got the overlapping shoulders the wrong way round, and didn’t notice until I had finished the garment. I debated whether to unpick it, but it would have meant unpicking all of the overlocked seams, and possibly losing some seam in the process, so I decided that it would be a design feature and left it as it was, adding the bee to give it some buzz. (And slightly in honour of my apiary!)
But to prove to myself that I could get it right, I made a short sleeved T-shirt and got it right this time! There is plenty of grey for another T-shirt, but I think I will wait and see how many T-shirts Baby H, as I call it, gets, and then customise appropriately for whatever sex it turns out to be! Meanwhile, the panda is black and white, and so is grey. Its grandfather (my brother) loved his panda when he was little.
The jacket is the smallest garment, intended for wear on chilly spring days, most likely when visiting great aunt and great grandparents i.e. me and my parents. I bought the fabric ages ago, in B&M Fabrics in Leeds, finding it to be suitably gender neutral, and including cats, as loved by baby’s mother. I look forward to going back to the store to further explore their range of quality jersey with child friendly designs.