Thursday, September 12, 2013

Infant Footie Pajama Pattern

So maybe this was an ambitious project because I looked all over for a commercial infant footie pajama pattern and couldn't find one.  Then I searched the web and was still having a hard time coming up with what I really wanted.  So I drafted my own pattern.

Why, you ask?  Well, not just for the fun of it, believe it or not.  A few months back I got an idea for an outfit for my soon-to-be-born niece.  I wanted a plain pink footie pajama that I could embroider.  But every one I found in the stores already had something printed or embroidered on it somewhere.  But I'm not the type to back down from a challenge (at least of this sort) so that's when I started my search for a pattern.  In the end, I threw my hands in the air, pulled out a pair of 0-3 sized pajamas that I already owned and started drafting.

The pictures shown are of the pajamas I made for my new baby due in a a few weeks as part of his Halloween costume.

This pattern is for 0-3 months and includes snaps down both legs.  Download Pattern Here.  

I'd call the difficulty level experienced beginner to intermediate.  You should be comfortable with knits (using a ball point needle will make all the difference), and know how to ease fabric pieces together (which is fairly easy to do with knits).

You will need:
a yard of interlock knit fabric (always prewash to shrink!)
matching thread
the pattern (you'll need all 7 pages - be sure to print 100% to scale, plus scissors and tape to reconstruct)
measuring tape (to measure 25 inch binding)
snaps and appropriate snap setting tools for the ones you purchased.  (You can also use sew-in snap strips)

Lets get to it!

Block out your pattern on the fabric, pin it, and cut it out.  Don't forget to make sure you are cutting on the grain (the knit "rows" vertical on the garment).  All the seam allowances are already added, they are all 3/8 in. unless noted otherwise on the pattern.

Start by piecing the shoulder seams together.  Right sides together, sew each shoulder seam.

Now piece the sleeves to the shoulders.  Line up the darts on the pattern.  With right sides together, ease the sleeves on.  Failure to ease properly will result in puckering which is particularly obvious on shoulder seems. 

Now it's time to bind the end of the sleeves.  You should have cut one 25 inch long, 2 inch wide fabric piece.  Press the whole thing at once, and then you can cut off what you need for the sleeves and neck if you wish.  you'll need 5 inches for each sleeve.  To press, fold down 1/2 in. on one side the length of the strip, press, fold down 1/2 in. on the other side, press, the fold the strip in half lengthwise and press again.  It will look like the picture below.

To attach it to each sleeve, unfold the top half of the strip, match the edge to the of the sleeve with right sides together, pin, and sew along or just above the crease of the binding. The picture below is not correct, you'll want to unfold the top of the binding and sew inside that crease.  I think I was a little hurried when I was taking pictures, but you can see where it goes generally.

Once the binding is sewn in place, now you can turn it and refold it so that the binding covers the raw edge of the sleeve on both sides.  Sew down on the right side of the garment close to the edge of the binding.  You can use a double needle for this if you want, of if you like the look but don't have a double needle handy you can make two rows of stitches.  One row is just fine though.  Hopefully if everything came together correctly, you'll have sewn down the front and back of the tape, but if you skipped in spots, it's ok since it's on the inside of the sleeve.

You can now sew down the side of the garment from the cuff to the foot.  There is a little easing here as well.  Trim and/or baste down the seam at the wrist so that it doesn't rub baby's skin.  Do this on both sides.

Now you can use the remaining binding for the neck.  Use the same technique as before to sew the binding to the neck.

Piece the crotch piece in place in-between the legs.  Ease the pieces together.

Now press the other 2 inch strip of fabric in half.  With right sides together, piece it in place and sew from one foot, to the other. 

Now with right sides together, ease the toe tips to the bottom of the legs on the front of the garment.

Next, press the two front seems down 3/4 in. 

Sew together the ankles of the legs from "ditch" of the fabric strip to one inch up at an angle.  See the picture to understand what I mean.

Now it's time for the feet to go in.  I know what you're thinking.  There must be some mistake, these feet are too big for the opening.  Trust me, they'll fit.  You'll have to pin them in before you believe me and there is some easing to be done, but in the end you'll have two little footies the perfect size for a new baby.  Go ahead and trim the seams so they don't take up too much room where baby's feet will soon be growing.

Oooh!  Almost done!  Now all that is left to sew are the front hems.  Pin down the allowances.  They are as wide as they are to support the snaps.  If your fabric is on the flimsy side it would be prudent to also line the allowances with stabilizer.  Sew the hems down as close to the edges as you can from the opening above the ankle all the way to the neck.  Fold the binding at the neck down a bit so that it doesn't poke up out of the neck opening.

That's it for the sewing.  Now all that is left is the snaps.  Since all snaps are different, I'll refer you to the package directions on the snaps that you purchased.  I personally used the resin snaps from the Babyville Boutique line since I already owned a snap press for this kind of snap.  There is certainly a learning curve involved with any snap system so be sure to practice on a scrap piece and then carefully mark out where your snaps should go and whether they need to be male or female (I have included these placements on the pattern).  

Now you have a completed pajama outfit ready for the new little baby in your life.  Too bad they grow out of these so quickly!  But all the same, how fun is it to sew for tiny little ones?  I know my guy will be super comfy in this outfit.  I can't wait to see him in it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paint Colors and a Pinwheel Mobile for the Nursery

Hey, guess what?  I'm 36 weeks pregnant today!  The home stretch at last.  And I have been in a sort of crafting and cleaning overdrive that I don't remember having this early on with my other pregnancies.  But then again I left a lot to do until the very end this time.

As of a week ago Saturday, the baby's room was still an office/craft room.  It is now empty and almost completely painted (we still need to paint the drawer faces, but the wall color is up).  After seeing the room finally coming along I couldn't help but start in on the crafts I had in mind to decorate it.

Baby's room colors are teal, navy, lime green, and gray.  I chose the teal and gray before I knew if baby was a boy or a girl, back when I thought I'd let this baby's gender be a surprise like my first two.  If the baby was a girl I would have accessorized with bubble gum pink after she was born, but since it's a boy, I decided to add the notes of navy and green.  

Last week I painted 4 frames navy and lime green.  Three were from the dollar store, and one was one I had sitting around that didn't match my current decor.  I have some prints in mind for them, and will put them up in a frame collage over the baby's bed.  

I purchased some adorable herringbone fabric in the colors I chose for the bed skirt and finished sewing it up yesterday.  I bought the last yards in the store and haven't been able to find it since - even online.  I think it would make a cute pillow for my glider.  But I also love mixing patterns so even if I don't find any more of it, I know the room will come together perfectly.

Then I made an adorable mobile to go over the crib that only cost me about $5!  

I had no idea what I wanted for a mobile with this baby.  A friend made the one I had for my first two.  It was a gorgeous bird mobile made from many different beautiful fabrics and balanced on three tiers of real tree branches (well, twigs).  My two other babies loved how it twirled and all the beautiful colors and everyone who saw it loved how beautiful it was.  Well, the branches broke during our move last year, and while I could replace them and carefully rebalance all the birds, after careful thought, I decided to take it apart and use the birds as Christmas ornaments so we can enjoy them for many years to come.  

So that left me with no ideas for the new baby.  Until I saw a picture of a pinwheel mobile and a light went off in my head.  Most mobiles are best seen from a side view.  A lot of them are meant just for decor and are really not that visible or enjoyable to the baby in the crib.  These pinwheels faced down into the crib and twirl with the slightest movement or breeze.  They are made with paper in beautiful colors and patterns.  I needed one for my baby.  It looked easy enough, and I couldn't beat the price so I headed out to the craft store, bought what I needed, and started in on it the next day.

It wasn't as easy as it looked at first glance, but I did manage to make it one afternoon and I couldn't be happier with the results.  Want to know how it's done?  I'll show you!

you'll need:

  • at least 5 6x6 sheets of double sided scrapbook paper (I bought a whole stack in my colors for $3.99)
  • Embroidery needle with eye large enough for your chosen yarn or thread
  • Beads, or buttons to close the pinwheels (I used beads I had on hand, but not the ones in the the picture below, which didn't thread well)
  • The inner circle of a 10" or 12" embroidery hoop (I bought a wooden one for a little over $1)
  • Paint if you want to paint the hoop
  • Thin yarn, thread, invisible thread, or whatever works for you to hang your pinwheels (I used a very thin cotton yarn used for crochet)

Let's begin!

First find the center of each of your papers by measuring 3 inches in from the side and bottom.

Then cut diagonally from each corner two about a half inch from the center of the paper. 

The paper is now made up of four near triangles.  Fold the right corner on each triangle to the center and hold without creasing.  I used tape (after my 3rd or 4th attempt to hold it with my hand) and it worked pretty well.  Just be sure the tape you use with not harm the paper when you lift it off.  Check it on a scrap piece first.

Thread your needle with about a foot or so of your chosen yarn or thread, poke a hole through the middle of the other side of the paper and though the four points you have taped down.  Thread a bead/button onto both ends of the yarn (you may need to remove the needle to do this if your beads are small like mine were, then replace the needle) and poke the needle back over the side of the bead (or into the next hole of the button) and back through the points and the back of the paper through the other bead. 

Tighten so that there are no gaps between the layers and tie off with a knot.  Then you can peal the tape off the front.  I was able to pop it off right over the bead.

Make about 5 of these.  

Take the inner hoop (maybe you will find another use for the outer hoop in some other project) and paint it if you desire.  Tie the pinwheels at varying heights around the hoop.  I have mine at three different lengths so they do not touch each other.   The lengths are approximately 5, 7, and 9 inches.

Then take two equal length pieces of yarn/thread roughly twice the distance from the nursery ceiling to where you want the hoop of the mobile to suspend (keeping in mind that you want it far out of reach of a standing baby).  Bring the two pieces together and fold them in half.  Several inches down from the fold, tie a knot to create a loop to hang the mobile.  Then tie the ends of the pieces to the hoop, adjusting the knots as needed until the hoop hangs straight.  Once everything is perfectly strait and tested to be the correct height, you can hot glue all the knots in place so they do not budge or loosen with time.

Baby will love to look up and see these patterned mobiles spinning above his head. I can't wait until I can hang it up over his crib!  It's pretty in my dining room, but it will be darling in the nursery.