Thursday, November 8, 2012

Babies (Take 2) : T-Shirt to Onesie

So many babies! Seriously, they are everywhere. Like I said before, but it bears repeating, I have 10+ local friends who are expecting little ones right now. People are making jokes about the water at church. But I'm pretty sure that babies aren't a result of water-drinking. I believe there are a few more steps than that. :)

Anyways, I've made some little crochet thingys for the upcoming munchkins, I even tried my hand at a sweater. (I didn't take any pictures of that. It is yet to be seen if it will actually fit on a baby. I just kinda made the pattern as I went.) But no more relying on the old crochet hook for baby gifts. I've hit baby gift gold: I'm making sassy adult t-shirts into awesome baby onesies.

Some of the initial inspiration came from online and on Pinterest, but I didn't find a pattern I liked well enough to follow. (But, admittedly, I've never been too great at following directions. I like to make my own way.) So my pattern consisted of cutting apart a cheap onesie from the dollar store and using it as a template. 

I literally used a seam ripper to deconstruct the thing then cut the shirts using those pieces as a guide. Fortunately, the fit of baby wear is much more forgiving than women's wear. No darts or pleats in this get up.

Overall, it is about a 1.5 hour task per onesie (after I got the hang of it all). The particular challenges of making a onesie from a t-shirt? 
  1. The bias tape takes time. I did all the cutting for several shirts and then set up my ironing station in front of a tv to make the tape. It's work intensive, but the final product looks so much more finished as a result. It isn't necessary to have a double fold tape as the inside raw edge is barely visible and you zig-zag stitch right over it. And also, I totally cheated and didn't cut the fabric on a bias. Because the t-shirt cotton material pretty much has a 4-way stretch, it works either way. But if you want to know how to do it properly you can find all kinds of online info.
  2. T-shirt knit is kinda wonky. The more patient you are as you sew, the better.
  3. Two words: neck hole. Babies have big heads on the tops of their little bodies, and so baby shirts have these wonderful layered necklines for easy in-and-outs. The trick is remembering which layer is on top and which is on the bottom as you sew. 
  4. Snaps are a really awesome invention. They just take a bunch of banging, so make sure you do this step during waking hours so you don't bug your neighbors. Also, make sure you only put snaps on the bias tape. A single layer of t-shirt fabric can't withstand the constant tugging a snap will promote. Be sure to snap and un-snap them a whole lot to test their strength and wear them in before you give the onsie as a gift. 
It's now my plan to start collecting crazy t-shirts from my frequent thrift store hunts. Of course, the size of a baby limits how large the design can be. But I know there are some ridiculous onesies to be made from reject t-shirts. All my pregnant buddies had better prepare themselves for the awesome. Their babies are going to be the hippest ever in these suckers.

If there's some interest in more-detailed instructions, order of construction, or an attempt at a pattern- please comment to let me know and I'll see what I can come up with.

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