Babies kind of scare me at close range. Jon and I have a running pro/con list of reasons to have babies, and although the 'con' side of the list is basically a runaway train on an infinite downhill slope, there is one strong point in favor: Baby clothes.
Fortunately, my non-existant children aren't the only ones who need outfits. Jon and I live in the front half of a beautiful old villa that's been converted to create two separate apartments. The neighbors in the back half of the house moved in around the same time as us - we share a driveway and an affinity for potted lemon trees. We bring them fresh fruit and veges, they bring us avocados (his parents have an avocado orchard) and they also sometimes bring us fish (they have a friend with a boat).
They're moving soon (building a house on the avocado orchard, as you do) because they're expecting a little boy in May. I'll be sad to see them go, but I admit I'm pretty glad there won't be a kiddo sharing my bedroom wall.
If you know me, you know that I hoard any and all scraps from previous projects that are, as a rule, larger than the palm of my hand. I decided to make the kid a selection of clothing items from my scraps, and I'm pretty happy at the variety I managed to pull from my scrap bags! Altogether, these projects cost absolutely nothing except for the snaps - a grand total of $18 which was totally worth it because I love a project I get to finish with a hammer. (Note: It would have been $9 because I used eight snaps, and it was eight snaps per packet, but I wanted to do a test snap. I have 7 snaps left over for another project)
First up, a pair of merino newborn-sized onesies. I used this free pattern, although I couldn't for the life of me get it to print out at the right size. Fortunately, there are finished measurements for each piece listed on the pieces, so I basically graded it up to the size it was supposed to be.
The eyelet merino I've had hanging around for ages - it ended up being inappropriate for its originally intended purpose so it was shelved. The navy with the wide stripes came from a cardigan waaaaay back in the day that I've since given to my sister.
Next up, a larger onesie to fit the 3-6 month range. I used the same pattern as above, but followed this chart of average baby sizes to decide how much to grade up the pattern. In this case, the chest, waist, and torso-length were the most important. The newborn has a chest width of just under 16" and my new size has a chest width of 18.5". Babies grow fast!
This striped fabric is cotton left over from testing Jon's boxer pattern - a post that never quite made it to the blog. The red is a Merino that is also one of my very most favorite t-shirts.
Next up, a free pattern for bloomers from the DIY Network site. I was on All Free Sewing looking for a cute cardigan to sew, when I stumbled across the bloomers and remembered a work friend saying that those were the one item she wanted more of and had trouble finding in stores. Bloomers it was! I made both in the 6-12 month size because they seem like a warmer weather item and this child will be about that age by the time his first summer comes.
The green pair used half of the linen I had leftover from my finally-perfect shirt draft, and the rainbow plaid pair is from a piece of fabric I'm going to make a shirt out of but haven't yet. (I checked the yardage, there's plenty left!) Both are finished with hand dyed fold-over elastic.
Last, I was going to make a set of tie-dyed onesies to brighten up the pile a bit, but Jon pointed out that he's never seen our neighbors wearing anything quite so loud, so he wasn't sure they'd resonate with that color scheme. He's probably right. He did suggest a bucket hat to protect the kid's head from the harsh NZ sun though, and a quick Google led me to the Oliver and S Bucket Hat. A free pattern again, and it's reversible! This one took a little more time than the onesies and bloomers, but I think it's totally worth it. Isn't it adorable!? I know that new parents get a lot of gifts of clothes and stuff, but I really hope nobody's given them a bucket hat yet. Or at least I hope they like mine more...
The map fabric is leftover from the lining of my canvas bag, and the arrow fabric I bought about two years ago to make a pencil case, and there's still plenty leftover if I ever get around to that.
Okay. Full disclosure: I think these baby clothes are adorable. This is my first Adult Interaction with baby clothes, and I realize if you are the type of person who sees a lot of baby clothes you've probably built up a resistance and the cuteness factor has most likely worn off (or been replaced with memories of screaming, crying, and other baby stuff). But. I have no such resistance. I also realize that I should not have been so surprised with their cuteness, but it really did take until I held them up, finished, that I fully appreciated the level 10+ cuteness that was so clearly going on. It was a pretty major surprise for little old me. That said, I'm still not sure it's worth having babies over. It is potentially worth befriending people who have babies though...
My sister told me that the reason onesies have that little detail at the shoulders is so that in the event of an "explosive poop event" (her words, not mine) you can get the kid out through the neck instead of taking it off over their head. That, my friends, is a tally in the column against if I've ever heard one.
Now that I've made a few baby items from free patterns, I'd like to try drafting my own and making some improvements. I was thinking I wouldn't have an occasion, but one of my coworkers recently announced that his wife is expecting a baby (we're very close to finding out whether it's a boy, a girl, or a velociraptor, so stay tuned!) - so now I've got an excuse to experiment! I'm hoping to test out some potential styles on the neighbour's baby when he's born in May so that by August when my coworker's baby is due I'll have a whole selection to give them. I put out the call on instagram for features that parents found useful in baby clothes and got some great suggestions that I wouldn't have thought of otherwise, so I'm looking forward to getting into drafting!