Sew Brave: Baby Clothes!

We’ve talked about being brave with fabrics and techniques, but what about projects? In my eight years of sewing, I’ve made garments for all types of bodies — except for one. I’ve never made baby clothes!

Baby clothes are supposed to be the easiest thing to make, but they’ve always terrified me. Something about their extremely tiny scale, and the unpredictability of sizing. When do you make 6 month size? How how different is that from a 9 month size? How long will the baby even be able to wear the garment before it’s outgrown or pooped on?

Well, just in time for Sew Brave month, I’m having my first baby — which means it’s time to overcome my fear. I can’t be a garment sewer and not make things for my own child!

Picture of Ebi, the author turned to the side to show her pregnant tummy and smiling.

My way of tackling this fear started with research. If you’ve read my blog, you know I’m big on measurements. I have no clue what size my baby’s going to be, but in the meantime I researched what size babies tend to be. I found charts for baby weight, chest circumference, head circumference, and length to help me understand scale and growth.

Next, I scoured the internet for baby patterns that covered sizes 0-24 months. I started out looking for free DIY patterns, I found tutorials more than anything else. They often refer to existing clothing, which I don’t have. So I switched my focus to paid PDF patterns. Woo boy! What a big universe. Since I don’t know what gender my child is, I focused on patterns that could be worn by any baby.

I also decided to focus more on woven patterns than knit. Knits are forgiving, but there are so many cute quilting cottons! I knew I wanted to make use of them while I can.

With parameters of size, gender, and type of fabric in place, it was pretty easy to find a handful patterns to start with. I also felt a lot less stressed about the whole thing, and began to enjoy looking through all the wonderful baby patterns available in PDF format. I settled on a bunch of patterns from Oh Me Oh My Sewing and Burdastyle. As I taped the PDFs together and cut everything out, I realized that baby clothes patterns look a lot like adult clothes patterns!

Finally, I realized I had no clue how much fabric to get. All the patterns listed a recommended yardage, but I wanted to decide for myself how much fabric I need. One by one, I did a mock layout of each pattern to estimate how much fabric I would need. Once again, I realized that baby clothes are just like adult clothes — the pattern pieces are smaller, but you lay them out the same way. Whew! What a relief.

All of this took me a few weeks, as I’ve been pretty busy with work, prepping for baby in other ways, and resting. Also, I’m the slowest sewer in the world — intentionally! The prep and the process are as much fun as showing off the finished item. Which is good, because I don’t yet have a finished item to show you! Instead, I’m fabric window shopping – debating quilting cottons vs double gauze vs shirting, deciding on themes, and all that other fun stuff.

So that’s my Sew Brave challenge — but the process could be applied to any new-to-you garment sewing. Do you think you’ll try something new during Sew Brave month? Or do you think you’ll focus more on a scary fabric or intimidating technique?

Sew Brave month kicks off tomorrow so let us know what you are going to tackle in the comments!

Ebi is a body positive sewing blogger and a Sewcialists editor. She believes that anyone can make any garment for any body, it’s just a matter of approaching it a little differently.  Ebi blogs at Making the Flame and can be found on Instagram @makingtheflame.

Sewcialists is a hyper-inclusive editorial site. We recognize that all of us make up an amazing and varied community. We ask that you take each challenge as you see it fitting in your life, and express your involvement how you like, at the given time. Our challenges are for the pure enjoyment of participation and the love of community.