Tiny Sewing – Baby Kimono

This is my first foray into sewing for children, made for a dear friend of mine in Japan expecting her first baby at the end of this month. Given that almost everyone I know has had children by now or is in the process of having them, it’s surprising it’s taken this long for me to make something for small people. Initially, I didn’t feel I was good enough at sewing, and didn’t want to hand over poorly-made items to expectant mothers. And in the last couple of months, although several people close to me gave birth, I simply didn’t have the time to make anything and popped to the shops instead. And oh my, isn’t baby stuff cute? I may not want children of my own, but I could shop for other peoples’ all day. Anyhow, this year my work situation has calmed down, and I have time to sew again.

The pattern is the Newborn Kimono Shirt by Purl Bee, and it’s a free PDF download. It’s only available in the one size, which is newborn, as the name suggests. For someone who has never made an item of baby clothing, the pattern pieces seemed impossibly small – really, a child will fit into this?! – but once it’s made up, it seems more realistic. I didn’t really use the instructions provided. I chose to do French seams for all the seams, not just the shoulder seams, but I don’t really recommend it as I had a tiny bit of wrinkling at the armholes that I couldn’t fully press out. But hey, the insides are neat! I also used my usual method of attaching bias binding, rather than trying to sandwich the seam and sew it in one go, and made mine narrower as I liked the look of it better.

The fabric is by Copenhagen Organics, and is simply called Duck. I got half a metre of Cobalt Blue for the shirt, and a fat quarter of Light Blue for the bias binding, which I made myself using my trust little Clover tool. I ordered it from By The Yard, who seem to specialise mostly in quilting fabric. They had quite a few cute prints to choose from! I got my snaps from Geoff’s Emporium. I wasn’t quite sure was “Size 1” snaps were, so I just bought 11mm nickel ones. It was hard to find sew-in ones, most of them were the pronged ones. I chose to just use one snap to fasten it – I’m not a fan of the super-obvious placement of them on the Purl Bee tutorial. If I made this again, I would also put some kind of interfacing or stabiliser where the snaps go, as there’s some stress on this area. This didn’t occur to me until after the fact, though, and since babies aren’t newborn for long, I think it should be okay. I wrote the fibre content of the fabric and washing instructions on a little card from a set my Mom bought me, “Hootiful” stationery, and attached it with a tiny safety pin and some thread. Easily removable and no irritating tag on baby’s skin.

I didn’t make this – I bought it from Cotton On Kids – but isn’t it so cute? It’s a comfort toy, and it’s very soft. I was going to get a bib from Cotton On, too, as they had some adorable ones (including a French pigeon wearing a beret) but every one I picked up was flawed – messy stitching, puckered fabric, binding not lining up – and I just couldn’t bring myself to pay for something so poorly made. So this little dude it was. My friend let me know she received the shirt and toy just today, and just in time, as she’s due in 4 days! She loves it, and I’m glad my first foray into making clothes for babies was a success.

Have you made anything for babies or small children? What are your favourite go-to patterns? Feel free to link me up – there’s more babies coming!