Gifts for Baby T

My friend had a baby boy in January, so of course he needed some handmade clothes. It’s more of a challenge for me to make clothes for boys than for girls, both in terms of finding a pattern, and in terms of finding appropriate fabrics. (Finding a pattern for a cute dress and some girly fabric is about as easy as walking into a fabric store.)

I’m subscribed to Ottobre magazine so I get all the issues – both women’s and kids’. That helps, since I get baby and children’s patterns shoved through my door 4 times a year, but lots of their infant patterns are designed for knits, and I hate working with knits. Luckily, the Spring issue this year (1/2010) had a cute pair of linen overalls (“Linus” is the pattern name) in sizes 62-92.

I made them in size 68, working from my theory that everyone gives newborns small sized clothes so they outgrow them right away and then have no clothes. I made them in dark blue linen and lined them with Alexander Henry 2D Zoo.

I cut out one of the animals (a zebra) and sort of makeshiftedly appliqued it onto the back of the romper using a partial buttonhole setting on my sewing machine.

I have previously made things from the Ottobre magazine patterns and it’s always gone okay before (although tracing the patterns from the insanely overcrowded pattern sheet is always a chore). I’m not sure what it’s been about this particular issue, though, because I’ve made two things and I’ve gnashed my teeth over both of them.

On this one I had a terrible time with the pintucks on the front of the romper, but I think that was because I marked the fabric onto the back with a pinwheel, and had a rough time pinning the tucks properly. Also, the fabric was dark. But the worst part was trying to turn the straps right side out. The pattern calls for stitching them right sides together and then turning them right side out, you know, like usual, but a combination of things made this a Sisyphean assignment: the linen fabric (which the pattern called for) didn’t glide against itself as easily as, say, a quilting cotton, the straps aren’t that wide, AND they were interfaced, so the fabric was little stiff. I tried my trusty long-handled wooden spoon which I always use to turn things right side out (as well as to cook with my giant cast-iron pot). No joy. I tried a safety pin. Nope. A smaller safety pin. No. In the end I got one strap turned inside out with a crochet hook but ended up poking a hole in the fabric near the bottom. 😦 The other strap I finished in about a fifth of the time by pressing the seam allowances under and sewing it with wrong sides together – which, since it was supposed to be topstitched anyway, worked perfectly.

This was also the first time I had worked with metal snaps. I was a little nervous about this, but I’d previously put eyelets in another project so this was the same method. I’m sure the downstairs neighbor loved me hammering away, even if it was in the middle of the day. And I dropped one snap-half on the floor, spike side op, and proceeded to step on it with my bare heel. Fun!

The rompers turned out pretty cute, though. And C. was really glad when she saw them.

I also knit this:

It’s the Hooded Cardigan from Shescrafty Handknits, and it is so cute. I’d previously knit the tasseled pixie cap, and I could recognize the hood on the cardigan; if they aren’t the same pattern, they are quite similar. I made it from superwash merino and it was wonderfully soft and flexible. It was the first time I had ever knit anything that had to be pieced together afterwards – I was glad I have experience sewing. I sewed it together using the same knitting yarn; later I found out that I should have used embroidery floss or something like that, the seams were pretty bulky. It was also the first time I tried to block anything. Anyway in spite of the thick seams and the not-evenly-spaced buttons I was totally proud of it, and C. liked it (or pretended convincingly she did!). I’ll definitely make one again if the opportunity arises.

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