Better-Late-Than-Never Baby Dresses!

Friends, I’m gonna let you in on one of my ugliest, dirtiest secrets. I hate sewing things for babies.

I can feel the searing rays of your judgment! But let me explain– baby clothes are fiddly to make, fit for about 10 minutes, and are the object of more puke than toilets in a freshman dorm. It’s a lot of work for very little payoff! Plus, many babies are showered with so many tiny outfits when they could probably use a big box of Pampers much more than another cardigan!

But, when old, dear friends have babies, even the grumpiest baby grinch is occasionally tempted to dabble in the world of tiny clothes, hence these little dresses. I knew that I wanted something pretty and sweet, but I didn’t want to go completely pastel for these dresses. I found a nice compromise in these beautiful 100% cotton shirtings from Mood Fabrics NYC. The combination of gingham and stripes is cute for a tot, and the fabrics are much more soft and luxurious than you usually see in children’s wear. Another benefit is that cotton shirting is tough enough to take a beating in the laundry.  Plus, it doesn’t take much to make garments this small, so you can get a little fancy with your fabric. I had just over half a yard of each fabric and was able to make two dresses.

I used Made By Rae‘s downloadable Geranium dress pattern, which comes with about a zillion options.  I opted for cut-on cap sleeves and a pleated skirt. The bodice is fully lined, and I turned and stitched the center back seam and used French seams on the sides (I’ve heard that serging can be too scratchy for sensitive baby skin). The bodice has a back button closure– not sure how easy this is to get babies in and out of. Any feedback, moms and dads?  This was really easy to put together, although the directions were a little complicated to follow as they jumped back and forth between the different views, so I occasionally lost my place.  I’m sure someone more organized than myself would have no issues with this, though.

Although I wasn’t eager to make these, I found myself smiling as I stitched on the adorable buttons (a gift from Marie that I’m so glad I saved until now!) and put the finishing touches on the dresses. There’s just something so sweet about itty-bitty clothes! I really like how these turned out, and I caught myself planning future versions in blue, yellow, and gray combos. But before you think I’ve turned into Santa Claus overnight, you should probably know that I made these in the 12-18 month size… because it’s been a while since these little girls were born. Better late than never, right?

What’s your opinion of homemade baby gifts? A sweet potential heirloom? Better saved for older kids who are interested in what they wear? Tacky? Treasured? What’s the nicest handmade baby gift you’ve given or received?

Sidenote: I discovered the hazards of photographing finished projects outdoors– my neighbor spotted me shooting these, and before I knew what was happening, I heard myself agreeing to make a dress for her granddaughter! Whoops!  Guess I better get used to making clothes for small people!

Ginger Made: McCall’s M6016, or The Tiniest Magnum P.I.

This is, hands down, the best thing I’ve ever made.

Rock the hula, kid!

Before you’re all, “Hey, girl, enough with the hyperbole!”,  just stop for a second and look.

IT’S A TINY HAWAIIAN SHIRT.

I can’t even look at this without laughing.  There aren’t many things funnier than babies dressed like strange adults.  I’d like to imagine this shirt worn by a baby with a mustache and chest hair.  Possibly a crime-fighting, convertible-driving baby with a mustache and chest hair.

This is a gift for one of Man Friend’s oldest friends, who just had baby #3.  She and her husband met while living in Hawaii, and all three kids have lovely Hawaiian names, so this seemed like a good gift.  I used M6016 and a cotton print I scored during a sale at Jo-Ann.  The pattern was super easy to put together  and everything went smoothly and uneventfully.  The toughest part was getting over my fear of making buttonholes!  I did a few practice versions, and while these aren’t perfect, it wasn’t anywhere near as tough as I thought it would be.  I was all worked up over nothing (story of my freakin’ life…)!

I’ll have to get pretty comfortable sewing for little boys– it’s recently been revealed that my due-in-January niece/nephew is in fact a nephew!  Anybody have any favorite patterns or projects to make for boys?  My previous go-to boy gifts, if you knit, are The Brown Stitch’s Chunky Monkey Vest and/or Linden Down’s Baby Sophisticate sweater.  What about you guys?  Other than PJ’s for Man Friend, this is the first item I’ve sewn for a dude!

In other news, I found myself completely overtaken by a fit of insanity and signed up for a 5K yesterday.  This may not sound very eventful, but as Man Friend pointed out, it’s doubtful that I’ve run a total of 5 kilometers in the last 10 years (I was a bigtime runner in high school, but realized that I actually hate running and haven’t done it since)!  Here’s the kicker– it’s two weeks from today!!!  Am I totally screwed?  People!  I know!  This is crazy, but it’s a benefit raising money for walruses!  WALRUSES!  I can’t think of a more hilarious reason to run!  And my dear friend and also-reluctant-runner, KristyWes, is doing it with me (and inspired me to sign up!).  So.  We’ll see.

What about you guys?  Any novelty 5k’s on the horizon? Have you tried anything new (or done anything a little crazy) recently?

Ginger Made: Chunky Monkey Vest

Hold the phone… I finally FINISHED something???  I’m seriously in the middle of about five projects right now (sewing ADHD much?!?!), so with a little encouragement from Man Friend (“Um, wouldn’t it be nice to be done with one project?”), I got my act together and finished up this little vest (pardon the terrible picture– it’s been dark and disgusting the last couple of days).

This is the Chunky Monkey Baby/Toddler Vest from The Brown Stitch, and it’s a lovely little knit for the (tiny) men in your life.  It’s FAST– I knitted the thing in about two afternoons (the only holdup was buying and sewing on the buttons), so it makes a perfect last-minute gift.  I used the recommended yarn, Cascade 128 superwash chunky, which is reallly soft as well as machine-washable, so it’s ideal for baby garments.

I’m a bit late with this gift– the baby was actually born in January (oops!), but better late than never, right?  But his family is very near and dear to us– his dad is one of our oldest childhood friends, and I actually introduced this friend to his wife, so we’re extra fond of this little guy and his big brother.  His dad is a big fan of the Chicago Bears, as are Man Friend and I, so I sort of slyly inserted the Bears’ navy and orange into the color scheme.  He’ll be the dressiest little dude on game day!

What are you guys up to?  Did you have good weekends?  I had back-to-back parties Thursday and Friday nights, plus a friend’s concert Saturday night (he put together a band to play all of T. Rex’s Electric Warrior live… it was RAD).  I have one last crazy week at work before we wrap, so I probably won’t have as much time to sew as I’d like, but I’m really excited to dive into my projects next week!  I’m a bit behind on my blogroll lately, so please forgive my lack of commenting.  I’m looking forward to catching up soon!

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