Some good friends recently had a baby girl, but in the mayhem of me-made-may I wasn’t able to sew up a baby gift in time for little Jessica arriving. Looking through the pattern books (we have Butterick, McCalls, Kwik Sew and Vogue in the shop) the majority of patterns for babies are designed for jersey fabric, but I was after something more vintage looking and made from a woven.
Kwik Sew really has the widest selection of baby and kids patterns and in the end I settled on Kwik Sew K3776. The sleeveless and legless romper was exactly the style I was after. The pattern illustration and sample in brown polka dots wasn’t very inspiring and it goes to show how important it is to look at the line drawings when looking for patterns.
“K3776 view B Romper is gathered to yoke, has shoulder straps, and back button closure, elastic at leg openings, and snap closure at crotch.” It is designed for lightweight woven fabrics which makes it perfect for a sweet summer romper.
One thing I love about KwikSew patterns is that they are printed on better quality tissue paper than the other companies. They use a white tissue with blue lines that I find so much easier to see, and the tissue is just that bit more durable.
The pattern is available in sizes XS-XL, equivalent to 8lbs/3.5kg – 26lb/12kg. I wanted to make a size that Jessica could wear this summer so I’ve made the size small which is for a 13lb baby.
The main fabric is from the Robert Kaufman London Calling 5 range and is the Floral print. I have three prints from this collection in the shop and I really don’t know why they haven’t been more popular. It is such a lovely soft and drapey cotton lawn and the delicate designs are paired with the perfect colour palettes. They are great for dressmaking and Katie also used one of them to back her Bow Tie Quilt.
I wanted to pick a different fabric for the yokes and shoulder straps. This Chambray Union Cross-hatch from Robert Kaufman is a very good match in weight to the lawn and has a lovely textured look to it. I think the addition of denim really adds a modern twist as well.
I managed to cut the front and back out of 45cm of fabric (this is 112cm wide) rather than the 70cm stated. I used some leftover chambray from this project but you’d probably only need 0.25m of this (or a fat quarter or your chosen contrast).
The KwikSew instructions were very clear and well explained. I was a bit unsure about how to finish the centre front and centre back seams so for this version I simply used pinking scissors. However, I could have overlocked them as they can easily be pressed to one side. For the back it would be a little tricky as you have to be able to stop at the bottom of the back button placket. I chose to handstitch the inside yokes down for a clean finish. The only two steps that I think could be improved are:
Finishing the back placket
There is nothing in the instructions about finishing the inside edge of the back plackets where you have the interfacing. You could overlock them; I turned under 1/4″ of the raw edge to the wrong side and edge-stitched in place.
Sewing the bias binding to the armhole
I tried it using their method but I got a most unsatifactory result. It is (in my opinion) impossible to sew such a wide piece of bias fabric onto such a tight armhole curve. Even with extensive clipping I ended up with puckers and a very wrinkled armhole. It had to be unpicked! I would suggest the following method:
- Use a piece of narrower 12mm / 1/2″ single fold bias tape (I used pre-made).
- Shape your bias binding to the curve of the armhole. You can do this with an iron and plenty of steam. It takes a couple of minutes but is the key to getting a good finish.
- Because you are using a narrower bias binding and the original seam allowance is 5/8″ you need to draw in a guide for the edge of your bias binding. The binding I was using had a 1/4″ fold so I drew in a new line 3/8″ from the raw edge. I lined up the raw edge of my bias with this line and stitched in the fold of the bias.
- Trim your armhole and finish the bias as per the instructions.
I really liked the way the leg openings and crotch facings were sewn on. It was such a quick and effective method. Previous baby patterns I’ve made have ended up with so many layers at the crotch facing it has been impossible to get the press studs through all the layers. I used some plastic poppers like these Prym No-Sew Colour Snaps. I went with three snaps rather than the recommended four.
For the back button closure I used some 1/2″ white fish eye buttons that are nice and flat. You don’t want to use anything bulky here otherwise it won’t be comfortable for the baby to lie on them (I think the poppers would have been too chunky here).
I totally love how cute this looks! The combination of the fabrics I think really works and it has retained a vintage vibe while still being modern. I just hope we get some summery enough weather so that baby Jessica doesn’t freeze in it 🙂 I think it would still look pretty cute layered up over tights or a onesie if not.
Total cost: £18.79
Fabric: 45cm of London Calling 5 – Floral @ £14/m = £6.30 // 0.25m of Chambray Union Cross-hatch Indigo @ £14/m = £3.50
Pattern: Kwik Sew K3776 Baby Dress, Bloomers and Romper = £8.99
Notions: 50cm of 0.25″ elastic for the leg openings; 3 no-sew colour snaps; 3 0.5″ fish-eye buttons; 0.5m 12mm bias binding; interfacing for the yoke (from stash)