Friday, March 5, 2010

How to make a toddler playsuit/romper from an adult t-shirt (part 1)

Today I'm going to show you how to make THIS:
I took OODLES of pictures, so every step should be really clear, but email me if it's not!
you will need:
a shirt (I used adult small. It needs to be as long as your child from shoulder to ankle.... (or to knee if you want shorts) too big and you will have to hem/fix the collar, and the whole point of this is to use what's already done....)
some coordinating scrap t-shirt fabric (for the crotch facings)
sewing machines, clothespins, thread, etc.
Measure your baby from shoulder to mid-crotch (where a onesie would snap). add an inch to get your "body measurement"
My daughter is about 17" from shoulder to crotch...
turn your adult t-shirt inside out, and then fold it in 1/2. Measure down from the top of the neckline to the legnth of the body measurement
My daughter was 17" so I marked (with a sharpie, since this will all be covered) at 18" down from the top of the neck
at the hem, measure in about 1.5 inches, and draw a line up, curving the corner to get to your measured body length.
cut it out. (so you're cutting through 4 layers of t-shirt)
discard the U's you just cut out.
Now line up the sleeves/the top of the shirt... make sure the shoulder seams line up!
find a shirt/onesie that fits your child, fold it like the adult shirt, and lay it on top, lining up the center folds and the top of the arms.
If the shirt is a little big for your kiddo, leave it there, but if you're grabbing something that fits perfectly, or you want to make the next size up, scoot the baby shirt over and down a little, equally.
I moved mine over about 1.5" but only down about an inch, because my bean has skinny little arms!
mark the corner made by the armpit (give yourself a smidge of seam allowance... I put about .5") It's pretty easy to go back and take a little more off after you've fitted it to your child, but if you cut too much off now, you've wasted a shirt!)
Ok, go put away the baby shirt, and grab a ruler.
make a straight line from the corner mark you made to the sleeve hem. Ideally, the line would meet the sleeve hem in a 90 degree angle.
Clearly, my world is not ideal.
Now draw a line from the corner mark to the hem of the shirt, ending JUST BEFORE THE HEM. (it's not actually that dire, but it's prettier if you don't cut/sew through the hem)
so here's the serging line you made. you only need one right now.
cut off the extra, leaving a little bit more seam allowance... (this is mostly just so you can put your clips on the seam lines)
now if you unfold the shirt, you should see the basic shape of a toddler playsuit!
measure your crotch "U"
do some math (or make google do it for you) to figure out what 70% of your crotch measurement is (70% of 17 is 11.9, so , as you can see in the next photo, I rounded to 12") to get your edging measurement
cut strips 5" wide by the length of your edging measurement. You can cut strips from ribbing, although it's a bit thick, and might be difficult to put snaps through. I used regular-t-shirt-fabric scraps.
MAKE SURE YOUR FABRIC STRETCHES FROM SIDE TO SIDE, not up and down.
cut 2

Use clothespins (really, it's a knit trick that WORKS! no snagging, no breaking pins on your serger blade, and easy to remove from either side!) to clip together the sides of your playsuit (or, if you don't have enough clothespins, clip the side with the marker)
so once you have the sides all clipped together, stop and move the kitten away from the machines so you can actually serge/sew!
I use both of my machines to make these, so if I say "serge," use a serger, or zigzag and then straight stitch (or whatever floats your boat when seaming knits), whereas when I say "sew," I mean straight stitch on a regular machine...
start serging on the side with the markings, starting at the arm, curving through the armpit, and heading down to the hem of the shirt...
try to end up so that you don't actually serge through the bottom hem (because that way you're guaranteed a nice even hem)
ok, so now you have one side beautifully sergered...
turn it over so that the WR of the front is on top (serge on the left) and fold it over, so you can trace the serge line on the other side. (you want the markings to show when you start serging from the arm down)
here's a picture of the markings, just in case you don't know how to trace)
serge the second side, again, starting at the arms, going toward the hem, and try to not serge the hem, so you have a prettier hem.
turn the romper right side out, and you should have something that looks like this!
now all you need to do is the crotch! and that's in the next post!
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8 comments:

Leslie and Melissa said...

You are so creative! Your refashions are awesome and I love each time you post a new one. Keep it up=)

Melissa

Nancy's Couture said...

What a great way to repurpose a t-shirt. I wish my girl was a little smaller so I could make her one of these!!!

Barbara said...

I don't have a serger - but zig zag stitches should work right?

Ramona Burke said...

Barbara, zigzag stitches should definitely work... you might even just be able to do a double row of straight stitches (for strength) and leave the ends raw; knit doesn't fray, and the seams you will be sewing don't need much stretch. usually just the neckline REALLY needs to stretch, and this re-purpose eliminates the need to MAKE a neck, (one of the reasons I love it, and my daughter has 6)

Barbara said...

Thanks Ramona! I saw some of these on Etsy and I scoured the web for hours to find a pattern to make some for my twin 14mo grandsons.

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Viagra said...

That is very conventional!

Elliott Broidy said...

You are brilliant! I would never think of this concept.