Of course the best thing to do when starting maternity leave is to take on another new challenge like completing The Monthly Stitch for the first time! However, bub was still yet to arrive when I committed to making three items – and babies go through lots and lots of clothes I hear, so making three of something sounded ideal!
I squirrelled away this Criss Cross Onesie from the September issue of Burdastyle magazine 2013 (http://www.burdastyle.co.uk/criss-cross-onesie-09-2013-145) but until now had baulked at sewing with knit fabrics. Knit tops I have made in the past just never really looked finished or professional in the way that woven me-made clothing can. And after several fights with my overlocker I thought it was all too hard.
Enter the Monthly Stitch! What better way to grow confidence in a new skill than to practice it three times over?
I cut size 62 (approximately three months) for all three, not yet having a baby to measure, although the finished garments look a bit bigger than the shop-bought clothes of that size – thankfully babies grow!
Jumpsuit number 1 was a fairly stable blue knit cotton jersey. I used my sewing machine with a narrow zigzag to sew the seams, with a stretch twin needle for top stitching. I followed the Burda instructions (minimal though they were) except I set in the sleeve before sewing the side seams as one from the legs through the arms – I think that gave a better finish. I inserted the arm cuffs before sewing the sides but on reflection I think they should go in last (as a ribbed band) to give a cleaner finish at the edge of the cuff.
For each jumpsuit I bound the edges in slightly different ways (the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits was helpful here) – jumpsuit 1 was using the Burda instructions, which basically was the same as inserting bias binding on a woven garment – this worked well, especially with such a stable knit, but was quite thick. And given that knits don’t really fray, I’m not sure of the value in having the binding edges neatly turned under on both sides.
Jumpsuit number 2 was made from a pale pink stretchy velour fabric which was a little bit of a pain to work with as it kept rolling at the edges! I used a hot pink ponte de Roma for the binding, which I think looks great – it was also much more stable than the velour. For this version I used the overlocker for the seams – again, the Colette Guide was really helpful in getting my settings right (as, duh, was the machine’s own instruction manual) – once I had the settings right, it was a breeze. It sewed up just so much faster than on the sewing machine. Getting the stretch right for inserting the leg cuffs was a bit tricky, and I left off the arm cuffs as they were too tiny.
I bound the edges of jumpsuit 2 using the overlocker, as a fabric band – quick and easy, but getting the stretch right took some trial and error. I just finished the band off with a zig-zag top stitch in a bright pink and did the same for the hems on the arms.
And for jumpsuit number 3 I used an old white cotton tee-shirt, with leftover pink velour for the cuffs and the pink ponte for the binding. This one I sewed using a combination of the overlocker (for the seams and cuffs) and the sewing machine (for the binding). Apart from the difference in the weight of the tee-shirt fabric and the ponte binding, I think this jumpsuit worked best.
For the binding in jumpsuit 3, I overlocked one long edge, sewed the binding in place with the sewing machine, folded it over to form the binding, and then top stitched the binding in place with a twin needle. This gave a clean overlocked finish on the inside but with less bulk compared to the technique for jumpsuit number 1.
I used plastic white and multi-coloured snap fasteners for the closings – what a joy to use! So quick and easy. Will definitely be using these again.
Overall, I really enjoyed sewing these three jumpsuits – the pattern itself was actually quite easy although I will have to wait and see what the fit is like on a real live baby. I think they would make great gifts too – especially with all the wonderful patterned knit fabrics available out there.
Making it three times in a row, practicing a variety of different techniques, I now feel so much more comfortable with knit fabrics, using both the sewing machine and overlocker.
I can see myself making many more of these…in all that spare time I’m going to have with a baby around!
So…happy birthday to the Monthly Stitch…and happy birthday to Baby Veuve, who arrived in rather a rush on 31 August, hence the delay in this post (and the lack of images…)!