Tuesday, 31 December 2019

More About this Site

Soon there will be pictures of my favourite projects here to help you navigate to the best bits. In the meantime, use the tabs or the search box. There are specific tabs for making babies' and children's dresses, and things, with legs (shorts, trouserts, pants, PJs etc), plus a more general Make Baby /Child Clothes tab for other sorts of garments (e.g. skirts) and mixed (e.g. PJs with pants and a top).

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Free PDF patterns for newborns - Page 1

In general, I try to discourage people from making clothes in newborn baby size, at least, in large quantities. See my posts here and here. Often a newborn is bigger than you expect, and they grow just SO fast. But there are times when these very small clothes may be appropriate, especially if the baby was small at birth, or perhaps, was born too soon. Or you just want to make some because they are cute, so you are happy to ignore my advice. Just don't say I didn't warn you!

In fact, there are quite a lot of patterns available as free PDFs on the internet in this size - perhaps more than for other sizes. So you'll find in this post (3 pages-worth) my recommendations for which to choose. These are almost all patterns that are described by their designers as newborn, 0-1 months, or 0-3 months - I'll tell you which. There are dresses, onesies, pants, hats - you can make a complete outfit for a tiny baby using these free patterns. Most come with tutorials. Let's start by thanking the designers for their generosity in sharing. And please remember that they are shared freely on the basis of people using them for personal use, not for commercial purposes.

If you are looking for even smaller sizes, you could look at my posts for premature babies. But often, PDF patterns can be printed a little smaller, and can be adapted to be suitable for premature babies by adding in some extra openings. I give some suggestions for how to adapt them in this post.

To find out more, read on.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Free PDf patterns for newborns - Page 2

You are on the second page of my post about free PDF patterns for newborns. If you missed Page 1, you might want to return there first. 

But if you've read Page 1, then off you go  - read on. As before, larger pictures on this page are my own, from things I have made for my grandchildren. The smaller pictures are from the pattern designers' web sites. 

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Free PDF patterns for newborns - Page 3

You are on the third page of my post about free PDF patterns for newborns. If you missed Page 1, or Page 2, you might want to return there first. I wrote in those pages about onesies, dresses, T shirts, hats, and clothes with legs. In this post, I'll try and pick up on patterns for other types of clothes you might want to make for newborn babies.

I should say first of all that I still strongly discourage people from making clothes in newborn size. (Though even I sometimes ignore my own advice, and then regret it. ) Many newborns are already too large for the smallest size clothes, and if they aren't at birth, they soon will be. But the fact that you are here suggests you also intend to make newborn clothes anyway, no matter how much I urge you not to. So go ahead. Read on to find free PDF patterns to help you make cute, tiny clothes that may never be worn!

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Premature Baby Patterns - Introduction - Page 1

It's taken me a long time to be able to write this series of posts, but I was nudged back into it by seeing a request on a web site before Christmas for premature baby patterns. I did so much research a few years ago, that it really is time I shared what I learned. 

40cm doll in premature baby hat

Premature babies have very specialist needs, and it's not just that they need tiny clothes. At the time it mattered most in our family, I was shocked at how unsuitable a lot of the commercially available ready-to-wear clothes were for premature babies. They were very small, granted, and often very cute - but likely to be pretty useless for an intubated baby. I saw size 000 dresses that had to be wrangled OVER THE BABY'S HEAD, and then there was a button to do up AT THE BACK! I was pretty sure the designers had never seen a premature baby.

So I got stuck into some research, and in my series of posts on dressing premature babies, you can read what I learned, and find some ideas and patterns for premature baby clothes.

The needs of premature babies vary at different stages, so I've divided up the ideas into three stages. You can look at all of these, or pick the one most appropriate for you. However, if the baby is likely to have an extended stay in hospital, whatever his or her gestational age, I suggest you start in any case with the first stage.

1. Babies born before about 32 weeks' gestation, or weighing less than 1.5 kg
2. Babies born from about 32- 36 week's gestation, or weighing 1.5 -2.5 kg
3. Babies born from about 36 weeks' gestation, or preparing to be able to leave hospital.

Before you head over to these pages, though, please read on for more general thoughts.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Premature Baby Patterns - Page 2. Dressing a very pre-term or very small baby.

Page 2. Dressing a very pre-term or very small baby.

This page is aimed at people who would like to make clothing for very small babies, those born at less than 32 weeks' gestation, and / or weighing less than 1.5 kg at birth, who are likely to be in incubators. If your baby is older or larger than that, you may be able to skip through to my stage 2 or stage 3 pages - but have a look at what I have to say here, first. Any baby in intensive care, even if larger, may also need special consideration regarding clothing.

The first thing I will say is that it's important to seek the advice of the health professionals at the neonatal intensive care unit as to what clothing is appropriate. The reality is that these tiny babies not only may have no need of clothing at this early stage, but they may be unable to wear any. They may have several wires and tubes attached, to help them breath or feed, and to monitor them, such that any normal clothing could not be used, as it would not be possible to get the necks and sleeves over these without detaching them. Additionally, they may need to be under a blue light, which requires maximum skin exposure.   Or they may be swaddled in a special type of plastic blanket that won't stick to their delicate skin, but will keep them warm.

At this stage, they will not be able to wear clothing, though the unit may provide a hat.

Often, the first personal things such a tiny premature baby can wear, will be a little hat, or bootees. You can see that all of these babies are wearing little hats. You can find my free PDF pattern for a hat for a premature baby here. And I have linked to other hat patterns in this post, some of which are suitable for premature babies.

If you are a knitter rather than a sewer, there are several sites with knitting and crochet patterns for hats and bootees. The Carewear web site has this pattern for a pair of sewn bootees. This also appears in the Carewear Booklet below, as well as several knitting an crochet patterns for hats and bootees.

Probably the earliest other garment the very premature baby will be able to wear will be a simple garment such as the Carewear kimono pattern

This has 4 sizes, the largest of which I believe is equivalent to full-term, the smallest to a very premature baby. The 'revised' version also appears in the Carewear booklet below. In the booklet, it comes in 2 sizes, 2-3 lbs (or up to about 1.5 kg) and 4-5 lbs. The challenge is, that you won't know what size to make, until you know the baby is ready to be able to wear it, and then, by the time you've made it, the baby may have grown! That's why I only ever made one little premature garment for my grand-daughter in hospital.

I've referred to the 'revised' Carewear Booklet. This has 92 pages, so you probably wouldn't want to print it all. However - be prepared alert: this booklet is not just for premature babies. It covers many patient needs, including Alzheimer's and cancer patients needs, and sadly, also some burial gowns. If you'd prefer not to deal with this, don't open it, just look at the pattern links for the bootees and the kimono I've given above. But if you are prepared to whizz past the bits you don't want, there are also many free knitting and crochet patterns for hats and bootees, as well as the sewing pattern for bootees on page 75, and the kimono gown pattern on page 70. You can find the Carewear booklet here.

They also have this very useful page on their web site with sizes and needs. 

Once some of those tubes and wires have gone, and the baby has grown a little, it may be time to think of some other clothing. If so, move on to my third stage post on premature baby clothing - Ready for more clothes.

Back to Page 1 Introduction                                                       Forward to Page 3 Next stage

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Winter dresses for little girls

This year, I've made Christmas dresses for all the girls. The last ones I made for the three oldest, were in 2015. 

I haven't done this now for three years, as the oldest subsequently refused  flatly to wear a dress of any kind. But it seems she's warming a bit to the idea, as long as it's not pink and frilly - perhaps it's because she's started school and all the girls wear the same uniform skirt. So she doesn't feel so bad about skirted garments. 

So here are the new ones (now there are four of them!)

I used several different patterns, and I'll write reviews and tutorials on all of them. You'll find the links to the patterns in each of my posts on these dresses.

This is the tutorial for the two cream patterned dresses, made from patterns from Sew Much Ado, and Shwin and Shwin.

I started Rose's  blue dress, from Elysium's Goods Deeds dress, but I used the sleeves, adapted to fit, from the Sew Much Ado Ruffle dress. It's lined, so more complicated than the basic Good Deeds dress I've made previously,

The last one I made, probably the most challenging overall, was Fleur's Tartan dress . For this, I used Shwin and Shwin's DIY Holiday dress, with multiple modifications.

I wondered after I'd made them whether dresses with big sleeves are actually that practical for winter, given the need to wear a coat or cardigan over them outside. And if not for cooler weather, why would you need sleeves at all? However, I think they will love them indoors. Photos in wear will hopefully follow, afrer we've opened their Christmas parcels.

Postscript: I promised photos in wear. There are more on the posts for the individual dresses.


Story time!

This may go some way to explain why I find it so difficult to photograph them - they are rarely still!

Well, sometimes they can be persuaded to pose.....

..... but it's not long before excitement takes over again!

A new Tartan dress for Christmas.

My oldest grand-daughter, Fleur, 5, has for the last few years totally rejected dresses, even for church. She's been persuaded into a skirt on occasion, but by and large she's preferred dressing in trousers or shorts, no matter the occasion. So my wish to repeat what I did for Christmas three years ago, of making them ALL a new Christmas dress, has just gone by the board. 

But we can sense a small change in her attitude. She has to wear a skirt as part of her school uniform now, and all the girls in her class are in skirts, so there can be no argument. And she's now agreed she'd like a new dress, so long as it isn't frilly, or pink, or in any way princessy. (She caught sight of her youngest cousin's dress, see here, and said determinedly "I don't want THAT dress!" We pointed it it was far too small for her any way.)

So here's what I came up with for her. It's red, which she likes, and it's not frilly (has pleats rather than gathers), and it has nothing itchy inside. Yet it is quite stylish. Let's keep our fingers crossed she'll wear it now!

To find out how you could make something similar, read on.