Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Don't Make Tiny Baby Clothes for a Newborn Baby!

I'm hoping I might persuade you to make something - anything! - other than tiny size baby clothes. If I don't succeed, you'd better have a look at some of my other posts where I tell you my favourite baby clothes patterns. My mission is to offer you lots of suggestions for things you can make or sew that will be MORE APPRECIATED than yet another tiny knitted jacket or cute newborn dress. Look at my post on Baby shower presents for ALTERNATIVES. 

Oh, I know tiny clothes are adorable, and they are easy to make, but...... well, of course, I know that you probably won't listen to me. But bear with me for now.

Let's say, your best friend / daughter / favourite niece /has just announced she will have her first baby. Or perhaps you’ve just been invited to a baby shower! Or - congratulations - you are expecting your first baby. Wonderful news. You are handy with a needle and thread, and / or a sewing machine. So the obvious thing is to get stitching, while there is still time. If you are like me, you probably start all your projects with a search on the internet, and, in the circumstances, you look to see what free patterns exist for new born baby clothes. Well, I can tell you now, there are LOTS! In fact there are more patterns for newborns than for anything else, I think.

But just let’s stop for a moment. Is making cute newborn clothes the best thing to do? The first thing to say, is that new born babies do come in different sizes. So clothes that might fit one new born may be TOO SMALL ever to be worn by your little recipient. How sad if that happened. All your hard work could go straight to the charity shop. Even if you hit lucky on this, and the clothes fit from day one, newborns grow so fast that these clothes might only last for two or three weeks. Allow for them to be washed and dried between wearings. And bear in mind the new Mama will also have received new born garments from several (perhaps many) other well-meaning people. So your lovingly made newborn outfit might only be worn ONCE! Sorry, but it’s true.

This home-made outfit of a blue dress, and a white pinafore with a little blue butterfly on it looked so sweet. Luckily it was made in size 3-6 months. But it won't fit this two-month old baby very much longer! Most women who have already had a first child will know how quickly the first size clothes become redundant.

Or you may find that baby comes too soon, or for some reason may spend his/her first few days or weeks in an incubator. S/he may not be able to wear clothes at all to start with, as premature babies' skin is ultra-sensitive. It may even be necessary to use a blue light on as much skin area as possible, in which case, the baby will not be able to wear anything, but will be laid with just an unfastened nappy beneath. Later, specially designed clothes may be needed to allow for tubes and wires. This can also be a traumatic period for the new parents and family, a matter of getting through one day at a time. Nobody wants to think much about what the baby might wear after this is all over. And yes, I do speak from close family experience here. In our family, we asked people to hold off their kind attempts to offer clothing gifts until much later, when they could be really appreciated. Of course, a very tiny baby may well go through a period when normal newborn clothing, or even smaller, is just the right size. But again, it will only fit for such a small amount of time.

 Who am I to talk? I made a tiny premature baby garment for my grand-daughter that was worn once, possibly twice. She grew! Who knew? This little specially designed top looks pretty big in this picture, at least round the shoulders, five weeks after she was born. 

Two weeks later, it was much too small. I didn't have the heart to make another one in the next size up. She would probably grow out of it before it was finished.

And her auntie knitted a tiny hat, which was, of course, too big, six weeks after her birth - but too tight to wear by the time she left hospital 4 weeks later.  

Those garments have both been mementoed away, and now on each birthday, the miniature hat comes out to be perched on top of her head, so everyone can gasp at just how tiny she was.

But you surely want to make something that will be appreciated and used for months rather than days / weeks, don't you? If so, check out my Baby Shower Gifts post.. You may also find other useful thoughts in my Baby Accessories tab.


  1. Really this is a great post! Very very useful for me I'm never good at sewing but after reading your post and your ideas on what to do with my son's baby clothes, Thanks for shearing.

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    1. Thanks for your comment. If you haven't already seen it, you might also like my post on baby shower gifts. http://newgrandmawantstosew.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/baby-shower-presents.html

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