Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nightgowns for little girls

My little goose is a wiggler. She can somehow manage to thwart Sarge's and my attempts to dress her, diaper her, keep her in one place for more than a second.

Most days and nights she's in nothing but a diaper and a t-shirt because she kicks and squirms and pajamas with legs are too demanding to put on her. She can take off leggings or pants like some sort of un-dressing Houdini.

I had tried putting her in dresses but she got her knees caught up in them when she tried to crawl. Well, guess what she's doing now....walking. Which means a whole new world of clothing and pajamas are opening up to us....or so I thought.

Almost everything for little 11 month old girls is two piece outfits, usually a tunic with leggings, or a shirt with leggings. The pajamas all have zip up or snap up legs, and again the 2 piece pajamas are all legging based. It requires two people to put her in pants or leggings. And most of the time after the diaper changing acrobatics, we just want the crying and squirming to stop.

I have pictures of myself younger than her wearing nightgowns. I guess that went out of fashion for babies. Maybe because they weren't fire retardant, or because kids are walking later. Who knows.

Me in an adorable nightgown with my baby doll.

 I found a bunch of flannel, and disney themed tricot nightgowns, but they all start at 24months or 2 T. And I tried to find 2T in an actual store, but they were just not there. I found them online but I cant try them on her that way now can I?

It's colder now, so I want to dress her in something, diapers only wont cut it, and she pulls off blankets when she sleeps.

What to do?

Sew something, obviously.

I went to Target, Belk, and Walmart. No baby nightgowns. So I found a cute long sleeve shirts at Kohls, and then went to Hobby Lobby to find some knit fabric. They had about 6 bolts of knits. Which is a shamefully paltry selection. They have 65 bolts of fleece though, so go figure. I'm guessing very few home sewers sew on knits. I couldn't find any colors that I really liked so I had some prints, and a pink knit. (which I'm not fond of)

Here's how I went about this little sewing adventure.
Buy a shirt. I went a little bit bigger than her size (12M ) and got a 18 M.
It's a waffle knit from Jumping Bean brand, in Kohls. It's a baby doll fit
which I thought would suit the idea.

Try it on your baby and measure where  the hem falls
and where you want it to be. I wanted an extra 4 inches.
(give baby something to play with or else
well, she's so wiggly)

Cut some knit fabric in double the measurement
that you needed to extend the shirt

I needed it to fall 4" lower than the hem, so I cut 9 inches
8 inches is doubled, and I added 1/2" seam allowances
Fold it over, (the folded edge will be your new hem.)

At this point I gathered my fabric at the cut edge. 
Measure agains the hem of your shirt, cut to fit the hem
measurement, and sew the sides. Pin the panel on the hem making
sure there are no gaps.
Sew with a serger, or with a zig zag or another stitch
which suits knits,
*take the pins out of your fabric BEFORE
it goes thru the serger*

When I finished the first gown I didn't like the look of it, so I took the extension off, and cut more knit, and gathered it at the unfinished ends. I like that better and then sewed the ruffled knit panel onto the hem. 
* depending on your gathers you may need double the length you had before* 

I used a zig zag the second time to attach it to the hem.

I did a few more. The last two I added ruffled woven fabrics, since
I couldn't find colors I  liked in knits to match them.

Dress your adorable baby in her nightgown/dress

Totally works as a dress too!!

So here you are, a tutorial on how to make a cute dress/nightgown from a shirt.

(All credit for the design goes to my Mom, Patti, who did this same style for me in the '80's. I have pictures of me and my 6 sisters in dresses she made from t-shirts that she added skirt onto.)