I mentioned in the Partial Button Placket tutorial at the beginning of the week, that I made a little Baby Blessing outfit for Oliver. (a “baby blessing” is similar to a “dedication” or “christening” in other religions.) The outfits that I made for my other kiddos’ blessing day (Chloe’s blessing dress is here), were sewn before they were born. However, I just never got around to Oliver’s. Typically, blessing outfits are all white (though they don’t have to be) and I honestly looked around for something I could just buy. But, yeah, not a whole lot of white options for newborn babies.
Yeah, the outfit is not what’s important for their Blessing Day but each of our children have their very own outfit that I want to give them when they’re grown…….so my “mommy guilt” told me I better make s o m e t h i n g. And quick! So…..you know me. I decided to stay up late one evening after all my babies were in bed sleeping, and whipped up a little something Oliver could wear. So now he too can have an outfit from his very special day. (And when the kids are teenagers, they can’t tease Ollie and tell him that he was actually some random kid we picked up off the street….and that’s why he doesn’t have a Blessing outfit. Can you tell I’m the youngest of 7 kids? Oh, how I was teased! Ha.)
And what did I quickly decide on? A little ‘Sailor Romper’. Ack……I love how this little thing turned out!
Yep, a sweet little sailor collar, a tie in front, a snap placket at the top, and a snap closure at the bottom for diaper changes.
And in case you’re wondering…..Oliver was an angel during his blessing. But word on the street is that he filled his diaper with a pretty noisy explosion, but he didn’t even budge and kept his sleepy little eyes closed. And then slept through the rest of church. And continued sleeping the rest of the afternoon at home. Oh yeah, and all evening too. I probably shouldn’t talk about it or I’m going to jinx something…..but gah, Oliver is such a good little sleeper!
This romper was the perfect little outfit for Oliver’s Blessing Day day……4 weeks ago.
A view from the back.
I’m still trying to believe that Steve and I have 4 kids. 4 KIDS!!! These monkeys double us.
**I realize now, Oliver looks completely uncomfortable in my arms. Well, arm. At least his foot is warm under Connor’s chin. Poor kid, that’s what you get when you’re baby #4. Ha.
A Baby Blessing always fills my heart right up to the tippy top. And reminds me that God has trusted me with a special and unique little child. And that I am responsible for teaching him/her how to live a faithful and fulfilling life, so they can return to live with our Creator. I am grateful for these moments of clarity, when I remember our purpose of living on this earth. (More about what I believe here.)
As I was taking a few pictures of Steve with Oliver, Connor came back outside and just wanted to hang around. So, I told him to join daddy. Oh these boys. All 3 of them make me so happy. (Now our family is an even 3 on 3. Can you imagine the evening games of basketball we’re going to be able to play on our back patio in a few years? Ha.)
I know, that was a bit of picture overload (as well as my heart spilling out a bit)……but I really love the day my babies are blessed. And what it represents. So I think that’s why I have enjoyed making each child their own little outfit to wear. It helps us to remember.
Oh, this little Sailor Romper. I really love how it turned out. Now, I need to make Ollie a navy blue one to wear. Because it’s just too darn cute to only wear once and then store away.
Would you like to make one too?
Okay, first of all, this tutorial will just give you an idea of how to create your own romper. I won’t be able to give you exact dimensions because everyone’s child is different and every romper you’re patterning after, will be a little different as well. But that’s okay……you can still do this! Once you see it all broken down, give it a try. And if you’re unsure if it will work, use some practice fabric first.
Oh, and if you want to see more clothes that I have made by using an existing piece of clothing as a pattern, check out all of my clothing tutorials.
One more thing — the pictures below aren’t the best…..so sorry! I took them late at night, because, well, I only had one evening to do this (before company was coming into town) and I was of course up late trying to get it done. My camera was acting funny, my extra flash wasn’t being very nice, and then my camera battery died all together. And then my trusty backup battery? Yeah, it was dead too. So half of these are taken with my cell phone. Ack…….all of that to explain that these pictures are rotten. But, you’ll get the idea.
First of all, grab a romper that you’d like to pattern the shape after. If you don’t have a romper, grab a button-up shirt that fits your subject. Or at least a shirt of some sort that isn’t stretchy and fits your subject well but not too tight. Don’t use a onesie or a stretchy or clingy type shirt……because you’re not using fabric that’s stretchy for your romper.
Now, lay your romper down on top of some paper and trace around one half of the romper. (Since clothing is symmetrical, you’ll want to trace around half and then place that on some fabric folded in half and then once it’s cut, open it up to reveal a whole piece…….this will ensure that the right and left sides are symmetrical.) Flatten the existing romper out as best you can and try to be as accurate with the shape as you can. You don’t need to include the collar or sleeves. Just the main bodice. (And trace around the back side of the romper with the higher neckline. You can adjust the neckline for the front piece later on.) Mark the exact middle of the romper on the paper at the top and bottom.
Now, add an additional line around your current line, for a seam allowance. (I added an extra 1/2 inch for my seam allowances.) However, you don’t need to add an extra seam allowance along the center of the romper……only along the neckline, sleeve opening, and down the side.
At the very bottom where the leg is, you’ll want to add 1 inch for the seam allowance. This is to allow for a little extra fabric to turn under for the leg hem.
Now, fold your paper pattern in half vertically, making sure it’s a straight line from those two marks you made in the first step (the red arrows above). This will be your bodice pattern piece. Cut it out.
Now, lay your sleeve out the same way you did with the bodice of the romper and trace right around the sleeve. Be sure that it’s laying nice and flat.
Now it’s time to add a line for a seam allowance to your sleeve pattern piece. Add an extra 1/2 inch around the curved edge that attaches to the bodice and the bottom edges as well. The outer edge of the sleeve needs an extra 1 inch added for a hem. But the top of the sleeve won’t need any seam allowance because you’ll be laying that on the fold of your fabric. Cut it out.
Grab your fabric and fold over a section along the grain. Place your bodice pattern piece on top, matching up the long straight edge of your pattern piece along the fold of the fabric. This will be your back bodice piece.
Cut out another piece the same way but then cut down the neck line a bit more. This is because the neckline of a shirt is always lower in the front.). Use your original romper as a reference of how low to go. However, if it’s a really high neckline, you’ll want it cut down a little lower because the neckline of a sailor style top isn’t super high in the front. Use your subject as a reference. (But remember to leave enough for a seam allowance along the neckline.)
Cut your 2 sleeves out the same way, matching up the “fold” edge of the pattern piece with the fold of your fabric.
You should now have a front and back piece and 2 sleeves cut out. However, if you’re using thinner fabric that is slightly see-through, you may want to add another layer of fabric. Just cut another front and back bodice piece, the same as the first ones you just cut. (You don’t need to double layer the sleeves.) Then sew the two front pieces together all the way around the edges, using a basting stitch (a very long stitch length). Then do the same with the 2 back pieces. This will just help keep them together as one piece, while sewing your romper.
Now, grab your front bodice piece and add a button placket right down the center top of the bodice. (Check out the Partial Button Placket tutorial that I created here.)
Okay, now it’s time to create the collar. First, lay down a piece of paper and draw around the neck line and shoulder lines of the back bodice piece. From there, draw lines down from the shoulder and create a rectangle shape. The size of this back collar piece can vary……but I decided to have it slightly more narrow then where the sleeves would attach on the bodice piece. And as far as length, I dropped it a couple inches lower than the sleeves. Just be sure that you include enough for a seam allowance around all sides. (The neckline and shoulders will already have the seam allowance because you traced around your bodice pieces that already have the seam allowance included.)
Then, I did the same thing with the front collar piece and matched up the scoop of the neckline and the shoulder line. From there, I created a curved bottom edge to the collar, similar to a Peter Pan Collar. Be sure to add a seam allowance to the bottom curve and be sure that you extend the collar piece out to the left enough (if your pattern piece is laying just like mine) for a seam allowance. Because once you sew the collar together, you want it to extend all the way to meet with the opening of your button placket you attached. (Read ahead a bit if that doesn’t make sense.)
You should now have a back collar pattern piece and a front collar pattern piece.
Cut out 2 front collar pieces and one back piece. Place them together with right sides together and sew them together only along the shoulders.
Then, cut out another back collar piece and 2 more front collar pieces and repeat.
Place the two collar pieces together, with right sides together, making sure that the front collar pieces are flapped open. Sew the two collar pieces together along the outer edges, leaving the neck lines un-sewn.
Trim around the edges you just sewed, notching the curves and clipping the excess from the corners. (More about clipping curves and corners here.)
Turn the collar right side out, poke out the corners, and iron flat.
Now, grab your bodice pieces and place them together with right sides together. Sew them together along the shoulders. (And now check to be sure that the neckline of the collar matches up with the neckline of the bodice pieces before finishing the collar. The points at the front of the collar should extend beyond the placket on each side of the bodice front, so that they’ll match up perfectly after sewn with your given seam allowance.)
Set the bodice piece aside.
And now grab your collar again and place it in front of you with the “right” side facing up. Grab your bias tape and place it about a 1/4-1/2 inch away from the outer edge of the collar.
Sew down the bias tape to the sides of the collar first and then sew a straight line of bias tape along the straight bottom edge of the collar.
Overlap the straight edge over the two side edges at the corners of the collar. (The ends of the bias tape along the back of the collar can be tucked under and sewn down. But you don’t want to do that to the ends at the front of the collar because they will be finished off when you attach the collar to the romper.)
Now, open up your bodice and lay it down in front of you with the “right” side facing up. Then, place your collar on top with the “right” side face down. Match up the neck line and pin in place.
Sew around the neckline, using your given seam allowance.
Clip around the curves of the neckline. (More about clipping curves and corners here.)
Now, trim off some of the excess fabric and zig-zag the raw edges.
Fold the collar down and iron around the neckline so that it lays flat.
***Next time, I would actually attach the collar a little differently. I just got so carried away putting the collar together, that I didn’t quite envision the end. But next time, I wouldn’t sew the two layers of the collar together. Instead, I would attach the front half of the collar to the bodice by sewing all the way around the neckline, just like shown above. Then, I would sew the two collar pieces together (with right sides together) around all the outer edges, leaving the neckline open. The, I would turn the collar right side out and then tuck the opening of the collar under and hand stitch in place. This method would just enclose the raw edges under the collar, so you would never see any of the zig-zagged edges…….make sense? If not, just make it the way I did above. The little tie around the neck hides everything really well. (But the perfectionist in me wants to enclose it for next time.)
Now, grab each of your sleeves and open them up flat. Hem each sleeve by folding each straight edge under 1/2 inch, then another 1/2 inch and then sew in place. Iron flat.
Open up your bodice and attach each of your sleeves, just like this Quick Toddler Dress tutorial.
Fold the bodice together with (right sides together), pin in place, and then sew together along the sleeves and sides of the romper, also just like the Quick Toddler Dress tutorial. Then, turn right side out and iron all seams flat.
Now, time for the legs.
You’ll need to first add your snaps (and reinforced fabric pieces) to the crotch of the romper, just like this Baby Bubble Romper tutorial I made for Chloe a couple of years ago. However, instead of hemming the legs up first, I added the fabric for the snaps first. But if you hem the legs up first (by zig-zagging the raw edges and then folding up 1 inch and sewing in place) and then add the snaps like the bubble romper tutorial, it will work great. The picture below just looks slightly different, but both ways work.
Make sure you iron your leg hems nice and flat. And then secure your snaps. Ahhhhh…..nice and clean and pretty! (Need help attaching snaps?)
Then attach snaps to your front placket as well.
Okay, now it’s time for the tie that goes around the neck. Determine how long of a tie you need and how wide you want your tie to be.
For the width, multiply the desired width by 2 and then add 1 inch (for a 1/2 inch seam allowance for both edges). For the length, add 1 inch to your desired length (for a 1/2 inch seam allowance at both ends). For example, I wanted my tie to be 1 inch wide and 28 inches long……so I cut a piece of fabric that was 3 x 29 inches.
Now, sorry about this…..but I don’t have pictures showing how to sew the tie together. But I’ll explain.
Fold your strip of fabric in half lengthwise (with right sides together) and sew together using a 1/2 seam allowance, leaving a gap about the middle that’s 2 inches or so wide. Now, sew each end closed but at a diagonal. Trim off the extra fabric at each end and then turn the tube right side out through the 2 inch gap you left. Poke the corners out at each end and iron the whole tube flat, tucking the raw edges of the opening towards the inside of the tube. Sew the 2 inch opening closed, nice and close to the edge.
And that’s it. Now slide the tie around the neck and tie in front.
Cute as can be, right?