Monday, 12 May 2008

Simplicity 8951 smocked romper

My SIL is expecting a new baby, and I am considering my newborn smocking patterns. This one is a real favourite, especially as the newborn size is tiny, and will fit a baby from about 6 weeks. I know that babies grow unbelievably quickly, but I love the extravagance of some pretty newborn clothes that really fit.
I made half a dozen of this pattern before my younger daughter was born, but gave most of them away when she had finished wearing them. I had been smocking for about 6 months at this point,and can see that I have become more picky with my stitches. This is one I kept for sentimental reasons, made from imperial batiste, pale yellow. My son did not wear it as he is an August baby, and this is winter in Australia. I also did not care for puffed sleeves on my little boy for some reason. I made him several rompers with the straight sleeve. There are a few things I change about this pattern. I always cut the neckline a little wider, and so also cut the collar wider. My Mum has made this pattern without the changes, and found that her collars turn up just like the collar on the photograph.
I know that some smockers avoid pleating over seams. This romper has a centre front seam, which makes it fit much better than the one piece front rompers. I have made this romper in batiste, lawn and quilting weight cotton, and am careful with my pleating. I make a centre french seam in fine fabrics, and a closely trimmed and zigzagged centre seam in the heavier cotton, and have not had any difficulties with the pleats. In a heavier cotton I sometimes make a bar stitch by hand on the inside centre valley to hold the pleat if it is not proving co-operative.
I finish the crotch opening with bias binding before applying firmly sewn buttons. I do not like to use snaps as I have had purchased snaps removed and eaten by an adventurous 9 month old, and have not trusted them since.
The smocking design is inspired by one in my first ever Australian Stitches Magazine, issue number 36, where it appeared as "Babes in the Wood" on a teddy bear romper. Looking at this design again, I see that only the central rows are the same, and that I have used a cross over technique for the top and bottom rows. I find baby rompers an excellent garment for trying new designs.
Here is the back view. This is an easy garment in which to dress a baby.
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Shannon said...

This little romper is so sweet and beautiful. No wonder you've held on to it. Have you decided yet what to make for the new baby? Colors? Fabric? Smocking design? I can't wait to see!

Shannon F

Melinda said...

Lovely! I've kept back quite a few of the smocked clothes I made my daughter for sentimental reasons too. I have the same romper pattern here, but I never made it up!