How to Draft Your Own Baby or Toddler Tee Pattern (From Existing Clothes)

Here at Stitches & Sunflowers I’m all about sewing to save money. One way to do this is to make your own patterns. This tutorial will teach you how to make a tee shirt pattern for your baby or toddler. This pattern is super simple to make, so it’s a good way to start making your own patterns. Making a tee shirt pattern is very forgiving since the fabric is stretchy and the fit doesn’t have to be exact (especially for a small kid).I think you’ll find that the precision and ease it gives you when sewing multiple (or even just one!) tee shirts makes the extra step of tracing a pattern onto paper well worth it.

You’ll Need:

  • Paper. I use medical exam table paper or the extra end of a newspaper roll (which you can buy from the local newspaper). You could make do with anything.
  • A tee shirt in the size you want to make
  • A pencil and a ruler (a clear ruler is really helpful for ALL sewing projects, but especially pattern making)

First you’re going to “trace” the sleeve.
  • Lay your tee shirt out on top of a piece of paper. Make sure you are using a flat surface underneath.
  • Start at the top of where the shoulder meets the body of the shirt. Trace down the top fold of the sleeve. Do the same thing from the armpit to the hem.

+ Note: In this picture I am using a onesie, but I found that an actual tee shirt makes a more accurate pattern which is why a tee shirt is shown in the supplies above.

  • Then you’ll use a straight line to make the hem by connecting the two “corners.”
  • Connect the corners at the top of the sleeve using a curve like you normally see on sleeve patterns. You can also use my photo as a reference.

  • Fold your pattern in half perpendicular to your hem line and cut out your arm pattern on the fold (like you are cutting out a heart). This makes a sleeve pattern you don’t have to cut on a fold. Be careful to not make your sleeve too big at this point. If you’re worried about the fit, just leave the sleeve pattern the way it is and cut out the sleeves on a fold.

Next, make the body piece of the tee shirt pattern.

You do this basically the same way you made the sleeve, there are just a few more lines to trace.

  • I start by tracing the shoulder seams, the side seams, and the hem.
  • Then use your ruler to straighten out the hem and the shoulder seams
  • Connect the armpit edge and the shoulder edge with a curved line on each side, as shown.
  • Connect the neck hole edges with a curved line to make the neck hole.

If you want your front and back pieces to be identical, you can cut two from this piece. Alternatively, you can trace your front piece and change the neckline to make your back piece.

Making the Neckband:

You can make a pattern piece for your neckband if you’d like. I just like to measure and cut a strip of fabric when I’m cutting out my fabric. You find out how long to make your neckband by measuring around the neck hole with your measuring tape. Add about a half inch for seam allowance (or larger, if you prefer). I usually make neckbands for little ones between 1 and 1 1/2 inches wide.

Draft Your Own Baby or Toddler Tee Shirt Pattern / stitchesandsunflowers.com

Now, add your seam allowance.

I like to use 3/8 inch seam allowance on baby tee shirts. You can use whatever you prefer.

  • Measure and mark 3/8 inch away from your pattern line all around each curve.
  • Carefully connect the marks, making a new curved line.
  • Mark the straight lines 3/8 away from your pattern edge as well.

Your pattern is finished!

If you used any paper other than tissue paper or medical exam paper you should cut out your pattern with paper scissors before you pin it to your fabric.

Don’t let pattern-making scare you away! Try this forgiving tee shirt pattern and make some tee shirts for your baby (or any kid, really). I have a tutorial for how to sew up this tee shirt here, along with a free pattern in 12 month size. If you want to add a pocket to your tee shirt there is a tutorial here with a free pattern for older babies/toddlers.

If you are looking for a more precise way to copy patterns, I am intrigued by this technique that uses pins or this technique that uses tape.

Love, Jess

DIY Baby Pocket Tee + Free Pattern

One of my first posts on this blog was my DIY baby tee made from an upcycled adult tee shirt. It’s still one of my favorites! It seems I always have an old tee shirt or scraps of knit tee shirt fabric laying around to experiment with, but it’s not always cute baby fabric (in fact, it never is!). I added a pocket to a plain baby tee and I love the result! A super cute, free, diy baby pocket tee!

Materials:

The Tutorial:

Use my DIY baby tee tutorial to learn how to sew a baby tee shirt. I added the pocket after I’d finished sewing up the tee shirt.  If you want to add a pocket to an existing tee shirt, you can do that as well.

pocket tee 1

Step one:

Cut out the pocket piece.

Step two:

Fold back the top edge of the pocket piece 1/2″ and sew the sides of that fold as shown.

pocket tee 2

pocket tee 4

Step three:

Flip the pocket right side out and top stitch across the edge of the top fold.

pocket tee 5 pocket tee 6

Step four:

Press in all the sides of the pocket 1/4″.

pocket tee 8

Step five:

Pin the pocket to the shirt and topstitch around the edges, leaving the top edge free if you want the pocket to be “functional.” Make little triangles around each corner to fortify them. I try to make sure I use the same angles and amount of stitches for the triangles on both sides so that my pocket is symmetrical.

pocket tee 9

pocket tee 10

 

Step six:

Now you can admire your beautiful work! This is such a simple way to add some interest to your homemade baby clothes.

pocket tee 12

I love the way the shirt turned out, and how it looks on L, although he stained it the first time he wore it! 🙂 Oh well… That’s what stain remover is for!

DIY Baby Pocket Tee Tutorial + Free Pattern stitchesandsunflowers.com

If you use any of my tutorials to sew something, I’d love to see it!! You can post it to my facebook page or on Instagram and tag me @stitchesandsunflowers.

Love, Jess

Added to these link parties: Project Inspired, Create Link Inspire,

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Baby Moccasins

If you’re a mom (or even if you aren’t) I know you MUST have seen the adorable baby moccasin shoes that are trending now. Apparently made popular by one of the Kardashians? What? Oh well. They are really cute. AND we have a pair of baby moccasins passed down from L’s grandpa, so obviously moccasins aren’t a new development in baby fashion. I don’t think they are going away anytime soon, either. Which is why I’m providing a tutorial and free pattern for DIY baby moccasins today.

Leather moccasins are great for babies because they are so comfy, leaving lots of room for baby’s feet to grip the ground and grow properly. However, I guess the designer ones cost around sixty bucks! To me, that’s crazy for a baby who’s feet will grow before they wear out. You can get knock off ones too, but I think they still cost around $20. I won’t pay that much if I can DIY it for under $2!!

That’s right, and with this tutorial you too can make these cute little baby shoes on the cheap. These DIY baby moccasins are for size 3-4.

What You’ll Need:

DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Leather (I used a garage sale leather jacket I bought for $2)

Scrap of cushy fabric (I used a thick felted wool sweater)

Thick needle

Strong thread

An awl or leather stitch maker (optional, but very helpful)

Free Baby Moccasin Pattern

The Tutorial:

This is a hand sewing tutorial. True leatherworking requires some more complicated techniques and materials than I have or have learned yet, but I hope eventually to get into it! This tutorial is for moms like me who may not have a leather working kit, but want to try their hand at it anyway. You may want to try sewing this pattern using a sewing machine if you’re familiar with sewing with leather. That’s fine, but it can be difficult and you will need a special needle.

Step one: Cut out your pattern pieces.

Cut two pieces of leather for each pattern piece. Cut two more of the cushy fabric to pad the sole.

Step two: Make stitch holes.

Poke holes 1/4 inch apart where marked on the pattern. This is optional if you have thin leather and a very strong and sharp needle, but it makes the hand sewing process MUCH easier. So I recommend it!

DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step three: Sew toe piece.

Hold the cushy sole piece on top of the leather sole piece. It is nice to put the leather sole slick side in, so there is more traction on the bottom. Match the center of the toe piece to the center toe of the sole. Hold it in place using a little clamp, paper clip, or very carefully with a pin. Using the holes you made previously, stitch with a backstitch around the toe.

DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.comSewing a backstitch:

1. DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com 2. DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com

3. DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com 4. DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step four: Sew the heel piece.

Do the same thing with the heel piece, overlapping the edges on top of the edges of the toe piece.

DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step five: Sew the casing.

Stitch the line 1/2 inch under the fold at the back of the shoe.

DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step six: Cut the fringe.

Cut 1/4″ strips up to the casing stitching line to make the fringe.

DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step seven: Thread the lace.

I cut about a foot of leather lace, to tie in a knot without a bow. If you want to be able to tie a bow, just make it longer. Use a safety pin or a giant yarn needle to thread the leather lace through the casing.

DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.comStep eight: Waterproof (optional)

I used some waterproofing oil my husband had on hand to waterproof and strengthen the leather. You can use whatever waterproofing medium you choose, or skip it. I rub in the oil with a paper towel and rub off the excess, then let them sit for a day to soak in before  using them. It does darken the leather a bit.

DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com DIY Baby Moccasins: No sewing machine or fancy tools required! Free Pattern and Tutorial | stitchesandsunflowers.com

And now, they’re finished! I love how they turned out. These little moccasins are comfortable, durable and versatile; the perfect shoe for little ones!

When your baby wears them, triple knot the lace to make sure they don’t fall off. I’d love to see pictures of your finished product! Post them to the Stitches and Sunflowers facebook page or hashtag #stitchesandsunflowers on instagram. 🙂

See all the other great posts at Made by You Monday here.

Love, Jess

 

 

 

Baby Tee from an Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial)

If you have old tee shirts lying around the house and you’d like to make a free baby tee, this post is for you. All you need is a little over an hour of time, thread, and this free pattern.

As I’ve mentioned, we live on an island in Alaska with not many options for shopping. I suppose I could buy Littles a bunch of clothes at Wal-mart, but there isn’t much selection and I don’t like the idea of spending money on not-that-cute and cheaply made clothes when I have perfectly good fabric (read, “tee shirts”) here at home. It just seems wasteful and this mama doesn’t like to waste. BUT I do like to sew. I ended up sewing most of Little’s twelve month “wardrobe” (haha) from recycled adult clothes we already had.

If you feel the same, here is a pattern and tutorial for a twelve month size tee shirt which you can make from cotton stretch fabric or an old grown-up tee. Of course, if you have access to one of those wonderful large thrift stores where they sell baby t-shirts for 50 cents-1 dollar, go ahead and do that instead as well.

Materials:

One adult sized t-shirt

Free twelve month t-shirt pattern

Thread….And that’s about it!

Step one:

Lay the pattern out on top of the adult tee shirt. You can use the existing hem, or cut the shirt out of the middle.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com  Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step two:

Cut out the pattern. If your tee shirt’s design is too wide for the pattern, you have two options. You can either cut off the design or cut your tee shirt piece a little wider. As you can see, I chose to widen the shirt. In this case it’s important to make sure you cut the sleeve pieces a little bit wider as well.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com      Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step three:

Cut the existing ribbing/collar off the adult tee shirt. If you’re worried about making the ribbing too thin to be a collar for the baby tee, you can always unpick the stitches and remove it that way.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step four:

Using a stretch stitch or a serger, sew the shoulder seams and side seams.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

 

+Tip: Instead of using a plain zig-zag stitch as my stretch stitch I like to use the blind hem stitch, which is a stretch stitch with straight stitches and zig-zag stitches. This makes it so that the points of the zig-zag stitch don’t show in your seam from the right side of the shirt. In order to do this, make sure that the points of the stitch are faced toward the seam allowance, or edge of the fabric, and the flat part of the stitch is along the seam.

Baby Tee From Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) |stitchesandsunflowers.com
The points face inward the seam, and will show when the fabric stretches.
Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com
Here, the points face the edge of the fabric, or seam allowance, and the flat stitches line the seam for a neater look

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step five:

Cut the ribbing you separated from the original shirt to a length of 15 inches. You can measure around the neck hole with a measuring tape if you want to double check. Sew the ends right sides together to create a neck band.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step six:

Attach the ribbing. With the shirt right sides out, pin or simple line up the edges right sides together. Sew or serge around the neck hole.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step seven:

Sew the sleeves. Fold them in half with the right side in and sew the sleeve seams.

+Tip: I like to use the original hem of the tee shirt, but if you just sew your seams on top of the hem it can look sloppy and/or unprofessional. To avoid this I simply unpick 3/4 to 1 inch of hem on each side of the seam before sewing. Then, after sewing I can go in and hem that spot, imitating the stitches that were already there. It’s still not perfect, but I like it better.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com                    Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com      Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step eight:

Sew the sleeves to the shirt. With the shirt inside out and the sleeves right side out, pin the sleeve into the armhole with right sides together. Sew around the armhole.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Step nine:

Hem the tee shirt. You can use a stretch stich like I showed earlier, but I tend to not like the zig-zag stitch showing on my hem. If you’re more adventurous than me you could also use a double needle, I just haven’t tried one yet. My solution is….. a blind hem.

+Tip: How to sew a blind hem:

  1. Fold up your desired hem (for this pattern, 3/4 inches). Press

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com    Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

2. Fold the other way (like an accordion) and press with 1/8 to 1/4 inch fabric sticking out.

3. Set your sewing machine to the blind hem stitch. Use the stitch that looks the same as where this arrow is pointing. Don’t forget to also set your stitch width if you need to on your machine.

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com     Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

4. Sew down the hem so that the needle sews straight stitches onto the hanging-off-edge of the fabric and catches the fold of the fabric with the zig-zag stitch. Go slow so you don’t miss spots. The zig-zags are what will hold your hem together.

5. Press the hem back down to it’s regular spot. Here’s what it should look like:

Baby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.comBaby Tee from Adult Tee (Free Pattern and Tutorial) | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Now, you’re done! Enjoy your new shirt. If you have any questions or favorite baby clothes to make, please let me know!

If you’d like to share your finished baby shirt with me, share on Instagram with #stitchesandsunflowers or post it on our facebook page. I’d love to see them!

Love, Jess

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Baby Booties

When L was a few months old my mother-in-law bought him some magical fleece baby booties that STAYED on his feet! Even when he was three months old those twelve month size shoes would stay on his feet, due to the ankle elastic and handy adjustable snaps.

He recently lost one bootie, so I set out on  a quest to make more. My first attempt at copying the baby shoes left a lot wanting. They were baggy and the fit of the pattern wasn’t as snug, allowing them to fall off.

I played with my pattern a little, and came up with a way for you (and me!) to make your own magic stay-on-those-feet baby booties. These booties were made a bit bigger than the store-bought 12 month size so that they would fit L for longer. I’d say they are between a 3 and a 4 shoe size.

Download the pattern here. Make sure you get all three pages.

Materials:

Thick and warm outer fabric (I have used recycled sweater and felted wool. Fleece would also work)

Thinner inner fabric  (tee shirt scraps, thin flannel)

Elastic (two pieces cut 7 1/2 inches long)

Snaps or Velcro

Step One

Cut out your fabric. You will need two pieces of each piece in outer fabric and two of inner fabric.

DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.

Step Two

With right sides together, serge the inner fabric to the outer fabric. Do this with all the pieces except the sole piece.

DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.

Step Three

Sew the elastic onto the heel piece, tacking it down on each end.

DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.     DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.

Step Four

Flip the heel pieces right side out and topstitch over the ends to keep the elastic in place. Topstitch two parallel lines on either side of the elastic to form a casing

DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.    DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.

Step Five

Flip the rest of the pieces right side out and press. Serge the bottom/raw edge off all the pieces and serge around the edge of the heel lining piece. This will make sure there are no raw edges once you sew everything together. *If you have a really fabulous serger that’s can sew through really thick fabric, or if you’re using thin fabric you should skip this step and serge the pieces together in the next step.

Step Six

Pin the center of the heel piece to the heel of the sole outer and inner, with the outer piece sandwiched in the middle. It’s important that you do the heel first! If you are using leather, hand stitch with embroidery thread and a backstitch. If you aren’t using leather, go ahead and use your machine to sew it.

DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.   DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.

Step Seven

Pin the toe piece around the toe and either hand or machine stitch.

DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial.

Step Eight

Flip your baby bootie right side out. Add the snaps or the velcro. If you are making adjustable snaps, put multiple snaps on the bottom strap and one on the top, so only one snap shows when your baby wears the booties.

DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial. | stitchesandsunflowers.comDIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial. | stitchesandsunflowers.com

DIY Baby Snap Booties-- Sew your own 12 month baby shoes that don't fall off. Free pattern and tutorial. | stitchesandsunflowers.com

Note: Make sure that you keep tabs of which side is the right side of the heel piece, otherwise you’ll end up with booties that aren’t a mirror image of each other like me… oops!

Enjoy your beautiful baby shoes that don’t fall off little feet! If you don’t want to DIY here is a link to buy them.

Also, stay tuned for patterns of different sizes!

Love, Jess