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Design Questions: Clothing for newborns
Fruzzle

Fruzzle
Member since 1/26/07
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Date: 6/6/07 3:00 PM

So I'm not a mum, but I have a couple of friends who are about to be, and I'm planning on sewing some things to celebrate the new arrivals.

I'm not really experience in dressing babes, so I thought I'd ask the collective wisdom of PR -- what design elements are user-friendly for new babes and new parents?

I have McCalls 3665 as a starting point, but I'm thinking about whether or not I want to adjust closures or add any other elements to the design.

Is there any good reason that the closures are curved the way they are? With a t-shirt style, is there an advantage to a front closure vs. an over-the-head style? Any other design features that you've come across in infant wear that you've thought, "geez, I wish they put those in everything!" Or anything that's a complete PITA and you wish you'd never owned it?

WilsonZooKeeper

WilsonZooKeeper
Kentucky USA
Member since 12/27/05
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In reply to Fruzzle <<


Date: 6/6/07 4:34 PM

I'd say the closures are curved that way as a design element. I've had several things like that an they are so much more interesting than a straight line. Front closure is always preferable to over-the-head, IHMO. I have dressed many newborns over the past 12 years. Things I absolutely hate are buttons and back closures. Oh, and collars, too, are awful. Newborns have no necks so the collars bunch up and catch spit-up. Soft fabrics and trims are a must. Snaps are always nice. Garments that will open all the way up are easier to put on a floppy baby.

I can't comment on that particular pattern, but I have sworn off McCall patterns for babies, though. The patterns I have used have been way off in sizing, wide enough to fit two of my children in. I love Ottobre Design magazine for baby patterns as they seem to fit much better.

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Julie
Logistics and Operations
The Wilson Zoo
My machines: Pfaff 6120, 130 & 296 sewing machines, Pfaff 4752 Serger, Janome 1000CP Coverstitch

That's not a stash. I'm just waiting for my inmature clothing to grow up.

Jackie M
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Jackie M
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Date: 6/6/07 4:50 PM

I LOVED the three side-snap onesies I was able to find at Goodwill stores. I liked the onesie style, because regular shirts on infants just bunch up around their armpits and are so uncomfortable for them to wear. And the side-snap closures are so much more user and baby friendly than over-the-head designs. I'm so glad you posted this question -- I wasn't aware that any pattern company made side-snap onesie style infant clothing.

Oh, and keep it soft cotton -- knit preferably. A good interlock is great for most baby clothing ...

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Jackie Mysak
Doula Web site: www.yourbirthpartner.com

TanyaMT
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TanyaMT
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In reply to Fruzzle <<


Date: 6/6/07 5:33 PM

I liked both over the head and snap garments. For over the head though, only the envelope style neckline was really easy with a newborn. We LOVED having the long gowns with elastic at the bottom for our newborns, so easy for quick changes in the night.

Of note on that McCalls pattern by the way is that we found it to be HUGE, i.e., the "newborn" sizing fit our kids at 3-6 months or larger. Our babies weren't tiny either, having been born at 8 lb and 9 lb 8 oz respectively ... so that pattern just runs really really large. The bootie pattern in there we did like though.

Tanya

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My sewing blog: weebeaks.blogspot.com

JuliaS
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JuliaS
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Date: 6/7/07 8:40 AM

If you are going with over-the-head, definitely use a lapped shoulder/envelope style neckline. Front openings (zippers are great, snaps are less good, and buttons are heinous) are very nice. The other thing that is nice for a newborn is a kimono-style opening. When my baby was a tiny newborn, I never dressed her in multiple-piece outfits (top, pants, etc.). It was so much easier to put an all-in-one outfit on her, something like this. She really didn't start wearing put-together outfits until she could sit up.

JuliaS
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JuliaS
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Date: 6/7/07 8:41 AM

Oh, and think about diaper access. A one-piece outfit that you have to totally remove to get to the diaper is really annoying.

EveS
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EveS
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Date: 6/7/07 9:00 AM

I used nothing but side snap onesies when my pea was little...so much easier. Definitely have to vote for front closure snaps please and easy access undercarriage. I just got some fabric from SewZanne's, and I really like it. She has some adorable prints and the fabric is nice and soft, esp. after a wash or two! (nayy)

Eve

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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it - Chinese proverb

slanden99
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Date: 6/7/07 9:08 AM

Kwiksew patterns are more accurate with sizing, but I think they still run big for babies (from what I hear). Ottobre magazine patterns are great.
McCalls, Butterick, Vogue, and Simplicity baby patterns (and kid patterns) run really wide. Don't invest your time into something that won't fit a real baby.

Back closures are really annoying--especially back buttons until they can sit up on their own. The easier the diaper change the better. I liked to dress my babies in onesies with pull-on pants. Crotch snaps were okay, but it takes so long to get them closed (feels longer when the baby is squirmy). Three-5 snaps (like on onsies and shorts) worked well, but any more got me impatient.
Front zippers are great. Any front opening needs to go the full length of the outfit (down one leg).

Speech girl
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In reply to Fruzzle <<


Date: 6/7/07 10:04 AM

Quote: Fruzzle
With a t-shirt style, is there an advantage to a front closure vs. an over-the-head style?

Some newborns object strongly to anything going over their heads but others don't seem to mind. For over the head, the lapped openings are good--quicker to put on which makes babies happier. I tended to like the one piece outfits better than the two piece, unless it is in the heat of summer--I think the 2 piece outfits might be better at keeping baby cool. I'd try to stay away from ties as they can get wrapped around a baby's neck, finger, etc.

------
Kim
formerly mikkim
http://girlwithatimemachine.wordpress.com/

Fruzzle

Fruzzle
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Posts: 388
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In reply to Fruzzle <<


Date: 6/7/07 11:28 AM

Thank you, thank you! This is all great stuff to know.

I knew about the McCall's sizing problem from reviews of their patterns here; but I was figuring that if the newborn sizes didn't fit newborns, they'd be useful in six months or so (and I've had friends tell me that that's about the point where they run out of the gift clothes they received when the babe was born).

The pattern I have has snap-front closure and snaps on the inside leg for diaper access; sounds like both of these are useful.

I'm intrigued by the notion of the zipper closure, too. If the zipper goes straight down the front and then down one leg, how do you get in to change the diaper? Do you have to take an arm off? (I've never put a zipper into a knit -- would it pucker like crazy?)

Also, I'm soooo glad nobody told me that their favorite infant garment was bias cut with welt pockets. :)

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