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Forum > Creative Sewing > How many clothes to sew for a baby? ( Moderated by Lynnelle)

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How many clothes to sew for a baby?
minggiddylooloo
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minggiddylooloo  Friend of PR
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Date: 6/17/09 10:22 PM

I'd like to dress any future babies I have in all handmade clothes. DH and I agree kids are still a few more years down the line, so I've got plenty of time to start sewing/planning.

Moms, can you share advice/thoughts on how much I need to prepare? I'm interested in using cloth diapers too.

If there are things that just aren't worth sewing myself, please let me know too! Thanks!

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Date: 6/17/09 10:37 PM

Well, since you have lots of time, you might feel differently, but I didn't sew much at all for my dd until she was about 2. Before that, she changed sizes so very quickly that I didn't want to see my hard work getting packed up so fast. My favorite things for her to wear were the little knit sleep-n-play outfits (one pieces w/w/o feet). She wore those until I could no longer buy them big enough. If it were me, I'd say 10-12 in each size of those. You'll need a mess of onesies too. Maybe 10 in the sizes from 0-12 month, then 5 in 12-18 month? Something like that. A couple of fancy outfits in each size for outings/church/photos. (My dd wore her prettiest sleep-n-plays to church often.) Bibs were important to me. DD had one on anytime she wasn't napping. Saved tons of laundry. Make those matching your outfits and you'll be golden. Burp clothes will be important too but I found prefolded cloth diapers to be brilliant for that and BOY did we use those. (I nursed and had over-supply issues.)
Hope that helps a little bit!

JenSews2
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Date: 6/18/09 2:32 AM

Babies do grow VERY VERY quickly and it sometimes depends on how big they start! My first was born 10lb 6oz and started in size 3-6 month clothes and grew quickly from there. We used to joke that they were 3-6,9-12, 12-18 WEEK clothes. I never saved anything under size 6 months for the other 4 kids, save a few nightgowns and onsies.

Honestly, if you have a washer/dryer at home, you probably need less than you think because you'll be doing laundry everyday and when the babies mess on the clothes, you don't want the stains sitting on them. If you have to run to the laundromat to do clothes, you probably want more.

If you have family and friends, you'd likely get a lot of small outfits for a newborn/small baby and may not need anything. But do make something special like a going out outfit in each size. The babies may only wear it once or twice when they are born.

Also, it may be worthwhile to make some test outfits and give them to friends who would give you an honest opinion of whether it was useful or not. We bought many clothes for our oldest that were impractical, yet "pretty", that we didn't end up keeping or wore infrequently just because they were hard to get on the kid, or itchy, or floofy (is that a word?) in their face and it bothered them (especially lace on little girls dresses!). But we didn't learn that until AFTER the first kid. We went for comfort and ease of diaper changes after that. You'd never believe how many outfits look so pretty, but take forever to get on and off a wiggly screaming baby to change the diaper. Ugghh. Keep it simple, keep it comfy. Onsies and one piece outfits mean you can't lose a part of the outfit or mismatch it when you aren't so awake getting the kid ready after a sleepless night.

Also, aside from a smaller baby, whose clothes are mostly unfitted, you don't know what size kids you'll have! After the newborn stage, my kids were tall and thin. My nephew is short and solid. So not many of the pants we had to pass on would fit him. I had to make shirts longer to cover my own kids bellies.

You can decide what the babies wear, but the toddlers...good luck. They like what they like and that's it! Don't mess with a 2yr old, you'll lose. Each of my kids was comfortable in different style clothes. There were a few standby favorites, like elastic waist pants (easy diaper changes and potty training) and knit shirts, but each kid liked different colors, etc. Lucky me, I have 4 boys and if one kid doesn't like it, I just put it back in the box for the next kid who might love it. You may want to wait on sewing anything bigger than baby until you see what works for your child, both size and opinion-wise.

Oh, I hope this doesn't turn you off from sewing. Every baby needs several t-shirts, onsies, and nightgowns for easy night changings, as well as oodles of blankets and burp cloths. However, those are inexpensive to buy, but so much better handmade in your own choice of soft fabrics. Except blankets. Who decided that receiving blankets should be rectangle? The most useful ones are square (36" for a newborn up to 45" square for a toddler) and made from cotton interlock so you can swaddle the baby with a little stretch in it or soft flannel for the larger ones.

You can count on the baby growing so fast that whatever you make may not last long. But the joy of wrapping your baby in clothes lovingly stitched by your own hands is precious.

Aside from layette gowns, tshirts, onsies, blankets, burp cloths, a few sleepers, and maybe a dress outfit or too (special going out clothes), you may have to wait until you are pregnant so you get a due date and will know whether you need summer or winter clothes.

-- Edited on 6/18/09 10:32 AM --

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jilly cooper
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In reply to minggiddylooloo


Date: 6/18/09 2:49 AM

Good on you for thinking ahead. I think there is a wealth of good tips already. I will just add my 2cents worth lol.

I found that nighties (whether you have a boy or girl) are so pratical for newborns. They are the easiest to slip on, can cover up their legs, you can adjust them at the bottom to be enclosed, you can make them short for hot weather etc.

I found that by making your own baby clothes you can make things with very soft fabrics, quality flannel or cotton voile or batiste, you can omit harsh fastenings or rigged buttons that you might find on RTW. Most of the RTW gear I received was not the softest and had big itchy tags, so I wish I had made more clothes for my babies.

Years ago I had an heirloom pattern that I adjusted to have snaps along the shoulders so you could easily slip over their head without any bother.

As they grew into bigger babies I found that homemade knit tops with generous necks were fantastic.

One thing I noticed is that in winter I needed 4-5 of each item, ie: singlets, nighties etc. This was the minimum to make sure that baby always had a clean set of clothes. In summer you can wash everyday and I think you need half the amount of clothing IMO.

Most of all, I think when you make your own clothes you get exactly what you need for your children. I organised a baby shower and we had gift certificates for the mum/aunt/nanna to buy organic fabrics or soft cottons etc so that the baby could have lovely garments that were so comfortable.

I used cloth nappies but the modern cloth ones are easy to make and all the rage.

Good luck with your planning and I bet by the time you have your cherub they will be blessed with a gorgeous wardrobe and mum will be admiring her handiwork.

solosmocker
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Date: 6/18/09 9:22 AM

A different opinion from a sewing Grandma who sewed for her own children as well. Babies love and are comfortable in those knit sleepers with the feet. That and onesies can make the core wardrobe. Depending on your climate, you may use two at night with the outer one being larger and of a heavier fleece. No loose blankets allowed in cribs around here! In my opinion these outfits are labor intensive to sew and inexpensive enough to buy. You have read about the sizing issues already. You will find the babies need two changes each day practically so that's 14 setups right there. Then they will probably need more for at night. You can see where I am going. Babies also need lots of recieving blankets and snugglies. These are a cinch to whip out and well worth the trouble. You can get a snuggly pattern from Sew Baby Sew, if I remember right. We actually called them swaddlers. They are hooded squares with strategically placed soft velcro that swaddle the babies beautifully for a cozy sleep. I also think baby needs some "church clothes". By that I mean at least one little prescious outfit that is tailored and embellished appropriately for visiting family and "holding court" or going to church. These are the outfits people oo and ah over. They do not have to be intense heirloom designs but if you are leaning that way, I think it is worth. These are the Mommy Mades that you keep in a box for the next generation to see, wear, and remember. My opinion is based on the birth recently of twins to our daughter.

You will find time is of the essence with a new baby. Priorities get totally rearranged as you will see. I admire your commitment to making "handmade clothes" for your newborn but don't feel bad if that goal is unattainable. You will still be a great Mom. I am a realistic grandma who is offering her opinion. So bottom line here is my recommendation:

Daily knit sleepers and t-shirts - BUY

Going out clothing - Make

Blankets and snugglies - Make

Shopping cart cover - Make

Cute Hats - Make.

I wish you a healthy baby and a healthy uneventful delivery. Please keep us informed. Best wishes,

Bunny

-- Edited on 6/18/09 9:35 AM --

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EleanorSews
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In reply to minggiddylooloo


Date: 6/18/09 9:38 AM

Planning ahead is a good thing. However, there are a couple things that will influence what your baby will need that you can't plan as well for. First there is the baby's size at birth. You could look at the what the birth statistics for babies on both sides of the families is and see if there is a pattern of sorts. I think back to one of DH's colleagues whose families are from Hong Kong. Both individual were of smaller stature and she was quite petite. All 3 babies were over 10 pounds which essentially by-passes the infancy stage and puts you into at 9 month old clothing. Turns out this was common in both of their families ~ lots of c-sections happening there.

The other consideration is when during the year the baby will be born and what the climate will be like. My late March baby wore onesies with full arm covering and the legs enclosed her feet much of the time during her 1st couple months, but then summer hit and the onesies were too warm for her so we moved into other items.

I guess I would suggest that you can plan for things like bedding, making diapers, bibs, and burp clothes which are nice to have and useful for many purposes, but I'd wait on clothing until you have an idea of when the baby will arrive.

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SewSara
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Date: 6/18/09 10:27 AM

I agree that clothing can be difficult to plan ahead for. The season the baby is born in and the birth weight make all the difference. My sister's babies all weighed 10+ pounds at birth, so I thought mine would too, but he was born a month early (7 pounds). Even when making older infants clothing, keep in mind that growth spurts happen. We have some clothing that my son only fit into for 2 weeks!

I bought Amy Butler's Little Stitches shortly after my son was born, I opened it and shut it soon after because I didn't have the time for the projects. These types of projects would be perfect to make now though (I just made the Snuggie Blanket & can't wait to use it).

This is a site that has some very cool free patterns that would be great to make now: Jan Andrea at home on the web (baby carriers, sleep sacks, nursing pillows & lots more)

I'm currently expecting my second and I've decided I won't be sewing much of their clothes until my kids are older (& their growth rate slows down). I've been making them things that you can't buy in stores - quilts, cute stuffed animals, 36 inch square receiving blankets! (you need lots of these - the size you get in stores are useless), appliqued personalized onesies, etc.

I don't want to discourage you, but without knowing which season the baby will be born, pre-making clothing is really tough. My sister has two boys and sent me all her baby clothing. We only used about 8 things because our children were born at different times of the year.

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Date: 6/18/09 11:03 AM

I echo the advice on having lots of receiving blankets. Make at least one of them out of cotton batiste or even voile--sometimes the baby will need a very light covering, or need to be protected from the sun or bugs. Also make at least one or two double sided, a smooth cotton on one side and flannel on the other--these I made larger, 45" square, and often tossed on the floor or lawn to provide a clean spot for the baby to play or sleep.

I made a couple of the sleepers, a bodice with a pouch for the legs and drawstrings in the bottom; easy to change diapers, if it was cold I'd pull the bottom tight to keep body heat in, if it was warm I'd leave it open to provide airflow.

Buy socks. Buy the soft knit baby helmets from Hanna Andersson. They are comfortable, stay on, and protect the little one's ears. My children wore these EVERY time they were outdoors until they were 12 months old to keep the breeze out of their ears, and inside too if it was at all chilly. Neither one had ear infections until they were toddlers. These baby helmets are my standard baby gift, now, and I've heard back from many new parents that it's the only hat they can keep on their baby.

Good for you, for thinking ahead!

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2007 fabric in: 7 1/2 yards; sewn: 7 yds
2008 fabric in, 23 yards; sewn 20 yds; given away 6 yds
2009 fabric in 41 1/4 yds, sewn 29 yds, given away 22 1/2 yds
2010 fabric in 91 1/2 yds, sewn 27 yds, given away 1 1/2 yds;
2011 fabric in: 55 yd.; sewn: 21 yd; given away: 20 yd
2012 fabric in: 60 1/4 yd., sewn 25 1/4 yds, given away 16 yds, thrown away 3 yds scraps; UFOs completed: 7
2013 fabric in: 28 yds; sewn 25.7 yds.; given away 5 1/2 yd.s; projects 8, UFOs 4

2014 fabric in: 40.5 yd
2014 fabric sewn: 13 1/2 yd
2014 fabric given away: 8 1/2 yd
2014 projects completed: striped maxi skirt, bl/wh maxi dress, brown/turquoise sweater-knit tunic
2014 projects started: turquoise tank dress, tank dress,
2014 UFOs completed: 8 (5 small gift bags, pieced & quilted table runner, blue/wh maxi dress, silk infinity scarf)

minggiddylooloo
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Date: 6/18/09 11:08 AM

Thank you every body for all of your input! I will definitely keep everything that has been mentioned in the back of my head as I make "preparations". Like I said, I have a long while to go before I think about getting pregnant, but I'm a perpetual planner for everything since I like being in control as much as I can. LOL. This I'm sure will change when kids come into the picture.

I appreciate all of your suggestions, and please keep them coming!

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SI mom of three

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In reply to minggiddylooloo


Date: 6/18/09 9:39 PM

I applaud your efforts to plan for the future! First though I think you should plan for you. Think of what you wear and how it can be changed to accomodate a growing baby in your belly. Perhaps add a few maternity patterns to your stash from a midnight madness sale. You could also snoop shop to see how some lines plan for expanding bellies. Also If you are serious about cloth diapering there are many sites devoted to this and there are quite a few different types of cloth diapers. There are currently even diapers that you can flush down the toilet. You have to rip them up first though (YUCK!)
If you still want to go that route there are things you need to take into consideration. Fabric needs to be handled a certain way for cloth diapers. If you pre wash its best to not put in laundry softener. Not the rinse or the sheets. It clogs the fibers making them unabsorbable. If you are going to recycle older garments into diapers you need to strip them first. Some fabrics are more absorbant than others, and the outer shell should be made from PUL. If you are still thinking cloth is the way to go, its a very good idea to research the ones that you think you might like and make between 15 to 20 in each size. Cloth diapers while in the long run will save you more compared to desposibles, can be very expensive. Check out ebay to get an idea. You can also search on cloth diapers.
If you are planning on nursing, there is another out let for you to prepare. If you are going to nurse you will need a nursing pillow, and a cover or two would be handy. You will also need a nursing cover of some sort. Something that will drape over your shoulder covering you and your baby from the public. You will also need a diaper bag. Some people think the bag should reflect the sex of the baby, how ever I say it should be stylish and reflect you. You will be carrying it around for quite a while, you may want two, if you are into purses more. A sturdy fabric that you can wash is a good idea. You will need many many many bibs. Especially once they start eating food. At the very least 3 a day. My friend had a baby that constantly spit up. She must have changed her bib 6 or 7 times a day. Burp cloths are a good idea. If you are planning on being social where other mom/babies are going to be make your burpies as distinguishable as possible. As for clothes, if you are planning lots of kids, (and I strongly suggest you wait until you have the first to make that final decision) then your work won't be wasted, however as much as you love that tiny little baby its hard to watch your hard work pooped on, spit up on, drooled on, and thrown up on. Put your hard work into things that will hang out for more than 6weeks at a time. If you must make outfits, think of the major holidays that you celebrate, and what ever religious holidays that you celebrate. I have 2 girls and a boy and I didn't sew clothes for any one till they were at least 18 months and walking around. Its also a lot more fun to sew for a baby when you know what it is, and to know you will see your hard work worn soon.
Good Luck!
One more thing, you can check out places like babies r us and babycenter and they usually have planning lists for new parents so they know what to buy. No use letting some one else's list go to waste.

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