I have a weakness for baby bonnets. And baby girls. And squishy, plush fabrics that promise to keep one warm. I'm always cold this time of year, which I blame on our lack of central heating and the fact that the inside temps in our home peak in the low 60's on particularly cold days. With baby to make her debut in cold weather, you can bet I'm brainstorming ways to keep her warm. Enter Purl Bee tutorials and organic cotton sherpa fleece.
Did you catch that? Cotton Fleece. That's a totally natural, breathable fleece fabric that's warm and plush and perfectly delightful. It's made by Michael Miller, and it wants to be baby clothes. (It may also be whispering "quilt back", "washies" and a few other tempting one-liners, but I digress.)
This weekend I started with the Fleece Baby Jumpsuit from Corrine's Thread on The Purl Bee. I expect to use this as a layering piece over a cotton sleeper on cold days or when bundling up for the carseat. The free pattern includes directions to adjust for 0-9 months. Since it will only be cold for 1-2 months after Eleni's born, I used the pattern at its smallest size and actually cut down the template even smaller and overlapped the pieces to shorten things by a good two inches at least. Aria was a small baby (6 lbs, 10 oz), and so far Eleni is a little small for dates.
Right from the start, I love the way this pattern plays with the right and wrong sides of the cotton sherpa. One side is a smooth knit, while the other has a short, fuzzy pile. At the back of the jumpsuit is this a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e round gusset with a contrasting fuzzy bottom. Squeal!
Partway through assembly I realized the jumper was still looking much too big for my newborn. Here is a newborn size sleeper for size comparison. I decided to narrow the legs by about 1", bring up the arm holes and shorten the legs/arms too. The neck to crotch measurement was pretty good, but remember I had already shortened the pattern by overlapping pattern pieces from the get go (see earlier picture).
All-in-all this was an easy sew. The cotton sherpa knit is really, REALLY forgiving. I sewed without changing any settings on my machine - regular cotton thread, regular piecing needle, no walking foot, just normal. My machine does feed pretty evenly. If you had trouble, a walking foot would be a good idea.
And, oh my gosh, aren't the results darling? I finished with interior snaps and ribbon ties for an extra girly flourish. LOVE! Super sweet from the back too.
When I paraded my creation for Brandon, I told him not to worry, I'd be making a matching bonnet too! Wink.
The Purl Bee's Winter Baby Bonnet tutorial uses the same sherpa/fleece cotton paired with delicious Liberty fabric. I didn't have a large enough Liberty cut that would do, so I pulled in a Folk Song fabric by Anna Maria Horner.
These bonnets are actually fully reversible, so we could wear it on the sherpa side if pairing with clothes that aren't red. But, you know I'm going to make more bonnets. It was too quick and cute to resist! I think we need a yellow and a pink, for starters. Maybe blue too.
I am so thankful that this baby is coming after I've had some time to develop my sewing skills. There was a time when I would not have been brave enough to attempt either of these projects due to the curved seams in the rear gusset and bonnet. Curves can be so intimidating! Luckily (and largely thanks to you all cheering me on) I've come a long way in my sewing. If you still find yourself shying away from a good sew for fear of curves, the new year is a perfect time to conquer those fears. Curves Class starts next week! It's not a bit too late to sign up and join in.
Thanks all for your sweet well-wishes and for oohing and ahhing along with all these baby makes. I sure am enjoying myself! But, to be honest, I am eager to get back to more quilts. Soon, soon.