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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Upcycle adult tank into baby onesie: My little Gondolier

Upcycle adult tank to baby onesie

So this is my second attempt to make a onesie. As you know, the previous attempt was completely hand-sewn, because I didn’t have a runner. Now I have a runner, and things are much less complicated. Plus, this tank-top wasn’t exactly a knit.

But let’s go back to how this project started. My husband and I happened to walk past this beautiful park on the weekend after one of Knox’s swimming lessons, and they just happened to have a 2nd hand market! Talk about luck! After much happy browsing, I came across this tank top, and I just loved how the strips have this somewhat pre-faded look (because they are, well, pre-faded).

Due to the previous experience, I took a larger, looser onesie of Knox’s to use as a pattern. I tried to make a lot more seam allowance this time. Because an adult neckline is much larger, I cut the entire tank in half down the middle, pulled the two sides together, and sewed them up. This left a large flap in the front and the back. I french seamed the back one up and sewed the front seam to one side, adding a shiny shell button for taste.

upcycled onesie

I also cut the sides as well to shrink the large armhole, and sewed that up. Then I cut the leg parts and french seamed the edges. The bottom flaps are velcro, with the prickly part facing out. I tried to position that as high up in the belly as possible, to prevent it from chafing his chubby little legs. Unfortunately, it still rode low – because I didn’t make enough allowance for his little diapered heiny.

And did I mention I hate sewing with velcro? The thread gets caught in the claws, and it’s hard to push the needle in. This time, I decided to cover the velcro part with scotch tape. And use a small needle.

My sew velcro with scotch tape trick!

Ahhhh. So much better.

My little gondolier

And leg warmers! From sleeves of a baby sweater. Yeah, (the sweater) was so ugly I didn’t want to re-gift it. So I made them into leg warmers.

baby legs!

Our little boy sitting at 3.5 months old! Sorta.

Our little Knoxter fit fine the first time and second time. A week or two later, when I’d finished the laundry and wanted him to wear it again, it had become too small for him! That boy sure does grow! He wasn’t too happy when I tried stuffing him in. Alas, it now goes into the pile of ‘for future baby’ clothes.

Little Woodland Onesie : My first handmade onesie

Since most of the selection of onesies I’ve seen in Taiwan have seemed a little bland to me, I decided to make my own!

There were difficulties initially with the sewing machine and with knit. I read up on everything I could online about sewing with knit (t-shirt fabric). Basically there were three things you should do:

  • Get ball point needle for the machine
  • Sew with zigzag stitch setting
  • (and, if all else fails) try stretchy thread

Alas, all failed, and the knit would get spectacularly tangled in the machine, even when I tried sewing with a piece of paper underneath. (The paper was utterly destroyed, but threads only got slightly less tangled).

It was then that I discovered what the problem was –

I didn’t have a runner.

No wonder the sewing needle was looking weirdly naked.

So the first onesie was basically sewn by hand. I found this lovely reddish woodsy colored scrap knit fabric at the 永樂市場 in Dihua. It makes perfect sense to buy scrap for baby clothes since they’re small humans and don’t need much fabric. I decided to use an old black t-shirt as material for the sleeves, to add a little flair. For the pattern, I traced around a onesie of Knox’s, and guesstimated how much seam I would need.

Since I don’t have a serger, and have a mortal fear of sewing close to the edges with a zigzag stitch, I closed the edges using the french seam.

I also have a fear of sewing snaps, because one tends to be very violent pulling them open the baby’s fussy to check for a soiled diaper, so handsewn ones would likely tear the cloth. So I used velcro. Then I used fabric paint and cardboard to stencil some pretty designs.

This is the end product:

Little Woodland onesie

Branding for Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition. Did this first. This is when I understood why people don’t draw t-shirts freehand. Oh.

Always Be Branding (ABB)


Little Woodland Onesie

Check out those protruding French Seams!

Anyway his first wear of them turned out too small. I guess for French Seams you have to make much more seam allowance.  Plus the onesie I’d used for the pattern was, itself, a little on the small side for him too. It turned out that he only got to wear this onesie twice, and the second time I had to stuff him in it.

Ah, little boys, they grow so fast!