Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Geekiest Baby: Clothes for the SHB Sew-Along

High on the excitement of having finished SHB's first real costume, I was able to use that momentum to launch into cake sewing. SHB has an abundance of short-sleeved onesies, but it's still cool enough (even in California, the land of 1.5 seasons) that he needs a few long-sleeved shirts for mornings and nights. And because I can't leave well enough alone, even his utilitarian "cake" ended up geeky.

The Blue Sun logo (from Firefly/Serenity), the baby scientist in training, and the biohazard symbol were all done with fabric marker. The first two were freehand, but the biohazard symbol was done with the help of a freezer paper stencil. The Cheat was fleece applique with lots of careful hand-stitching on the spots. All of them have held up very well in the wash!

I had saved a whole bunch of old free t-shirts from college and teaching that I had originally planned on making into a t-shirt quilt, but on second thought (and with some perspective provided by the intervening years), I realized I'm not actually that sentimental about them. If I'm honest with myself, I only really saved them because I felt like they should be more meaningful than they really are. So once I got over that, I realized I had a whole bunch of free stretchy cotton in lots of colors, already pre-shrunk...perfect for making baby shirts! I tried making one with an envelope neckline but didn't like how it fit on SHB (plus he's always scooting out of them), so I went with snaps at the shoulder instead.

And because I can't leave well enough alone (and because mass-producing tiny shirts is so fast and satisfying and mindless), I even made him a Kumamon sweatshirt to celebrate my sister's birthday. She's the biggest (okay, only) Kumamon fan I know.

I love how he has the same expression as Kumamon's here!

Bonus garment: When I was testing the envelope shoulder concept, I used an old tee that had a faux tux screenprinted on it, which made for a very bizarre-looking romper...

I used this pattern, but ran out of fabric so I had to settle for three-quarter length sleeves. 

Pattern: Traced from an existing shirt, modified to make the shoulder button closure.
Fabric: Six old cotton tee shirts, resulting in four long-sleeve shirts, one romper, and a pair of pants, plus scraps leftover.
Notions: Lots of snaps. I am so pro at sewing snaps now. 
Techniques used: Binding knit necklines? Does that even count as a technique? Setting snaps for the romper, which was a whole ordeal in and of itself. In the end, I found this tutorial to be the most helpful since that was the tool I had on hand.
Hours: Once I got going, I was at about an hour per shirt, not counting the drawing/applique-ing. So with cutting and decorating and all, this was a good ten-ish hours over the course of two weeks. 
Total cost: I paid $5 for the snap kit (I already had the pliers) and $3 for the fabric marker, and the rest of the materials were shirts/scraps I've had for so long, they're basically free. 
Final thoughts: I seriously love these little shirts! It's so fun to have him participate in fandoms that I love, even if he's too young to know about them. I find myself reaching for these shirts first before his RTW shirts, and hoping people get the reference. So far people at school have loved the biohazard and baby scientist ones, but The Cheat and Firefly are probably too obscure. 

I think I got a little carried away with the embellishments...especially considering that SHB won't be able to wear these for very long. Oh well, that's my prerogative, right? Besides, it means that I can stage silly pictures!

Best use of tiny lab equipment: posing it with a tiny scientist! 

I briefly thought about trying to get a picture of SHB in his biohazard shirt with a biohazard container at school, but then I came to my senses.

"The Cheat is grounded! We had that lightswitch installed for you so you could turn the lights on and off, not so you could throw lightswitch raves!"
"Six men came to kill me one time. And the best of 'em carried this. It's a Callahan full-bore auto-lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge thorough gauge. It is my very favorite gun."
"This the best gun made by man. It has *extreme* sentimental value...I call it Vera."

So that takes care of Category 1 of the sew-along! Next up, Category 2: Accessories. 


  1. Oh my, so kyooot!!! I recently found out that I am expecting a boy and am so excited about making some adorable boy clothes during the SHBSewalong.

  2. Heeheehee! Why do babies need cake? It should be all frosting all the time... especially now while they can't complain about the clothes! ;) These are all cute, but the tuxedo one is deranged in the best possible way. Love it!

  3. I can't believe you have the TIME!!! You must be the fastest sewist on the planet!

    I am seriously jealous, and wishing my now almost 19 yr old bump was 6 mos so I could jam his fat tum into a martial arts t to look like Dad...

  4. Blue Sun shirt! And Vera lol! That totally made my day!

    And all children need bio-hazard shirts, hehe! All the shirts are adorable little wearable works of art!

    ~ Brooke

  5. You have made so many little adorable shirts!!! So clever!!! He is just precious!!! We are huge Firefly fans. Love the Blue Sun shirt!!!

  6. I see nothing wrong with having fun with the embellishments-- after all, even if he grows out of them fast, it's still fun for you, right? And starting him off early in your favorite fandoms can't be a bad thing. If it makes you feel better about the Firefly shirt, I actually already have a plain brown thrifted tee and a stencil design saved on my computer to make one for Hobbit. But I made an executive decision to save it for a larger sized shirt than the SHB sewalong is for, probably an 18-24 month range, because "I aim to misbehave" seems more appropriate for approaching the toddler years. :D

  7. Haha. I have a feeling the fun you had making them makes up for the small amount of time they will fit. So cute!

  8. Blue Sun & The Cheat were easy! I love these shirts! Feel like maybe starting an SHB clothing line?

  9. You are too awesome - I love the staged photos; SHB really worked the appropriate facial expressions and body language too - he's a natural! ^__^

  10. In love with all of these - and SHB is the best!

  11. Your Firefly baby just broke my cuteness odometer....

  12. So so cute! I love the baby scientist one (the rest are cool too, but yeah, don't really get them...). Was the snap neck easy to figure out? Any tips?

  13. can i trade you a vera for the blue sun shirt??? seriously, you have the bestest designs!!!

  14. Oooh yeah! I cut up my Keith Haring, concert and promo shirts for the babies; urping and washing destroyed them but getting to see them on the boys really made all that shirt saving worthwhile. SHB is a fine model, and yes,"I aim to misbehave" is a fine motto for any small child of any gender. Even me.

  15. I love the scientist in training one. We once made my PhD supervisor a 'HePPY BIrThDy' cake like that, white frosting with licorice boxes and black icing lols ;o)

  16. This is an awesome idea. I'm a fan of Firefly, so the Blue Sun shirt is perfect. I find that the shoulder snaps are the way to go--avoids sliding out of the shirts, plus has the added bonus of making getting dressed in the morning a less stressful process.

    Randy Weaver @ True Fashionistas Resale


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