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Designing, Sewing, & Making Clothes for Infants & Babies

This adorable handmade bonnet has soft lace attached and the cotton fabric was pre-washed before sewing for the baby's comfort and safety.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when sewing for infants and babies, is their comfort and their safety.  Clothes should be made from fabrics that are soft and gentle, easy to throw in the laundry, and nonflammable.  Usually fabrics are of a soft pale or pastel color for infants.  There should be no bulky seams or heavy zippers or fastenings to cause discomfort to the baby.  Babies only communicate with us through crying at this point, they can't tell us if something is bothering them so you want the baby to feel comfortable at all times. The baby garments you make must be easy to put on and off. Be very careful with closures.  Buttons can fall off and the baby could swallow it. Plus buttons are bulky and could irritate the baby's skin.  Snaps are ideal.

French seams are a wise decision to use in making infants clothing.  With that type of seam finish, the soft edges won't irritate a baby's tender skin.

Make sure the clothing does not pull tightly around the babies neck, leg, or arm.

Do not decorate garments with anything that a baby could swallow, chew off, strangle on, get tangled up in or get cut by.

As for closures, snaps work well but only at the crotch and legs.  Not at the neck, shoulders, and chest area.

Do not use drawstrings as a closure device around hoods and necks for babies or children. Snaps or Velcro would be a better choice.

When crawling begins he or she will need protective clothing, usually over-alls, which are a long pair of pants with a bib and straps.  Patches on the knees might be a good idea so the the fabric doesn't wear out.  You will want to use fabric that is comfortable and washes well.  Wash all fabric before you begin laying out the pattern.

Let's talk about the importance of using flame-resistant fabrics in sewing for babies.

It is imperative that only flame-resistant fabric is used when sewing babies clothing.  You can find this on the end of the roll of fabric at the fabric store.  DO NOT use material unless it is fire resistant.

Brushed and other nylon fabric is a better choice for a nightgown because nylon will melt and burn but it won't flare up.  In general, pajamas are safer than nightgowns because they are close to the body.

The thread you should use is dacron .  If you use cotton or other thread a flame will shoot up the line of stitching and cause serious burning, while the garment made from flame-resistant fabric will smolder with little or no harm.

Pay attention to washing instructions, so that you don't wash the flame-resistant substance out of the garment.

A general size chart for infant clothes are:
Size Newborn Small
Weight  to 12 lbs. 13-17 lbs.
Height to 24 in. 25-26 in.
Medium Large X-Large
18-21 lbs. 22-25 lbs. 26-29 lbs.
27-28 in. 29-30 in. 31-32 in.


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Vogue Sewing for Your Children


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