Saturday, September 17, 2011

Infant Lap Tee Tutorial

I've been sewing a lot of things for our little boy that we're expecting in January. I am attempting to sew most of his wardrobe using my huge fabric stash. We're planning on using cloth diapers, which don't really work well with onesies. Too much bulk for a little body, and they don't work well with fitted diapers and wool covers. So long sleeve t-shirts were in order. I scoured the internet for a pattern or tutorial, but there were none to be found that were free and ready to go. I drafted a pattern for a newborn/0-3 months lap tee with some help from Dana's 90-minute shirt tutorial and I'm posting it up here for you all to use! I even included those little mitt pockets on the sleeve that can fold over to cover up their little fingers and sharp fingernails :)

Click here to access the PDF file. I am quite new to digitizing patterns, and did the best I could with those curves, I hope to learn the art of tutorial making soon. For now, you'll just have to bear with me :)

While decided what fabric to use for these shirts, I was thinking it would be really nice if I could get my hands on plain old t-shirt fabric. Then I remembered all of these t-shirt leftovers I had from making t-shirt quilts. They had been sitting in my upcycle pile for ages. The shirts were perfect for this project, and the bonus is that they already have a hem on the bottom. I hate hemming. I haven't figured out how to make a nice looking hem with a knit fabric sans coverstitch machine. *This pattern does not include a hem allowance, if you'd like to make your own hem, you can add to the bottom of the shirt pattern.*

First, cut out your pattern pieces. Note that the front and back pieces have a dotted line that should be placed on the fold of the fabric. Seam allowances have been included. Once I had cut out a shirt, I used those pieces to cut out more shirts. It was a lot faster than folding the fabric and using the paper template. I cut out the pieces using my rotary cutter.

Line the bottom of the template up with the hem of the shirt. You should be able to get both the front and back pieces on one half of the shirt you are upcycling.

You can cut the sleeves for the lap tee using the upper portion of the shirt. Fold the shirt in half as shown, then using the pattern, cut out both sleeves. It is important that if you cut out the pieces separately, that you make sure to flip the template upside down for one of the sleeves, or else you will have the mitt pockets facing opposite sides when you sew up your shirt. If you don't want to includ the mitt pockets then you can remove the square portion on the bottom of the sleeve.

The last step of cutting is the binding for the neck. I trimmed off the edge from cutting the sleeves. I use my rotary cutter and ruler to measure a strip that is 1.5" wide and runs the whole width of the shirt. Cut the strip in half.
And you've finished cutting all of your pieces!

The next step is to sew the binding on to the neckline. The length of the binding should be slightly shorter than the neckline, you want it to stretch as you're sewing it down. It gives the neckline the best shape in place of using a rib knit like the collars on t-shirts. Pin the binding to the neckline right sides together and sew down the edge using 1/4- 1/2" seam allowance. You can see phase 1 of attaching the binding completed in the bottom picture.

Phase 2 is pinning down the binding and topstitching. These directions are for my cheater version of binding. Turn the seam allowance towards the binding and fold the binding over the seam allowance. Pin in place. Turn of the shirt and topstitch on the right side of the shirt. This leaves a raw edge on the wrong side of the shirt. Trim it down and you're done with phase 2! If you want a clean finished edge on the inside, you can cut a 2" wide strip of binding and fold the unfinished edge in before topstitching. I personally feel like that is a very bulky neckline, and prefer to exclude the extra layer of the binding.

Attach the neckline for both the front and back pieces.

Now let's prep the mitts for the sleeves. Lay out the sleeve with the right side of the fabric facing up. Fold over the pocket portion of the pattern piece as shown. Using a satin stitch, sew down the edge of the pocket to the sleeve.

To sew a satin stitch, set your machine to a zig zag stitch, using a very wide stich width, and a very short stitch length.
Don't forget to change your settings back to normal after you finish both sleeves.

Now you're ready to put the shirt together!

1. Lay out the front piece in front of you.
2. Lay the back piece down next, facing away from you. The shoulders on the back piece should overlap the shoulders on the front piece as shown.
3. Lay down the sleeves, make sure that the mitt pocket side is toward the back piece.

Fold over the sleeve so that it matches the edge of the armscye on the back piece and pin it. Then math the other edge of the sleeve up with the armscye on the front piece and pin it. The shoulder pieces will overlap. Sew down that seam and trim it down. Repeat with the other sleeve.

Fold the shirt in half and pin down the sleeve and the side of the shirt. Sew down the sleeves and sides and you're finished!

Make many many more :) I think Baby has plenty of itty bitty tees now!


theHomespun said...

This is exactly what I was looking for, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Making MORE baby stuff dor birthing homes and orphanages here in the Philippines and really like your cuff/mitt idea! I so don't like making 700 prs scratch mitts :(((( so am looking for easy way to get around that :) Have a ? the half of the sleeve end unfinished? I know the knit fabric won't unravel but just wondering about that.
Thanks so much for posting this toot!