Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Baby Duds

I made this little summery outfit for Sofia this week. (See, I have actually been doing some sewing) I was partially inspired by Jane Ann. I enjoy her blog so much and the other day I clicked on a little icon in her sidebar that took me to this. Wow. Her grandchildren are quite lucky and very well-dressed. I am not up to the gorgeous heirloom details she so loves, but it is a labor of love to sew for one's grandchild, so I went shopping for pattern and fabric awhile back. The first thing I discovered is the dearth of good patterns for babies. The one I bought is a McCall's, but the other companies (Simplicity, Butterick, etc.) seemed to have this exact same pattern and not much else. The second problem was sizing. This is a S-M-L sized pattern. The sizes are denoted by a weight-range. I made the small, which is for babies weighing between 13 and 15 pounds. Sofia weighed more than 11 pounds a month ago, so I guessed small would do. It is huge. The hat is super huge. She may grown into it before the end of summer—hard to tell. It may fit her next summer. Sofia and the sundress may pass each other going opposite directions sometime mid-January. I like the ready-to-wear sizing better, which is age in months. Imperfect but closer somehow than small, medium or large. Still, Sofia has a couple of new dresses from the Hanna Anderson outlet that are size 60. I don't get that at all, but they are sure cute dresses. (the purple and teal striped dress in the previous post is one of them. The helmet hat is theirs too)

Once upon a time I sewed lots of baby and kid clothes. The summer before my son was born, Ray and I spent a month and a half in Moscow, Idaho where he was enrolled in a National Science Foundation summer program. We lived in the housemother's apartment in Ray's fraternity house. I took my sewing machine along and set up my sewing space in one of the empty dorm rooms and made baby clothes all summer. I took breaks and watched the Watergate hearings on TV in the lounge, until the few guys living in the house for summer school got home from class. Then they changed the channel and we watched Star Trek reruns. I had spent the previous school year teaching English and Art to 8th graders, a kind of Hell I wanted to put out of my mind, and this mindless summer of sewing and TV was exactly what was needed. I came home with a nice stack of flannel nightgowns and sleepers and diapers. Yes, I sewed my own fitted diapers. Over the years I made a lot of clothes for my kids.

So, this is my first effort for Sofia. I am clearly out of practice.

P.S. Christine asked about the pronunciation of Sofia's name. It is just like Sophia Loren. Sofia=Sophia. Same name. Sofia is the Spanish spelling—probably the Italian as well. Wikipedia says that Sophia Loren was born with the name Sofia Villani Scicolone.


  1. Cute outfit. I love the link to heritage stuff. Smocking is fun but time consuming -- kid almost grown by the time it is done. I found that I liked making little dresses when baby is at least a toddler.

    Sofia is really lucky to a grandma as talented as you.

  2. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Well, YOU have been holding out on me! I had no idea your talent ventured into tot togs! Oh, this is just the beginning of more fun than you can imagine. You shoulda checked with Mam first, though. You need to find an heirloom sewing shop and look for patterns from Children's Corner (a Nashville company, I might add), Bonnie Blue, Petit Poche, Primrose Lane (easy) or Creative Needle. There are even more. There's a whole children's pattern industry out there for us grands who don't want our girls dressing like hootchie mamas. Machine applique is tons o' fun too.

    DARLING outfit. You are very talented and I hope you'll keep it up. One day Sofia will volunteer your services to others ("My Mam can make you a dress like this."), and you will melt.

  3. This is so very cute!!!

  4. I did Stretch-n-Sew for my kids, all the jogging suits and double knit shirts with the stretchy trim. I had found a bolt of Izod white double knit, I'd love to score that even now, lol.

  5. That outfit is adorable! I have to agree that McCall's and Simplicity don't have much -- you might want to check out the Burda patterns. They are out of Genrmany (I think) and I've been finding some really cute stuff for my own daughter. Their sizing is also by month rather than S-M-L. They do carry Burda at Joann's, and they are 40% off on a regular basis -- at least at the one here in the cornfields.

    Another option is looking in quilt shops -- there are a few pattern companies that cater to quilters -- My Fabvorite Things is one and the pattern I use for my daughter's little jackets is another.

  6. Lovely outfit, Terry. Too big is better than too small, no?

    Not being a grandmother, I was drawn right to your "Watergate summer" memories. I can remember so distinctly where I was at that point -- in a 19th century stone farmhouse in the Pennsylvania Dutch country -- and with whom -- my starter husband -- and what I was doing at the time -- playing farm wife, tending a huge vegetable garden, sewing (minimally) hippie outfits for my then-beloved and me. Think Indian bedspreads... you've got it.

    I was riveted by Watergate; John Dean's testimony will be associated in my mind, forever, with the sound of our cat crunching rodent bones on the doormat a few feet away from the TV.

    These days, I think, a scandal like the Watergate break-in would barely raise a media eyebrow. It seems so benign and innocent, somehow, compared with the outrages perpetrated every day by Cheney and company.

  7. Out of practice?!! Your hands do magical things, woman.

    Lucky, lucky Sofia.