Tuesday 14 July 2015

My 'pocket of dinosaurs' romper suit

     Earlier this year I made a sweet little romper suit using some spare jersey fabric from the matching daddy and mini me t-shirts I’d made last year and a patch pocket using a scrap from the gnome dress. The design was incredibly simple and produced a very comfortable little play suit, so I knew I’d end up making plenty more in the future. With my nephew due to go on holiday I thought he’d like his own little romper suit to play on the beach, and since I used more or less the same method as before it was very quick to make.
The original romper suit
Dinosaur romper suit

     There is only a single pattern piece, which I deliberately designed to be symmetrical, so the front and back pieces of fabric match in size and shape. I often design patterns where the front and the back are the same, it makes measuring and aligning seams far easier. The patch pocket didn’t really need a pattern piece, I simply measured what looked the right size from the pieces of fabric I had left.
Cutting the fabric
     As the legs were going to be stitched together I made the scoop neck nice and big so that one shoulder could be fastened with poppers, meaning that the romper suit would go on feet first. This does make it a bit tricky for nappy changes but it’s useful as it means it can withstand the running, climbing and general mayhem of a toddler without the crotch accidentally coming open.
     Cutting the fabric out was easy with proper sewing scissors as the jersey doesn’t readily fray. Before starting on any seams I stitched on the patch pocket, made with a spare bit of dinosaur jersey. Because it was highly fray resistant I didn’t need to worry about securing the edges too much, which saved a little time. I then cut out one of the larger dinosaurs (diplodocus I think) and stitched that inside the pocket so it was peeping out. Finally, I added a button so that the pocket could be closed tight to stop the dinosaurs escaping!
Close up of the dinosaur
     Next I had to attach the side seams, one shoulder and the crotch. On the open shoulder I simply folded under the raw edge on each side and did a row of stitches to keep it looking neat. I used a three step zigzag stitch again to help with the stretch, which finished it nicely on the inside and reduced the risk of fraying or threads coming loose.
folded edge with popper attached
     As before I used fold over elastic to finish all the edges, and this time I made sure to stretch it well as I stitched it on to avoid the slight ‘bell bottom’ look I’d accidentally achieved before. Because jersey is stretchy fold over elastic is a great way to finish raw edges without compromising on the stretch. I did a couple of stitches to hold the elastic in place and then stretched it as I sewed with a zigzag stitch, all while keeping the raw edge inside the fold. It was a bit tricky but eventually I got the hang of it and it’s given a lovely stretchy trim edge. Because the fold over elastic is designed to be a decorative trim it is really soft too, perfect for children’s clothes.
Finished back

Finished front

     Once all the elastic was on all I had to do was hand sew the poppers onto the open shoulder and there you have it, one ‘pocket of dinosaurs’ romper suit! My nephew looked very cute in it and I think it’s proved a handy little outfit for both the beach and the garden. Because jersey is so thin and light it can be rolled up and chucked in a beach bag, making it a great spare outfit to carry around in the summer. There’s also something a bit retro about them and I’ve received lots of compliments, as well as requests for some more – part three coming soon!

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