The Baby's Uniform

My friend Elaine and I were talking recently about trying out the concept of a uniform for her (homeschooled) girls just to keep her life simple. I realized Lucy basically has that - Hanna Anderson dresses with white shorts underneath in the summer/leggings underneath in the winter. She has a few other random articles of clothing she wears every once in a while but 90% of the time she is wearing play clothes, it's that "uniform". And I love it. As long as I make sure all her shorts/leggings match all her outfits, she looks presentable with little input from me (that's why I went with white, yes, they stain but nobody really sees them, they are just so she can play like a little girl without showing everyone what her favorite princess was when she got dressed that morning)

Jonah's wardrobe is a bit of a mess because he's  been in 18 month clothing for such an incredible long time but he is finally almost ready to move to 24 month stuff.  I'd like to simplify him a bit as he definitely rocks the little ragamuffin look right now which goes to show the uniform idea works when I use it.

But what about the baby? If I could choose a baby uniform, what would it be? Hands down - kimono shirts and baby pants in fun colors and patterns. Except I must be the only mom on the planet who thinks that way, or at least baby clothing companies think I am, because those are really hard things to find! Everything is onesies and I really don't like onesies! And pastel pink for girls and navy blue for boys. It's not that I mind some pink or blue. Every single one of those H.A. dresses I mentioned of Lucy's has at least some pink it because she loves pink. But I don't love pink and I get about 18 months to dress my baby before they start to have their own opinions so I want to make the most of that time and my first choices would not be pastel pink or all navy blue.

So when another friend made me jealous with all her pictures of home sewn baby clothes, I thought I would try and make what I wanted. It helped that I had a semi-excuse in that I had gotten rid of about half of the newborn/0-3 mon stuff I pulled out of storage. Even after washing/oxyclean/sun drying, a good portion was so stained that it wasn't worth keeping (I don't mind a small stain here or there but when you are hitting 50% yellow, its not worth it) and the other half was gerber stuff which I just hate (the agony of changing your crying newborn in the middle of the night only to discover that the zipper is sticking and you have to repeat that process with a different outfit would probably have that particular sleeper leaving a bad taste in your mouth too). We have to buy so little for this kid since we've got it all already that I feel a splurge on clothing is acceptable. Life is too short to dress your baby in clothes you hate.

So, despite not having done much sewing with knits, I summed up my courage, bought some patterns and a bunch of fabric and got to work. Craig's been gone on a business trip for the last 10 days (but he's coming home tonight so don't try to rob us!) which gave me some free time in the evenings. Not a lot because being solo parenting wiped me out and I needed to be in bed by 9:00ish every night to survive, but some. And some is more than none. 

And I'm very happy with the results. For the newborn size, I made 3 pairs of footed pants. These are just slightly bigger than a pair of carters pants I love so I think they will fit very well even over cloth. And my dad sent a new pack of white kimonos as part of his baby gift.  Adding this to that carter pants/kimono outfit I mentioned plus 4 long sleeve white onesies, 2 short sleeve onesies and 3 sleeps sacks we already had and I think we're good for the first couple weeks. I also kept one gerber onesie. It's not particularly cute but it was the first piece of clothing we put on Lucy and I'm pretty sure I've got a picture of Jonah wearing it was well so it's not going anywhere, possible forever :-) Still a minimalist wardrobe but we'll be doing laundry every day anyway so it should be plenty.

Once we get into 0-3 month sizes, I have a couple yellow ducky sleepers (again, I don't hate yellow duckies but is that really the only thing a clothing company can think of that isn't specific to a boy or girl? - what about almost any other animal? balloons? stripes? polka dots?) and some gendered items washed and ready to come out once I know whether I need the pink or blue bag but again, its mostly onesies. So I made 4 pairs of these adorable harem pants and I found some amazing colorful kimono tees on sale at target.com (which are sadly gone now, glad I picked up a bunch in 0-3 and 3-6 month sizes!). The harem pants are even cuter on a baby than this shows. Once my own personal model is born, I'll be sure to share some pictures :-)

I also had to make the kids matching pajamas. They are so excited about matching the baby that they have both insisted on wearing these quite thick, long sleeved pajamas to bed every night this week even when it hasn't really been seasonally appropriate.

In all, I spent about $110 for the patterns, (almost all organic) fabric and notions and got 9 bottoms and 3 tops (the two pajama tees plus another raglan tee out of the elephant pattern as a birthday present for Jonah) out of it. I still have enough fabric to make one more pair of pants in the fabric that matches the big kids but I'm going to wait and see which style of pants I like more and make them in the 3-6 month size so the matching can last all winter. So at about roughly $8 per item, it really wasn't that much of a splurge in the end. And the patterns are pdfs so I can use them again and again - and I will!

And now I can say that I love sewing kids clothes. The Brindille and Twig patterns make it really quick and easy. I know I could have found some free patterns online but these walked me through all the steps and since I was spending money on good fabric, I wanted to know the pattern would work. Knit really isn't that scary. In fact, I've found it to be quite forgiving as I'm not always the most patient and precise sewer, ahem.

I'm already looking for some fun fabric to make Jonah a couple outfits for this fall since the idea of him wearing pants that are long enough but don't fall off his waist when he tries to run is very appealing (For his pajamas, I used the 18mon size waistband, 2T pants, 3T length and they fit well - now you can see why I have trouble with store pants).

*The three patterns I used are the footie leggings, the cuffed harem pants and the raglan tees, all from Brindille and Twig. That link is my referral link and if you are a first time customer and use it, you can get 15% off your first purchase. She also has a free hoodie pattern available when you sign up for her email list if you want to see how easy she makes it for you.

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