As announced, today we get started on the Brindille & Twig Layette Sew-Along! This is a three-piece sew-along, sized preemie to 6T!
A brief reminder: this sew-along includes the snug ear-flap beanie, the hooded raglan sweatshirt (which is a free pattern), and the big butt pants:
And today, we are starting things top-down with the beanie! My beanie differs from the instructions in three ways:
1. I am sewing with a zig zag stitch on a home machine – not serging (I am using 1.0mm wide by 3.0mm long)
2. I am demonstrating how to make your own drawstring; and
3. I am lining the hat for warmth and a professional-looking finish.
Pictured below: the entirety of my supplies for the baby ensemble:
You’ll note I have my patterns, up top. Below, I have the four fabrics I’ll use for the outfit. From left to right: a mid/heavyweight cotton rib knit in white, a 100% Michael Miller yarn-dyed stripe in pink and orange, a corduroy-velour Malden Mills fleece in red, and a cotton lycra custom knit – festooned with a wonderful monster print! Finally, I have a length of elastic.
Elastic? Why? That wasn’t included in the pattern directions!
I’m glad you ask. So, sewing with knits can be a little drama. One thing about knits is they have different degrees of stretch, and different degrees of recovery. For the Big Butt Pants, the instructions have us use the elasticity of the knit fabric to keep the pants up. But, I’m planning on using my stripe Michael Miller – and at 100% cotton, it has practically no recovery. So I’m going to install elastic in the waistband to make sure the pants will stay on!
And one more bit about fabric choice: rib knits are really great for projects like these. They have good stretch and recovery – and they are stable when cut (no curling edges). If you’re a beginner, or helping someone who wants to learn, rib knit – like polar fleece – is a great first-time knit fabric.
The hat pattern has cutting instructions (pages 7 and 8). If you are new to knits, slow down and take your time. Make sure to find the grain of your fabric – this is a bit fiddly if you are new, but trust me – it gets easier! All these teeny tiny baby pieces are great, too, to practice working with knits.
So – below we have our pieces for the beanie. Note, I cut four hat crowns – two for the shell (the monster print), and two in the lining (the velour fleece). The earflaps will be two-sided – white and red. I have also cut lengths for the drawstring, at 1 1/4″ wide on the lengthwise grain, and about 12″ long. We can always trim them shorter later:
Let’s make the drawstring first!
So, I like to cut a rather wide strip so I have a nice even feed while sewing. Using a zig-zag and securing at the start and finish of the seam, I fold lengthwise, then sew 1/4″ from the raw edge:
Next, I trim the seam allowance to 1/8″:
Next, I turn the drawstring right-side out, using my favorite method – the bobby pin. The drawstrings will look good but a li’l rumply:
Here’s the wonderful trick. Gently stretch the drawsrings taut and pin them to your ironing board, making sure the seam runs down one side. Steam the JEEPERS out of the drawstring using your steam iron (but do not touch the drawstring with the iron). Let them entirely cool before removing. They will be perfect!
OK, so time to install them in the earflaps! Go ahead and pin or baste the drawstring to the point of either the earflap or earflap lining piece.
Sew at 1/4″ along the curved edges, firmly backstitching at the start and end of the seam:
Isn’t it cute? It looks like a little creature of some sort, with a long tail!
Go ahead and trim this last seam to 1/8″, and knot the ends of your drawstring.
Then turn the flaps out, and lightly steam press them into shape!
Set your flaps aside.
Time to sew up our hat crows, as per the directions (Step Three). Sew up the shell and lining as in the directions, leaving a gap of about 2″ in one of the long crown seams of the lining:
(Since the custom knit is a little stretchy and thin, I use tiny squares of washaway stabilizer at the beginning and end of my seams, to keep the fabric from distorting or being sucked into the feed dogs:)
See – here’s that gap. Make sure it is securely backstitched:
Finish sewing up the two hat crowns, pinning and stitching carefully so the top seams meet:
Now, go ahead and apply the earflaps to the crown as indicated in the directions, right-sides together, with a basting stitch 3/16″ from the raw edges. The earflaps are skewed slightly toward the back of the hat:
Go ahead and stitch up the short edge of the hatband, backstitching firmly (I like to trim up the end of this seam after stitching it):
Now, pin and baste this hat band to the shell, right sides together:
You’ve already got most of a hat!
Finally, turn the hat shell inside out, and pin the band and the right-side of the shell, to the right-side of the lining, as below. Make sure not to catch your drawstrings in the seam you’re about to sew:
Now, you can push the lining through the gap – we’re about to sew the gap closed!
Pin carefully, folding down the raw edges at 1/4″. I pin about 1/4″ past the machined stitch terminals””
Using a ladder or slip stitch – or whip stitch, even – go ahead and close this gap:
Perfect. An invisible closure!
For the last step, I like to stake a few secure stitches at the very apex of the hat, securing the lining to the shell. This keeps the lining from peeking out. Hide your thread tails in between the layers.
Wow – all done!
So – I hope you enjoyed sewing up your beanie! After all of the tailored grownup clothes I’ve been making, it was a delight to make up something so quick! And believe it or not, the pants are just as easy. The hoodie – which we’re tackling next – is only a little more involved!
Let me know how it’s going! Drop a line here, email me – or find me on Facebook.