Sunday, January 6, 2008


My youngest daughter has a complicated medical life that includes some growth troubles, and I have long been embarrassed that I roll up her sleeves, etc. instead of just fixing them, especially since I sew! I always adjust what I make for her, of course, but since my crafting interests have expanded, I do less plain ol' sewing than I used to (I sewed a lot of Audrey's clothes). I finally gathered her shirts and knit dresses that needed adjusting and did the whole batch in evening snatches this week. The impetus was the purchase of this darling Gymboree one-piece jammy, which was the right sleeve length and, I thought, long enough for her tummy if I cut it just at the crotch, though not full enough. She has a Mic-KEY button feeding port that leaks if she wears anything tight. I fell in LOVELOVELOVE with the little squirrels at the after-Christmas sale price,I thought, hey, I can just use fabric from the legs to add fullness to the belly, and....(stories I tell myself when holding very soft knits on sale, though I too-often don't follow it up with action). The pictures are all low-light orangey, because it was late, and I took them pre-pressing, so they're not as lovely as they could be, but school resumed the next day, and she liked the squirrels as much as mama.

I cut the one-piece in two at a point that allowed for a long top and still enough length in the cut-off legs to have a large enough piece to insert a gusset at the side seams. I unpicked all of the hems and seams, rather than just slicing them off, to maximize the cloth size, and was grateful for every inch.I cut the largest sides of the legs into as big a wedge as I could, nearly as tall as the sleeve-to-hem seam that I unpicked, and just inserted it. Since I have an ancient Bernina, not a fancy serger, I just zigzagged the edge, which holds up very well and looks quite neat, even if it's not as speedy.
Both to maximize length and to satisfy a little girl who loves them, I chose to use a ruffly lettuce hem, which I didn't know I could do without a serger until I read about it on craftster. I'd tried it a year ago or so, and it worked pretty well. Set your machine to a fairly narrow zigzag with a short seam length (for me, it was nearly "0"), and zigzag the edge while stretching the knit as much as you can. On later sleeves, I found that folding the edge just-under with my fingers while sewing and stretching leaves a neater hem. I also started using an even shorter seam length, which left a better satin hem. Attempts while adjusting my technique. The final product! I'll have to get a photo of it on her to add later. I sewed a little squirrelly patch on the bottom of one of my tees, too, I loved it so. On try one, the knit-on-knit stretched a lot and got all wonky. For try two, I used a bit of wonder-under to hold it in place, which worked nicely. I'm hoping it will wash up even better.

My husband rolled his eyes, but in a happy-for-me sort of way. I think he said I was cute. I'm very happy to have me some squirrel love, too. Plus, sharing acorns! So awesome.


sallyavena said...

Cute!!! I love the squirrels too. As for the hem, if you don't mind the extra time and thread, going over them twice with the zig-zag makes for a really nice looking finished hem. At least on my ancient machine which has gone to sewing machine heaven. I haven't tried this kind of hem with my new one yet. I wonder how it will be different...hmmm.

vfg said...

out of brown :)...

(but it's in the plans; thanks for the encouragement!)

Donna said...

Valerie, I loved your resourcefulness in making such a cute shirt from onesie jammies! Marian is lucky to have a mommy like you!

sd said...

Wow!!! Valerie...You do more sewing than me. The only sewing that I have done is making scripture tote bags for the Achievement Day girls. I love reading and seeing Marian and Audrey's blog website. They are both grewing up too fast. Sean also started a blog website of his own, so if you have time you can see what we all been up to. The blog website is

I am so happy for you for all your wonderful crafts.

Love, Anne Marie