So, I had this dilemma. I've seen lots of cute rompers for grown up girls lately, like these two from Urban Outfitters (click the pictures to go to the site).
But I just don't think I could pull them off in real life, unless sitting at the beach wearing a bathingsuit underneath. What do you guys think? Could you pull this off? Anyway, I found the answer to my dilemma. If it makes me feel like a 4 yr old while I'm wearing it, I may as well make it for my 4 yr old, right?
ps: you can use this tutorial to make one for yourself too, if you feel so inclined.
Up to 1 yard of fabric for 0-4 yr olds, more for bigger kids.
1/2 inch elastic to go around the chest
all the other sewing paraphernalia
First you're going to need to construct a pair of simple shorts. I discuss the main points in my shorts tutorial if you need further instructions. For these shorts, you don't need a waistband though, so just add 1/2 inch at the top for seam allowance.
You'll have 2 back pieces and 2 front pieces. The back piece will have a deeper crotch curve and a higher rise. The front piece should have a rise that slopes up to meet the height of the back at the side seam. Cut them so they are mirror images of eachother (ie: one back piece faces right, the other faces left. To do this, cut through two layers of folded fabric or cut one, flip the pattern piece over and cut another)
Next you'll need to cut 2 rectangles to these measurements:
The "low waist" point should be where the waistband of the shorts would sit. I added 3 inches of ease, and that is plenty to make the shirt very "blousy". If your fabric has a pattern or "nap", make sure it is going vertically, or in the direction you want. (As a guide, my rectangle was 16x15 for my 4 yr old that is the height of a 5.5 yr old.)
Now sew your shorts together. Each back piece will line up with each front piece.
Once you've sewn each set together, lay them on top of eachother right sides together and stitch where the picture indicates.
Now open them up and lay them down so they look like shorts. Stitch along the crotch curve.
And now you have shorts!
Set those aside and grab your two rectangles. Sew them together at the side seams (my rectangle was only 1 inch longer in width vs length, so I marked them to make sure I was sewing the right sides.)
Now lay that rectangle over your shorts and see if there is a difference in width.
My top was slightly wider than my shorts, so I need to gather it to fit.
When they are the same width, sew them right sides together. When sewing a gathered piece to a flat piece, it helps to sew with the gathers facing up so you can manipulate them as you go.
And now you have this!
Sew a casing at the top of the romper to fit your elastic. First press 1/4 inch down, then press another 3/4 inch down and edge stitch, leaving a hole to thread your elastic. Measure your elastic length by wrapping it around your wearer so it is snug against the skin under the armpits, but not tight.
Insert your elastic and stitch the hole closed.
Now hold your elastic as taut as you can and top stitch over it in two parallel lines. This will help your elastic casing blend in with the lines of shirring we'll do in a second.
Now is a good time to construct your ties. I prefer spaghetti straps that tie at the shoulders because I think they fit this style of romper well, and because my 4 yr old needs to be able to easily slip them back on after a bathroom break. But you could also make wider straps that tie as a halter or spaghetti straps that cross in the back. Lots of options here!
For my 4 yr old, I made my strips 1 inch x 19 inches long, but you can adjust the length as necessary.
Sew the strips right sides together with a very small seam allowance - I edgestitched at about 1/8 inch. If you don't think you can do this, make your strips 2 inches wide and stitch them together with a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
Here's a little trick for turning super skinny spaghetti straps (that I totally made up as I was doing this).
1. Insert the top of the safety pin into your tube.
2. Close the safety pin, poking through the fabric as you do so.
3. Push the safety pin through the tube
4. Bring it out the other end, flipping your whole tube right side out as you go
Now sew the straps to the insides of your garment (ignore that shirring, I did things out of order). Stitch one line over your top stitching line and another over the second line to anchor it well and make your stitches invisible on the front. Go over it forward and backwards a few times. I positioned my straps 3 inches in from the side seams, but measure on your child to see what works best for you.
Knot the ends of each tie.
And it always helps to sew your own label or a little knit scrap to the back. If you put this romper on backwards it won't be very comfortable :)
And while we still have regular thread in our bobbin, it's a good idea to go ahead and hem the shorts too.
Now switch out your bobbin thread for hand-wound elastic thread. If you need a shirring tutorial, I recommend this one from Flossie Teacakes.
Shirr as many rows as you like. I went for about 1 1/2 inches.
Now do that again, starting at the waist seam and working your way up toward the top for another 1 1/2 inches or so.
Unlike my pictures, your straps are already attached, so you're done! Now put it on your kid or yourself and go romping!
Is this technically romping? I had a hard time explaining to my daughter what "romping" means. I think she's doing some kind of reverse Heisman move in that middle picture.
Or you could just do some unsolicited funny posing instead.
I can't wait to see your versions! Make sure you stick them in our flickr group or email us a picture or link if you do!