Troublesome Diaper Shirt





I’m still frantically making  toddler toys for Operation Christmas Child so I haven’t had time to write up a new post.  Getting all 50 of these in-the-hoop stuffed dolls and animals out the door is my highest priority right now.   As soon as they are finished, I can get back to stitching baby girl things for our newest granddaughter, due at Christmas.  So this re-run will have to do for now.

It seems especially appropriate, since it is our daughter Rebecca’s baby we are eagerly awaiting.  Read below to see why.

This little diaper shirt will be pulled out of the special items packed away after granddaughter Laurel outgrew them.  To go with it, I’m going to make a pair bloomers with an eyelet edge.  Do you think yellow gingham or solid?

Oooh, I cannot wait to see this precious, long-awaited baby in smocked and heirloom clothing.~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Babies are always more trouble than you thought – and more wonderful. Charles Osgood

Even 5 year old Laurel is well aware of the first part of this sentence.  Babies are, in her words, “a LOT of trouble!” Recently, for a homeschool social studies lesson, we did a time line to help her get a grip on sequence and the passage of time. We used my handy roll of 8″ wide Stitch ‘N Ditch to wrap around our classroom.  The teacher’s manual said to tape pieces of notebook paper together—-hummph!  Sewing notions to the rescue!.

This time line showed dates and pictures of events, beginning with  her Nana and Granddad’s birth, our wedding, her parents’ birth, their wedding, her birth and that of her brother —-I wanted to establish early on that first the wedding and then a birth is the preferred sequence of events. The time line ended with a photo of her and Robert jumping off a log a few weeks ago in 2010.

” Next year,” I explained, “ it will be 2011 and more things will happen.” She shook her head dubiously, and stated rather than asked, “What else could happen?”  Obviously, the history of the world was complete now, with the birth of her cousin Alastair, her brother Robert and herself.

“Well, Aunt Rebecca might have another baby,” I suggested. “Oh, no,” she asserted  as she shook her head yet again. “She won’t do that!”

“And why not?” I inquired.

“Because babies are a LOT of trouble (her emphasis). Mommy says so. And I know Robert sure is!”

Trouble or not, babies are wonderful and the anticipation of their arrival is a joyful, exciting and busy time. This diaper shirt was made in the flurry of preparations for Laurel’s May birth. Florida’s sultry summers can be brutally hot.   But with a nature loving mother, Laurel was sure to be spending a considerable amount of time outdoors even during her first summer.

This gossamer thin diaper shirt began with fabric that had been in my stash for some time, purchased for no other reason than that it was uniquely suited for summer baby’s diaper shirt.  Since our son had been married almost 9 years, I had been hopefully waiting and preparing for a grandchild for some time.   The fabric, barely 18″ wide, appears to have been intended for  flounces at the hemline of a skirt. There was no selvage and the top raw edge was scalloped, echoing the pattern of the finished edge, like Swiss edging.




Nancy Coburn’s book, Diaper Shirt 1, was used for the pattern. While Nancy does not include a smocked version, as in all her fabulous books, she gives a basic pattern which encourages a world of design options.

It should have been easy to add smocking to the garment, but the gauze-like fabric is so shifty that it required heavy starch and pressing to enable a straight feed into the pleater. Even cutting out the pattern pieces was a struggle because I wanted the pattern of the embroidered eyelets and scallops to match on each side and at the side seams.





To the basic pattern, an inverted pleat was added at each underarm and at the center back. Because the smocking added fullness to the front, the back needed some fullness for balance. A single French knot  flower bloomed on the center back pleat.The center front was embellished with smaller, matching French knot flowerettes nestled  between the handworked buttonholes. The loose weave of the fabric seemed more suitable to a hand needle with a single thread than to the bulk of a machine made button hole.




The armholes and neckline were finished with entredeux into which a tiny, simple edge was crocheted.   DMC 30 wt. machine embroidery thread with the same color number as the floss was used. to crochet a tiny, simple edge into the holes of the entredeux.  DMC 30 wt. is no longer available, but I have a hefty supply and use it sparingly.

All things considered, this diaper shirt was a lot more trouble than I expected it would be. And just like babies,  it was more wonderful.

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