Smocked Diaper Shirt & Rhumba Pants

shirt pants


One more little outfit is ready for our due-at-Christmas granddaughter.    How I LOVE making baby things!


pants back


The diaper shirt and ruffle-butt bloomers are Swiss pique, trimmed with candy pink microcheck. The ruffles were made on the serger,  finished with a 3-thread rolled edge.

My last little bit of pink Swiss edging trims the angel sleeves and front placket.  I wish there had been enough left on the card to trim the bloomer legs.  Instead, they were bound with microcheck like the neck binding and front placket.




I certainly enjoyed adding the little details.  The pin stitch which joined the Swiss edging to the angel sleeve was woven with green floss.




French knot flowerettes embellish the four-hole pearl buttons.

I learned something about buttonholes.  According to Elizabeth Travis Johnson, buttonholes should be made in the direction of stress, usually horizontal to the garment. But I discovered that the width of the stitching for the 4-hole button added width to the attachment.  If it had been a simple two hole button or one with a small shank, the buttonhole would not have bulged as it does.  Oh well.  I’ll remember that next time.

The shirt pattern is probably 30 years old, purchased when smocking was my new passion.  But this is the first  time I have used it.

Directions were nothing more than a half page of text, written like a run-on sentence.   There were no paragraph indentations, no diagrams and no step numbers. Still, it was adequate for anyone familiar with smocking construction.  Compared with today’s patterns that include not only illustrations, but photos, this was a reminder of just how far we have come.

Alastair, 3 1/2,  and his family arrived last night.  He is so excited about being a brother but the time frame is incomprehensible to him.  Along with his excitement, he requested 20 little cot covers for his pre-school class.  That should be quick and easy and then I’m back to baby sewing.

Rebecca looked over the stack of baby patterns I had picked out for upcoming projects. What is your favorite baby pattern?  (As if I need more ideas!)  I’d like to know.  Since this is likely our last grandchild, I’d hate to miss out on a dee-vine new pattern.  So let me know, okay?

15 responses to “Smocked Diaper Shirt & Rhumba Pants

  1. Oh, it’s dee-vine! I love the Swiss edging and the little flowers in the buttonholes. But I don’t quite understand what you mean when you say the buttonhole stitches “added width to the attachment.” Though I appreciate your quote from ETJ. I went back-and-forth about which way to make the buttonholes on that reverse knot dress.

  2. Precious, Janice! So fun to see your work! It is beautiful.

  3. This set is gorgeous! You always put on such beautiful details! It is going to look so pretty on a little baby girl!
    One of my favorite baby patterns is Primrose Lane Michaela, which comes in boy or girl versions, NB-18mos. I made one for my baby boy and I loved it. The directions and everything were wonderful! Another all-time favorite (though for a bigger girl) is the Beaucoup Ellen Briggs party dress- made just like the pink one on the cover. The sleeves are a really unique shape with a lovely puff. It is sizes 2-8, I believe. I am a total pattern hoarder, so if you want more ideas, let me know!

  4. Oh, my goodness! This is exquisite! I love everything about this little ensemble! (It needs a bonnet, don’t you think? A little sun hat?) The edging is really lovely and the ruffles on the tushie are yummy! The smocking is beautiful. I have several smocking patterns from the 80’s inherited from the smocking grandmother of a friend that are like the one you describe. I also have an extensive pattern stash of my own that I will look through to see what I can suggest for you. However, I adore Petite Poche patterns by Wendy Schoen. Her baby book includes several patterns that are just lovely. The Old Fashioned Baby patterns are so beautiful for infants, too. I love the smocked ones and the French sewn raglan sleeved baby dresses Jeanne has, as well. I am so excited for you. There is nothing more satisfying to me than sewing sweet heirloom baby garments. Blessings, Karen

  5. So sweet! It looks like it will melt. The rhumba ruffles add the finishing touch. Don’t you just love how easy they are to make on your Evolve?

  6. The outfit is precious! Love the gingham. I guess one of my favorite baby things to make is one of the GingerSnap gowns. I have several of her patterns and they are easy to complete.

  7. I’m really loving that serger, Judy! Between the spa wraps, the ruffles and the 20 cot sheets I am making for Alastair’s pre-school class, it has been a friendly workhorse. Thanks for pushing me to buying it. I have no regrets.

  8. So, so pretty! Thanks for sharing the details. Did you serge any of this dress?

  9. Thanks for the compliment, Maureen. The only serging was a 3-thread rolled edge on the ruffles.

  10. Jo, about the buttons and buttonholes….This buttonhole is a rectangle with very little width between the two long sides. When the buttonhole is cut open, there are some threads between the satin stitch on the long sides. That is all the width you really have to fit the threads that attach the button to the garment. So if a two-hole button is attached like this : there is little width. It fits nicely in a narrow rectangle. Because I used a four-hole and placed it on the diagonal, the side to side distance between the stitches is as wide as the holes in the button. The distance from the top of one “leaf” embellishment is far greater that the almost non-existent width of the : stitches. So the buttonhole is spread. I should have used a different, wider buttonhole. Whew! That’s hard to explain. Do you understand it or should I draw a diagram?

  11. Thanks for the recommendations, Lisa. I have Wendy Schoen’s baby book and made several things for Laurel from it. You are so right about the hat! I made the Just Ducky one for Laurel and loved it. But this diaper shirt is sized 6-18 months, an age range with a big difference in head sizes. Maybe I should smock one. Do you remember Miss Becca’s Bonnet from long ago? It’s cute and has the advantage of smocking stretch. I love all OFB patterns and just got the newest one, Baby’s First Daygowns. I fell in love with the little pink smocked bishop gown you made for a baby gift. I might do that next.

  12. Yes, that makes sense. Thank-you very much for taking the time to explain it. 🙂 I bet ALL my buttonholes bulge because I usually use 4-hole-ers and make tight buttonholes. I never paid any attention…. This is why I love your blog! 🙂

  13. Janice, I have a question for you. When is it appropriate to use 2 hole buttons as opposed to 4 hole, or is that just based on preference and availability? Just curious whether there is a technical reason or maybe a tradition. I enjoyed reading the thoughts on favorite pattern. I have been thinking about what my favorite pattern is….. there are just too many. My mind spins to favorite patterns for the say 2-8 range. You have many wonderful years of sewing for this new little one ahead! Frannie by Lyn Weeks comes to my mind as well as Natalie from Martha Pullen Co. (I better stop. I am sure you do not need help in this area.) 🙂

  14. Connie, I have never heard or read anything about the suitability of two vs. four hole button. I expect it is just preference and availability, as you suggest. We certainly think alike about patterns–I have both Frannie and Natalie in my pattern collection, though I have yet to make either one. I am going to have a hard time balancing my sewing efforts between the baby and the eight year old. But how lucky am I to have that problem!

  15. Thanks, Janice, on answering my question. I have not seen anything on it either. I even “googled”, but to no success. I’ll let you know if I run into something on that.

    Yes, we do think alike, and I understand the “balance act” between sewing for the little one and the eight year old. One great project at a time!

    I just finished the custom shirt for “the Dad” here! 🙂

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