Duckling Preemie Isolette Shirt


Another preemie isolette shirt is finished and delivered for soon-to-arrive Baby Beatrice.  Her adoptive parents are now 5 states away from home awaiting the birth.  It was planned for her to be delivered via C-section at 30 weeks, due to the birth mom’s earlier pregnancy complications.

The good news is that Baby might not need this or the other diaper shirt I made for her! At almost 36 weeks in utero, she may be bigger than the 4-5 lb. size of these garments.  That’s something to celebrate!  Our church has been praying and eagerly waiting for this lucky baby to be delivered into the arms of her fabulous parents.  We can’t wait to see her.

I really, really like this pattern by Nancy Coburn of Ginger Snaps Designs.

It come in several  sizes from micro-preemies all the way up to regular size newborn. Recommendations are included from NICU nurses for this sweet, specialized sewing.   Variations of  the single fabric design are included, such as this one made from two tiny scraps of pique’ and gingham.



The darling vintage duckling embroidery designs are from MommysApronStrings Etsy shop.    They stitch out beautifully and are perfectly digitized and proportioned for this little diaper shirt as well as other children’s projects.  There are several other charming designs that I will be using for future projects.  The “buttons” were also machine embroidered before the soft velco  was sewn to the shirt at the front and shoulders.

The edging trim is a soft cotton faux tatting.  Blue rick rack was intended to be suggestive of water, but I’m not sure it does.

An improvement over the first shirt I made is  the addition of a size label. This is a standard label which was tucked inside the lining.


Size label is sewn between the batiste lining and the outer fabic.

When sewing for preemies there is rarely any advance notice.  Unlike Beatrice’s situation, premature deliveries are almost always unplanned.  So having the patterns, designs, and fabrics on hand (who doesn’t have a small scraps in  their stash?)  makes sewing for them so much easier.  Ironically, I purchased several preemie patterns and it seems unlikely that I will need them.  But I have them on hand for charity donations to hospitals and for other bitty babies that will come along in the future.

It is so satisfying to stitch these tiny garments.  I have a dear friend whose husband is a neonatal doctor.  Frequently, he would “fall in love” with a particular baby and ask his wife Cherry to sew for this wee babe.  Her breathtaking creations were a comfort, distraction and joy for the anxious parents.

Have you ever sewn for preemies?  If so, would you share your experience and perhaps a photo?  I would really appreciate that.




10 responses to “Duckling Preemie Isolette Shirt

  1. This is adorable! I just love it.

  2. Love how you placed the duckling designs against the rick rack but maybe even more, I love the idea of placing the size tag between the layers. That is a smart idea!

  3. Thanks, Cristina. This was a joy to make but I hope Baby Beatrice continues to grow in the womb and leaves it for another preemie to wear. Thanks for your sweet comment.

  4. Cheryle, I’m so glad you appreciate the practicality and usefulness of the size tag behind the lining. Any preemie garments I make in the future will have this feature. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Adorable premie shirt! So very glad that the baby and birth mom have been doing so well that earlier intervention has not been needed.

  6. Karen, someone once said that every day a preterm baby is in t he womb is one less week in the NICU. So while we are all eagerly awaiting her birth, we all pray it will be delayed another day and then another day. It’s nearly miraculous that she has gone this long with the early plan to take her at 30 weeks! I’m glad you like the little shirt. I hope she is too big for it!

  7. from M Pullen forum: Perfect for the baby and the rick rack looks like water to me. Glad you again found emb designs to use as buttons since that is such a nice touch. Love all the nice details and love another look at your sweet doll. I haven’t made any preemie clothing outside of little crocheted hats but must keep that pattern in mind for the future.

    OBTW, putting that size tag inside the lining is a stroke of genius, a practical solution for tender skin.

  8. Carol, thank you for reading my blog and noticing the embroidered buttons. That’s a design feature I think I will include on any other preemie diaper shirts I make. I’ve seen photos and read rave comments about how appreciated the crocheted hats are. How kind of you to make them!

  9. Janice, this diaper shirt is sooo cute! Just darling! I love how the rick-rack hints at waves…such a neat idea. Sorry no pictures to share, but I’ve made preemie gowns for tiny ones and love doing it. The last one I made using Nancy Coburn’s Baby Daygowns Book IV, which has 5 preemie, newborn, infant and baby doll sizes. And I’m excited to learn of the one you used, thank you for sharing.

  10. Linda, thanks for your sweet words. I have made a few preemie gowns before but somehow overlooked the preemie size in Nancy Coburn’s great daygown books. I have them all! But so rarely have I needed a preemie garment that I never thought to look there. Thanks for the recommendation!

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