Sunday, 8 May 2016

Completed: Birthday T-shirt for Baby Boy

What's the curse of the sewist? Too many plans, not enough time? Killer stash avalanches? Pins in the sofa? Or is it that little thought that needles its way into your head at 7.30 in the evening, which says "of course you have enough time to make and stencil a t-shirt for Baby Boy's birthday tomorrow..."?

So, guess what I did on Thursday night?
I literally have no idea where the birthday t-shirt desire came from. I previously felt no need to make him anything, although I have had this particular t-shirt planned in my head forever. But anyway, after we put the boys down that night, I dug out the stuff and got cracking! 

The pattern is the Titchy Threads Rowan Tee. Such a great pattern, with so many variations, and I always go for basic view A every time (here and here). Anyway, I already had age 2 cut out with the exception of the short sleeve piece - so, no need for faffing around sticking PDFs together - and there are only 4 pattern pieces, so I was on to a good start.
The fabric is repurposed from a maternity t-shirt, I've had in my upcycling stash for a while. In my memory, the fabric was actually a bit nicer. In reality it's about 70% polyester, 30% cotton, which wouldn't be a my first choice for the boys, but the weight was good, and the plain grey marl was a good canvas and is boy friendly. I managed to squeeze all the pattern pieces in and even was able to reuse the ribbing at the neckline. Win!

I reused the bottom hem to save on time too. As this was a maternity tee, it had a dipped hem at the front, but it wasn't too pronounced, so I used that for the back pattern piece, thinking a slightly dipped hem at the back would make more sense on a kids tee, and used the back for the front. The original sleeves were cuffed, not hemmed, so I couldn't do the same there. No biggie, though.
Pre-smudging. Look how neat it was!
I've made this pattern 4 times now, so it was dead easy and went together without any problems. I sewed it with the lightening bolt stitch and left the edges raw. The sleeves and top stitching at the neck are done with a triple stitch, which is sturdier than my twin needle, particularly for boys clothes. The original hem was sewn with a coverstitch so it doesn't match, but really, who's going to notice that? I do kind of wish I'd done the topstitching in red to match the print, but that would have meant taking a lot longer over the topstitching, as it would have been visible. Plus I never thought about it until I'd done the sleeves and unpicking triple stitching simply wasn't going to happen.
I came across the stencil on Tara's blog a while back, and have coveted it ever since. I think it's so cool. She has a few that I love - I've definitely earmarked the stormtrooper one for Small Boy. It took a bit of time to trace and then cut out - those narrow lines are pretty fiddly. As with last time, I used freezer paper, and the speedball block printing ink, this time in red. 

It all worked really well, and I was very pleased with it.  I finished at about 11pm and left it to dry overnight, and as the ink felt dry in the morning, I put him in it. However, about half an hour later, P noticed that the ink was running a bit, and sure enough it had smudged, over the t-shirt and over one of the (white, obvs) pillowcases on our bed!!! Now, this is totally my fault. As I've mentioned before, the ink needs to cure for 5-7 days before it can be washed. I naively assumed that once it was dry, it was completely dry and that he could wear it as long as I didn't wash it. NOT THE CASE! 
With smudging. Sorry, design feature.

I took it off him immediately (and got the pillowcase straight into a basin with some Vanish!). Initially I was really annoyed. The freezer paper gives such a clean edge, the ink looked perfect and pretty professional. But, there wasn't much I could do about it. I took a photo later and popped it on Instagram and all commenters said either the smudging wasn't obvious, or that it added to the look. So, now it's a design feature! But not one that I will be repeating. Lessons learnt? Follow the instructions. And be more organised. And call mistakes design features, and then move on.

Baby Boy loves it. "Monks" (his word for milk - all liquids are plurals right now) is his favourite drink,which he demands as soon as he wakes and as soon as he gets out the bath at night. I remember Small Boy weaning himself off his cup of milk in the morning and afternoon, but Baby Boy is reluctant to give it up just yet. So, no doubt, he'll be looking forward to wearing it next week at some point, once the ink is truly dry and cured. 

And now, because this post is a bit photo-light, here's a photo of him blowing his birthday candles out. Sweetie that he is! 

Happy Birthday, my special boy. xxx


  1. Happy birthday little man, enjoy wearing your lovely T-shirt. My two boys dropped milk at an early age but my daughter who will be four tomorrow is as addicted as a baby! Some kids just love it I guess!

  2. Aww he's so cute! I love this t-shirt and love that you decided to make it, and got it made, the night before his birthday! What do you mean by the triple stitch? I'll need to check if my machine has that. It's great when you can reuse the hems when re-fashioning isn't it?!

  3. Fab top! Little e also loves milk, that has been the hardest diabetes change!! Happy Birthday to your smallest.

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