10.20.2014

Celebrating Baby {Free} Newborn Gown Pattern and Tutorial

I believe that babies should be celebrated.  So I created this pattern to help you celebrate your baby - or your friends' babies - with a newborn gown!


This pattern is intended to fit an 8 lb newborn, with room to grow.  When drafting the pattern, it was my intention that the gown could be worn for the first three months or so, through those groggy, multiple, middle of the night diaper changes.  Therefore it will likely be large on a true newborn.

You'll need:
  • the PDF pattern HERE.  When printing the pattern make sure your page size is set to 'Letter' and that 'Fit to Page' is NOT checked.
  • 1 yard of medium weight knit fabric - PREWASH!!!
  • ballpoint or stretch needle
  • 16 inches of 1/2" elastic
  • 100% polyester thread or stretch thread
You will need to cut several binding strips.
  • One 1.5" long x 9.5"wide strip of knit fabric for the front binding
  • One 1.5" long x 9 inch wide strip of knit fabric for the back binding
Be sure to cut them in the direction of the stretch.  Ribbing is a great choice for neckbands.  But I often like to use the same knit as my main fabric.  If you'd like more info on cutting binding strips for knits, check out this post.

If you would like to use binding on the sleeves you will also need:
  • Two 1.5" long x 6.5" wide strips


Or you can hem the sleeves.

Optional:
  • Double needle

A few things, before getting started:
  • Be sure to prewash and machine dry your knit fabric before use.  Knit fabrics shrink quite a lot, so don't skip this step!  When using Birch interlock knits, I have had significant shrinkage, even after prewashing and drying.  I would therefore recommend prewashing and drying a few times to be on the safe side.
  • After you print the pattern, be sure that the 1 inch box on page one measures at 1 inch.
  • Tape the pattern together so the lines at the top and bottom of each page overlap.  Trim away the paper above or below the line.
  • Using a double needle is actually very simple.  Here's a great tutorial on how to do it.
  • When hemming knits, you can use a narrow zigzag stitch (0.5mm width and 2.5-3.0 in length)  or a double needle.   I like to increase my stitch length to between 3.2-3.8 when using a straight stitch.
  • I start sewing about 1/4"-1/2" away from the fabric edge and then backstitch to the edge, otherwise I find that my machine eats my knit fabric, pulling it down into the needle plate.  

All seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise noted.

Construction:

First, start by sewing on all of the bindings, both to the front and back necklines and the sleeves (if you are using the bindings on the sleeves).  If you plan to hem the sleeves, you'll do that at the end.

Pin the right side of the binding strip to the wrong side of  fabric, once at each end and once in the middle.  Add additional pins as needed.



Then sew with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Press the binding strip up.


Turn to the right side and fold the raw edge by 3/8".  Press.



Fold the pressed edge over, covering your stitching line.  Edgestitch.

[Technically, you would edgestich this using a double needle, but I prefer to use a longish (3.3) straight stitch and have not had any problems.]




Place the back gown piece on top of the front gown piece, overlapping the two pieces between the lines you marked, as indicated on the pattern pieces.   Pin and then baste.


Fold the gown onto itself to find the center point at the shoulder.  Mark this point.


Match the center point of your sleeve to the center point on the shoulder.  If you forgot to mark the center point, just fold the sleeve in half to find it.  Pin, right sides together, at the center and the two ends first.  Then add more pins as needed.


Sew on the sleeve.  Repeat with the other sleeve.

After your sleeves are sewn on you will sew your gown sleeve and side seams.  Turn the gown onto itself, right sides together.  Pin, matching sleeve bindings, if applicable, and side seams.  (Sometimes knit fabric will shift a little during cutting and the gown might be slightly off at the bottom edge.  If this happens, just trim the edge so it is even.)



Then sew the seam in one fell swoop, from the sleeve edge all the way down to the bottom edge.  I use a stretch stitch for this step.  A narrow zigzag stitch (.5 mm in width and 2.5-3.0 in length is often suggested) would work, too.

If your seam gets wavy at this step (or ever) just press it really well with a hot iron and that should take care of it!

Press the bottom edge of gown up 1" to form a hem casing.  Since knits do not fray, I choose not to finish my raw edge.  The double needle (or zigzag stitch) gives it a finished look.


Stitch using a straight stitch with a double needle, a stretch stitch or a zig zag stitch, with a 6/8" seam allowance.   Leave 1-2" open to insert the elastic.

I found my hem broke once when sewn with a double needle, but not when sewn with a zigzag stitch.  When sewing the hem with a zigzag stitch, I stretched the fabric slightly as I went.  Given the hem casing is gathered by elastic, I felt the zigzag stitch still resulted in a nice finish.  I would recommend using a zigzag stitch.



Thread your 16" piece of elastic through the casing.  Stitch the short ends of the elastic together securely, making sure the elastic is not twisted.  Then stitch the opening on the hem casing closed.

If you chose to hem your sleeves, do so now.  Press the sleeve edges to the wrong side by 1/2".  Then hem them using a 3/8" seam allowance and your preferred stitch.

And there you have it!  Your finished newborn gown!



74 comments:

  1. I would love to sew this newborn gown, and not only because nobody knows it in France. But after a try the past week end I can tell you I won't : knit is evil to me, I almost broke my sewing machine, tears were not so far and the result is an awful dress (and it's for a tour so I have to sew nother one !). That's really too bad when I see your pattern... No doubt others will sew lots of newborn gowns "Rachel like" !

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    1. I'm sorry! I used to struggle with knits, too. I found working with high quality knits to be key. I really like Birch fabrics. If it's any help to you, Rae from Made by Rae has a great series on sewing with knits here : http://www.made-by-rae.com/knits/ .

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    2. Thank you Rachel, I'll take a look when my tears will be dry (kidding).

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    3. hahahaha! That is really funny!

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    4. I used to have a terrible time sewing knits....until someone told me it was my needle. Ugh....I never knew! If you are like me and didn't know....a brand spanking new needle for knits will make you smile again.

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    5. I used an Extra Largr men's T Shirt. It was not wiggly which may have added to your frustration. Let me know if I can help you.

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  2. Wonderful pattern! You've put a lot of effort into it and with a newborn too. Thanks!

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  3. I love the look of this pattern, thank you. I have 2 new babies coming next year (not me literally) so will give this a try.

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  4. Thanks Rachel! Even if it's not made as a gown it looks like a great pattern for an envelope T-shirt. very handy (if I knew anyone with a small baby : ) )

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    1. Actually, yes this could easily be adapted into an envelope tee. Maybe in a couple of months I will make that an option as well! :)

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  5. Yay!! This is big time exciting, Rachel - your first pattern! And so sweet to make it available to the blog world:) What a great looking tutorial -clear pictures and well-written instructions. Thank you for sharing your time and talent!

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    1. Thank you so much, Lucinda. I always appreciate your support!

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  6. Wow, thanks so much for sharing this, Rachel! I know it was a huge effort, with lots of double-checking/improving/editing because you are an excellent sewist. I would like to get myself some knit and give this a try. Perhaps some AMH knit... you know, because I'm addicted. I also love the knit you're showing here. Where did you get that? Knits! Elastic thread! Double needles! Yes, I have a lot to learn =)

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    1. Hey Rachel! This knit is by Birch Fabrics. I have been so happy with their knits. If you don’t think you’ll be sewing knits often, then don’t worry about the double needle or stretch thread. Polyester thread and a ballpoint needle will be perfect. I made several this way and they are holding up great and sew up in about an hour. Hazel has been living in these gowns. In fact, she’s in one right now as I type this! :)

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  7. This is awesome, Rachel - thank you!! Now someone needs to have a baby so I can make one! I love love love that Flight knit. Beautiful!!

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  8. So sweet, Rachel! I'm with Gail - I need a baby to sew this for! I love the knit you've chosen here - just yummy. Since the envelope is pretty wide it's not getting stretched a ton so I'm not surprised straight stitch is working well. Just don't use it on those sleeve hems, right? :) I need to try stretch thread!

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  9. What a fantastic tutorial, Rachel! And I just love the combo of adorable + practical. I've never used stretch thread before and now I'm so so curious! :-)

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  10. You did it!!! I am so impressed! The gown looks fantastic (notento self: must find a baby to sew for) and it's so practical. I loved putting my girls in them when they were babies!

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  11. Wish I had this 6 months ago but I have it now for future babies.
    Thanks for sharing!!

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  12. Love this pattern! Just made it in a darling Aztec print and can't decide whether to keep it for our baby coming in April or to give it away :). As a fellow homeschooling, sewing mom of a bunch of kids, I love your blog! Thanks for sharing.
    Whiskem.com

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  13. This sleep gown is adorable! I love the pattern and the fabric. Best wishes from Toronto, Jana

    www.meandmyveritas.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Jana! You'll have to let me know if you try it. ;)

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  14. This NB gown pattern is perfect and the tutorial was so easy to follow! Thank you! I was able to sew this up just in time for our baby due in the next month!

    www.sewclosetomyheart.com

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    1. I am totally in love with the fabric and this pattern! I actually almost have all the ingredients for sewing :) BUT..how practical is this gown for putting it on and taking it off?? It seems like a bit awkward to pull the whole thing from the bottom opening over the head. I would be very thankful for any comments from Mom's who have actually used this on their babies.

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    2. I have not used this because my granddaughter is too small but the overlap shoulders are designed to fold over the shoulder and take off that way!

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    3. By that I mean to pull down over the body instead of over the head.

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  15. This tutorial is awesome! I've never sewn with knits but after giving this a try I'm totally hooked! I made three gowns and the. Didn't quite have enough for a fourth so I made it a shirt! Totally adorable! I used birch fabrics acorn trail and Charley Harper prints. Thanks so much for sharing this!!!

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  16. Thank you so much for this free tutorial and pattern ... I know just how much time and effort goes into something like this!! I'm expecting our second (an AMAZING surprise after more than 10 years of waiting) and am thrilled to get to sew for wee ones (I started sewing when our oldest was about 2-3). I stitched a 'practice' gown up today in some Robert Kaufman Laguna Jersey and it came together beautifully on my serger (I only used my sewing machine for edge stitching the binding and stitching the hem). The arms do seem a little big, but this may be me forgetting the size of babies. I'm trying to think how to adapt to add a hand mitt at the end to avoid those newborn nail scratches. Thank you again, I can't wait to blog about this and share with my readers! XOXO

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    1. I would love to sew this gown for my first grand child.... BUT..how practical is this gown for putting it on and taking it off?? It seems like a bit awkward to pull the whole thing from the bottom opening over the head. I would be very thankful for any comments from Mom's who have actually used this on their babies.

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    2. In the US, newborn gowns are a standard part of a newborn layette. I didn't find them awkward at all - I used them for all four of my biological babies, - and LOVED them which is why I created the pattern. I did read that some moms love them because, if the baby has an explosive poo, you can pull them off over the shoulders and down, instead of up over the baby's head and it makes clean up easier. I cannot attest to that - but it sounds like it would work. Hope that helps!

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  17. my sister's having a baaaabyyyyyy! guess what I'm making up first? thanks for the pattern!

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  18. I'm planning on sewing a few of these for my granddaughter (her mom is due in March). My daughter wants to use one for the baby's coming home outfit so I am wondering about fit. Her last baby was full term and just shy of 7 lbs. Do you think this would be small enough for a petite little girl?

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    1. Hi Betsy! How sweet of you to make something for your new granddaughter. <3 I think this gown will be a little large on a 7 lb baby. I made it to be similar in size to the other (store-bought) newborn gowns that I owned that were on the larger side - for growing room. You can see how it was still quite roomy on my 9.5 lb baby here : http://www.stitched-together.com/2014/08/another-newborn-gown-with-free-pattern.html

      But I was able to keep her in these gowns for a full 3 months, rolling the sleeves at first. It made middle of the night diaper changes a breeze, so I really appreciate them!

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    2. Thanks Rachel! I think my daughter is mostly concern about it staying on the baby's shoulders:) I'm going to make her a few and a few more for my niece who is having a boy in Dec. I pre-ordered some sweet fabric from Birch's upcoming line....too adorable! Thanks for the inspiration.

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    3. I love Birch interlock knits - BUT my only advice would be to wash and dry several times before you sew with them. I sewed two dresses for my girls' in Birch interlocks and they shrunk up so much - even though I had pre-washed and dried like I always do. They shrunk several inches! The girls actually wear them as shirts now instead of dresses! The shrinkage was truly remarkable. :/ Love the prints though and they are holding their colors beautifully, whereas some of the other knits I have purchased have faded significantly and also pilled!

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    4. Yes,I know, I've bought them before but thanks for reminding me:)

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    5. How did you go with the pattern? I am also planning on making one for my grand child..But I am wondering how practical the gown is for putting on and off the little wee one...what was your experience??

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  19. Thank you Rache for the pattern. I've cut it out but not tried making one yet. I AM NEW TO SEWING so is it okay to use flannel as the fabric? What would be used as binding then? Does the stretch needle have a number or does it specifically say "stretch" on the package? Thanks in advance.
    Janie I.

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    1. Hi Janie. I'm sorry, no, you cannot use flannel. You need to use knit fabric (stretchy fabric, like tshirt material) so that it will stretch over baby's head. You could use the same knit fabric for the binding or use special fabric called 'ribbing' which is designed for binding necklines. A stretch needle will be labeled 'stretch' or 'ballpoint'. Regular needles are labeled "Universal". If you go to any fabric store they will definitely be able to help you find what you need. Thanks for asking and good luck! <3

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    2. thank you Rachel. Finally got around to making!! Thanks for the heads up on what material to use. It turned out GREAT !! I had a super pattern that was easy to follow. (wink wink) Got a great nephew who will be my model. (He''s my guinea pig on any/all the baby items I make). Definitely will be making more of these in near future. Again, THANK YOU RACHEL, for the EASY TO FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS!!!

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    3. Thank you so much for this wonderful feedback! <3

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  20. Rachel, this gown is adorable! I was hoping to make one without the elastic that you just knot at the bottom. Have you ever made one like that? I've only seen them on Pinterest and they always show them tied so I'm not sure how they look untied.

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  21. Hi Rachel, I have since made not only several gowns for my soon to be grand daughter , but also a couple for my niece's baby boy born last month!! Loving your tutorial! My daughter is wondering if I can modify the gown to be able to tie in a knot at the bottom instead of the elastic. Do you have any idea how I'd go about it? I'm thinking if I made it a few inches linger and then cut the bottom in a inverted curve it might work. All the best, Betsy Maness

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    1. Yes, I think that would be an easy enough adaption, for sure. I would just tapered the bottom and add quite a lot of length. Then hem and tie. If you look on pinterest for 'newborn gown with knot' you will see lots of example of this! Good luck and I am so glad the tutorial has worked out for you!

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    2. Thanks! So you think just taper and leave the hem straight or taper down the sides into kind of a point? I have been "googling" and it looks like you can find them with knots but only as items for sale, no tutorial.

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    3. It looks to me like it is tapered to almost a point, doesn't it? To me, it looks like it's about 1/4 of the width of the chest. I would add a lot of extra length to the gown pattern, tie it below where the elastic would normally be. Once you know how long it should be, you can taper the fabric and cut away the excess fabric in length as well. Does that make sense?

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  22. I love this!! Great instructions too! I'd love for you to come over and submit this tutorial to DIY Crush!

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  23. Thank you so much! I can't wait to give this a sew!

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  24. How hard would it be to make the pattern larger. My niece loves them and her baby is 7 months.

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  25. For some reason the link to the PDF is not working for me. Any tips?

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    1. I'm really sorry you're experiencing that problem, Courtney. It works here, from my phone, and from my husband's office. My husband wondered if maybe it was a browser compatibility issue? He suggested you try opening it in Google Chrome. I hope that works.

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  26. Thank you for the pattern - it was the first knit project that I made for our little baby (and a bunch of friends' babies, too). It have me the courage to just go out and try it!
    Unfortunately, the didn't quite work out for us - both my husband and I had trouble actually putting them on the baby and by the time it was on she was usually quite upset :( There was just too much fabric that we had to pull over her head and shoulders. I reworked out two gowns and now they work great sleepers (I just cut the elastic/tunnel, cut out half ellipsoid and finished the seams with jersey bias and snaps and sewed cuffs to the bottom).
    www.mangiaminga.wordpress.com

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    1. Hi Amelie! I'm so sorry it didn't work out for you! I know how frustrating it is to put the time and money into a sewing project and have it not work out. I've used this pattern for my own newborn, have given it away, and have had others make it and you are the first to report this as an issue. I have heard that some people pull the gown on from the bottom up. I actually made this pattern because of the gown's ease of use. My babies would cry over snaps. It just took too long for their liking! :) Anyway, I am glad you found a solution that works for you! All the best to you!

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    2. Oooh, I talked to my gift recipients and they loved it!! Guess I just used a not strechy enough fabric for the ones we kept :)

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  27. Tried it and loved it. Thank you so much. wish I could post a picture.

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    1. So happy to hear this!!! Thank you! xx

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  28. Just finished a blue gown from an XL men's T Shirt. It is just what I wanted, so soft and snugly! Baby boy was born this morning to my across-the-street friend, Laura! She chose not to know the gender, so I had to wait until she told me to start the gown. Had a pink and a blue ready for this project.

    Cut the front of the gown pattern out of center front of the T Shirt, the back out of the center back and the sleeves from the bottom sides. Cutting all pieces using the existing hems from the bottom of the T Shirt meant NO gown or sleeve hemming! Cut the neck bindings from the top back of the T Shirt. I cut two pieces of elastic, 8 1/2" each and put one through each side of the gown hem, pinned and stitched them in when I sewed up the sides. Total time from cut to finish: 2 1/2 hours.

    Sleeves of the T Shirt is about all that is left, enough to make mittens and use the sleeve hems for the mitten hems. Had all the supplies, so the cost is $00.00, you can't beat that!

    I also made a dozen burp cloths, bibs, hats and mittens for Laura' baby mostly from T Shirts in gender neutral colors and patterns, using lots of fabric remnants I already had and 1 yard of fabric. Total cost was $4.00 for fabric and $9.00 for the next-to-the-largest size snaps at Joann's Fabrics.

    Congratulations on an awesome newborn gown pattern and a huge thank you! This will be my Go-To baby gift pattern.

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    1. Wow, Molly, great! I'll bet if you made another one it would be even faster! I'll bet you could make one in an hour or less now that you sorted out all of those details. Such great suggestions! Thanks for sharing and for letting me know! <3

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    2. Molly!! I would love to see your finished baby gown !! Could you post a few pics???

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  29. Do you happen to have this in a larger size? LIke a 3-6 month?

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  30. Is this pattern for personal use only or can we make to sell? Thank you

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  31. Thank you for a wonderful pattern . I made this for a gift to my niece for her son who is a week old. It all went together beautifully. I can see more being made for gifts.

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  32. Hi!! I made my twin boys gowns with the birch just for fun camper print and they turned out perfectly! I wish i could post a pic. Thanks so much for this pattern

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  33. Hi! I was wondering if this pattern could be used to make gowns to sell - or if it is only for personal use. Thanks!

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    1. No problem at all! But :: disclaimer - I'm a hobbyest and the gown has not been safety tested, so I'm not responsible for any issues that might arise. My husband's in Risk, so he's making me write this. :D

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  34. Thank you so much for the free pattern, worked really well. I just made two as gifts and figured out how to add the built in scratch mitts to them, blog post here with a link to this post ... https://prolificprojectstarter.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/babygowns/

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  35. Hi, this newborn gown looks amazing! I would like to sew one for my little baby but can't find the pattern on the website?

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    1. If you scroll down to the "You'll Need" section near the top of the post, you'll see the words "the PDF pattern HERE". The word "here" links to the PDF pattern. :) Happy sewing!

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  36. Hi, wonderful tutorial, but where do I find the printable pattern?
    Thanks in advance, Elvira

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    1. If you scroll down to the "You'll Need" section near the top of the page, you'll see the words "the PDF pattern HERE". The word "here" links to the PDF pattern. :) Happy sewing!

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