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.
- 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 (stretchy, t-shirt like) fabric - PREWASH!!!
- ballpoint or stretch needle
- 16 inches of 1/2" elastic
- 100% polyester thread or stretch thread
- 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.
- 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.
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.
(Update: I have tried edgestitching using a double needle, a straight stitch and a narrow zig zag stitch. I now prefer using a narrow zig zag stitch best, as I have found it is most durable.)
Fold the gown onto itself to find the center point at the shoulder. Mark this point.
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 well with an iron and that should take care of it!
Press the bottom edge of the 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.
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 a narrow zigzag stitch.
And there you have it : your finished newborn gown!