T-shirt Turned Onsie

This project started with a bright green, long-sleeved t-shirt that had been sitting around for years. I bought it years ago because of the bright green and the silky tie gave this unisex style some feminine sass.

Green Shirt to Onsie

The problem was feminine sass couldn’t make the shirt figure flattering and what do you wear it with anyway? Can anyone envision a full outfit with shoes and all? I can’t. It never looked like anything more than a bow desperately trying to give some personality to a frumpy outfit.

Sorting through my alteration pile, I got a glimpse of the brightly colored baby onsie hidden under the awkward enthusiasm of that silky bow. A quick online search provided me with a free pattern download.

I layed the shirt out for cutting and things got complicated. A onsie is bigger than you’d think. I made the 9 month size but even the 3 month pattnern piece would have had trouble fitting on this shirt. So I had a little bit of piecing together to do.

t-shirt onsie: piecing together

Then I started feeling the fabric and realized it was really, really thin. RTW women’s shirts don’t tend to be made out of sturdy fabric.

What to do about the flimsy fabric? Why not cut up another t-shirt and make the onsie two-sided!?!?!? If my kid spits up, I can just turn the shirt inside out and keep going! (She must be joking. Is she joking? She can’t be serious).

I picked out a cheap, Merona t-shirt that I bought to wear during pregnancy (they stretch out so much they work as maternity). The blue blends nicely with a bright green.

t-shirt onsie: alternate

To stabilize the shoulder seam, I added clear elastic. If you’re up for a fun afternoon, check out the shoulder seams in all your t-shirts. You’ll find some sort of stabilizing tape. If that’s too hot for you to handle just take my word for it.

The white strip is fabric tape. I used that to make sure the shoulder seams lined up properly when I sew them together.

The white strip is fabric tape. I used that to make sure the shoulder seams lined up properly when I sew them together.

t-shirt onsie: constructionThe cuffs around the neck and arms were difficult because the fabric slipped. I used fabric tape and pins to help hold it in place and decided I would only take my stitches out if they went off the cuffs completely. They forge a jagged path along the cuff but I would drive myself crazy trying to get those perfect. Next time will be better (I hope).

The raw edge at the bottom of the onsie was bothering me so I made a little cuff to go over it.

t-shirt onsie: almost done

Not a good two-sided look.

The cuff. Also, fabric tape to hold snaps in place while sewing.

The cuff. Also, fabric tape to hold snaps in place while sewing.

Finally time to sew the snaps. For years, I did this by hand and it was tedious. I’ve started using fabric tape to hold snaps in place and the zigzag stitch to sew them in place. I set the stitch length to zero so the needles moves back and forth without trying to move forward.

The foot was getting in the way so I just took it off.

The foot was getting in the way so I just took it off.

Finally finished with this expanding project, I realized that the cuff at the bottom of the onsie made it too wide and that part fit awkwardly on my baby. The simplest solution will be to take the snaps out and move them closer together. That part will still look a little funny but it’ll mostly be hidden under baby jeans.

DSCN0881

And the other side:

t-shirt: the other side

I’m happy with the first run on this pattern. When I make it again, I’ll use sturdier stretch fabric or line it again.

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