Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Full Body Baby Frock Tutorial

It seems like this "baby frock" has taken 7 years to make. I started it a while ago, got sick, and haven't really gotten back to it until recently (thanks to my friend taking my daughter to play with her daughter for 2.5 hours today!). Instead of cleaning, I sewed; you know how it is. Very, very bad.

Anyway, this blue baby frock bodice started out as a practice bodice with my junk fabric, but then I realized I might need a 2nd dress for baby in case of a pooplosion, so I just finished it. You can see the serious discoloration in the fabric.

I used the Full Body Infant Frock found on page 33 of The Workwoman's Guide, which corresponds with Plate 4, Figure 1.

Measurements for a child of 1 year:
Depth of body down the selvage: 4.5" (I made mine 5")
Length of body width-way of the cloth: 36"
Depth of arm-hole: 2.812"
Length of waistband, if wanted: 20.25"
Length of band for the hem at top, if wanted: 20.25"
Length of sleeve-bands: 7.875"
Length of shoulder-strap, if wanted: 5.06"

Measurements are also given for: first size as well as children of 3, 5, and 8 years.

I also used Plate 3, Figure 8 to help me get an idea for what was going on:

"In cutting it out, double the strip for the body once, and again in half, and then cut out the armholes the proper depth and width."

Folded in quarters and arm-holes cut. Pardon the yellow fabric, you can see what's coming down the pipe. I didn't take pictures of the blue.


"The full body is made up in either of the following ways:—the first and most simple, is by merely hemming it at the top and bottom, putting wide hems at the ends. . . . The sleeves are put into the body with shoulder-straps."

I couldn't find how wide to make the shoulder straps, so I made mine 5.06" x 3". I think 4" would have worked well, too. I believe period shoulder straps were more narrow than that, but I wanted mine wider for more coverage.

I've never made a sleeve pattern before, so I thought I'd try a couple on my practice bodice. The Workwoman discusses this starting on page 36. My left sleeve above is made with Plate 4, Figure 13, and my right sleeve is made with Plate 4, Figure 12.

For baby's first size (sleeve) from the scale chart:

Measure of largest depth: 4.5"
Length of sleeve when open: 15.75" (In the written area of the instructions, it says something about 7.87", so that is what I did mine for a flat sleeve.)
Measure of smallest depth: .75" (In the written area of the instructions, it said make this 2.25", so that's what I did.)
Length of band: 6.75"
Length of shoulder strap: 2.81"

Measurements are also given for children of 2 and 4 years.

I went ahead and cut my long sleeve shorter and added a flounced edge that I learned about in Elizabeth Stewart Clark's Girl's Dresses booklet.

From page 32 regarding Infants' Petticoats, "The top strings should draw from the shoulder-straps only, and another string may be run in the front to draw it, and tie on one side."

I'm not sure about this string stuff, but to gather up my bodice, I just got my really long quilting needle and some leper-bandage string (sorry, can't remember what it's really called at the moment), tied a knot in one end and threaded it through. I tied a knot in the other end, too, because I don't want loose strings hanging around. When I want to adjust the size of the frock, I'll just cut my string, pull it out, then re-thread a new one that's a little looser.

The Workwoman says skirts should be 64 - 72" in circumference and 33(poor)"-40"(rich) in length for a first size. I made mine only 18" long (short coat length) as to be similar to modern baby garments. I want the baby to be able to move around in these clothes.

I like to cut mine in 3 sections, as suggested by Elizabeth Stewart Clark in her Girl's Dresses patterns.

I should have made a small hem at the top of the skirt before gathering and attaching it because now I have a finished bottom edge of the bodice attached to an unfinished top edge of a skirt. I'll have to fix that by hand.

". . . and then setting it upon the skirt, making more fullness at the back and in front than at the sides."

I hemmed the skirt by hand and then added a machine sewn growth-tuck. I don't know why I do that. The machine-hemmed growth-tuck covers up the hand-sewn hem! I should either use the machine all the way or at least cheat and machine do my hem and hand do my tuck!

The back. I covered my buttons just as Liz suggested. I still have a bit of inside work to do, but I was just so excited to post this!

You can see it's a little big, but she doesn't need to wear it for 4 months, so that's a good thing.


Amanda said...

Why clean when you can sew?
This turned out darling. It was worth the dust. Thanks for posting.

Mary said...

Great job!

Annie said...

I love it!! So cute! Will you save that for Jane, too?


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