As I’m working through Haute Couture Embellishments assignments (feathers.. passementerie!!.. tassels.. closures.. and embroidery) I keep thinking of ways to use the techniques I’m learning and noticing them in old clothes, etc., getting super excited. I used to hate handwork (I think I have mentioned that before), I really didn’t “get” embroidery and my stitching was always soooo sloppy but here we are… growing up and loving handwork. I’m like 5000 beads in at this point.
I continue to love really fussy clothes and now I get to make them. I mean fussy in many ways… like it can be simple but just painstakingly made, or it could have a thousand buttons to do up – both of those are fussy and that makes them good. I really really love fussy baby clothes, both the ruffly puffy obnoxious kind but also lately just using couture techniques or handwork on baby clothes. I was going to say that it’s kind of anachronistic, to give a baby something super delicate or carefully made, but actually that isn’t true. Babies are precious and beloved perhaps more than any one of us so really, they deserve the most carefully created clothing. ALL THIS TO SAY I made a baby jacket for my friend Adrienne who is going to have a baby soon.
Just like with last time I don’t know how big or small babies are so I used a pattern and didn’t modify. I used Simplicity 4060, c.a 1952: “Infants Layette Including Transfer for Embroidery: The dress features front and back pin tucks, short puff sleeves and a small collar. Buttons fasten slip at shoulders. Ribbon trims outer edges of kimono. Ribbon bows fasten kimono front and sacque. Bib, bonnet and booties are trimmed with scalloped edges and fasten with ties. Bonnet is gathered at back edge. Embroidery and lace edging trim layette.” Here is something amazing about this pattern: it refers to the tiny baby shoes as “BOOTEES” on the fabric requirements and it refers to the short baby jacket as a “SACQUE”. Why does it do that? Maybe it’s trying to be like 1950s cutesy or French or something. I made the “sacque”, the short version of the baby “kimono”, which really was a dolman sleeve jacket – no arm seams. Which was smart actually because again as I learned the last time I made baby clothes, sewing a really tiny round armhole or sleeve insertion is very hard! The dress of this pattern does have arm holes/sleeve options though.
I made it from some recycled fleece from Mood in red which I read was good for baby clothing. I sewed the front and back (the only seams) by machine and then blanket stitched all of the edges… even the inside ones :). Fleece doesn’t ravel, not woven so it was really just for the visual aspect and for just doing something nice and pretty. I knew I was going to use a baby blue fleece for appliques so I did all the stitching in matching blue. Then I blanket stitched all of the edges and cuffs. Blanket stitching is really easy once you get going with it, I just used some little “Spruce Crafts” tutorial as a reminder when I started. It’s a little messy I guess. Because I made it with love with my own hands. (paws)
OK, then I cut out and laid out the baby’s initials:
The BIG inspirations for this in a major way were: Al Freeman who told me to make something with initials since the baby has extremely great initials, and @rudyjude from instagram who makes her children beautiful felt crowns every year for their birthday. I am a crazed rudyjude (I think her name is really Julie O’Rourke) fan and I just really admire her craft abilities. So, that was my guiding light initially.
I finished the ZAH and was liking it a lot but actually, I was kind of sad because this was for my friend Adrianne and her/her last name (R) was not really represented even though she is the mother, just because ZAH was so fun. When I first met Adrianne it was because I had won a raffle for her drawing as a fundraiser for Black Lives Matter so I got a really amazing wonderful broccoli drawing. So I was thinking, could I embroider a broccoli…?
Yes I can embroider a broccoli. And THEN I started really thinking about embroidery and specifically stumpwork which is a technique to create raised embroidery with stuffing so I raided a little kapok pillow I have and stuffed the broccoli.
Then that night I went to a gallery opening (this is really becoming a diary) and my new friend Emma told me I really had to add Adrianne’s initials on the inner left above the heart. So I also decided I would do that. I then video called my mom to show off and she said baby clothes need closures – or else the baby will wiggle out of it. My mom knows everything about babies, baby clothes, baby needs etc so… I had to add a button. I also hand stitched the buttonhole :).
The final jacket………
And a pic of Adrianne with the jacket. Just because it is special to me and I love seeing them together. I’m sorry, I really still don’t know how big or small babies are so what size baby will fit that, but hopefully one day it will be the perfect size for baby Z A H.
Yahhh woo!! Maybe baby clothes are next for me, to get into some beautiful Tribeca children’s store where everything costs $800. Or maybe I’ll just keep devotedly lovingly making them for the babies in my life. OK, till next time! A final thank you to: Al, rudyjude, Emma, my mom, Mia, and Kim, and also my FIT prof for all in a way helping me make this. This was kind of like a team project. And to Adrianne and Jake for having a baby. love you. bye!!!