Looking for the perfect, and perfectly easy, baby gift for all your pregnant friends and cousins? Or maybe you need a quick revenue generator for your sewing business? Look no further! Today you will learn how to hack the Patterns for Pirates Wee Lap Tee pattern into a sleeper. One pattern, multiple options! And did I mention it's FREE?!??
I'm Beth Darrah from Sly Fox Fabrics (follow me on IG) and I hope you'll join me in hacking this baby pattern and creating all kinds of cute little sleepers (don't forget to share them in our facebook group, I want to see all the cuteness!). And due to popular demand, we'll also go through a few simple tricks to make the neckband construction easy peasy!
- Fabric - Go for a cotton or rayon blend like cotton spandex, rayon spandex, baby french terry, tri-blend, etc. I used tri-blend on this one, and double brushed poly for the bands.
- Iron (I use this Rowenta)
- Cutting Mat (I have Fiskars 24"x36" mats)
- Ruler (This 4"x36" is my go-to)
- Rotary or scissors (I love my Olfa!)
- Fabric pen or chalk (I use these pens)
- Clips (these are a great value)
- 15" of 1/4" elastic (I like Dritz)
- Large safety pins
- Tailor's clapper (this will really help to keep your creases after ironing)
- Tape or a glue stick for the pattern piece assembly
Let's get started!
Pattern Piece Modifications
Once you print your wee lap tee pattern, cut out the pieces. I used the 3 month size.*
*If making another size, scroll to bottom for a few tips on elastic and lengthening.
Now attach two more pieces of paper (portrait orientation) to the bottom hem of the bodice pieces. This is where you add the extra length to make the sleeper.
Measure 13" from the hem (orange arrows) and then make your new horizontal hem line.
Next, you need to widen the bottom by 2" (blue arrows). If you have a 2" wide ruler that's long enough, you can just line it up with the shirt's original sides and follow it down to where it intersects your new hemline. That's going to be your new bottom corner.
Now draw a line from the original bottom of the armscye down to the new bottom corner you just marked (red dashed lines).
Do this for both the front and back bodice pieces.
Congrats, you have now drawn your sleeper pattern! Go ahead and cut it out along your newly drawn lines.
Cutting Your Fabric
Tip Time! When you cut out your fabric, get in the habit of cutting a little notch whenever something is cut on the fold. Sometimes you won't need it, but often times it's very helpful for doing bands, ruffles, etc.
Cut out your fabric, and add a little notch at the neckline fold (red arrows/circles below).
Grab your neckband pieces.
Tip Time! After you press them in half lengthwise per the pattern instructions, I like to press in half width-wise also (yellow arrows below). (Here's where your tailor's clap really helps to add a nice crease through four layers of fabric.) This crease creates a visual marker that you can match up to that notch we cut out on the fold of our bodice pieces, so the bands are perfectly centered.
Now you can continue pinning/clipping the neckbands per the pattern's instructions. I like clipping A LOT :)
Sew the neckband and sleeves to the bodice per the pattern's instructions as well.
Next, you're going to sew right up the sleeves and down the whole bodice just like in the pattern instructions.
Creating the Elastic Casing
Fold the hem up 1/2" and press. (I like to first serge the edges for a cleaner look, but it's not necessary)
Stitch about 1/8" from the raw edge that was folded up to create the casing, leaving about 2" open so you can feed the elastic through. I like to put a clip at my STOP point so I don't forget to leave a little open space, like below.
Now grab your elastic. Put safety pins on both ends and feed one end through the casing (the other safety pin should stop the other end from feeding through. Alternately, you can pin it to the fabric if using smaller safety pins)
Overlap the elastic by about 1" and zigzag stitch it together.
Now just stitch that casing closed.
Even out your elastic within the casing.
You're done!! Don't forget to post your makes on our group page (click here!).
*Making a size other than 3 month? To determine the length of elastic needed for the bottom of your sleeper, just measure the shoulder width, multiply by 2, and then add 1". For example, this shoulder span below is 7".
7" x 2 = 14 + 1" = 15" elastic
Add about 1" to the length of the sleeper per each larger size. So for 6 month, add about 14" to the hem. For 9 month, add about 15" to the hem, etc.