Monday, October 11, 2010

Baby Sunsuit tutorial

A little while ago I promised a tutorial so that you too can make a super cute sunsuit, just like this one, for your little babe.
This sunsuit is so, so adorable that I'm sure you won't be able to stop at one, I know I couldn't. So I made Adele a second, more pink version.

***Edit: Just a short note to say that I've just released my bonnet pattern via my Etsy shop for a super cheap $6. A fully reversible, retro inspired bonnet really completes this super sweet summer look. Get yours here. (OK, ad over)
I've included in this tutorial instructions to create a centre snap opening to help with nappy changing. Up until recently I would have been terribly frightened of putting snaps into a garment, but it's really not that hard at all. If you need a little extra help with the snaps you can get a little extra advice here, or put in buttons if you're more comfortable with that.

Once again I've based this tutorial on the Bettsy Kingston Baby Ruffle Pants pattern because it's what I have, what I like, it's cheap and easy, but I'm sure you could used any bloomers pattern. I have a few commercial baby sewing patterns with bloomers or there's the Baby knickers pattern in the Meet Me At Mikes book that should also work or I'm sure there are many other baby bloomers patterns that you could apply the same changes to, to make a sunsuit for your little one.

Now here it is, have fun!!

1/2 meter of fabric
Leg elastic as per pattern instructions
6mm elastic for the top of your sunsuit - about 22 inches will do
Small piece of lightweight interfacing
Snaps or buttons

Step 1.
Fold your Bettsy Kingston pattern piece through the middle of the legs, like in this photo and place the bottom of the pattern at the bottom of your fabric. Make sure you also place the pattern on the fold as stated in the pattern instructions. We are going to add about 6 inches to the top of the bloomers to create the body of the sunsuit. I'm making a 12-24 month size here. Cut one front piece and one back piece, adding 6 inches to the top of both.

Step 2.
With right sides facing, serge the sides of the sunsuit together. Then serge the raw edges of the leg openings and the top of the sunsuit. At this stage the sunsuit should be open at the bottom, between the legs and obviously open at the top.
Step 3.
Sew elastic into the leg openings as per the pattern instructions. Keep the bottom of the sunsuit open. In this stage I add a little extra elastic than the pattern specifies so that there is no excess pull on the snaps when you put them in. About an inch of extra elastic on each leg will do.
Step 4.
Now we are going to create a centre snap closure to make changing nappies a little easier. Like I mentioned earlier, I would have been a little frightened of this stage once, but it's really not hard at all and it makes wearing this garment so much easier (and dad friendly!). Naturally, if you are making this sunsuit for your own kid and are not too worried about nappy access, you can make this sunsuit with front and back pieces connected from the beginning (like when you make bloomers as per the pattern) and not worry about this step.
Measure the bottom opening of your garment, mine is 4 inches. To determine the length of the closure pieces, add 1/2 an inch to this measurement. The width of your closure pieces will be 1.5 inches.

You need 4 fabric pieces to construct the snap opening section, mine are 4.5 inches x 1.5 inches, and two interfacing the same size.

Step 5
Attach the interfacing to two of the centre pieces. Then, with right sides facing, stitch one piece with interfacing and one without, with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. You should only sew these pieces along three sides, leaving one long side open. Repeat with the other two pieces of fabric, then trim the corners and turn both fabric rectangles right side out.
Step 6.
Press your two rectangle closure pieces, pushing out the corners. You will still have one large side of the rectangle open. Along this open side, you will need to press the raw edges underneath 1/4 of an inch toward the inside of the little pocket you've created. This is a little fiddly, but if you take your time it will look much nicer.
Step 7.
Attach the centre snap closure pieces to the sunsuit by simply slipping the open side of your rectangles over the bottom edges of your sunsuit. You should aim to stitch them quite close to the folded edge of the rectangle pieces, sandwiching the garment in between.

Step 8.
Time to make the straps for your sunsuit. Cut four pieces of fabric approximately 20 inches by 2 inches and using your bias tape maker, pull the strips under a hot iron to fold the sides in to each other. If you don' t have a bias tape maker you can just press both sides in.

I find that it's much easier to use a bias tape maker if I lay the iron flat and pull the fabric through with my right hand, guiding it with my left hand. I'm not sure if this is how it's supposed to be done, but I think it produces a far more even result.
Once you have pressed your strips using the bias tape maker, fold each strap in half and then press in the end of each strap. Edge stitch each strap 1/8 of an inch from the edge.

Step 9
Press the top of your sunsuit under 1 inch. This will be the casing for your elastic and will be where your straps connect to the sunsuit.

Step 10. 
Time to connect the straps to the body of the sunsuit. Lay your sunsuit flat and measure approximately 4 and a half inches in from the side of the sunsuit. Pin your strap in this space, placing it approximately 1/4 of an inch further toward the bottom of the garment than the end of the casing, like in this picture. Repeat for the other three straps. 

Step 11
Sew the top of your garment approximately 1/4 of an inch from the top of the casing fold, like in this picture. This creates a slight frill at the top of the sunsuit and will make the garment a little softer for your little one to wear.
Step 12
Sew a second line aroung the top of the sunsuit, but this time closer to the edge of the casing. As you approach a strap, fold the raw end of the strap under, into the casing, like in this photo. Make sure you leave a small opening so you can feed elastic into the top of your sunsuit.
Step 13.
Measure your elastic. As the elastic doesn't actually hold the garment on your little one, it is not supposed to be tight. I've cut my elastic 20.5 inches, which is 1.5 inches more than Adeles chest measurement. Feed the elastic through the casing, sew together, than sew the casing shut.
Step 14
Attach snaps or buttons to the centre of the sunsuit.

 You are done - how cute is your sunsuit!!!
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial. I'd love to see any finished sunsuits that you make, so please send them through. Hooray for summer!

You know the only thing that could possibly improve this adorable little sunsuit is adding an equally adorable little bonnet by little betty.

Check out my shop here or here to get your own.


  1. All your works are fantastic
    Marta from Tela Marinera, Barcelona

  2. I love this pattern! I have been looking for one like this for a while. Question: what are your suggestions on lengthing the pattern for other sizes (3-6, 6-12, and 24 months)?. x

  3. This is great! I used this tutorial to make a sunsuit for my daughter, using a metallic bias tape instead of a casing at the legs and top. Super-easy, super cute. Thanks!


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