One of the few things I've learned about having a girl baby (and granted she hasn't arrived yet, but preparatory efforts are underway, after all) is that girls clothes are more expensive than boys clothes. With the exception of color most newborn clothes are basically the same (schlumpy variations on windsocks with arms, essentially) but when you start getting into real clothes, you see that girls clothing costs more because girls clothing is fancy. Seriously, the variations and accessories are endless. Little dresses and skirts and pinafores and hair bows and ruffle butt diaper covers and little baby legwarmers and oh internet, tell me what else that I never knew existed but now apparently need.
Lots of commercially available girls' baby clothing doesn't really appeal to me--either the print is unsavory or the pattern is too frilly or it falls into the category that I have dubbed "baby slut"--but there's lots of cute stuff out there too. Cute stuff which, unfortunately, tends to cost a lot of money. With the exception of winter jackets and this one grey cotton blazer I got for Cal as a two month-old that make him look like mini Kim Jong-Il for the two seconds that he actually fit into it (classic rookie move--never buy a blazer for a two month-old unless you just have money to burn) I don't think I spent more than $10 on any single item of kids clothing for the first year of either Cal or Mack's life. For Thing 3, though, we could spend that amount on any one piece of clothing easily. Hell, we could easily spend five times that amount for one clothing item, and that would be par for the course when it comes to girls' clothes.
I've become especially enamored of these reversible pinafores that I've seen on Etsy, because--well, look at them. First of all, they are adorable. Secondly, you can wear them over anything--short sleeves and leggings, long sleeve and pants, bareback in the summer. Thirdly, you can get a lot of wear out of them, because an outgrown dress can just as easily be worn as a shirt. Fourth: DID YOU HEAR THE PART WHERE I SAID REVERSIBLE? Spill your pureed peas down one side and you still have a whole other side to work with.
The downside, of course, is the price. Prices vary by vendor, but look, I'm not going to spend $50 on any vestment for a baby, unless it plays calliope music and turns baby poops into rainbows. The dresses are cute as all get out, but the expense is just impractical.
Or, I thought to myself, you could just sew your own damn dress, it's not like Etsy is some kind of magical baby dress generating machine.
For those of you who know me in real life (hello, real-life friends), I think you would agree that "makes her own baby clothes" is probably not a real accurate description of my, uh, life schema. I am not one for the domestic pursuits. I can sew in a central line and I can sew up a simple laceration, but that's about it. I don't know how to use a sewing machine, for one. I don't tend to craft--strike two. But I am fairly stubborn, and after a while, I started to think, you went to med school, for chrissake, surely you can sew some stupid little baby dress. What are you, chicken? (That's how I berate myself, by the way. Like Biff to Marty McFly. Now make like a tree and get out of here.)
So I did some research online and read some tutorials and thought, huh, this doesn't look too hard. I found my sewing machine (this is the one I have, which seems to strike a nice balance between being pretty affordable yet advanced enough to be reasonably idiot-proof) and actually read the instructions. (Those are the words printed on the paper that comes in the box. Yes, I too have learned something today!) And then I went to a discount fabric store--one of those that's fun to browse, but it certainly has more than its share of giant bolts of football team logo polyester fleece, that kind of place--thinking I wouldn't find anything appealing, and actually walking out with some nice cotton prints. So I decided that I was just going to go for it, and started and finished my first sewing project last night--my first sewing machine project ever, mind you--and came up with this:
I would put a step by step here, but I don't see any point in reinventing the wheel, I basically followed this tutorial exactly. The only minor modifications I made were that I squared off the straps instead of rounding the ends, and used snaps instead of a large button so it could be truly reversible.
You can see from the pic some imperfections in the stitching (like I said--it was my first sewing machine venture EVER), but I was actually surprised to find that the whole thing was...pretty easy. My first attempt took me about three hours--for someone with experience, it would probably take less than half of that time. I was surprised at how easy it was, actually--so easy, in fact, that I went ahead and made another one. This one turned out a little better, what with the practice under my belt and the choice to use two more similar weight fabrics (the blue checkered fabric on the first one was much more lightweight, almost gauzy, and had the tendency to pull and pucker).
So...that happened. And now I'm like Zoolander looking into a puddle wondering, "WHO AM I?" I thought the minivan was game changer enough, but just who is this person who is sewing her own baby clothes? Is this normal or a sign of my spiral into madness?
Also...what else should I sew now?