Friday, 20 September 2019

Simplicity 1447 Tartan Romper Sewing Project - with Pleats!!

Baby's romper lovingly handmade in the UK with a fine wool tartan fabric in autumnal shades of red and brown with a hint of steel blue.  The steel blue colour is highlighted with contrasting short sleeves, patch pockets and a peter pan collar.  The front of the romper is softly pleated giving it a wonderful shape and a subtle flourish.  The back is fastened with two matching steel blue vintage shank buttons.

Pleats and peter pan collars are my nemesis!!  I really took my time over this romper and I'm so impressed with the result.  I was intending this to be for my Little Pickle but it's too small for his big torso and cloth bum so it's on sale in my NuMonday store.

Tools and Materials:
Fabric from stash.

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I wouldn't normally bother stay stitching, but I'm trying to make myself take more time over the little details like this, in the hopes that I will achieve a better finish on my garments.

Sewing the Pleats

I've tried both colours of tracing paper and neither of the colours is visible on the fabric.  I officially hate pleats at this point.  

I've used a dressmakers pencil to mark the top of the pleat lines.

Then I made a tiny hole in the pattern to mark the bottom of the pleat line.

I've used a quilters ruler to join the two lines.

I had to turn the pattern over to do the back.  This time I tried a white dressmakers pencil.

It wasn't any better and I went back to the blue dressmakers pencil.

Bringing the two lines together - ugh!!  Did I mention I hate pleats?  I use a pin in one side on the line,

Out the back on the line.

Repeat, repeat until it's nice and secure.

I seem to remember (from a previous sew) the pleats coming apart at the bottom so I back stitched for a few stitches to secure them.  

A good press and I can heave a sigh of relief - the pleats are finally OVER with.

Sewing the Sleeves

I sewed the shoulder seams and set in the sleeves pretty much according to the pattern instructions.  Except that I use my overlocker (serger)  to neaten the raw edges.

I finally got round to making myself a paper hem guide.  

I held off stitching the sleeve hem until after I've sewn the sleeve seam as I think this makes for a neater finish.  It also saves me the trouble of changing my needle twice as I always use a twin needle for hemming as I think it looks far more professional.


I overlock (serge) my pocket edges before turning them in.  Most patterns have the raw edges unfinished leaving stray threads inside the pocket - ik.

I use a twin needle to hem my pocket.  

While I've got the twin needle on the machine I stitch the sleeve hem.  I've learned that children's sleeve and pant hems are too small for the free arm on my sewing machine.  They are easiest to sew from the inside.

For future reference - mark the pocket placement.  I always forget and end up having to rummage through the pattern pieces and match them up to the fabric in order to mark the pocket placement at a later stage.

While I've got the twin needle installed I've put it to work sewing the pocket in place.  Just look at how neat that's come out!!  I made a point of backing stitching over a few stitches at the top of the pocket.

Sewing the Back Closure

Experience has taught me to overlock (serge) each side of the back seam individually before sewing them together.  This leaves me with a neatly finished edge for the back closure.

I've sewn the back seam much higher than specified in the pattern.  This pattern uses a zip closure in the back.  The strikes me as being very uncomfortable, with the zip puller irritating the tender skin at the back of the neck.  I'll probably do a button loop or a hook and eye closure.

Sewing the Collar

Now for the collar, eek!  Peter Pan collars are my nemesis!!

A little trick I've picked up is to clip the curves not just once but twice.  It leaves much less fabric to interfere with a perfect point.

Instead of turning my the fabric under my sewing machine I've stitched each seam line right to the end of the fabric.  Hopefully this should give me neater points, or is that pointier points?

OK, I take it back.  I'm officially in love with Peter Pan collars.  Isn't that just so precious!!??

I'm not inserting a zipper but I have given the back edges a good press before moving onto my other nemesis - the bias tape neckline.  I'm beginning to remember why in the past I've sewn this pattern and then put it right to the back of my sewing pattern box.

Because I'm folding the back seam in on itself I've sewn the bias tape right to the ends of the back seam and snipped off the excess.  The raw ends will be neatly hidden in the back seam allowance.

I didn't think I'd need to trim the seam at the front.  But it's far to bulky.  I also reconsidered my decision not to clip the curves.

The pattern doesn't say to tack (baste) the bias binding down before sewing.  I normally avoid tacking (basting) but I'm determined to get a perfect finish on this neckline so I've tacked (basted) along the bias binding.  

I've also dug out my tailors ham to give it a really good press.

I've top stitched the binding in place.

And pressed the collar down to the front.  The pattern is a little lacking with regards to this step.  It doesn't mention what to do about the collar at all.  It's just "turn to the inside and stitch".  Not even any mention of pressing.

I've done two lines of top stitching down the back closure so it's nice and secure.

With hindsight I've also added a second row of top stitching along the neckline.  In the past I've found that the bias binding can fray when washing leaving it looking unsightly.


My DIY hem guide came in handy again for the pant hems.  I've got this one


in my Amazon wish list.  Maybe I'll get lucky for my birthday later this month.

I hadn't noticed that this pattern had snaps at the crotch. I'm groaning as I thought I'd almost finished.  I'm making the decision to leave them off and just sew the pant legs together.

Which means that the pant hem is all I've got left to do . . .

Oh, I nearly forgot the back closure.  I had these gorgeous vintage buttons and made a couple of little loop closures.

Link Ups:

This romper is availible to buy from my NuMonday shop, priced at £9.99

It's a huge improvement on my previous version of this pattern.

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