Because Big Brother is about to embark on a spring full of baseball games, cool equipment, and fancy uniforms, it seemed only fair to make his number one fan a special, baseball-watching outfit. I made him a long-legged version of my DIY Boys' John John--I'd call it a boys' romper, some might call it a longall--with a special baseball applique.
He was absolutely thrilled--which was such a sweet gift to mommy. The moment he saw it he began to point and shriek, "BALL! BALL!" Once I got it onto him, he struted around proudly, pointing to his tummy with a wry smile and saying (more calmly now), "ball." I think he felt really special, and that was, of course, my goal.
So, here's the story on the romper. I used the pattern that I made last summer for the DIY Boys' John John and added legs by laying a current pair of his pants out along the pattern (I put a piece of freezer paper under the old pattern, traced the additional leg area onto it, then cut and pasted it to the John John pattern). Then I used my own tutorial (that's a huge bonus of writing tutorials!), adding in an applique step just after I sewed the two front pieces of the romper together. I made and attached the applique following the exact steps in my Super Shirt Tutorial (I just freehanded the glove and ball based on pictures I found through Google Images). Once the appliqueing was complete, I used DMC thread to embroider red stitching onto the baseball, going straight through all three layers of fabric (the front of the romper, the glove, and the ball).
Also, because this version has legs, it was really important to get the hem length correct. This is probably the most obvious piece of advice in the world to those of you who are more experienced at sewing than me, but you MUST measure the inseam of your romper against your little guy's actual inseam before hemming the legs. No matter how perfect your pattern, they'll come out funny without this step.
I used corduroy for the body of the romper and the glove applique, white flannel for the ball (I couldn't find white corduroy), and an adorable red and white plaid for the facing, just to give it a little extra touch of special. If you're wondering why on earth I'd use corduroy at the beginning of spring, good question--I bought all the materials in January and thought I'd get it done a long time ago. Oh, well. Perhaps I'll learn to be more realistic one of these days. Big Brother's t-ball team is the Red Sox, so Little Brother can wear this to games and practices before it warms up and then to Braves games next fall (I might have to let the hem out by then, but I left room for that!).
Despite the fact that boutiques sell rompers like this as if they were sewn with gold thread, they are very easy to make. The pattern is simple and the sewing itself is appropriate for a beginner (thus, I can do it). What makes it special is the combination of fabrics, buttons, and applique images you pick (although with the right fabrics, you don't need an applique). Can you hear me cheering you on through the computer? You can do this! I'm planning on making several of them for the spring and summer (mostly the John John version).
This is Little Brother's "cheese face." Funny munch.
Lest I give you a dishonest impression of my process with this, I did have some painful issues with the sewing machine. Issues that led to cuss words. And to borrowing a second machine from my gracious friend, Megan (thank you!). Let's just say that if it wasn't my mom's and a certifiable antique at this point, I would have drop-kicked my Singer Touch & Sew off the back porch. (And then it's made-in-America, all-steel body would have broken my foot.) It's been high time for me to get my own, less tempermental machine for awhile now. If you have any great recommendations for a budget-friendly, resilient, and very capable sewing machine, will you let me know?
Until then, we'll be playing with trains (all these pics were taken at the entrance to a train yard near our house) and dreaming of ways to create a summer wardrobe. Have a happy weekend!