Enjoy! xx Andrea
When we were expecting our firstborn, Elimination Communication wasn't even remotely on our radar. So, when clothes shopping, we figured *of course* we needed onesies…and plenty of them.
If you're like me, the moment you started practicing EC, those snaps became one of your biggest headaches, right? I mean, snapping and unsnapping every couple hours….no big deal. But every 30 minutes?!?! Forget it.
And so…the snaps were left hanging unsnapped, they were snapped to the side, sometimes snapped over the shoulders. Snapped everywhere except where they were meant to be snapped.
AND, to pile on the offense, if you switch from disposables to cloth diapers, the onesies you had been using no longer fit, and you have to size up early. Ugh!
THEN, if you make the jump to using Tiny Trainers (which we did at 10 months), even the thought of using onesies gets thrown out the window. I definitely don't want a miss to involve an entire outfit change.
There's a practical solution to this difficulty - turn your onesies into t-shirts! The pattern I'm going to share with you today is SO easy - anyone can do it, even if the only sewing tools you own are a needle and some thread.
It actually took us until our baby was almost 12 months old before we finally broke and cut a onesie apart…I was so scared of ruining them. To be fair, at that point we basically only owned tops and bottoms in her size, so it was a matter of saving a favorite onesie that would otherwise never ever be worn again. But with this pattern on hand, maybe you can make the jump a lot sooner!
A word of caution: Before you go and destroy your entire stash - maybe just try one. You may find you actually still prefer onesies, especially if your baby isn't mobile yet, so they don't ride up your baby's belly when you carry them all the time. And if you find it doesn't quite work for you, the one onesie you’ve modified will still make a great PJ top with easy diaper access.
If you're worried this might be too much for you, let me assure you, I am NOT a seamstress by any means - if it was simple enough for me, you can do it, too. It would definitely be faster with a sewing machine, but I don't have one, so hand-sewing does the trick (and it's relaxing too!).
Alright, enough with the backstory. Let's get to this pattern!
- An old onesie (probably start with your least-favorite, in case it doesn't turn out as expected)
- Thread (preferably a matching or complementary color)
- Pins (if you don't have sewing pins, safety pins should also serve your purpose. Even paper clips, butterfly clips, or clothespins could work - anything to keep the fold in place)
1) Get those scissors!
To begin, cut the onesie at the lowest point possible, while maintaining a mostly-straight line across. You want as much room to work with as possible.
2) Reverse the shirt
Then, flip your onesie-turned-tshirt inside out. We are going to hem up the bottom to prevent it from rolling, and add some extra cuteness.
3) Fold the bottom edge
Fold up all the way around the bottom of the shirt just a hair - I folded mine up a little more than I should have here, but I had to because the bottom was a bit too curved.
4) Fold again, and pin
Then fold it up a second time. It should look like the picture below. Pin that roll of fabric in place - be sure to avoid accidentally pinning the two sides of the shirt together. You should still be able to put the shirt on your baby (If you wanted to, that is. Definitely don't try it with the pins still in.).
5) Thread your needle
I like to double the string, thread it through the needle, and then bring the ends together and knot it. This makes it 4 threads wide which gives you a sturdy, thick thread to work with. It's nice to have your thread (after the doubling and knotting) measure about double the width of the shirt, which will get you through half the hem and leave you enough to secure it at the side seam instead of in the middle of the shirt.
6) Begin stitching
Start near one side seam and poke your needle down into the top part of your fold. Since the shirt is inside out, this means the extra thread left after your knot will be hidden on the inside.
7) Stitch the hem
Then hand stitch all the way across the top part of your fold around the shirt, taking pins out as you go. This will keep your hem secure, and leave a very cute little line of stitches at the bottom of the shirt. It WILL be visible, so be sure to keep it as straight as possible.
I found that as opposed to pushing the needle down and pulling the thread through, then up and pulling it through, it was much easier to keep a straight line if I went down and up before pulling the needle through.
I would poke the needle through downward, then leave a millimeter or two of space and poke it upwards, like in the photo below. Then I would pull the thread all the way through.
This allowed me to have neat even stitches, and helped speed up the process because I wasn't flipping the fabric back and forth over and over again.
8) Tie off your thread.
When you are getting low on thread (maybe with 3-4 inches left), secure and knot the thread, like I will explain in the next couple of steps. I had enough thread to get through half the hem (from one side seam to the other), tie it off, and then rethread for the second half.
8.a) To begin finishing off the end of your thread, stick the needle into a teeny bit of fabric and pull through, but not all the way - leave some string still loose and not pulled through the fabric, like in the picture below.
Then place your needle inside that loop, pull through, and pull it tight.
8.b) Repeat step eight a second time - this time instead of poking the needle into the fabric, thread the needle into the knot you just created before sticking it through the loop and pulling it tight. This will create a strong, lasting knot that won't come undone.
9) Complete any remaining steps, and enjoy!
Now, go back to step five and repeat for the other side of the shirt (the second half of the hem), unless you used a really long thread and got all the way around the shirt the first time - then you're done!
Once you've finished off the knot on the other side, and all your pins have been removed, turn the shirt right-side out and try it on your sweet baby!
A couple other notes:
The shirt I used for this post turned out to be a tiny bit short. We saw a lot of our baby's belly button that evening - oops! The onesie from my first try seemed a little bit longer, and covered her appropriately like a regular shirt. So this t-shirt will probably be used exclusively on top of dresses - to make our little Spring dresses more Fall-friendly.
It's held up well in the wash, and I'm so happy to finally be getting some use out of my favorite onesie again!
Definitely play around and see what works well for you - I hope this inspires you to give it a try!
And now, I'm curious….
Who else has cut up onesies and turned them into T-shirts? 🙋♀️
Depending on your little one's age, do you prefer onesies or shirts for your baby? 👶
PS - here’s the video version of this episode in case you prefer to YouTube it. ;)