Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hand Sewn Baby Slip

I belong to three different SAGA chapters, the largest of which has been running a program to make a baby slip by hand or machine. I chose to make it by hand as I was able to get most of the sewing done while riding to my niece's wedding last month. This photo is of the shell hem around the neckline and arms. This is quite easy to do by hand, although if you're afraid to do so, you can also follow the instructions in Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Ahles. In it, she gives very clear directions on how to do this by machine. To tell you the truth, the machine method scares me a bit. I've done it on scraps, but never on a real garment. To me, it's easier by hand. I just turn the edges under and go for it. One of the ladies in our group is doing a hybrid method. She sewed 1/8 inch from the edge and turned the fabric under and ironed it, then will sew the shell edge by hand.

The side seams are finished with a French seam, again all by hand.

This embroidery is worked in DMC Floche, blanc, from a pattern in Country Bumpkin's Embroidered Christening Gowns as I was much too lazy to design anything myself.  The link will take you to CB's site, but the book is also available at Amazon. The bottom edge is only partially finished with entredeux. First I rolled and whipped the edge, then trimmed off the fabric from one edge of the entredeux, then whipped it to the rolled edge. Then I trimmed the fabric from the other edge of the entredeux in preparation for attaching the lace.

The next step will be to gather the lace and whip it to the other side of the entredeux. But first I will wash and iron the slip, then mark the bottom edge's center fronts and backs. Since I believe almost every baby garment should have some feather stitching I will mark the design lines after washing.

This is a fun little project that our VP in charge of programs cooked up for us this year. Thanks, Lisa, for all your hard work! Next week we'll tackle buttonholes by hand. Oh goody! You know I've been have difficulties with buttonholes on the Dainty Dotted Day Dress; but will take Bunny's suggestion of sewing in a rather sparse buttonhole by machine then sewing over it by hand. This fabric is much denser than the dotted swiss so it should be much easier.

My washing machine is in its death throes, so I'm off to buy a new one; not a purchase I'm willingly making. The old one is only about 9 years old.


  1. Nothing lasts as long as they used to. I would go for a basic one with less electronics involved. I've a basic Simpson washer with the old turn the knob and pull it to start etc and it is still going strong. When first married we bought an electronic sensor one and only got about 5 years out of it. After the first 2 years the panel with all the touch buttons gave out and had to be replaced but it was still just in warranty. Technology isn't everything. Love the hand sewing!

  2. I can imagine that sewing the shell neckline by hand would be easier than controlling the machine. It looks beautiful! It's going to be a very sweet project. Is the feather stitch a personal preference, or does it have some symbolism attached?

  3. Your work is just beautiful! I am looking forward to seeing the slip when it is finished.

  4. What a sweet project this is! Like everything you stitch, it is delicate and lovely. I, too, have done the shell hem by hand but resist doing it by machine on anything other than a sample. I am intrigued by the "hybrid" version of the shell hem and will try that the next time a shell hem is in order. Thanks for sharing this slip and the tip.

  5. Where can I find a pattern for the slip

    1. I believe this one was a pattern that our teacher drafted. Old Fashioned Baby patterns has several and I would start there first. If you have any of the AS&E magazines or books there should be baby slip patterns in them as well. Also try Children's Corner patterns.


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