Friday, April 11, 2014

Charity Sewing - Infant Layette Shirt

There is a charity organization located in the next town over from me here in Maryland called IMA World Health.  A month or two ago they contacted our Relief Society President at church and asked if we would help provide layette shirts and gowns for their "Safe Motherhood Kits".  To quote from their site, these kits "provide clean and sterile birthing supplies to expectant mothers in areas where infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world."

Of course, I jumped right on board with this project!  First of all, I try to take any opportunity to serve others with my talents, but also, as a mother of severely premature NICU twins, I have been on the receiving end of  many others service in the form of handmade and crocheted blankets, layettes, even hand-sewn Christmas stockings for my babies while they spent their first Christmas in the hospital.  

When you are in that situation, it is very overwhelming to know that there are so many people out there willing to spend their time and talents to help serve and comfort those in need.  I vowed then that I would do what I could to try to give back to others in a similar way, especially when it comes to babies in need.

The little football player bear shirts were the first ones I made (only one is pictured).  I wanted to hurry and get one made to use as an example for the ladies at church.  I don't have a ton of baby-type fabric in my stash, but did find this old piece that has been hanging around for about 4-5 years now and was able to get two shirts out of it.  

For the rest of the shirts, I tried to go a little more gender neutral, since these will be going to a variety of babies.

While their website has suggested guidelines for the shirts and gowns, it didn't have an actual pattern.  I looked online for something similar, but didn't find exactly what I was looking for. So, to make things easier I offered to draft a pattern for anyone who wanted to help make them. It is a mash-up of the website's  guidelines, 2 other patterns/guidelines I had, plus my own alterations.  

I sewed the first one with french seams, as the website suggests. The enclosed seams are definitely nice for concealing the raw end of the inner tie, but my biggest complaint was that it made the shirt smaller than I wanted.  I wanted them to be fairly roomy, since they will be going on a variety of sized newborns.  So after that, I took to my serger, which neatly enclosed the tie ends into the seams as well as giving it a nice, finished look. It is definitely the way I would suggest finishing these shirts. 

I used both regular cotton fabric as well as flannel.  Both worked great for the bodies of the shirts, but I suggest only using the thinner cotton fabric for making the bias tape ties.  The brown polka dot ties are adorable, but made from flannel, and they didn't want to play nice. 

 Now, If anyone would like to make a layette or two to DONATE to our cause (wink, wink), I would gladly accept any sent to me before the May 1st due date. I can email the pattern. It's hand drawn and not professional in the least, but it works.  (At this point, it is JUST the pattern, not written instructions.  I have been directing the people at church to the IMA website to follow their general guidelines for construction. However, if I had enough people interested, I would write up some instructions to go with it.) 

My email address is:
If you want to send a shirt to donate, email me for my mailing address. 

Linking Up:
Fabric Frenzy Friday @ Fort Worth Fabric Studio

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