bias tape

UPDATE: The birthing gown in use here.

Have I mentioned that I’m going to be a grandmother? My daughter is about to give birth to my first (hopefully of many) grandson in a few short weeks.

Wanting to do something nice for HER (cause the baby already has more than he needs and he’s not even here yet), I asked her if she would like a birthing gown instead of using those dull hospital gowns.

She was keenly interested, so off we trekked to Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, N.C.  Mary Jo’s is also known as the Mecca of fabric stores (no offense).  It’s massive and has such a dizzying variety of fabrics.

While there she picked up an adorable butterfly print, and we got some deep pink fabric for the trim.  I eagerly took my purchases home, washed them immediately, then ironed them all into perfect piles of glorious fabric!

And then it sat.

And sat.

And sat.

For MONTHS. Until finally it dawned on me that the baby was due in a couple of weeks, her hospital bag was already packed and in her car…GASP!…without my birthing gown. She would have to give birth in a boring old hospital gown. Her pictures immediately after the birth would have her in a drab gown worn by who knows how many people before her!  This COULD NOT STAND!

So I got busy and in less than a day (really about 6 hours of pedal to the metal), I had finished the gown.

Let me share some of the pictures.  I wish I had taken more during the gown’s creation, but this will have to do.

First I got the pattern for the hospital gown from here, Thank you Lazy Girl Designs!

Second, I completely changed the pattern around.  I made the front the back, so that her gown will open in the front.  There were two reasons for this. One, she could use the gown as a robe before and after and two, she can breastfeed more easily without having to undo her entire gown.  The pattern is printed out onto like 11 sheets of paper, and then you have to tape them all together.  To make the back, I folded the pattern along the “front” line, and put it on the edge of the fold of my fabric.  To make the fronts, not only did I use the “back left and back right” patterns, but I extended the cutting line out from the neck line, made a nice arch to accommodate a baby bump, and came down to an extended line from the bottom of the gown’s hem line.  As a note, the hemline is high unless, like me, you give it some extra length with a contrasting trim.  I added two inches in trim, and that is a good length.

I sewed the pattern together as the directions dictated, except that instead of Velcro on the shoulders, I actually sewed the shoulders together.  Because she’s going to a birthing center and again, the gown opens in the front, I didn’t think she needed quick access like a normal gown would.

With the shoulders I did French seams, which turned out lovely.  I couldn’t figure out how to do French seams on the sides as well, so I serged the sides, then sewed the seam allowance down to avoid annoying itchy seams (didn’t want any distractions during labor).

Fold Lengthwise and Press

 

At that point I started on the bias tape.  I lied. I didn’t make bias tape.  There’s a very good reason, though. I lent my mat and rotary cutter to my daughter, and wasn’t about to try to make bias tape without those invaluable tools.  So my “bias” tape is really straight strips of 4” and 3” fabric. So sue me.

That’s when I decided to start taking pictures, too.

Fold over Edges Again and Press

 

 

 

Sewing two strips to make one long strip

 

 

 

 

Bias tape is pretty simple, really.  You (normally) cut on a 45 degree angle, making strips that run diagonal from the direction the threads run.  This allows the “give” in bias tape that makes it so nice around curves.  Then you iron the strip in half length-wise.  This gives you single fold bias tape.  I wanted the “tri fold” or quilt binding type. So I proceeded to iron down the length in quarters on the two flaps.

 

Sewing the trim on really made this whole gown come together.  I put some smaller pieces of trim on the inside under one armpit, on the outside under the other arm pit, and then on the flaps of the front of the gown.  It looked good, but I wanted something to gather that extra fabric I cut out for the baby bump over the top of the baby bump, so it would “poof” out just so.  I used about 6” of elastic on both flaps of the robe, pulling and gathering the fabric up perfectly, just between the bottom of her chest and the top of the baby bump.  Perfect!

Finished Gown

I should have taken a picture with her wearing the gown, but she promises there will be lots of pics forthcoming. I’ll add them up here after.

 

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