Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tutorial: Halter Ruffle Sunsuit

This idea came to me during a 3am feeding a couple weeks of those times when you are half asleep/half awake and your mind starts to wonder...yeah, one of those times. I've started to get my best ideas during these early morning feedings! Ha!

I am very happy with the outcome, and Lily will be stylin' this Summer!

Ok, now for the tutorial:
**Please note: This is my first time making clothing, and while I am sure there are more efficient and better ways to do this, this is what worked for me. Feel free to let me know if anything is confusing or if you think I left something out.

Gather your materials:
seam ripper (a must!),
paper (for the pattern pieces),
fabric (you can use all one pattern or mix it up with 2 or 3),
matching thread,
braided elastic (1/8" and 1/2"),
safety pin,
velcro (1/2" wide),
1 button,
fabric marker,

Make your pattern pieces:

Trace an existing onesie on a large piece of paper. This should give you an approxamate shape for the 2 main panels. Make sure you measure your little one to make sure you are making the pieces big enough. I added 4 inches to the measurement I took on Li
ly, because I wanted it to fit kind of puffy.
Lily's chest measured about 18" around, so 18"+ 4"= 22". I cut each pattern piece about 11" wide, this included my seam allowance.* I measured from her armpits down to her crotch/diaper area and added 1" to the top (for the elastic casing) and 1/2" to the bottom for the seam. Make sense?

I used a large lid to draw the shape of the leg openings.

For the back panel, I cut it similar to what I saw on the onesie.

After you cut your 2 main panels, cut 1- 3" x 17" piece* for the ruffle and 1- 3" x 40" piece* for the halter strap and casing for the leg openings, as well as 3" velcro*, 17" of the 1/2"elastic*, and 2- 11"pieces of 1/8" elastic*.
*These measurements are what I used for my daughter, you probably will be making a different size, so adjust the measurements accordingly

Fold over one long edge 1/4" and press, fold over again 1/4" and press again. On the other long edge, fold over 1/4" and press. Stitch along the double folded edge.

Set your machine on the widest stitch possible, and sew a basting stitch on the long edge that was only folded one time. Do not back stitch at either end. Then pull on one of the threads. This will start to bunch up your fabric, which will create a ruffle. Keep p
ulling/bunching until you are satisfied with your ruffle.
Easy, peasy!!

Measure about 2" from the top of the front panel, and mark with marking pen.

Pin and sew your ruffle 2" from the top of the main panel. (Make sure to reset your machine from the wide stitch back to the smaller stitch) You can then use your seam ripper to remove the basting stitch you used to make the ruffle.

Main Panels:
I don't have a picture of this, but pin together the 2 panels right sides facing along one side. Sew together using a 1/2" seam allowance, cut with pinking shears and press seam open. You could also serge or use a zig zag stitch if you don't have pinking shears.

Fold over the top edge 1/4" and press. Then fold over again about 3/4" and press again. Edge stitch along the bottom edge. Take your 1/2" elastic, attach one end to the safety pin and thread the elastic through the casing, making sure not to pull it all the way through. Sew the elastic to each end (a few times, for added durability) with a
1/4" seam allowance.

Your main panel should now look like this:

Fold so right sides are facing, and stitch a 1/2" seam down the side. Trim your seam allowance with your pinking shears and press open. Flip right side out.

Almost done!!

Halter strap and leg casing:

For the next step, you are basically making bias tape. Fold your fabric in half (long ways) and press. Open and fold each long edge toward the center crease (wrong sides together) and press again. Finally, fold in half one more time and press.

Pin the casing along each leg opening, making sure to sandwich the fabric from the main panel in between the casing pieces. Sew closely along the edge(the opened edge, not the folded edge, if that makes sense).

For the halter strap, I measured Lily to make sure it would be long enough, and cut 14". After folding in one end and sewing the strap shut along the open edge, make your button hole. I made 2 button holes so the outfit could grow with her a bit. This is up to you. If making button holes scares you, don't worry! You can use velcro if you want. But don't be scared! If your machine is capable of making button holes, take your manual and a scrap piece of fabric and practice, they are really pretty easy. :)

Now sew the end of the strap with the raw edge about 2" from the side seam on the front panel. I sewed mine right under the elastic on the inside, so it is hidden. Take your button and sew it (also on the inside) about 2" from the other side seam on the inside of the panel, right under the elastic also.

Elastic leg openings and velcro:

Using your safety pin again, thread the 1/8" elastic through the casing of each leg opening, sewing the elastic at each end of the casing (make sure to sew over the elastic a few times, for durability).

Fold over each unfinished edge of the front and back panel about 1/2". Place the velcro over the folded edges and sew. Sew the velcro for the top panel onto the wrong side of the fabric, and the velcro for the bottom panel onto the right side of the fabric. When the sunsuit is facing down, both velcro pieces should be facing you.

Now step back, and enjoy your finished product!!

I hope this made sense to you. I know this tutorial is long, and if you are reading this, than I thank you for reading the whole thing! If I over explained things, it was because I tried to make it easy even if you know very little about sewing. I would love to know if you tried to make this, and if you enjoyed my tutorial!


  1. great job!! and great job lily for modeling. these are so cute.

  2. Gorgeous!!!! I have been searching sunsuit tutorials for AGES now... I can't believe I haven't come across these earlier! I'd love for you to check out the ones I have made :)
    Thanks for sharing :)


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