Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The pattern that grew with baby

When I was pregnant with my son, I was working in a lab at Cornell and sewing doll clothes on the side.  I knew our income was going to drop significantly after I went on an indefinite maternity leave, so I started researching cloth diapering. This was 2004, so cloth dipes were just starting to make a resurgence nationwide.  I happened to live in Ithaca, NY (which was, and always will be stuck in the early 70's) so I had lots of support from other cloth diapering mamas.  Anyways, cloth diapering itself wasn't that hard - lots of laundry, some stinky diaper pails...but all in all not too bad. 


We bought disposables when we were traveling or when the house was on the market, but otherwise we did great with very unfancy cloth diapers (handmade pre-folds with purchased wraps).

Louie spent most of the early weeks in onesies and sleepers, but when it came time to dress him up and take him out, I found that pants for his size didn't fit over his diapered bum.  Maybe it was the hormones, too many episodes of Baby Einstein (specifically, Baby Neptune), or possibly too much time on the forums, but I came up with an amazing concept for a WAHM  (work-at-home-mom) business...POOFYPANTS!  I had learned a lot about drafting and sewing pants from sewing for odd-shaped dolls.  I applied this knowledge to engineer pants for a creature with a huge butt and tiny ankles.  Knowing that length would outpace width, I designed the leg openings to be rolled up or cuffed. 


The first few pairs I made were 0-3 months (Lou's size), and 3-6 months (which seemed HUGE at the time - lol).  I made an insane number of pairs out of my fabric stash (latent nesting hormones) and put them on ebay with matching onesies (simple patch applique, but very cute).  I immediately got requests for larger sizes.  Since I didn't have a model that size, I waited a few months.  When Lou was 7 months, I drafted the 6-9 month size.

He was thrilled.  By the time he was 10 months old, I was back into doll clothes, but I still drafted the 12 month size just for him to wear to a party.

I actually sold a LOT of Poofypants during my first few months of motherhood, and not just to the cloth-diaper set.  Turns out, the pants looked super cute on all precious baby butts, regardless of the padding.  Moms loved the fact that they were reversible and grow with baby.  There is just something special about the fit - and it changes just like the little ones' grading rules - just a mama's instinct (sooo contrary to my scientific training).  It works so well, though.  The infant sizes are more "frog-legged" while the toddler versions are designed for running around, squatting, and having tantrums :) .

I drafted my original patterns on tissue paper from my baby shower gifts, and I stashed them away when I moved on to bigger kids' clothes and eventually patternmaking.  I dug them up last year, and decided that they might make for a fun pattern.  I thought they were different enough from my Easy Fit Pants (which is probably my best seller of all time) to warrant a pattern just for the little ones. 

So, I made a set out of fresh, fun, Sis Boom prints, appliqued a teeny onesie, and sent the set of to a gorgeous baby and her photographer/bowmaking mommy

I put the pattern up for sale...and it was an insta-hit on Craftsy, Etsy, and YouCanMakeThis!!!  So even though my baby is long out of diapers, I get a little teary-eyed seeing testimonials like this:

"I'm a beginner and I found these instructions the clearest of any i've used, with step by step diagrams and clear worded instructions. I also love the range of sizes provided and the separate patterns per size so they are easy to cut. The pants are absolutely gorgeous!" 

"Easy to Sew, Plus best pattern I can find for those Newborn sizes! Love It"!

"A very well-written pattern and crystal clear instructions. Plus, the finished garment is totally adorable and an excellent fit! I was lazy when doing the coordinating trim and just used a bit of bias tape! "

"This is the easiest pattern I ever bought. Very clear instructions, several pictures - easy to follow. I have some experience in sewing but I'm sure any beginner can make these in no time!"


Sew Pretty Dresses said...

Aww! What a sweet story! I got teary eyed sewing up one of your baby patterns for a friend! Just the sweetness of it all.
Louie was an ADORABLE baby! Handsome young man now...=D

Bunny said...

Your Puffy Pants are wonderful. But Baby Louie - I just want to reach in the screen and pick all that preciousness up and mush him to bits. He is gorgeous.

judy said...

What a great pattern story! Now I want to make some!!

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Sadia Noor said...

How wonderful the story is! I like Puffy Pants and Baby Louie. They are so beautiful. Thanks for posting.
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