Created by Shannon McBride
Rompers are always a wardrobe staple for babies and toddlers, and this closure-free knit romper provides ultimate comfort while showcasing major style. I know it’s ultra-comfortable for little ones and a one-stop-shop for a quick outfit.
In this tutorial, I’ll provide step by step instructions to create your own pattern and construct a baby/toddler romper. While the construction of the romper itself is an advanced sewist project that requires the use of a serger, the custom pattern making process can be applied to any project.
- Tri-Blend Jersey Knit (I used Grey, Royal and the light heather grey)
- Kaufman Laguna Jersey Knit, I used Navy, Pepper or Onyx for ribbing and cuffs.
- 4 or 5 thread Serger
- Paper for pattern
- Clothes for pattern template
Making the pattern:
Dress your child in a T-shirt and pants that fit comfortably. Measure where the T-shirt hem falls in regards to the pants waistband. Measure on the side for best accuracy.
Use the T-shirt and pants as a template for a pattern. For pattern paper, I used 3 sheets of printer paper taped together. Turn the pants and shirt inside out. Find the center of the front of the T-shirt and align it with one side of the paper.
Trace around the shirt. Most knit apparel items have a ¼’’ seam allowance for serged seams, which is what I used in this project as well. To account for the arm holes, I used a sewing pin to poke through along the T-shirt arm hole seam. When you remove the shirt, you can simply connect the series of pinpoints to trace the correct armhole curve.
For the neck curve, I did the same because I did not include the neck ribbing.
I placed the pants so that the overlap with the shirt would be 3 ¼’’, according to my measurement I took earlier when my son was wearing the clothes. Placing the center of the pants along the edge of the paper with the T-shirt tracing, I used the same technique to trace the pants.
Once I had it traced, I drew a logical line between the armpit and the let opening.
For this romper, I wanted the look of a drop-crotch, so I decreased the inseam by lowering the crotch line about 1”.
For the back pattern piece, I used the front pattern piece to trace as a template. I then extended the length of the shoulder seam, as the T-shirt does. I measured it on the T-shirt and applied it to the pattern. I extended it another ¼’’ to add a seam allowance.
I also lowered the curve for the crotch seam to allow for a slight curve of a baby bottom. This isn’t totally necessary, but it will make the garment lay slightly better along the bottom.
This romper has no closures, no snaps to mess with, Velcro, or buttons. So how are you supposed to dress your child in it or do a quick diaper change? The secret here is in a super stretchy neck. The neck has to be wide enough for your baby’s shoulders and hips to go through comfortably, and the fabric has to have enough spandex to bounce back and not loose shape or pop the seam.
To get a larger neck opening, I sketched a lower neckline and cut down both the front and the back pattern by about 1 ¼’’ each.
The fabric I picked for this romper is this very lightweight tri-blend jersey knit. It would be perfect for the summer so my toddler would be comfortable and cool. Although it has some mechanical stretch, there’s no spandex in that fabric, but there is spandex in the Kaufman Laguna Jersey Knit I chose for the ribbing and cuffs, which is what will make this garment functional.
For the ribbing, I cut three 1 ½’’ x 14” strips, on grain, of the Kaufman Laguna Jersey Knit.
For the cuffs, I traced the cuffs from the template pants, but I wanted a longer cuff, so I added 2”. This made for a 6 ½” x 5” rectangle. Cut 2 of the Laguna Jersey Knit, on grain.
As mentioned, this is for advanced sewists, preferably familiar with sewing knit garments. If you are new to sewing knit garments on a serger, this is a great intro project. Always use a scrap piece of fabric to test the stitch, tension and stretch. I used a 4-thread overlock setting.
Right sides together, serge 1 shoulder seam.
To attach the ribbing to the neck line: Fold one of the 1 ½’’ x 15’’ strips in half, wrong sides together. Romper face up, right sides together, raw edges together, begin serging the neck ribbing on.
KEY: as you attach the ribbing, gently stretch the folded strip as you serge. This will make the garment lay better. If you don’t stretch the ribbing as you go, the neckline will gape; if you pull it too much, the neck will be too tight and the fabric will gather. If you have not done this technique before, practice on a spare piece of fabric until you are comfortable.
Trim any access ribbing and serge the other shoulder seam, right sides together.
TIP: use a regular sewing machine to straight stitch the ribbing of the seam before serging, to avoid any crawling the fabric will do that could cause mismatched seams.
Serge both arm hole ribbings using the same technique as step 2.
Right sides together, serge both side seams.
Serge the inseam.
Pants cuff: for each one, fold it “hotdog” style, and serge the side. Flip inside out so that the cuff has a folded edge, right sides are showing, and raw edges are together, ready to be attached to the leg opening of the romper.
Right sides and raw edges together, serge the cuffs to the leg openings.
For finishing, trim your serge threads around each seam, and top stitch the seam with a regular machine to secure the seam on the ribbings.
Poof! Done! The most adorable, comfortable romper for your little one. For longevity and quality, wash on a gentle cycle and lay flat to dry. For a more durable fabric, I’d recommend any of these stretch cotton jersey knits.
For a shorts version, measure where your child’s knee is, and add a line to your pattern pieces. For the back pattern piece, I made a slight convex curve for a better fit on the leg opening. For the leg opening ribbing, I cut two 12’’ x 2” strips of the Laguna jersey knit, and used the same technique as step 2, and finishing technique from step 8.