DIY Cheap Baby Clothes Series – Mill End Store

I want to prove that I can do better for less than even clearance clothes. I picked up some knit pants and a shirt for Zoe in size 18 months at Fred Meyers (aka Krogers) for the clearance price of $4.97 each…let’s round and say $5. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that and they look it – we’re talking hot pink velour and leopard print, hey-oh!

So I pulled out a pile of knits fabric and scraps including a 1 yard remnant at the Mill End Store for $4.99…again, rounding to $5.

Pile of Knits
Pile of Knits

I took an old onesie in the 9 month size to take apart and make an upsized pattern. Now this part is not an original post, per se, nor is saving money without sacrificing quality. I can’t improve on Dana…I don’t really think anyone can…she is the master of the deconstruction process, and my shirt pattern is based off of her pattern tracing and her 90-minute shirt that she posted almost 5 years ago! So, yeah. This is partially inspired by Dana’s hard work and you can either follow her tutorial or buy a pattern. The pants pattern I already have been using for about 9 months.

An added bonus of working with knits is that the bolts are ~59 inches wide…so a yard is almost 5 feet by 3 feet! Yatzy! On my first cut, I fit 1 baby shirt and 1 pair of pants.

Max Fabric Usage
Max Fabric Usage

Note I folded in the pants on the side seems as I only need 1/4″ seem allowance – your mileage may vary. I’m also using a serger for most of my knit construction which makes using a 1/4″ seem allowance a LOT easier. On my second cut, I got another full shirt pattern and approximately 5 yards of 2-inch binding strips which I’ll get back to later.

Max Fabric Usage
Max Fabric Usage

Now, if you’ve read Dana’s tutorial, you’ll know I’m loosely following her instructions. I only want 2″ binding strips; I believe she used 4″ strips and ribbed….this is partially just aesthetic so do what you will. Regarding direction of stretch fabric and cutting, I just try to remember which way I want it to stretch over the head/butt and cut that way. I don’t want to get bogged down into what Creative Gemini has already discussed better in a video here.

I cut strips from a sparkly greenish fabric from Joann’s and serged the edges in gray. I used 1/4 yard that I got as a remnant for $2.50 when I bought the rest of a bolt.

2 Inch Binding Strips
2 Inch Binding Strips

When I can, I try to sew in what I call “production mode” and sew in groupings such as serge all the binding, sew on all binding, serge all edges that can be serged at once…etc.

Mass Production Binding
Mass Production Binding
Serged Sleeves
Serged Sleeves
Body Pieces
Body Pieces

After constructing the shirt, I did the bottom binding last. I increased it to 3″ and pinned it a bit lower to add a bit more length to keep baby belly covered better. I used a sewing machine to sew on the binding and sew in the sleeves as I know how. I’m only adding in photos of the few things I’ve done a bit differently than Dana, but more or less it’s the same as her tutorial. For the pants, I followed the pattern directions albeit altered for serging.

Bottom Binding
Bottom Binding

For this project, here’s the final grouping.

Final Amount
Final Amount

Keep in mind that there is a lot of 2 inch binding to use which I will $0-out on a later project. My pants pattern was something like $2-3 a dozen pairs of pants ago, so I’m calling that a wash. I made the Dana tutorial shirt pattern which was free (thank you Dana!)

So, fabric total is $7.50 divided between 3 articles of clothing = $2.50 each

Stay tuned, there will be more. I still have 2 yards of that sparkly, “may crock” fabric, a really bad clearance/remnant bin habit and kids that won’t stop growing. I may even throw in some trendy “upcycling” jargon.

Ok, ok, so the thread is negligible when buying in serger-sized bulk, and my serger happened to be a gift from my awesome mom. My sewing machine was not a gift and is in what is called the mid-price range but I can’t really price machines out or their value as that’s up to the individual user.

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