Sewing For Preemies…….


I’ve been absent from blogging for a while.  Summer has been busy with travels, vacations as well as working on sewing projects/classes/patterns.  I have gotten a lot done, but don’t have a lot of sewing to show for it.  More of the work has been on class notes, pattern drafting, etc.  All of which are needed things, but not the fun sewing that I enjoy.

After several weeks of not touching the sewing machine, I just had to sew something.  I’ve had so much fun these last few days working on some preemie baby things.  A dear friend of mine will soon has some grandchildren on the way!  I’m so excited for her and have been praying for those little ones.  I suspect that the babies may be early.  Of course, they would need some preemie sized clothing.  I went on the search for some cute preemie boy patterns.  I was so discouraged at what I found, or rather, what I didn’t find!

When searching for preemie patterns, there are plenty of freebies out there, but they are mostly hand drawn kimono type garments.  I was looking for something that looked more like real clothes and not something to be worn for bed.  I finally gave up and decided to draft my own diaper shirt and diaper covers for the little guys.


This was the first outfit that I finished.  I used the sweet bonnet pattern that was included in a recent SAGA News for a matching bonnet.  Judith Marquis designed this bonnet and the pattern is available for purchase and has multiple preemie sizes included.  I can’t wait to get to the SAGA convention and purchase the pattern so that I have all the sizes!

I just love these diaper covers!!!  They are designed similar to the vintage pattern styles with no elastic in the legs.  They are my favorite!


Here’s what I have discovered as I’ve looked for preemie patterns.  The few that I found available were sized either 3 – 7 lbs. or 4 – 7 lbs.  Therein lies the problem that I have with those patterns.  If something is large enough for a 7 lb. baby, it’s going to be enormous on a 3 or 4 lb. baby.  The seamstress in me cannot wrap my head around how a 3 lb. baby could wear anything that is something that a 7 lb. baby could wear.  Here’s a visual:


The doll on the left is the size of a 7 lb. newborn – same length, torso length, chest, waist, etc. while the doll on the right is the same size and has the same measurements as a 5 lb. preemie.  (Just for reference, I don’t consider a 7 lb. to be a preemie but a , so also don’t consider clothing that goes to 7 lbs. to be preemie sized but a NB size.  Yep – I’m strange!)  It doesn’t take much to figure out that the same sized outfits will not fit both of these 2 dolls.  I didn’t have a doll the same size as a 3 or 4 lb., but the difference there would be even more significant.

I also was unable to find any diaper shirts and diaper cover sets in a pattern for the preemies, and that’s what I had my heart set on.  So, after a pattern draft, a trial garment, some minor corrections and more sewing, I’ve been able to create 2 outfits and make 2 slightly different shirts.  I’m quite pleased with the little outfits.


I love the asymmetrical shirt and think that the blank space would be perfect for a monogram.  Not knowing what the boys will be named, I opted for a cute rocking horse design.


Now that I have the pattern drafted, I hope to get instructions written up.  We’ll see how that goes.  I’d much rather be sewing than writing instructions and taking pictures!!!

Until I can find other preemie (as in, up to 5 lbs.) patterns, this will be my go to pattern for preemie boys!

I have no problem with preemie dress patterns.  The SAGA Wee Care gown is a wonderful smocked bishop dress and I know it fits little ones great!

Several years ago my niece was born prematurely weighing 1 lb. 12 oz.  She spent  time in the NICU until she was big enough to go home.  I made her some 1 – 2 lb. size smocked Wee Care gowns.  This is a picture of her at 5 weeks in one of those gowns.


The little gown fit perfectly!  As she grew, I also made her some 3 – 4 lb. gowns and she wore those as well.  I think she may have been the best dressed little girl in the NICU.  🙂  We thank God that she’s a healthy teenager now!  I cannot say enough good things about this SAGA gown.  If you know of a preemie that needs a tiny dress, this SAGA one is sure to be a good fit.

That’s the extent of my recent sewing.  I hope you’ve been able to fit some sewing in this summer as well!




14 thoughts on “Sewing For Preemies…….

  1. Rettabug

    Oh Kathy…BRAVO!!! What a WONDERFUL sharing of your talents for our mutual friend!!! I wish I’d thought to do something…your outfits are just PERFECT & I know they will be most appreciated.

    I’ve often heard it said to “Find a Need & Fill it”…you certainly have done so with these precious outfits.

  2. Martha Ullmer

    What is the name of the doll on the right that is the size of a preemie 5 lb baby? I have a new granddaughter that size.

    1. Kathy Post author

      Martha – I searched through my daughter’s dolls – she’s 24. I don’t think that this was any specific doll. Congratulations on the new granddaughter!!! Make her some Wee Care gowns! You can shorten them for dress or diaper shirt length as well. 🙂

  3. Nancy

    Kathy, those outfits will be so appreciated.

    When our little grandtwins were born they were 3 and 4 pounds and once they were stable enough to put clothes on it was so reassuring to see them looking like a regular (just tinier) baby. Even the nurses said to bring in outfits and they would dress the girls every day. Of course, their birth was not expected so early so no time for sewing and we went to Carter’s and bought everything they had in preemie size. Their parents donated all the preemie clothes to the NICU and the nurses were so thankful because not every family was able to have things to dress their tiny blessings.

    With the increase in twins there is probably much more need for tiny sizes. Yours are so classic.

    1. Kathy Post author

      Thank you Nancy! I’m sure that the hospital was thrilled to get all those preemie clothes. New parents don’t have time to shop once the little ones are born. I’m sure that many were blessed by their generosity!

  4. Willie Conway

    You are such a caring gifted individual. It is so wonderful how you share the road you travel and turn difficult moments into outfits of dignity and beauty for these our tiny children of the world Thank you for all you do. It is an honor to call you friend

    1. Kathy Post author

      Thank you Willie! I love doing this type of sewing – well, except for setting in those teeny tiny sleeves. LOL! These little outfits are fun to dream up and sew and take hardly any fabric and much less time than bigger clothes. 🙂 Even tiny babies need clothes!

  5. Louise

    Love these outfits. My grandson was just over 6 pounds when he came this June. All the beautiful outfits I had made for him were too large for several weeks. I would have loved to have this pattern to have made something for him. Will you share the pattern with us?

    1. Kathy Post author

      Thank you Louise! I still need to write up all the instructions, etc. before I would have a pattern to offer. Maybe in the near future…..

  6. Carol

    I go nutty when I see beautiful boy items. No matter what size, boy items are hard to find. I, too, hope you will offer that pattern for sale. I like the cut and style of both of them. I wonder if the hat is on the SAGA site? They are just beautiful!

  7. Terri Brown

    You’ve inspired me to sew up at least a couple of things to have on hand. You just never know when something like this will be needed.


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