I love rompers. I mean, I am that adult that totally would wear them all day everyday.
But alas, this one is for Scarlet. I’m totally going to make myself one soon.
Learn how to sew a romper with a zipper…
How to Sew A Romper with A Zipper – No Pattern Required!
We will make the bodice first. Measure around your child’s chest and add one inch (this is your length). Measure the distance you want the bodice to be from the top of their chest to the waist and add one inch (width). Cut a piece of fabric for the bodice. Also cut a contrasting piece of fabric for the bow using the same length measurement and 4.5″ wide.
Hem one long side of the bow piece. Now lay your bodice fabric wrong side up (if you pattern is directional, you want the top of your pattern facing north), and lay the un-hemmed edge of your bow fabric right side down. So the right side of your bow fabric is facing the wrong side of your bodice fabric. Pin together.
Now set your bodice aside and let’s make the shorts. You could easily just make a gathered skirt, but these shorts are so fun and simple. You do not need a pattern. Here’s what you do. Grab a pair of shorts that fits your kid and fold them in half. Lay them on a folded piece of fabric, with the outside edge of the shorts aligned to the fold. Use the shorts as a guideline but trace extra wide around them – you want these to be much bigger at the waist and roomy. See pic for example:
Now how do we make these crazy shorts fit? Lay your bodice out. Lay your shorts under it. Measure how much wider your shorts are than your bodice. In my case, they are 5″ wider. It doesn’t matter how wide, we are going to make pleats to bring them down to size.
So since my shorts are 5″ wider than my bodice, I need to make pleats that will eat up 5″ on the front, and 5″ on the back. I want to do a pleat on each leg in the front and back, so that’s 2.5″ per leg. You may have 3″ or 8″, just do a little math to figure it out. So here’s what you do. Fold the shorts in half. Use a ruler to find the center of the leg and mark.
Now since I want my pleats to eat up 2.5″ on each leg, I measure 1.25″ on each side of my center line and mark.
Make your marks on the front and back of each leg (so four total sets of marks), before moving on to pinning the pleats.
Now, turn your bodice inside out. Keep your shorts right side out. Make sure the back of the bodice and the basted seam of the shorts are on the same side. Slip the bodice, top first, over the shorts, and pin along the edge.
Get your zipper out. I used the gorgeous 12 Inch Flamingo Pink Metal Zipper from Zipit Zippers. Lay it right side down along the basted seam. You can attach it with pins or try the glue stick trick (apply hot glue, iron to activate).
Use your zipper foot and sew each side of the zipper down. Notice that because of the zipper pull being in the way, my stitches start below the top of the zipper. That’s ok, we will go back and fix that in a minute.
Now let’s add the straps. First we make them. Cut two pieces of fabric 4″ wide by the length you want your straps (good time to try your romper on your model), or you could do like me and just always make them crazy long and worry about cutting them down later so you don’t have to ask too much of an uncooperative child. So iron your strip in half down the long way. Then open it up and use the crease you made as a guide to iron each side into the middle. See both steps here:
Finish the edge of your straps with a zig zag or serger. Now here’s the fun part – you can attach them without any handsewing YAY! Start by attaching the straps to the front. So lift up the bow bit and pin the strap to the bodice only.
Sew the strap to the bodice with a nice secure box-with-an-x stitch. Make sure to sew the strap right up to the edge of the bodice fabric (so it doesnt hang funny in front), but not the the bow fabric.
Try it on your model and mark where the straps should be attached in the back. You can criss cross them in the back if you want, but it does make it a little harder for small kids to wiggle in and out of. You could also sew a button hole on the back (where you would have attached the strap) and then sew buttons on the strap, so you could resize it as your kid grows and get more wear out of it. Then repeat on the back.
All you need to do now is hem your shorts to the right length for your kiddo.
DONE! SO DARLING, NO?
Start your zipper foot! You will be pleasantly surprised to find how easy zippers can be. Need some zippers to get started? Check out our intro to zipperspost.