E is for Eli!

Due to Eli’s recent growth spurt most of his Mama-mades have been packed away or soon will be. Of course this would be when Eli decides that Mama-made clothing is the BEST.THING.EVER. As in “Don’t even think I will get dressed for pre-school without having a meltdown if there isn’t a handmade shirt to wear today!” Luckily on that morning I was able to dig out one last candidate from the shirt drawer that still fit… but barely.

So between the many pairs of baby pants, nightgowns, fitted cloth diapers and diaper covers on my baby-prep sewing list it has been imperative that I sew a few new items for Eli as well.

Here is his latest shirt.

E is for Eli Shirt

I got the idea a long time ago from Dana’s Sprinkle Shirt, which she published way back in 2008. I’ve loved this idea for a long time and it was one of the first kids’ clothing tutorials I ever pinned. Now that Eli is getting really enthused about letter learning it was the perfect time to give it a go!

The shirt itself is part of my ongoing process of learning to sew from patterns. This pattern is a simple t-shirt pattern from Kwik Sew’s Sewing for Toddlers by Kerstin Martensson that Kelly at ReStitch Me recommended to me a while back. The photos are very dated (1980’s) but the clothing is so basic it still works with more modern fabric and embellishment choices. Eli is already using the largest size in the book though so I will soon be looking for a new t-shirt pattern. If anyone can recommend a particular Ottobre edition for a very basic gender neutral t-shirt pattern I’d be most interested.

I don’t know why I find it so challenging to use patterns, but I do. It seems that I had to rip out and redo almost every part of this shirt at least once. So many stupid mistakes were made, and perhaps part of that can be blamed on pregnancy brain. (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.) I couldn’t very well just give up and trash the project though because Eli had watched me embroider the E with much delight and was following the construction of the shirt with focused attention. I actually cut the tan pieces so short as a mistake and then didn’t have enough fabric left in that repurposed t-shirt to fix my mistake. Color blocking seems to be in these days though, so we’ll just pretend I did it on purpose!

I also used the making of this shirt as the occasion to finally try out the twin needle I bought, oh, probably about a year ago. I found it such an intimidating idea, but everyone else that has used one and blogged about it always seems to say that is is actually rather simple to use and quite satisfying as well. Now that I’ve finally taken the plunge I’d have to say that I agree.

Wearing his E shirt and playing with his train. Please excuse the bed head. 🙂

Since I’ve made this shirt Eli wears it almost constantly. The first time I put it on him he immediately wrapped his arms around my neck in a big hug and then spent the rest of the evening periodically giving my arm little love pats. It requires prolonged negotiations to get it off of him to be able to wash it. He also tells anyone who comments on his big E shirt “Mama made it!” Nope, it just doesn’t get much better than that! I need to make a few more shirts and pronto though so that he isn’t always wearing the same soon-to-be grungy shirt!

Here’s where I’m linking up:


Homemaker on a Dime,  I {heart} Naptime,  Flamingo ToesMy 1929 Charmer Blog,

What I Wore Sundayjembellish clothes upcycling page, A Round Tuit


Get Outta My Head PleaseSkip to My LouThe Gunny SackSew Can Do,

Singing Three Little BirdsC.R.A.F.T.,  diy home sweet home,

Craft-O Maniac, Sew Chatty, Sarahndipities The Cure for the Common Monday


At Home With KNot Just a HousewifeHope StudiosFunky Polkadot Giraffe,

Kammy’s KornerThe Kurtz CornerI’m Topsy TurvyTip Junkie,

Raising 4 PrincessesThe Creative Itch BoutiqueSchwin and Schwin

Tip Junkie handmade projects


Sew Much AdoFrugally SustainableThe Shady PorchLil’ Luna,

Someday CraftsPassionately ArtisticWhatever WednesdayTrendy Tots,

Whimsy Wednesday


Mom On TimeoutThrifty DecoratingBear Rabbit BearThriving on Thursdays

The Crafty BlogstalkerThe Shabby Creek CottageHouse of Hepworths,

Sorta Crunchy, Delightful OrderAnything Goes Linky Party,


Simply DesigningWhipperberry,  Happy Hour ProjectsThreading My Way,

Joyful StamperMaking Lemonade BlogThirty Handmade Days,

Release Me CreationsNaptime CraftersRomantic HomeFinding Fabulous,

Shabby NestFrench Country Cottage, The Charm of HomeThe Grant Life,

At the Picket FenceFingerprints on the Fridge, One Art Mama2805,


The Gingerbread BlogToo Much Time On My Hands,

Six Sisters StuffSerenity YouBe Different Act Normal


  1. mamacravings said,

    October 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    This is really adorable!!

    • October 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks. I’ve been wanting to make this shirt for quite a while, so I was thrilled that Eli has arrived at the perfect stage for it!

  2. dawn aldrich said,

    October 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    So cute! How creative you are, missy.

    • October 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks, Dawn, although I can’t really take credit for the idea this time around. 😉 I do love how it turned out!

  3. October 24, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    What an adorable boy you have!

  4. October 24, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Cute boy and a shirt to go with it!

  5. October 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Very cute! I am sure he was proud to show off his new personalized shirt!

    • October 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      It’s adorable how proud he was! I wonder if he will still be as pleased with Mama-made items at 13 years old? I think I’d better enjoy it now when he’s little!

  6. Kerri said,

    October 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Obviously, a labor of love. This will be one you save.

    • October 24, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Yea, I think so. 🙂

      • Kerri said,

        October 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm

        ‘save for posterity’ is what I was trying to write but it was in transit, I guess. Recently I came across some jeans I had made for my now 30 year old son when he was maybe 4 or 5. I couldn’t believe how much work I had put into them and was so happy I had saved them. Maybe someday, they will be worn by his kiddos, or maybe not, but either way they are a treasured item. 🙂

      • October 24, 2012 at 5:58 pm

        I bet they look so small to you now! And how sweet to have such a tangible thing to remember his childhood. So far I’ve kept all of the things I’ve made for Eli. I know at some point that won’t be possible and I’ll have to let some things go, or make a quilt with them, or something, but some shall be saved as is.

  7. October 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for the sweet comment about the rosemary corn muffins. I hope you like them.

  8. wifeysimmons said,

    October 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    What a cute shirt! And so sweet he wants handmade stuff. I like your blog- we have a lot in common!! 🙂

  9. Rachel said,

    October 25, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Oh this is great- I love your version! I was a bit intimidated when I first started with my double needle, but I love it now. Such a time saver and great for a finished look especially on boys pants!

    • October 25, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      I haven’t used it on pants yet, but am looking forward to it. I can never keep two rows of stitching perfectly parallel, especially when going over seams in thick denim, so I can’t wait to see a more professional finish.

  10. ReStitch Me said,

    October 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

    What an awesome shirt for Eli! (and thanks for the mention!) I really like your ‘mistake’ with the added hem. I saved my book of kids patterns for making clothes for the grandkids. Yes, it is dated, but the basics are there, and with a little updating, the possibilities are endless. Just as YOU proved! Nicely done.

    • October 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Thanks! Have you ever enlarged one of the patterns when needing something larger than a 4T? It looks like perhaps it would just be a matter of extending the length and widths by the same increment of measure as the lines of the previous sizes, but I’m not confident I understand well enough how it actually works.

  11. October 25, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I love the Asymmetrical embroidery! and perfect fit! so cute.

  12. October 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I just love that he loves your mama mades so much! I hope I can find the time to sew more for BabyE someday soon!

    • October 26, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      I’m loving it too. When Eli was BabyE’s age I didn’t have much time at all to sew, but now that he is able to entertain himself a bit more and isn’t constantly on the verge of injuring himself in some way it’s become more do-able.

  13. Pam said,

    October 28, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Awesome t-shirt! I just love the stitching on the ‘E’!!!! Hmmm… I have an unused twin needle that’s just been sitting here.

  14. October 28, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Gorgeous shirt! So nice that your son loves mum-made clothes so much!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a fabulous week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  15. lisa said,

    October 29, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Adorable idea and he’s so cute wearing it!

  16. Inder said,

    October 29, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    Wow, he does look bigger! Those growth spurts are crazy! I love the shirt, it’s perfect. Well done.

    • October 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      Thanks, Inder. What’s amazing us is that lately he doesn’t want to eat hardly anything at all, but he just keeps growing. Not sure how it works like that, but it keeps us from worrying that his decreased appetite is harming him.

      • Inder said,

        October 29, 2012 at 1:55 pm

        Joe is super picky and eats like a bird. It is a source of constant angst for us, but he has always been a big solid boy. I don’t know HOW, since he basically eats two bites of every meal, but he’s clearly not starving! So I feel ya!

  17. Maysem said,

    October 29, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    That is an adorable shirt! It’s not easy finding cute but not so cheesy ideas for boys. I love appliques of any sort for boys… and totally loving the idea of the letters. I think this is going on my “gift ideas for boys” list. 😀

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