When I dress my kids this summer, I plan to adopt a “one and done” philosophy. Rather than layering them up in t-shirts and shorts and tanks, I want to reach for one garment and go… And this Summer Romper for Kids is the garment I am going to grab!
These Rompers are simple to make, fun to wear and so perfectly chic, I can’t imagine wanting to add anything else to the mix. Plus, the free pattern is available in seven sizes, from 2 to 11 years, and features adjustable straps and an elastic waist for a forgiving fit.
I think I may have found the solution to the morning get-dressed battle, but I may have created a new bedtime take-it-off fight! Fine, sleep in it, too. After all, this is the summer of the Romper!
- ¾ (¾, ¾, 1, 1, 1, 1) yard of light to medium weight fabric. We used, from left to right…
- 1 (2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2) yard of ½-inch Braided Elastic, White
- A 110-yard spool of Gutermann’s Cotton Sewing Thread in a color to match the fabric. We used, from left to right, color 1040, 1040 and 4850.
- An 18mm Bias Tape Maker
- A small scrap of ribbon, approximately 2 ½ inches long
- A safety pin
- A free Summer Romper for Kids template, printed, prepared and cut out in the appropriate size
To fit ages 2 (3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10, 11)
Finished Waist Sizes: 22 (23, 23 ½, 25, 26, 27, 27 ½) inches in circumference, unstretched.
- To print the PDF template, be sure to first download the pattern and then print it. This means rather than simply clicking the link and opening the PDF in a browser window, you should click on the pattern link using the “right click” or “control click” option on your mouse or keyboard. This will give you the option to “Download the linked file.” Once the file is downloaded, it should print like a charm!
- Prewash all fabric before starting.
- Use ¼-inch seam allowances, unless otherwise noted.
- Backstitch at the beginning and end of all seams.
- For the sake of clarity our instructional photos use Robert Kaufman’s Botanics + Architextures in Tangerine Hatches, a fabric with a clear right and wrong side. When you are working with a fabric without a clear right or wrong side, choose either side as the right side for the first seam and follow this precedent for all subsequent steps.
From the Fabric
Use the prepared pattern pieces to pin and cut …
- Two Bottom Front pieces
- Two Bottom Back pieces
- Two Top pieces, on the fold
The two Bottom Front pieces and two Bottom Back pieces should be mirror images of each other. To be sure to cut them with the proper orientation, cut one with the right side of the fabric facing up and one with the wrong side of the fabric facing up, or you can fold the fabric and cut through both layers at once.
Also cut …
One 1 5/8-inch by 26 ½ (27 ½, 29 ½, 31 ½, 33 ½, 35 ½, 37 ½)-inch strip for the Waistband
Two 1 5/8 x 30-inch strips, cut on the bias, for the Straps
You may need to piece the strips to get the appropriate length. For detailed instructions on how to piece binding strips, please visit our Making Single Fold Bias Tape Binding Tutorial.
From the Elastic
- Cut two 6 (6 ¼, 6 ½, 7 ¼, 8 ¼, 8 ¾, 9)–inch pieces for the Neckline Elastic.
- Cut one 22 ½ (23 ½, 24, 25 ½, 26 ½, 27 ½, 28)–inch pieces for the Waist Elastic.
Prepare the Waistband and Straps
Following the manufacturer’s instructions, use the 18mm Bias Tape Maker to press the Waistband and Strap strips into single fold binding.
Open up the folds at the two short ends of the Waistband piece. With rights sides together, stack the two ends on top of each other and pin in place. Sew along the short, pinned edge to create a Waistband loop.
Press the seam open and refold the creases.
Piece the Bottom
With right sides facing, stack the two Bottom Front pieces on top of each other. Pin along the concave edge of the inseam.
Sew along the pinned edge.
Sew along the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.
Press the seam to one side.
Repeat with the two Bottom Back pieces. Place a pin in the Bottom Back to help distinguish between the Bottom Front and Back.
With right sides facing, match up the short crotch ends of the Bottom Front and Back along the raw edge, making sure that the center seams line up. Pin in place and sew along the pinned edge.
Sew along the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch.
Press the seam to one side.
Lay the Bottom pieces so that the right sides of the Front and Back are together and their straight side seams align. Pin together along the raw edges of the side seams. Sew along the pinned edges.
Sew along the seam allowance with a zigzag stitch. Press the seam to one side. This is now the Bottom.
Hem the Bottom
Fold the bottom raw edge of one leg opening ¼ inch towards the wrong side and press. Now, fold the edge ¾ inch toward the wrong side and press again. Pin in place. Sew the hem down with an edgestitch.
Repeat for the bottom raw edge of the other leg opening.
Piece the Top
With right sides facing, stack the two Top pieces. Pin along the two side seams. Sew along the pinned edges.
Sew along the seam allowances with a zigzag stitch.
Press the seams to one side. This is now the Top.
Sew the Neckline Channel
Fold the top edge of one side of the Top ¾ inch towards the wrong side and press. Fold this edge 1 1/8 inch toward the wrong side and press again. Pin in place.
Repeat for the top edge on the other side of the Top.
Sew one top fold down with an edgestitch. Sew the fold again, now with a ½-inch seam allowance. (There will be a little over ½ inch between the two seam lines.)
Repeat for the other top edge, but this time, first fold the small ribbon scrap in half and tuck it under the unsewn fold, at the approximate center. Pin it in place, and then sew the edgestitch, followed by the ½-inch seam allowance. (The ribbon is to mark the back of the Romper. Since the front and back will look very similar but will fit differently, this little ribbon will come in handy!)
Piece the Bottom and Top
Turn the Bottom so that its wrong side is facing out.
Turn the Top so that its right side is facing out. Slip the Top inside the Bottom, right sides together. Make sure the back of the Top faces the back of the Bottom. Align the top raw edge of the Bottom with the bottom raw edge of the Top and match up the side seams. Pin in place along the raw edges.
Next, open up one fold of the prepared Waistband piece. With the right side of the Waistband facing the wrong side of the Bottom, line up its open raw edge with the pinned edges of the Top and Bottom, making sure to align the Waistband seam with one side seam of the Bottom. Pin all three layers together along the raw edges.
Sew the three layers together along the pinned edge with a ¼-inch seam allowance, using the crease in the Waistband as a guide.
Unfold the Romper so the Top is no longer tucked inside the Bottom and the wrong side is facing out. Press the Top and Waistband up, along the seam line.
Edgestitch the top folded edge of the Waistband to the Top, leaving a 1-inch gap in the seam.
Attach the safety pin to one end of the Waist Elastic. Insert this end into the gap. Pull the pin through the Waistband, exiting out the other side. Make sure to not pull the Elastic’s other end into the channel.
Checking that the Elastic isn’t twisted, overlap the two ends by ½ inch. Sew the ends together widthwise with a zigzag stitch.
Tuck the Elastic into the Waistband and close the gap with an edgestitch.
Finish the Neckline
Attach the safety pin to one end of one piece of the Neckline Elastic. Insert this end into the channel at one top edge of the Top.
Slowly pull the pin through the channel, stopping right before the other end of the Elastic is pulled into the channel. Tack this end of the Elastic here, right at the edge of the channel, by sewing a short edgestitch along the raw edge of the Top, sewing through the Elastic and all layers of the channel.
Continue to pull the elastic through until you have pulled the pin out on the other side. Sew the other end of the Elastic to this side of the channel in the same way as described above, making a short edgestitch through all layers.
Attach the Straps
Lay out the Romper with the wrong side facing out.
Fold one Strap piece in half to mark its center.
Open up one fold of the Strap piece. With the right side of the Strap facing the wrong side of the Romper, match up the center of the Strap with the side seam of the Top, aligning their raw edges. Pin in place.
Working in one direction and then the other, continue to pin the open edge of the Strap to the armhole until you reach the top folded edge of the Top. You will have an overhang of bias tape at each end of the armhole, which will be the straps.
Sew the bias tape to the garment along the armhole edge with a ¼-inch seam allowance, using the fold of the tape as a guide.
Fold the bias tape towards the Top’s right side and press flat. The long, raw edges of the bias tape, as well as the raw armhole edge, will be enclosed in the fold.
Sew along the entire length of the tape along the open edge, being careful to catch both sides as you sew.
Repeat with the other Strap piece on the other armhole edge.
At the end of each Strap, tie the bias tape in an overhand knot and trim the end.
Note: You can easily trim the Straps to any length. Simply cut the bias tape down and retie the knot.
The Romper is ready to wear!