Having the perfect outfit to wear to a party can make a big difference. Knowing that you look great can give you the boost in confidence needed to meet new people, try new things, and have a fantastic time.
O.k., but how does this apply to a one year old? He has no clue what he's wearing. While that is true, at a birthday party, the birthday boy or girl is the center of attention and therefore the centerpiece of the party. Crafting an outfit for your little one that goes perfectly with your party's theme helps create a festive atmosphere for all of your guests to enjoy. Besides, dressing up your baby is just plain fun!
Since my son's first birthday was going to be a Sweet Baby James Cowboy Party, he obviously needed to be dressed as a cowboy.
I started by sewing a felt cowboy vest.
The pattern for this is the Frontier Vest over at Made. Since the original pattern is sized for 2-4 year olds, I used Photoshop Elements to shrink it down to the same dimensions as one of James' 18 months size sweater vests. I also decided to replace the original red star with a yellow sheriff's star and a number one for a very special one year old.
This vest was actually my very first sewing project on my very first sewing machine. I guess you could say that it is this vest's fault that I am now addicted to sewing.
Next, I decided to make a special cowboy themed birthday shirt.
The yellow and brown elements are made from jersey and the number one is made from green John Deere flannel, strategically cut to avoid all John Deere logos. Everything is attached to a plain white T-shirt using Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 and then hand stitched with white thread. If you would like to make this shirt, you can find the pattern for it here.
I also made a felt cowboy belt with a monogrammed felt belt buckle. Really. What is a cowboy (or cowgirl) without a giant belt buckle?
To make the belt:
1. Gather your supplies: brown felt (the cut by the yard kind, not the little squares from the craft aisle), brown thread & two 1-inch metal D-rings.
2. Cut two 1-inch wide strips of brown felt. The length of these strips should be however long you would like your belt to be plus about one and a quarter inches. The felt strips that I used to make James' belt were 24 inches long.
3. Sew the two strips of felt together to create a belt using a quarter inch seam allowance on all four sides.
4. Thread the belt through both D-rings, fold over by about an inch, and sew down the belt end onto the belt itself to create a loop.
To make the belt buckle:
1. Cut out buckle and buckle strap patterns from light gray felt. Cut out letters from dark gray felt. You can find the pattern for the buckle and letters here.
2. Using fabric glue or hand stitching, attach the letters to the right/good side of one of the felt belt buckle ovals.
3. Sew the buckle straps to the right/good side of the other felt belt buckle oval.
4. Pin the two belt buckle ovals together with the right/good sides facing out. Sew together using a quarter inch seam allowance.
Thread the belt buckle onto the belt and put it on your favorite little cowboy or cowgirl!
The last element of James' outfit was his cowboy hat. I didn't feel up to sewing a hat at that time, so I went ahead and bought one on Amazon. It is a gorgeous hat, very well made, sturdy enough to withstand a toddler, and designed to fit for years. I really can not say enough about how wonderful this hat is, so if you are looking to buy a child size cowboy hat, this is a great one to get.
Just in case you missed any of the links for the patterns, here they are again:
Frontier Vest over at Made
First Birthday Cowboy Shirt
Belt Buckle & Letters