Adapting a Pattern for a Drawstring Hem

Every Christmas baby deserves something special to wear. The sweet little nightie shown here has been designed with that in mind. The embroidery is perfect for the season, and the fabric, Swiss flannel, will keep baby cozy and warm. Made from a daygown pattern, this garment has been adapted to draw up at the hem to keep little feet from getting uncovered and chilled. The neck is finished with a tiny bias binding, and the front facing is embellished with Swiss edging. Six strands of red embroidery floss have been woven through the entredeux edge of the Swiss to give it an extra festive appeal. This tutorial from Jeannie Downs Baumeister will show you how to adapt a pattern for a drawstring hem so you can recreate the look for your little one. This tutorial first appeared in our November/December 2011 issue of Sew Beautiful magazine (#139).


NOTE: The nightie is sized for an infant to 18 pounds.

  • Embroidery Design
  • Pattern
  • Fabric
    • 1-1/4 yards of white Swiss flannel
  • Trim
    • 1-3/4 yards of 1/4-inch-wide Swiss edging with entredeux edge
    • 1-3/8 yards of 3/8-inch-wide silk satin ribbon for drawstring
    • 1-1/4 yards of 1/4-inch-wide silk satin ribbon for sleeves
  • Floss
    • Anchor Embroidery Floss
      • #47-red
      • #217-green
  • Needles
    • Size #10 sharps
    • Size #7 betweens for embroidery

Pattern Adaptation Instructions

NOTE: You will need to add enough to the length of the daygown to make a casing and still allow baby to kick freely.

1. Extend side seam so that it measures 26 inches from underarm of pattern to lower hem (fig. 1).

2. Shift daygown pattern down so that outside hem edge of pattern is even with new hem length. Draw a new hemline following line of daygown hem and extend hem over to pattern center (fig. 2). Draft an extended pattern front and back.

3. Follow pattern directions and complete daygown except for hem. Button daygown and then line up facings all the way down to hem. Stitch facings together beginning 2-1/2 inches below last buttonhole (fig. 3).

4. Turn under raw edge of hem 1/4 inch. Press. Turn under hem 1 inch to form a casing. Unfold casing to stitch buttonhole.

5. Place a 1/2-inch buttonhole 5-1/2 inches to side of center front so that it will be centered on right side of casing; cut buttonhole open. Now pin, and then stitch casing in place. Run ribbon through casing (see details photos).

drawstring hem

Jeannie Downs Baumeister is an internationally known designer, teacher and needle artist. She is the designer of the popular pattern line “The Old Fashioned Baby” and author of the book Jeannie B’s Book of Heirloom Embroidery Designs & Stitches. Visit her at, or at her blog,

Get the 2011 Sew Beautiful Collection for more great projects and techniques!

One thought on “Adapting a Pattern for a Drawstring Hem

  1. Nancy Hoeman

    This little gown is lovely. As a nurse and grandmother-to-be, I would like to add a word of caution about drawstrings in infant garments because these can be a strangulation hazard. Infant ready-to-wear manufacturers have not used them in many years. I would suggest adding a step, to “stitch in the ditch” at the side seam opposite the buttonhole in the casing, so the ribbon cannot pull loose. An alternative would be to insert narrow elastic, fastened securely to the casing.


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