This page describes how to adapt a onesie for a feeding tube using simple sewing techniques. Instructions are provided by Shirley Berger.

Onesies can be adapted using basic machine sewing skills with readily available supplies. Sewing the adaptation takes a little longer on the first onesie as you follow the steps described below, but then only takes about 30 minutes per onesie. The finished onesie is functional, easy to use for inserting a feeding tube, and it looks nice.

Items Needed

  1. Sewing machine, tape measure or ruler, scissors, sewing pins
  2. 10” length of Wrights Double Fold Bias Tape Quilt Binding cut into two 5” pieces in a color complementing the onesie being adapted (readily available from sewing stores)
  3. Thread matching the bias tape
  4. .75” piece of both parts of .75” wide velcro
  5. Cotton knit onesie: Use only onesies with a plain front — no decals or seams. Printed decorations that are not thick are fine if they aren’t located in the section of the onesie that will be sewn. Use a onesie that is the next size up from what otherwise fits the child as the adaptation makes the onesie about 1” shorter on the front.

Steps

  1. Wash and dry the onesie.
  2. Put the onesie on the child, measure the distance from the center front top of the onesie to the location of the tube height and note this distance. Measure straight down the center front of the onesie, not diagonally to the tube — you want the measurement to be at the same level on the child’s tummy as the tube, not on the tube.
  3. Remove the onesie from the child and mark the point that is the tube height in the center of the onesie. Note: Unless the tube location is on the center width of the child’s tummy (unlikely as it is usually to the side), the opening you create will be vertical on the center front of the onesie. You don’t want the opening to catch on the tube so do not to put the opening directly over the tube. If the tube is in the center of the child’s tummy, move the mark to about 1.5” to the side of tube.

4. Draw a vertical line on the onesie that is exactly 2.5” above and 2.5” below the marking you made for the tube height on the onesie.

5. Carefully cut this line and then turn the onesie inside out.

6. Take one of the 5” sections of bias tape. Commercial bias tape usually has one folded side that is slightly narrower than the other side — the narrower side is the edge you sew on the inside of the onesie. This allows for a finish seam on the outside of the onesie that covers this first seam — trust me, it works.

7. The seam allowance on the onesie is approximately 3/8”, but much wider on the bias tape. Don’t trim the bias tape to match — instead carefully pin the seam crease of the bias tape to the correct width seam on the onesie, matching top and bottom of the bias tape to the top and bottom of the slit you cut in the onesie.

8. Pinning is essential to keep everything straight for three reasons: you are sewing a stretchy fabric to bias tape with no flex, you cannot see the onesie seam allowance when you are sewing and the pinning keeps it properly lined up, and you want to ensure the top and bottom of the bias tape sections exactly match the top and bottom of the slit you cut in the onesie.

9. Here’s how it should look pinned in place.

10. Sew the pinned seam with a straight stitch, reinforcing each end. Repeat with the other piece of bias tape on the other side of the slit.

11. Turn onesie right side out and pull the bias top to the front. Fold the bias tape on each side back together to the original folds.

12. On the front outside of the onesie pin each section of the bias tape so it lies flat and the top and bottom match.

13. Carefully sew as close as possible to its edge of the folded bias tape with a straight stitch, hiding the seam sewn on the inside of the onesie.

14. Place one section of the bias tape under the other to make a flat overlapping opening. You want the opening you are creating to be on the opposite side of the child’s tummy from the tube. This allows the tube and fabric to lie flat while in use. So, if the tube is on the child’s right side, your opening should be on the left side of the bias tape.

15. Sew the velcro pieces on the center of each section of the bias tape so you can close the newly created opening when not in use. Put the rougher velcro section facing up on the bottom flap and the softer section on the inside of the top flap as this is the section most likely to ever touch the child’s tummy skin.

16. With a straight stitch, carefully sew each velcro piece to make a matching closure, reinforcing the seams.

17. Close the velcro sections together so the top flap of the bias tape opening lies exactly over the bottom flap.

18. Turn the onesie inside out. Sew a seam on the top and bottom of the flap to hold it in place. Use a seam allowance of approximately .25”.

19. Sew a couple of stitches past each side of the bias tape as the front of the bias tape will be slightly wider than the inside and this ensures you catch all edges.

20. Rewash the onesie and it is ready to use.

Finished product!