They’re Back! Baby’s Tiny Li’l Jeans
The other day somebody asked whether we would ever bring back some of the old classic MDK patterns.
Bring back?—I wondered, in a mild (and also fake) huff. They’ve never gone away!
I will always cast on a Ballband Dishcloth like it’s the latest thing. “Hey, have you seen this yet?” I say.
But there’s another pattern that will always be as young and adorable as Harry Styles.
You know which one I’m talking about.
It’s Blu. Cristina Shiffman’s free baby jeans pattern rocked Knitty.com back in 2005, and continues to turn baby-shower goers into an ecstatic mosh pit of love. Every time I’ve made a pair of these wee dungarees, the response has been beyond gratifying.
The model is now in college. But sometimes his folks and I still talk about his baby jeans.
Here’s the rub, though. The Blu pattern calls for Rowan Denim, a yarn that was dyed the same way the yarn for denim jeans is dyed, so that over time, anything you knit with it will fade like blue jeans. It is heavenly stuff. But it’s gone to the big discontinued bin in the sky, and I have to face that. (And continue to buy up Denim destashes wherever I find them. Ping me!)
You would not believe how much time I’ve spent thinking about what yarn to substitute for Denim to make Blu baby jeans. Well, I suppose you would believe it. I want babies to continue to wear handknit jeans that make people shriek at the cuteness, and I want knitters to continue to have the joy of making them.
New Yarn for Old Jeans
There’s always been one great substitute for Denim in plain sight: Handknit Cotton. It’s the same gauge, same fiber, same yardage, and it’s gorgeous, hardy stuff. I endorse it 100 percent. Choose your cuff color and your main color, and Bob’s your uncle. They will be darling, and the baby shower will lift you up in a chair for making them.
But could there be another yarn, just as good or possibly even better for giving tiny knitted blue jeans a high degree of realism?
I had an epiphany, and it made me cast on a pair of Blu jeans immediately, to test it.
Hear me out: Creative Linen.
For these little jeans, in the smallest size, I used one skein of Stormy for the main color, with remnants of Silver for the cuffs and Pumpkin for the seams and embroidered detail. To change things up a bit, I used duplicate stitch for the embroidery, with thanks to Jen Arnall-Culliford for her excellent video tutorial.
I think we all know that the elastic is not in that waistband yet.
Stormy is as close a match to vintage workwear denim as you can get. It will not fade the same way Denim would, but the flat, matte color gives that authentic miner forty-niner feeling that a proper baby blue jean should have.
suitable for panning gold or listening to Hozier on vinyl.
I didn’t have a size 0 months baby in house to model them, but I did have a smol bear who wears his britches real high.
I am really happy. Be right back, I’ve got more baby jeans to make.
P.S. I anticipate this pattern question: What about the shrinkage factor of Rowan Denim, how are you accounting for that with this substitution? I am accounting for it by ignoring it. Denim only shrinks because it is cotton. If you wash any cotton or cotton/linen blend garment in hot water and dry it in the dryer, it will shrink. If you wash it cool, and air-dry it, it will not. I am following the pattern exactly as written, without adjustments. If you’re concerned, take a look at the hundreds of happy Blu projects over on Ravelry.com, made using all kinds of yarns.