The Origin of Baby Onesies

Amicie, 6 mois
Creative Commons License photo credit: Frédéric de Villamil

The baby “Onesie” is actually a name given to the baby bodysuit, creeper, snapsuit, or diaper shirt by Gerber Childrensware, Inc. Over time the term has basically become standard American English, much as “Kleenex” is now the norm instead of “facial tissue”. Baby onesies have really been around for quite awhile, in some form or another, effectively rendering them a tried-and-tested option for your baby. Fortunately, all this trying and testing by mothers for a hundred years, coupled with technological advances, has brought about many spiffy improvements over what your great-grandma wore.

The 1920s-style romper is the ancestor of the baby onesie as we know it, though in the 20s, most babies (even the boys) were still sporting the dress-style of clothing, probably for ease. Although the snaps that make onesies so convenient were invented in 1885, it was by a German inventor named Heribert Bauer and they weren’t quite the type we know today. Thus, this onesie uses buttons and what appears to be very scratchy material, rather than the snaps and soft cotton models we get to dress our babies in now.

By the 1950s we had our beloved snaps on the baby onesies, plus a little color. The fit wasn’t quite the same, but chances are good that babies of the day didn’t notice or care, though their mothers really should have noticed the granny-panty (predecessor of the “Steve Urkel”) look of it. Chances are also good that they didn’t have nearly as many to choose from, as these onesies were made more intricately and thus were more expensive (relatively speaking… after all, we’re talking about a time when gas was $.27 per gallon).

And currently we have the final product, the pièce de résistance of baby onesies, the stylish, comfortable, convenient conglomeration of the past 100 years or so of trial and error in the baby clothing world. It just makes the spine tingle blissfully to think about.

Making Your Own Baby Onesies

This post is dedicated to the concept of creating your own baby onesies for your children. There are advantages and disadvantages to making your own onesies: the other option being to just buy ones that other people have made.

Important Side note: when we say making your own onesie, we’re not talking about actually sewing the thing yourself, we’re talking about going to a user-friendly website where all you have to do is upload the picture and type in what you want. Of course if you want to hand stitch one, that’s your prerogative.

Using Internet shops is the best and easiest way we have found for making baby onesies. (This is a great way make an “I’d rather be naked” onesie or to add any other favorite saying to the baby clothing). Once your at the web page simply type in the saying you want and then you can choose the text color/style and even put a picture if you want!

One of the benefits of making a baby onesie yourself is that you can put your own funny sayings on the onesie. If you are looking for some funny sayings to spark your brain cells, just try googling “funny baby onesies sayings”.

Another benefit of making your own baby onesies is that you can put pictures on them. I have a picture of my Mom and Dad on my baby boy’s onesie and my parents absolutely love me for it! I highly recommend this.

A disadvantage of making your own onesie is that it can take a little bit more time and energy. Sometimes it is nice to see a onesie that someone else has made and not have to use your own creative juices.

Let us know what your opinion is on making your own onesies.

Another cool idea for making your own baby clothing:

Make Baby Stuff – Baby crafts tutorials, instructions for how to make baby clothes, how to make baby toys and tons of DIY crafty projects for all things baby! Your how-to resource for baby’s homemade lifestyle.