How to Make a Basic Essential Layette
click for larger photo.
One plausible alternative is to use the directions for the baby "napkin" as described above, only use a single thickness of fulled wool flannel instead of the doubled-thickness of diaper-fabric. For a newborn, cut an 18" square, fold it diagonally, add a tape-tie and a tape loop as described above, under "Napkin, clout".
I had a remnant of fulled white wool flannel which was too heavy for this approach, so I simply used a single thickness triangle. I cut the 17" square on the diagonal, added tape-ties and a tape loop as you can see in the photo. This is another plausible option, especially since I already had the 17" wide remnant.
Here is a 19th c. pattern for a more structured pilch, from The Workwoman’s Guide, by A Lady 1838, reprinted by Dover, (p. 28 & plate 3 fig. 9, 10), and paraphrased by me:
Cut a piece of preshrunk wool flannel 24 ¾" square, then cut it on the diagonal (you’ll be able to make two). Round off the two ends of the diagonal and gather the diagonal edge to equal 18". Bind this with a strip of cotton or linen fabric cut 5" x 19", so that the finished waistband, when all raw edges are turned under and slipstitched, equals 2" x18".
(As with the diaper instructions from the same source, this seems to me to make up as a good size for an older baby, but too large for a newborn. I’d suggest beginning with a 20" square, cut on the diagonal. Round off the ends of the diagonal and gather to equal 15". Cut the waistband 4" X 16", so that when finished, it is 1 ½" X 15".)
The author says to sew a cotton tab to the remaining corner, and fasten the whole thing around the baby with a button and two buttonholes. However, this sounds to me like a 19th c. solution, and it’s non-adjustable, so I’d suggest you use two twill tape ties and a tape loop, as I did on my triangular pilch in the photo.