Babies. They bring such joy to our lives, and so many sewing projects!
(Plus they taste delicious. Don't you just want to eat them up? Nom nom nom...)
Prior to my progeny's arrival a few years back, I did what most pregnant women did and drove myself mad trying to mentally prepare for something that is basically impossible to prepare for. I nested like crazy, and in doing so perused every commercially available baby good that existed.
Look, I get it: when you're designing for the masses you have to go for mass appeal. This explains why most baby stuff is basic as duck. And by that I mean everything is covered in ducks.
And to be fair there is some cute, unique baby stuff out there, just be prepared to spend all that money you were hoping to set aside to pay for college. I mean, daycare.
To set the scene, this was in the Before time, back when my sewing skills were even more not great than they are now. The only sewing I'd been doing in the previous years was hemming curtains.
There was definitely some cute stuff on Etsy, but even as a novice sewist I realized I these were projects I was capable of. I wasn't yet able to drive off-road and fashion patterns without guidance though, so The Google was indispensable.
I started with the basics: bedding. We tried to keep our baby gear minimal, and one of the items we decided to go without was a crib. Our plan was to use the Pack'N'Play bassinet and then transition to a floor bed.
Cute bedding was a must, especially since this P'n'P was going to be residing in the master bedroom for months.
I found some super adorable fabric by Michael Miller on Fabric.com (the white colorway doesn't appear to be available anymore, but there are melon and seafoam versions). I also recently used what was left from this project in the heart quilt I just finished quilting and blogged about here.
|Michael Miller - Wee Wander Summer Ride|
This project was pretty easy. I measured the "mattress" pad then added 4" on each side to determine what size rectangle to cut. Then I cut a 4"x4" square out of each corner and sewed a vertical seam to rejoin the edges.
Next I created a casing for thin elastic all along the edges, threaded the elastic through, and sewed the elastic several inches smaller than the size of the opening so it would draw tight under the mattress.
I could have done it without elastic but I envisioned late nights, soiled sheets, and sleep deprivation, so I wanted these to be as user friendly and secure as possible.
|Sheets in play. This was when Babu started breaking out of her swaddle.|
I also made a second one in another Michael Miller fabric that's no longer available.
Changing Pad Cover
I actually do remember the tutorial I used for this one and here it is. I had a contoured changing pad that one of our neighbors kindly gave us and so I wanted to make a cover that would fit snugly around the non-boxy shape.
Other than accounting for the contoured sides, the process was pretty similar to the crib sheet.
This particular contoured changing pad cover was made as a gift for a family member who had a baby. I got smart and started taking pictures of the things I made. It uses another Michael Miller fabric (still available).
Here you can see what the back looks like with the elastic. This is what the back of the crib sheet looks like too. I think this was made out of a nice even yard with very little scraps left over.
Another item we went a bit non-traditional with was a wooden highchair that transitions into a kids chair. The Hauck Alpha Chair came with these really, really unfortunate pads for the back and seat. Not only was the fabric tragic, it was inexplicably stained upon arrival.
I used more of the Michael Miller zebra fabric on this. I cut off the old fabric and used it as a pattern to cut the new fabric. I added a zipper to one end so I could wash it without washing the batting inside, and I also reattached the plastic things on the straps.
For a while, I couldn't work up the energy to do the seat cover too because it was a weird shape. Eventually, once the babu started actually eating food, it proved impractical anyways and I ended up just throwing it out. It was much easier to just clean the wooden seat!
BONUS: I used the same fabric to make a little lumbar pillow for my nursing chair. Matchy matchy!
I feel like I spent a lot of time thinking about this Boppy cover and then it was used for like a month. The Bop is definitely one of those things that captivated me during pregnancy and then ended up being only marginally useful.
We used the infant Boppy pillow really consistently for the first 3-4 months and then when little Babu started being more mobile and wanting to look around more and sit up we transitioned to the regular Boppy.
I used this tutorial from Vanilla Joy and found it really easy to follow. Where I misstepped was in the fabric choice. I chose a really pretty print from Spoonflower by Ivie Cloth Co. but I chose the silky faille.
I wish I could remember why I chose it over the minky fabric, which would have been a better choice. I think it was something I agonized over and ultimately made the wrong choice on. It's a nice fabric except for 2 things:
- It's really slippery, which makes it not ideal for something that you're propping your baby up on.
- Apparently you can't iron it.
Ask me how I know you can't iron it...
The Spoonflower fabric is pretty dear, so I ordered a yard exactly and needed the entire thing for the cover. I go to iron one of the big pieces after cutting it out and it MELTED.
I didn't have enough fabric to cut another one, so I ended up taking a scrap and making a patch to cover the melted area. No pictures of that -- I guess I felt too much shame at the time. Now I'd gleefully photograph the crap out of it to share.
So here's Babu enjoying the silky Boppy during the blip in time she used it. The day after this I'm pretty sure she was pushing it around the floor when she straightened her legs or slipping down it because there was no friction to hold her up on it. This isn't the Boppy's fault.
(Another note about the Boppy: some people also use it for nursing. I always used the My Brest Friend [why isn't is BREAST!?] because it felt more secure, but if I had wanted to use this for nursing the fabric would, again, have been terrible given that it would just slip right off my lap and away from my body. That's bad for nursing.)
My mom saved this sleeved bib and gave it to me when I was pregnant. I think it was used by my older cousins, making this about 40 years old.
Lest this encourage my mother to keep things because they might be useful someday, this actually proved useful. I do want to say though that I COULD have found a pattern for this online, thus saving someone or several someones from having to hold onto this for 40 years.
I cut this up and used it as a pattern for a newer version that might survive the washing machine without falling to tatters. Also the terry-cloth back of this was a little stained, as it had every right to be.
I ordered a beautiful dark purple pattern with unicorns on it. You know I love unicorns.
I had also ordered this pheasant print to go with it. The idea was I'd do the sleeves in the light purple and the bib part in the unicorns.
This was not to be.
Unfortunately, Fabric.com doesn't know how to track their inventory and informed me that the unicorn print was not available after I ordered it. They received a strongly-worded email that I've yet to receive a response from. (Reminder to self: follow up on email from 2 years ago.)
I was making this in preparation for Babu's big solid food debut at Thanksgiving with all our family so I'll admit, I was definitely making this bib into a much bigger production than was necessary, but that's just me being me.
I made it work, pulling another purple cotton print from my stash. I do still mourn for those unicorns though.
Here's my little cutie pie modeling the bib...
...and here she is showing it in use. Definitely a good choice on the peas, for contrast purposes.
I have to say, having pretty baby things definitely brings me joy. I truly believe if you have to have something in your house, even temporarily (given the blip of time these things are used), that it should be something that you like to look at.
There are lots more baby projects to go, but that's all for tonight!