Simple Things to Make for Babies
Making things for babies is great. They're very small, so you don't
invest too much time. They're not picky. They don't wear fitted
clothes. And they can wear/use all sorts of frivolous things, since
nobody is going to take them seriously anyway.
These end up being bigger than commercial receiving blankets, which are
usually 30" square. They seemed gigantic when my daughter was born, but
2 months later, they already looked perfectly sensible. Buy a package
of commercial ones for swaddling your newborn and wiping up spitup and
use these for warmth when awake and as playmats. (Experts advise not
putting blankets on sleeping babies -- if you choose to, these are as
safe as any others.)
See also the tie-dying instructions below; we love the tie-dyed thermal
cotton blanket I made, too, and get lots of compliments on it.
Simplest baby blanket in the world (requires only scissors, easy to
get in any color and lots of prints)
Buy about a yard of polarfleece at any fabric store. Or, if you want
something more square, a yard and a half or so. If it has funky edges,
trim them off. You're done. I use these in solid colors for photo
backdrops a lot.
Next simplest baby blanket (still requires only scissors and comes
in any color and lots of prints)
Buy a yard or more of polarfleece. Trim off any funky edges. Cut
fringes along the edges (keep them in the 3-4 inch range and about a
half inch wide to avoid strangling hazards). We have one of these in a
sushi print for
occasions where plain solid green isn't dressy enough.
You can also make baby blankets by simply buying about a yard of cotton
flannel, washing it, and hemming it, but I don't like these as well
because the less decorative back shows.
Simplest elegant baby blanket (actually uses sewing, but very very
Buy about a yard of cotton flannel, and about a yard of all-cotton
quilting fabric or flannel in a coordinating print. Wash them both. Cut
them to the same size. Pin them right sides to right sides and sew
around the edges, leaving
an inch or so opening on one side (it'll show more if it touches a
Trim the corners to the seamline, and turn the blanket right-side out
the opening. Iron the blanket. Either slip-stitch the opening closed,
use a decorative stitch to topstitch around the entire blanket. You may
to run a line of topstitching around it an inch or so in to help keep
T-shirts turned into baby clothes
Good knit fabrics are hard to find, but T-shirts abound, all-cotton,
in lots of colours, cheap at worst and often provided free by your
or people trying to sell you things. You can use them in any pattern
for knit fabric. I cheat and cut pieces crosswise, so that what was
on the original becomes vertical in the baby garment. This is not
because it changes the direction of maximum stretch and they will tend
stretch out and become long and narrow. I have a long, narrow baby, so
don't care. Frankly, it doesn't seem to make much difference anyway,
babies are not wide enough to fit most logos the way they were intended
When buying T-shirts to make into baby clothes, look for small logos.
Buy the biggest size you can get for the same price -- the print is
the same on all the sizes, and larger shirts give you more fabric to
with. Prefer shirts with ribbing on the sleeves, if you can get them.
men's T-shirts by default (women's have less fabric and it's
they're harder to work with generally, but make good sources of
If possible, use pre-shrunk shirts, and sew them up without washing
first; the sizing will make the fabric easier to work with.
"Sewing For Baby" has great patterns, and sensible advice about how
to modify them to get lots of effects. You need to pay attention and
read all instructions before cutting, as it will airily mention in
passing that you need to add an inch onto the bottom of something for
some reason and if you're not careful you will have done the wrong
thing. The illustrations are terrible and will make you doubt my sanity
for suggesting the book. But if you're at all adventurous, this book
alone will let you sew most anything for your baby.
This is McCall's 2213 view A, slightly modified to make it easier to
sew and better suited to babies (McCall's seems to me to have missed
the boat in several ways.) As I do it, it takes a yard each of two
fabrics in size small, which is 3-6 months, but the dress and panties
require 1 pattern
piece each, and the dress in particular is remarkably easy to make.
Modified process for the dress:
Modified process for the panties:
- Overlap pattern pieces 1 and 2 where they would be sewn together,
making one piece. Add a rounded top to the short shoulder strap on that
piece. Cut that piece out of each fabric, on the fold.
- Sew these two pieces together, right sides to right sides,
leaving an inch or so unsewn on one of the back edges.
- Turn right-side-out through the unsewn bit, and press.
- Top stitch around the entire edge.
- Put buttonholes in the short shoulder straps. Try the dress on
the baby, and put the buttons at the appropriate place on the long
straps. McCall's does it the other way around, but if you put the
buttons on the straps,
you can move them as the baby grows. If you would like the dress to be
reversible, use flat buttons and put them on both sides.
- Use only the piece for the back (if you make these as suggested,
how do you tell front from back when dressing the baby? The difference
way too subtle for me.)
- You have three coloring choices: front one color, back the other;
right side one color, left the other; alternating colors. For the first
two choices, cut 2 from each fabric with the fabric folded normally
(wrong side to wrong side). If you want alternating colors, you need to
be more careful. Layer the fabric so that the right side is up on both
pieces. Cut one fabric with the pattern piece right side up, and the
other with the pattern piece face down.
- Now you follow the instructions normally. For front one color,
back the other, or alternating colors, use one piece of each color in
step one. For right/left, use pieces that are the same color in step