Learn to quilt: charming baby quilt (Craftsy)

Craftsy Learn to Quilt: Charming baby quilt
Craftsy Learn to Quilt: Charming baby quilt

Now that my baby is a year old, he is starting to sleep through the night. Sometimes when he doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night, I have been able to wake up early. This change has given me the opportunity to start sewing again.

For my return to sewing, I wanted a simple but useful project. I felt like I barely remembered how to thread my machine! The first class in the Craftsy Learn to Quilt series was a perfect fit for me. This “charming baby quilt” online sewing class featured a simple baby receiving blanket quilt using square charm packs of fabric. No risky measuring and cutting for those unsure of their sewing skills! The quilt is even self bound, so there is no need to worry about binding the quilt.

Baby quilt with ties instead of a quilted top
Baby quilt with ties instead of a quilted top.
I loved this quick and easy quilting project. The instructor, Amy Gibson, did a great job of answering all the basic and common sense questions I had while sewing. The instructions were clear and perfectly detailed. This class was a great foundation for moving on to any other sewing projects.

self bound quilt
Self bound quilt (no sewn on binding)
I used Cool L’s Modern Basics by Lecien for my fabrics. I wish I would have realized that Craftsy has a super cute baby quilt kit that coordinates with this class. It would have taken all the guess work and waste out of buying my own fabric.

I liked this class so much that I have already signed up for the next class in the series: Learn to Quilt: Custom Table Runner.

beginner quilt pattern
Simple quilt pattern using fabric charm squares

Sew Burp Cloths (Easy Baby Sewing Project!)

Since I am going to have another baby in a month and a half, I have to get some baby supplies together. Most of my old stuff is still perfectly good, but I need more burp cloths! I decided to sew myself a little stash of soft, absorbent burp cloths for the new baby. This turned out to be a quick and easy sewing project for a baby! Plus it is very cost effective considering the cost of burp cloths from a store.

Sew Burp Cloths
Sew Burp Cloths for a Baby

I used the burp cloth tutorial from Dana Made It.

sew burp cloths flannel chenille
Flannel and Chenille Burp Cloth Sewing Project
I used flannel fabric for the backing and chenille fabric for the absorbent layer of fabric. Of course the minor problems I ran into were related to the burp cloth fabrics. The flannel shrunk and the edges shredded when I pre-washed it more than I expected. The soft chenille stretched a lot when I was sewing it AND it made an unholy fluffly mess all over when I cut into it.

As a result the sizes of my burp cloths are a little inconsistent. In the end I decided that the burp cloths might not be perfect, but they are good enough to be puked on.

Unforgettable Elephant from Sew Everything Workshop

The Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide with 25 Fabulous Original Designs, Including 10 Patterns by Diana Rupp has many cute and fun beginner sewing projects. The projects have helpful detailed directions along with the sewing patterns so a begginner can learn how to sew with some great guidance. One of the cutest sewing projects in the book is the Unforgettable Elephant.

Sew Unforgettable Elephant
Unforgettable Elephant from the Sew Everything Workshop Book by Diana Rupp

I made the body of the Unforgettable Elephant about… oh, a year ago? Baby M is not a big fan of me getting personal time, so I never finished this project for him. The ears remained unsewn because you need to hand sew them to the body of the elephant. You also need to hand sew a portion of the body of the elephant shut once you have stuffed it with the Polyester Fiberfill. So the Unforgettable Elephant project remained unfinished because ugh hand sewing is the worst!

Sew Everything Workshop Unforgettable Elephant
The unforgettable elephant in its natural environment

There are some cute Unforgettable elephant out there! One elephant I liked was the one by School of Moxie This blog has some helpful pictures if anyone is struggling on a step of this sewing project. Of course if anyone has problems on a part of this project just let me know and I would be happy to help!

Another cute elephant can be found on E Made This. This blog has both the Baby Elephant and the Mama Elephant and they both look great.

If you want to make a stuffed elephant toy but don’t have the Sew Everything Workshop book, try the free elephant toy pattern and tutorial on Riley Blake Designs. Looks like a fun project and I would love to make this sometime!

DIY Custom Marimekko Slipcover for Cheap!

Well Baby M is 10 months old, and my furniture is suffering at his sticky little hands. Ever try telling a baby not to drool all over the couch? It does no good. Since the fabric bench in his little play area was rapidly getting covered in slobber and banana mush, I decided I had to act fast and get a slipcover to protect it. I could not find a ready made slipcover to fit the bench, so I wanted to sew a slipcover to cover it. I went to the local Crate and Barrel Outlet to get affordable Marimekko fabric. At four dollars a yard, the outlet Marimekko fabric is affordable. The selection is not fantastic, as there are no smaller-scale and multi-colored prints available. I settled on a lime green on lime green circle print, Marimekko “kivet” fabric, to sew my custom slipcover.

Marimekko Kivet Green Fabric
Marimekko Kivet Fabric in Green. The right side is bright and the wrong side is muted.

The process of sewing my custom couch slipcover went well, considering that I have no real idea how to sew a slipcover. My slipcover design is meant to just drape over the couch and come off very easily for frequent washing (remember I am dealing with a messy baby here).

Marimekko Couch Slipcover DIY
Custom Marimekko Slipcover

I followed the basic slipcover tutorial instructions on honeybearlane: drape your fabric pieces on the couch inside-out and pin in place to get the right shape and fit. I didn’t sew any cushion covers or anything complicated like that: its just some Marimekko fabric in the shape of a couch. Next time I make a slipcover, I may use this helpful slipcover tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.

I did not sew down the top of the main couch cushion, so the slipcover has more than enough give to easily come on and off. After staring at my lime green fabric for a while I got sick of looking at it and began to hate it. I sewed the slipcover wrong side out, for a muted lime green pastel effect. To counter the baby drool problem, I added a layer of waterproof PUL fabric behind the slip cover.

DIY Slipcover and Bolster Pillows
DIY Slipcover and Bolster Pillows with Marimekko Kivet Fabric from Crate and Barrel Outlet

To complete the slipcover project, I made matching bolster pillow covers. I used the bolster pillow tutorial on Pretty Prudent, minus the piping detail. Also, I improvised an envelope pillow opening since there is no way I am going to hand sew the cover on. My first pillow is pretty sloppy to be honest. But I learned from my mistakes and the second pillow turned out better. Next time I make a bolster pillow I will probably shorten the length of the main pillow fabric to make a tighter fitting envelope pillow cover.

Black and White Sheep Mobile for Baby

Black and White Felt Sheep
Black and White Felt Sheep
My latest project is a baby bassinet mobile. My friend and I made some black and white sheep out of felt to hang over the bassinet. I got the idea after looking at black and white mobiles on etsy. Those crib mobiles are super cute but also seriously expensive. The sheep mobile will replace the owls that came with the mobile on my pack n play playard bassinet.

I choose black and white sheep because apparently young babies cannot visually process low contrast colors. So all those cute pastel colors and toys probably look like boring blobs to newborns. High contrast black and white (with some saturated red thrown in for good measure if you want) is easier for babies to see and may aid in infant brain development. As babies get older the ability to distinguish more subtle colors improves (duh). Small for Big notes that black and white baby mobiles might not be the best choice for a crib, because they are stimulating and not relaxing (i.e., sleep inducing).

diy black and white baby mobile
DIY Black and White Baby Mobile

Of course, it doesn’t make sense to me that babies absolutely need special black and white accessories to improve vision and/or cognition. I bet babies have got along just fine for hundreds of thousands of years without black and white mobiles.

diy baby mobile
Angle your mobile down so baby can actually see it

I decided to keep this craft project simple. If you are feeling more ambitious, Life Sprinkled with Glitter has some cute ideas for baby mobiles that you can make yourself. To make my simple sheep mobile, my friend and I made sheep shapes and cut out the piece from some cheap felt. We sewed the layers together, then stuffed the sheep with cheap polyester fiberfill. The whole thing can cost just a few dollars if you can keep your fiberfill cost down. But keep in mind that this cost is simply for the sheep, not a mobile frame to hang them from.