Dresses for girls: homemade baby presents

A momentous event occurred a few weeks ago. My sister gave birth to a baby girl.

Of course, every birth is pretty momentous — a life is begun where before there wasn’t one — but this was especially astounding as the baby was the first of her generation to not be a boy

Homemade baby present, Liberty print dress and bloomers | Wolves in LondonBetween me and my siblings, we’ve so far produced five boys, so the arrival of a little girl into the mix is most exciting.

Also exciting for me was the chance to make some cute little dresses and bloomers. I love my boys (of course, it hardly needs saying) but if there is one thing I miss not having a girl, it’s the chance to sew tiny girl clothes with beautiful Liberty fabrics.

But that chance I now have!

The sewing machine was retrieved from the attic, dusted off and I got to work.

I made two matching sets, both from the same patterns and, sigh, just look, aren’t they sweet?

Homesewn Liberty baby dress and bloomers | Wolves in LondonThe dress is from the Purl Bee tiny triangle dress pattern. It’s a straightforward, though slightly fiddly sew, I found. Ironing 1/4 inch seams onto every edge was a little bit of a faff and I got a bit bored of trying to endlessly measure them to make sure they were straight, so, well, some of them ended up a tiny bit not straight.

Do any more regular sewers have any tips for good ways of going about that?

Liberty print Purl Bee tiny triangle dress | Wolves in LondonAnyway, other than that, it was very simple to put together and the end result looks lovely. I think my only criticism is that, in the wearing though not so much in the photos, the triangle shape is actually a little bit too extreme — it really does stick right out at the sides. This would probably be fine on a standing-up toddler, but on babies who spend their time lying or sitting, then there’s a little bit too much material in the way.

Liberty print bloomers | Wolves in LondonBloomer cuffThe bloomers are made from a free pattern by Sewing Mama RaeAnna on Craftsy and I was utterly, completely delighted with these. They look way more complicated than they were to make, just using some elastic round the waist and legs to get that cute gathering, and I sewed them up in no time. If I ever have another summer baby (boy or girl) I will definitely be making loads of these as nappy covers as they are seriously adorable.
Green Liberty bloomers | Wolves in LondonThe fabric for both is a Liberty tana lawn*. The designs are called Capel L (the green flowery one) and Lola Weisselberg (the purple, more ornate pattern). The first is available on the Liberty website, though I can’t find the second. I have to confess, I bought both from eBay.

To go with the dresses I had to – of course – make some personalised babygrows using my go-to fabric transfer paper method. I made her older brother a set of printed babygrows when he was born (you can see them here: a very important arrival) and I wanted her to have some of her own as well.

(Please excuse the rather crappy photos, I always have difficulty photographing these: invariably, parts of the babygrow are blown out, while the background looks grey and under-exposed. Three years of making these and I still can’t take a decent photo of them…)

Anteater babygrow homemade | Wolves in LondonTulip babygrow | Wolves in LondonA is for... babygrow | Wolves in LondonThe tulips are a Graphics Fairy image; I just couldn’t resist using some more flowers since I rarely have the chance to put lots of flowers onto my boys clothes. (Not that the sproglets don’t love them, actually, so maybe I should break away from all the gender stereotyping.) The As because her name starts with A. The anteater is from an amazing vintage alphabet I first found years ago, but use at every possible opportunity I get. The French A is from a new discovery: a partial vintage alphabet, also free from copyright.

And that’s the complete set: a load of teeny, tiny, flowery little girl clothes. I’m already planning what to make her for Christmas…

*I realised as I wrote this that I didn’t actually have a clue what “tana lawn” meant, so I have just Googled it to find out that the Tana is for Lake Tana in East Africa where the original cotton grew, and “lawn” is used to describe a fabric made with high count yarns; the Liberty tana lawn is made “without the use of crease-resisting chemicals or irritating allergens, the result is a famous masterpiece of fabric technology: fine, cool, comfortable and durable, with brilliant reproduction of colours and prints.” Which all sounds wonderful, but does explain why I found the fabric creased a lot as I sewed it and I had to constantly iron it out. Not really an ideal quality for an item of baby clothing it has to be said. I did also find, as a very amateur sewer, that the slightly silky quality to the fabric made it a little trickier to sew. But will no doubt be lovely to wear…

A skirt for all seasons

Around the time my babies reach three months, I’ve noticed, I start to get a bit of energy back.

Inspiration strikes. I decide not to buy whatever latest baby need has arisen but to make it instead. I start pinning endless craft projects. I start making endless lists.

And so the past weekend was a frenzy of ideas of all the things I am desperate to sew, knit, paint or make in any other way possible.

This time round, though, my free time isn’t quite in proportion with my plans. The permanently unfinished house calls out to me to be painted and any dual naptime that’s achieved is taken up with decorating rather than crafting.

So the lists remain lists, for now, but I plan to prioritise finding time soon for the very first item on the very biggest list: a few more maxi skirts following the Versa skirt tutorial by Delia Creates.

Home sewn maxi skirt | Wolves in London
Why hello! This is me wearing my maxi skirt in casual mode…

I have one of these already in my wardrobe, you see, that I made myself shortly after the sprog was born. I’ve barely stopped wearing it ever since.

It’s a skirt for all seasons, yes. And all occasions, shapes and sizes.

Home sewn maxi skirt | Wolves in London
Nice skirt, you say? Why thanks, I made it myself

I wore it throughout my pregnancy with the latest babe. It looked great at six weeks and when I was nine months preggo it was about the only thing I could fit into.

Home sewn maxi skirt | Wolves in London
Oh! I just remembered I made this skirt myself! Go me…

I wear it in winter with tights and in summer with flip flops.

I wear it to slump around the house, as comfy as if I’m in my PJs and I wore it, with a glorious floral jacket to a friend’s wedding.

I’m wearing it right now, sitting here writing this…

Home sewn maxi skirt | Wolves in London
The exact outfit I wore to a friend’s wedding when 8.5 months pregnant. Just with a much bigger tummy…

In short, I wear it whenever it’s not in the wash…

So, it’s high time for a few more, I think. I dream of a nautical blue-and-white striped one, Delia style, and a really bright and vibrantly coloured geometric print one – Aztec / 1980s style.

Oh, and I forgot to say the absolute best thing about it: to make one, you just need to sew three straight lines. Which makes it, in my book, the best sewing project ever!

Home sewn maxi skirt | Wolves in London
Off I skip, straight to the sewing machine to make myself a few more of these beauties…

Does anyone have any other suggestions for super simple but super useful sewing patterns / tutorials? Drop me a comment as I’d love to expand my repertoire…

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The original ickle trousers

Sometimes you come across a craft pattern so great you can’t help but make it time and again.

Sure, you think you to yourself, I could try out a different pattern this time round. I could make something new that I’ve not made before. In fact I probably should try out something new. Who knows? It might be better.

But you know, all along, that you’re going to whip up another version exactly the same as the others because you just can’t resist its charms. And you’re only likely to be disappointed if the new pattern doesn’t turn out as well…

Home sewn baby trousers | Wolves in London
Very very little baby trousers

So it is with the Made by Rae pattern for newborn baby “pants” (or trousers, to me and all other UK folk). Quick, simple and oh-so-very cute when finished, I made three of these for my friend Laura’s third baby and then another pair for my sister’s son.

Unpacking the sproglet’s newborn baby clothes a few weeks ago, in preparation for the new babe’s arrival, I came across the original two pairs.

Sewn almost two years ago now, these were my first foray into sewing with a sewing machine for many, many years. They were also my first time of making something that I had found through Pinterest, back when I used to pin craft projects imagining I actually was going to get round to making them all.

Sewn before the sproglet was born (and before this blog was born too) they almost seem to represent a different lifetime.

The grey stripy version was from an old shirt of my Dad’s, which I then appropriated at the age of 16, when wearing old too-large men’s shirts that you most likely bought in a charity shop was, briefly, the height of fashion.

Grey stripy baby trousers | Wolves in London
Ah this fabric brings back memories!

The blue striped version was made from my old primary school shirt, that was knocking around in a cupboard for some reason. (Ahem, that reason being that I am a hoarder.)

Blue stripy baby trousers, home sewn | Wolves in London
They look a bit like chef’s trousers, don’t they?

So, all in all, lots of memories stitched into these tiny trews. I can’t wait for the weather to improve so I can put them on the new babe too.

A last minute present: the plastic bag stuffer

It was my Mum’s birthday a few weeks ago and, being the disorganised daughter I am, it got to the evening before and I realised I hadn’t yet bought her a present.

I rang up to apologise in advance that her present was going to be a bit late this year and the disappointment in her voice was tangible down the phone line.

I felt bad.

So, I scratched my little head and racked my little brain to try and think of a nice temporary present I could make her while watching X Factor that evening. Something small, quick to put together, that would give her something she could open “on the day”…

(My family are big fans of “on the day” presents: something small to tide over the birthday boy or girl til you get round to actually buying them a proper present. This chronic lateness and disorganisation is genetic, you see, I can’t fight it…)

And what did I come up with? This plastic bag stuffer!

Plastic bag holder
Utilitarian, but pretty

Not, I’ll grant you, the most exciting present in the world, but I knew that my Mum has a dark, dark cupboard in her house which is absolutely overflowing with hundreds of plastic bags, and she had admired my (ridiculously expensive) Cath Kidston version before.

The fabric was the last remnants of some glorious Japanese butterfly fabric that I bought when living in Hong Kong a few years back.

Butterfly fabric from Japan
Oooh, I love this butterfly fabric

(You might recognise it from the business card holders I made earlier this year.)

The construction was pretty simple. I cut myself two rectangles; the bigger one, at approx. 45cm x 35cm for the main bag holder, the smaller one, approx. 40cm x 10cm for the handle.

On both rectangles, I sewed the two long sides together to make two tubes.

Plastic bag holder
What a lovely tube…

For the rectangle that was to be the handle, I turned the fabric the right way round and ironed the tube flat.

On the large rectangle, I then folded a small hem at both ends, ironed this in place, before folding once more to create a second, bigger hem, of approx. 3cm. I pinned the handle into position at the top end of the bag and then sewed round the two large hems, leaving a gap to feed the elastic through.

Plastic bag holder
Elastic-filled hem

I cut two pieces of elastic, approximately 20cm long and, using two safety pins, threaded them through the holes and sewed the ends together. Finally, I sewed the gaps shut and admired my work.

Plastic bag holder
Plastic bags, model’s own

Of course, since I was also busy watching X Factor and it was night time, I didn’t stop to take any photos of anything along the way, so if you’d like to make one of these and any of those instructions didn’t make sense, do leave me a comment below and I will explain further if needed!

My Mum was really pleased with it and, as you can see, it is already in use. Now, I just need to figure out what to get her for her actual present. Hmmm…

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A very important arrival

Last week I became an Aunt for the very first time.*

One of my sisters had a baby boy and I can report, completely objectively of course, that he is one of the cutest little babies ever to be born.

I’d been knitting a blanket for the new arrival for a ridiculously long time, but of course it still wasn’t finished when he arrived, so I did a bit of frantic knitting while we were staying in Shropshire and managed to finish the second half in approximately one hundredth of the time I did the first half.

Together with the blanket, I put together a whole little new baby present pack. Here’s a photo of the whole thing.

Homemade baby present box
A bunch of homemade clothes for a very special baby. (Not the shoes, though. I bought them. Though I have always wondered how hard it would be to make some of those little leather slip-ons…)

I made three little babygrow tops, in the same style as the baby carrot set I made for my own sproglet, and using my tried and tested method of iron-on transfer paper. (I’ve got a step by step tutorial for doing this, if you’re interested: how to transfer images to fabric.)

homeprinted babygrows
Good lord, it’s hard to photograph white babygrows, please excuse this over-exposed shot. Does anyone have any tips? I don’t think the white background helps, but when I put them on other colours, the contrast is too strong…

I used a vintage bicycle image (which you can find at the Graphics Fairy: vintage bike) because the baby’s Dad loves to cycle. I love the caption underneath: “the dandy horse.”

Home printed babygrow
The dandy horse

For the second babygrow, I found this lovely balloon image, with the word “TOYS” emblazoned across it (also from the Graphics Fairy: toys balloon). Perfect for any child, really…

Homeprinted babygrow
A hot air balloon and the promise of toys!

And the third babygrow reads, “D is for the dirigible, a motor driven balloon.” The baby’s name starts with D, as I’m sure you guessed, and this was far more appealing to me than “D is for dog”…

Homeprinted babygrow
D is for dirigible, not dog or drum or door…

Then I made another pair of the baby trousers in the same elephant fabric I used recently for Laura’s baby. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, I can’t stand the persistent blue-for-boys and pink-for-girls, so I always like to use any other colour that I possibly can.

Homemade baby trousers
Stomp, stomp stomp

And, in an amazing instance of learning from my own mistakes, I lined the elephants all up in a straight line this time, so none of them were diving off a cliff. Look, look!

Hem of elephant trousers
All in a straight line, yay me!

Finally, the blanket. It’s called the baby chalice blanket and is a free pattern by Karen S. Lauger. You can see full details on my Ravelry page: baby chalice blanket.

chalice blanket close up
This is a close up of the pattern

The pattern is really beautiful, when finished. Intricate, but yet quite bold too. I found it less pleasing to knit than my previous shale baby blanket which was exceedingly simple to remember, but the overall result is really lovely.

chalice baby blanket
Believe it or not, this is the photo I took after trying to arrange the blanket in a perfect rectangle. Perhaps I really needed to block it once more!

I used a Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino yarn, which is just lovely to knit with (though not cheap…) I think I could have used a slightly smaller pair of needles, actually, but it’s  never worth worrying about that sort of thing at the end of the knitting.

Chalice blanket
Just one more so you can see the pattern repeats again

She was pretty happy with the box, I think. Lots of things to dress my tiny nephew in, when he gets a little bigger…

*If that wasn’t exciting enough, I’ll also become a double Aunt in a few weeks. When I get married, my partner’s niece will officially become my niece too. (I already call her my niece, in fact, but if I do so in his earshot, he always says to me, “She’s not your niece, she’s my niece…”)

It’s been a little while since I’ve joined up with any link parties, but I’ve just seen a new one that’s started on one of my favourite blogs, Dream a Little Bigger, so I’m joining up there this week. Also back to my old favourite, Brag Monday at the Graphics Fairy. And finally remembering to link up with Handmade Monday, A UK-based link party (hooray! they are few and far between) on Handmade Harbour run by the very lovely Wendy Massey who I met earlier this year at the Pinterest party.

Related articles:

  • If you’re looking for something to make a new baby, I’ve got a free tutorial and pattern for a baby bib
  • Or take a look at my tutorials page for more projects that use lovely vintage images

Doggy draught excluders

You know how it’s scorchingly hot at the moment?

Dog draught excluder
Brrrr, feel the breeze from under that door…

Well, in a moment of topical genius, I’ve chosen today to talk about cold weather. About draughts, to be specific. Remember them? The whistling cold wind burrowing its way under your doors to negate any good your central heating is doing…

Sounds quite pleasant right now, in this sticky, muggy weather, but, no, dragging my brain back to wintertime I can just, just, remember that draughts are no fun whatsoever.

Draught excluders, on the other hand, are very huge amounts of fun.

Always one to overstretch myself, when I learnt to knit three years ago, one of the first things I made was not the obligatory scarf, but a dog draught excluder for my dog-obsessed sister. Did her doors have draughts? I neither knew nor cared when I came across the knitting pattern.

knitted dog draught excluder
Guarding the door like any good knitted dog would

Project details on Ravelry, for anyone interested: Dog draught excluder.

She has since got a real dog, but the draught excluder still has pride of place on her bed (he was never allowed onto the floor, he was too nice for that, she said…)

Then, a few months later, I found that my flat had a genuine draught under the door of my sitting room. It was like the arctic was entering the room under that door and the little tiny radiator could do nothing in defence.

The draught excluder had, of course, taken me a very, very, very long time to knit. (I think this was my introduction to all my homemade presents always being late.) So I decided to have a crack at sewing for the first time since I was a teenager.

I bought what I believed to be a legitimate vintage sewing pattern on eBay, which arrived and turned out to be an illegally photocopied pattern, with some greaseproof paper pattern pieces drawn in pencil. I would complain, but boy oh boy did I love the dog it made…

Dog draught excluder
Woof, woof. What a noble doggy face…

His body is from some gorgeous V&A quilts exhibition fabric (sadly no longer seems to be available online). Then I used an old red top to make the underside of his ears. It took me an hour or so and I couldn’t believe how quickly and easily I could rustle something up compared to the hours needed for a knit project.

The little dog got lots of compliments, including one from a friend who had always been tempted by a Cath Kidston version but never wanted to pay the money for it. When she got married last year, I made another dog as a wedding present, just the same as this one, but with the bride and groom’s initials in felt stitched under one ear and the date of the wedding under the other…

And I’ve just completed a third doggy too, this time for my niece, another fan of the original mutt. This one is made from a different pattern from the same V&A quilting fabrics collection (this brown leaf design). He looks a little more genuinely doggy with the brown fabric, but I’ve put that lovely red under his ears as well.

Here he is snuggling up to a radiator.

Dog draught excluder
The warm sun, the warm radiator. This is a happy dog

Here is a glimpse of his ears:

dog draught excluder
What beautiful ears you have, my dear…

And here he is with his older, wiser friend…

Two dog draught excluders
Two friends together, just hanging out…

They’re cute aren’t they? I don’t think he’ll be my last one…

I wish I could even point you in the direction of the genuine pattern, but my photocopy is so bad I can’t tell where it is from. If by any weird and wonderful chance someone knows the answer, please do post a comment!

Related articles:

  • I’ve got to say, I think this is my favourite sewn thing ever, but if you want to take a look at some others, there’s a whole bunch of things in my sewing category

A horse for the wall

There’s nothing nicer than knowing that a handmade present was well-received, so I was delighted that this horse T-shirt was such a hit that the recipient’s Mum requested a bigger version for his recent third birthday…

Horse wall hanging
Another horse, what will he be turned into I wonder?

I’m such a dab hand at the iron on transfer paper by now that I actually – regular readers, hold onto your hats – managed to have the new T-shirt ready in time for his birthday party! (Okay, the party was about three weeks after his actual birthday and I had seen him in between times as well, but let’s ignore that trifling piece of information.)

As the present wasn’t exactly unexpected, I also thought I’d try and make something else as a surprise. The whole family recently moved house, so I thought an equine-related something-or-other for his room might be a good call.

Since my love for Spoonflower is yet to wane, it seemed like a good idea (theoretically, rather than financially) to get some fabric printed with a horse picture and turn it into a nice wall hanging.

And this was the result:

horse wall hanging
He’s a fine beast, no?

He’s rather glorious isn’t he?

(Please excuse the floral wallpaper as the backdrop. As I mentioned recently, we have not a single bare painted wall in the house at the moment, but this horse does look especially incongruous against such a chintzy background…)

I made a couple of other Spoonflower designs at the same time, for yet another ridiculously late birthday present, so as soon as I get them seamed and made up, I’ll write up a little how to for making a present like this. It’s very straightforward to make, but a nice idea, I think. (She says, modestly…)

I’m in a frantic making mode at the moment, since we’re celebrating the sproglet’s first birthday on Saturday and a few of the guests are yet to receive presents from me for birthdays already been (oh dear, honestly, how can I be so utterly, utterly useless?!) so there’ll be a couple more makes up here over the next few days…

Til then, happy end of the week everyone.

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Easy baby bib pattern and tutorial

About, ooooh, five months ago I decided to make my sproglet some bibs. He was six months old at the time and I wanted a bib of a decent length to actually catch all the food he was spilling down his front as I was weaning him.

After a very perfunctory Google, I couldn’t find the right kind of pattern online, most seeming to cater to smaller dribble-catching baby bibs, so I decided to make my own.

bib tutorial

Now, I’m not claiming in any way to be any sort of sewing maven, but since I’d made the pattern I thought I’d share it here, in case it was useful for anyone else. Five months later, here it finally is!

The one good thing about my ridiculous delay in getting this ready to post is that I’ve had time to trial (and repeatedly wash) my original bibs, so I’ve made a few alterations to improve their durability.

The bib has a nice cotton fabric on the front, backed with terry towelling, which I’ve found really useful as all the food spills down the front and then you can use the back to wipe your baby clean once they’ve finished eating.

These instructions look amazingly lengthy, but it’s really a very simple process. I’ve just included lots of detail because I can’t help waffling that I thought might be useful to someone who is new to sewing. Ditto with the seemingly excessive number of photographs…


Baby bib sewing supplies
Also, bib pattern, sewing machine scissors and all that malarkey too
  • This pdf of the pattern
  • Terry towelling fabric (this makes the back of the bib)
  • Cotton fabric, either plain or patterned (this makes the front of the bib)
  • Sewing machine or a lot more patience than I have and a needle and thread
  • Pins
  • Iron-on velcro or some sew on poppers
  • Scissors

What to do

      1. Print out the bib pattern onto two separate pieces of A4 (don’t use double sided as you need both of the pieces separately), cut out and sellotape together along the dotted lines.

        Baby bib template
        Look at that template all ready to go…
      2. Pre-wash both of your fabrics so that they’ve done any shrinking in advance of being sewn together. Iron them flat. (I know, I hate ironing too, and am always tempted not to do it…)
      3. Cut out one piece of the pattern in terry towelling and one in the cotton fabric. If your cotton fabric has a design on, make sure you line up the template  so that you have the parts of the design where you’d like them to be in the bib… In the photo below, I had inadvertently cut off one of my cowboy’s heads, so I started again with the design  aligned better (see the later photos).  As a side note about the towelling fabric, it tends to shed hundreds of tiny little white bobbles everywhere when you cut it, so I find it useful to cut out over something I can easily shake off into the bin afterwards. (ie Not the sitting room carpet, like I did the first time I used it.)

        Two pieces of baby bib fabric
        Two pieces of fabric
      4. Place the two fabrics together, with the right side of the cotton facing inwards…

        Right sides of fabric facing for baby bib
        Right sides of fabric facing (of course, the towelling doesn’t have a right side…)
      5. …and pin around the outside

        pin the outside
        Notice my little tomato pin cushion? I had one left over from the tomato garland and this was a perfect use!
      6. Leaving a small gap to turn the bib inside out, sew around the outside, with a 1/2 inch seam allowance. (NB, I’ve found with the other bibs I’ve made that the terry towelling tends to fray a little, hence the slightly large seam allowance.)

        sew the bib pieces
        Sew around the outside of the bib pieces
      7. As an optional extra, you could also go around the seam with a zigzag stitch as well, just to prevent any fraying in the future…

        Zig zag
        Stitch the seam in zig zag, just outside your original straight line
      8. Turn the bib inside out, pushing the material through the hole you left

        Turn bib right way
        Push it through the hole. You might need to use your finger or a wooden spoon on the neck pieces
      9. You’ve now got a slightly puffy version of the finished bib.

        Baby bib tutorial
        A slightly puffy version of the bib…
      10. Iron the bib flat, making sure that your gap matches the rest with seam allowance.

        Baby bib tutorial
        Nearly there…
      11. Leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance, and starting and finishing with a small backstitch, sew all around the outside of the bib, which creates a neat-looking edge and closes the gap at the same time

        Baby bib tutorial
        Neat edges!
      12. Cut all the loose threads.
      13. Now for the fastening. Cut a piece of Velcro the appropriate size for your neck edges. Position it in the right place and hold both sides of the neck fast.
        Baby bib tutorial
        Make sure the velcro fits just on the tip of the neck pieces

        Baby bib tutorial and pattern
        Position the velcro fastening so that the neck closes as you’d like it to
      14. Then iron it into place, following the instructions for your brand of velcro. (Usually, this is something like, don’t iron directly onto the velcro and don’t use the steam settings. Leave the iron on place for about a minute to seal the glue.) Leave it to dry.

        Baby bib pattern and tutorial
        Iron straight on the top and it should be hot enough to glue the velcro in place
      15. If you’re planning on putting the bib in the washing machine and tumble dryer (and, let’s face it, I doubt many people want to hand wash bibs) you might find that the iron-on velcro isn’t that sturdy. Just in case, I sewed all round the velcro as well, completing a square around the outside and then two diagonal lines across the main section as well.

        Baby bib pattern and tutorial
        Okay, this isn’t completely the neatest sewing, but you don’t really notice the stitches when you’re not up close…
      16. Tadaaaaa! It’s all finished, and quite professional looking, even if I do say so myself:
baby bib tutorial
The baby bib all finished. Yeeeeeha!

Just perfect to hang out on the line and admire in the breeze…

Baby bib tutorial and pattern
This is where bibs spend most of their time, isn’t it?



You could leave the bib like this, or you could embellish the front. In my first bib bundle, I made a few with plain white fabric and then ironed on vintage images using the method outlined here. This gave me such beauties as this cabbage bib:

Homemade cabbage baby bib
I really like the effect of this vintage cabbage…

This time round, I decided to quilt the front of one of the bibs I made. (Since learning how to quilt, I’ve become a bit obsessed with it as a general idea…)

I just roughly went around the outlines of the fabric design, which looked really good afterwards. You can pick out details like this cowboy’s bum disappearing over the fence…

Baby bib pattern and tutorial
It looks like he’s fallen over the fence

…or this cowboy’s head:

Baby bib pattern and tutorial
It tickled me that this was a scene of a meal taking place. Cos it’s on a bib, y’see…

You could also try all sorts of other things, such as applique, or making the top fabric from patchwork. I’ve even seen some bibs for baby girls with rickrack sewn on to them… (Not my personal cup of tea, but each to their own.)

Despite lengthy instructions here, this really is a simple make. In fact, I suspect you could probably make a new bib in less time than it’s taken to read through to the end of this post…

If you do make one, I’d love to hear how you’ve got on. Please do leave me a comment below and let me know…

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A trio of teeny, tiny trousers

My very lovely friend Laura (who blogs over at Circle of Pine Trees) gave birth to her third son recently. I wanted to make something nice for him. (I also wanted it to be ready on time, but you know how that’s going to end, don’t you?)

Before my sproglet was born, I came across this wonderful free pattern at Made by Rae for what might be, quite possibly, the cutest baby trousers in the world. They were so adorable that I thought I’d try the pattern again for Laura’s new baby.

Handmade baby trousers
Awww, seriously ickle

He’s baby number three, so I thought he deserved three pairs. Plus, I couldn’t quite settle on which of these fabulous fabrics would be best, so I decided to go for all of them.

This one is a Liberty fabric from the V&A quilts exhibition. I know Laura saw the exhibition, and likes Liberty print as much as I do, so I’m pretty sure she’ll like these. (Let’s face it, clothes for a newborn baby are really for their Mum, aren’t they?)

Liberty fabric baby trousers
Everything, but everything looks nice in Liberty fabrics

I made these rocket men into a burp cloth last year and liked the fabric so much I immediately bought some more. It’s been sitting in my stash since then and this seemed like the perfect project.

Handmade baby trousers
Little space children, off to explore the 1950s moon…

And I can’t quite remember where these red elephants were from, but I do think it’s nice to have boys not only in blues, so this was added to the mix.

Elephant fabric baby trousers
Stomp, stomp, stomp, I’d quite like some elephants marching across my trousers

Of course, since they were made by me, all of these trousers are far from perfect.

I decided to sew a French seam for the crotch seam because hey, I watched Sewing Bee and I now know what  a French seam is I thought it would be less scratchy on the baby’s legs.

French seam
Is that a french seam I see before me?

This was a definite case of a little knowledge being a bad thing. When making this decision, I totally forgot that babies tend to be wearing this little thing called a nappy most of the time, and therefore the likelihood of a seam scratching their bottom is pretty slim.

In fact, all the French seam did was add extra sewing time, make the waistband a little too tight and make the crotch area needlessly bulky.

Bulk baby trousers
Bulk, bulk, bulk.

Of course, the sensible thing would have been to make one pair of trousers completely and then go on to the next one, in which case I wouldn’t have repeated the french seam mistake. But I didn’t do that. I did each part on all three trousers at once, like my very own little assembly line. So the bulky seams are in all three…

I also decided to use a white thread for all the seams, which I thought would look quite nice and contrasting to the busy fabrics. Unfortunately, this rather showed off my wibbly sewing and the way I haven’t cut the pattern pieces out very intelligently. Ah well, the baby won’t notice.

Wobbly seams
Wibbly seams and unintelligent fabric cutting have these little elephants marching off a cliff…

Despite the flaws, they’re pretty sweet and diddy, aren’t they?

And Laura sent me the cutest photo of them in use by baby E yesterday. Such adorable feet!

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A garland of tomatoes

I feel I should offer some apologies to anyone who isn’t that keen on gardening, if you’ve still stuck with this blog long enough to read this post, for I realise it’s been a bit plant heavy round here these past few weeks.

Stuffed tomato garland
Is that a delicious looking apple I see, hanging from the apple tree? Nope, it’s a tomato in fact. Of course.

Whenever I’ve put my head above ground from revising for my horticulture exams (I totally made that sound like I was doing loads and loads of work, when in reality, I’m pleased if I manage to do 30 mins a day when the baby is napping, but still…) I pop outside and water my actual garden.

So plants and all things plant-related have been taking up a lot of my brain space recently. And blog space too.

Not so much on the whole fabric or crafting front recently, I know.

So, I was all excited to sit down and write this post to share something I actually managed to create the other day and then I realised…. …it’s still got quite a horticultural bent to it.

Ah well.

Stuffed tomato garland
Just one of the delicious looking tomatoes

I made this tomato garland for a friend’s daughter’s first birthday. Unfortunately, true to type, I’ve finished it three months after the birthday but, hey, at least it’s finished.

She is a big fan of tomatoes (or was three months ago, anyway), so I thought it might be fun to make her a garland for her bedroom, to go with the T-shirts I printed at the time.

Now I look at it, I rather think this is quite the weirdest idea for a present I’ve ever had. A garland. Of tomatoes. Hmmmm.

Tomato garland
Oh it’s just so lovely to see sunshine in the garden, isn’t it?

Still, it will be wrapped up, stamped and posted to Ireland nonetheless. Hopefully before her second birthday.

This was my second attempt at making it. (I know! I actually sat down and thought it was a good idea to make a second one!)

For the first attempt, I ironed the tomatoes onto a big expanse of fabric first (I showed you a sneak peek of that some many months ago) and then cut them out and sewed them into the circles. The trouble with that, was the ironed-on tomato pictures got really creased and crumpled in the turning out process and you can’t iron over them again so there was no way to fix it.

They looked so tatty, I thought I had better start again, and the second time round I made the circles fully first, then ironed the tomato pictures onto the front of each circle, just before stuffing.

I also stitched them onto the ribbon too far apart, as you can see from the gigantic loop between these two tomatoes:

Tomato garland
They’d look better a bit closer together, wouldn’t they?

But by the time I’d sewn it all up for the second time, I just didn’t have the energy to take them off and do it again. I’ll just have to hope they don’t mind the tomatoes taking over the entire room…

Though I still think a tomato garland was a bit of a weird one, I could see this working quite well with some other images. Little gingerbread houses, perhaps, or circus animals, maybe some sharks for my partner, or horses for my horse-obsessed three-year-old friend. Many, many possibilities. Yet another project to add to the endless “To make” list!

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