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…

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Down on the farm

We’re off on hols this week; staying on a farm where we plan to ride horses and tractors and collect our own eggs from the chickens every morning.

Perhaps we might even spot a pig as glorious as this one…

Vintage pig image | Wolves in London
Glorious pig found at Old Book Illustrations

I intended, of course, to schedule lots of blog posts in advance so you wouldn’t even notice my absence.

I failed, of course.

So have a wonderful week, everyone, and I’ll be back in seven days or so.

(Depending on how long it takes to do all the post-holiday washing.)

Finding vintage images

Finding vintage images: a guide to 5 handy sources | Wolves in London

If you’ve visited me here at Wolves in London before (hello! if you haven’t, nice to meet you!) you’ll know I am a huge fan of beautiful old illustrations.

There is something so wonderfully evocative about a good vintage image. Perhaps it’s the delicate detail of some drawings that transports you back to a world of explorers and inventors and the collector’s drawer. Perhaps it’s the romance of a perfectly depicted rose. Or perhaps I’m just a sucker for good old fashioned nostalgia, which pictures like these have in abundance.

At any rate, I use vintage images all the time. From everything such as making my own wrapping paper or soap packaging, to weird lobster jewellery and even our wedding invitations and wedding favours.

(I have plans in the pipeline to open an Etsy shop soon, selling babygrows and T-shirts with some of my favourite images on the front. Watch this space to see if I can get off my arse and do it…)

In the meantime, it occurred to me that it might be useful to share some of the websites I use to find all those wonderful vintage pictures in the first place.

Here, then, are my five favourite blogs and websites that catalogue hundreds of copyright free vintage images:

1. The Graphics Fairy

Vintage pears
Vintage pears found on the Graphics Fairy site

If I’m looking for a new image, the Graphics Fairy blog is inevitably the first place I visit.

Completely eclectic, the website is packed with a phenomenal range of images in loads of different styles of loads of different subjects. You can run a search to find images of specific things, but it’s much more fun to just lose yourself for hours browsing the different categories.

All images are copyright free and fine to use both for your own use or to sell commercially…

Especially good for:

Everything! This really is my number one site. Great for black and white images as well as colour. There’s also a host of reader’s projects (my lobster necklace was once featured here) as well as hints, tips and DIYs if you’re looking for inspiration with what to do with all this fabulous imagery.

 Projects I’ve made:

DIY advent calendar
Vintage images advent calendar

Most of my projects use Graphics Fairy images somewhere or other. My vintage advent calendar was made entirely with images I’d found here.

2. Vintage Printable

Ladybirds from Vintage Printable
Ladybirds from Vintage Printable

I’ve got to say, I always find Vintage Printable a little frustrating to navigate, but persevere for it is definitely worth it for some of the wonderfully weird things you can find. I especially love the illustrations of collections, like the ladybirds above. This is definitely a site for browsing and wondering what amazing thing you’ll stumble across, rather than one for carrying out specific searches.

Especially good for:

Plates from books, colour images and unusual things you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

Projects I’ve made:

Homemade hat wrapping paper
Not a great photo, but I still think this wrapping paper is better than loads you can buy…

The hat print is one of my favourite images I’ve ever come across, which I used as an envelope liner for my homeprinted book plates and again for my home printed wrapping paper.

3. Clip Art Etc

Boarfish illustration
The boarfish! From Clip Art Etc

Looking for some weird and wonderful old-fashioned black and white images of animals or fish? Look no further! I scour this site — set up as an educational resource for the university of South Florida — on a regular basis. The images are available copyright free and you can use them for any personal projects without charge. If you want to use them for anything commercial, you can pay a one off fee that allows you to reproduce the image as many times as you like and in any way you like…

They also run the equally wonderful Maps Etc, which has hundreds of historic maps.

Especially good for:

Clip Art, obviously. All line-drawn black and white illustrations. The animals and plants sections are my favourite, but there are some great quirky scientific images as well.

Projects I’ve made:

Homeprinted babygrow
Modelled by the sproglet in his younger days

I love the carrot illustration that I used in the babygrow I made the sproglet.

4. Botanicus

Orange botanical vintage image
Oranges from Botanicus

Botanicus is a new one for me, and I am yet to fully explore everything inside the site. Another one that is pretty difficult to navigate, but the website contains complete editions of lots of antique botanical books, including the plates — which is where you find the wonderful images.

To find your way around, you need to select the book you want (choosing by title or author) and then take a look on the left hand side in the box called “pages” — click on ones that say “plate” or “illustration.”  A good starting place is Koehler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, the book that contains this orange illustration above.

It’s also slightly complicated to figure out how to download the images. On the right hand side of the image is a box full of arrows, to help you scroll around and zoom the image. Click on the one that looks like this: ↓ and then right click on the image to save.

It’s a bit of a faff, yes, but it is worth it for some of the illustrations, which are truly stunning.

Especially good for:

Er, botanicals!

Projects I’ve made:

None, so far, but once I’ve explored the site a bit more, I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot more vintage botanical prints from here in future projects.

I also think these would all look wonderful printed and framed for the wall, so once we’ve finally decorated the house I plan on festooning the walls with some of these images.

5. Old Book Illustrations

Vintage bird image
Image from Old Book Illustrations

Oh I truly love this site! Old Book Illustrations is nowhere near as extensive as the others, containing only a few categories with a few choice images in each one. But the images themselves are, without fail, stunning and stunningly quirky. And, as you might have noticed, I love me a bit of quirk.

The site says that all images are copyright free and can be used for personal or commercial purposes.

Especially good for:

Black and white images. Once again, the animals and plants categories are my favourites. The French subtitles to the images make them especially appealing to me…

Projects I’ve made:

Screen print acetate
F is for fish

The smelt (a fish, doncha know) that I used in my F is for Fish screen printing attempts last year was from Old Book Illustrations. I loved it so much, I used it again on some of my Spoonflower fabric.

And that’s it! My five favourite sites. I hope it helps if you’re on the search for an old graphic anytime soon.

And if you think there are some amazing ones that I’ve missed off, please do drop me a note in the comments. I always love to add to the list…

Related articles:

  • I pin all my favourite images over on my Free Graphics board on Pinterest, so if you can’t be bothered to trawl all these sites yourself, just follow me over there for my pick of the bunch!

Vintage botanical deliciousness

Regular readers (hello you lovely people) will know I have a penchant for vintage prints and a love of gardening.

So, it’s perhaps a little surprising that I have only recently discovered the plethora of stunning vintage botanical illustrations that are available out there for free on the internet. (And by free, I mean both free to download and copyright free for use as well. Which is juuuust what I like…)

While I was busy learning about all sorts of plants for my recent horticulture exams, I put together a huge board on Pinterest (Plants, plants, plants) with hundreds of pictures of trees, flowers, shrubs and so on. And while I was busy searching for photos, I kept stumbling across stunning illustrations.

Here are a few of my favourites.

Vintage poppy image
From botanical.com

This glorious red corn poppy is from website botanical.com which has a huge range of gorgeous images and information on herbal plants.

Foxglove vintage image
From wikipedia

Wikipedia has loads of amazing scientific images for all sorts of plants, like this foxglove. The illustrations are all taken from a book called Koehler’s Medizinal Pflanzen (that even my shonky German can translate to Koehler’s medicinal plants) and there are some real beauties in there. You can find the whole book online at Botanicus.org (along with hundreds of others too…) To look at the illustrations, scroll through the box on the left marked “Pages” and click on anything called a Plate. It’s not the easiest site to use, but it’s worth the time for the wonderful images…

Fern vintage image
From the Graphics Fairy

To steal a line from Zoolander, I’ve noticed that vintage fern images are so hot right now… I’ve seen photos popping up all over Pinterest (like this, for example) of gorgeous sitting rooms decorated with old fern prints. I love the look a lot so perhaps I’ll get in on the action myself when our house is finally ready for decorating…

This image is from the Graphics Fairy website, always my first port of call when I’m after a vintage pic.

Dandelion vintage engraving
From Vintage Printable

I’ll grant you, a dandelion’s not your typical appealing flower, but there is something really delightful about this engraving. It’s from Vintage Printable, another great place for a browse if you’re after copyright free images. If I had an orangery, I think I would decorate it with lots of old drawings of weeds, just like this. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Mayflower vintage illustration
From Vintage ephemera

Finally, I couldn’t resist the glorious reds in this old illustration of a Mayflower (not a plant I’ve ever heard of, though a quick Google of its Latin name tells me it is a hawthorn that is prevalent in the Midlands…) The blossoms look utterly beautiful too, don’t they?

This one is from Vintage Ephemera, which is a blog that’s new to me, but one I shall certainly peruse further.

Now, I’m just wondering what to do with them. Any suggestions?

Related articles:

  • I pin most of my favourite vintage graphic finds to my Pinterest board Free graphics
  • And for a taste of some of the things I’ve made with vintage images in the past take a look at my vintage image category

Wolf & Ink

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while might remember my hugely talented sister, Letterpress printer extraordinaire and maker of my wedding invitations and business cards.

Letterpress balloon
Like it? Hey, you can buy it!

Well, she’s put me to shame once again for, while I’ve been wittering on about starting a fabric business for more than a year but done sweet FA about it, she’s spent the past six months setting up her own stationery company, Wolf & Ink.

Letterpress wedding invitation
I love the bus on this…
Wedding invitation stationery
Save the dates, RSVPs, and so on…
Personalised Letterpress CD case wedding favours
This is a super cute idea: a wrapper for your CD of wedding songs

She makes bespoke wedding invitations (plus save the dates, RSVPs, menus and the whole caboodle, which I believe is more officially referred to as a “suite”) but you can enjoy some of the Letterpress loveliness even if you’re not getting married as she’s also launched a range of cards and notebooks.

Letterpress notebook
Just think of all the lovely notes you could write in here
Personalised note cards
Personalised note cards
Letterpress notecard
This is my favourite of the bunch…
Taxi notecards
Taxi notecards

You can find her at her own website: Wolf & Ink and she’s also just started selling an exclusive range for Not On The High Street.

But of course, all this creativity and get-up-and-go doesn’t make me feel even a tiny bit jealous. Honest.

*Retires to sofa to dream of a better life*

Related articles:

  • I’m a real fan of Letterpress stationery so, naturally, I’ve got a whole Pinterest board dedicated to it. Check out some more beautiful designs here: Letterpress inspiration.

Armchair travel

Once upon a time, I used to get itchy feet if I hadn’t been out of the country for a month. I was a travel aficionado. Weekend city breaks, European holidays, winter ski trips, a year off travelling through Asia: there were few travel opportunities I didn’t jump at. Frequently.

Palestine vintage travel poster
Okay then, I will…

But, now, of course, I’ve got a young family and my days of travel are, if not over, at least on hold for a while.

On the whole, I don’t really mind. There is something equally as exciting in discovering all the amazing places on our doorstep, both around London and in the rest of the UK.  Honestly, there really is.

France vintage travel poster
This hotel looks family-friendly, right? Oh…

But I have friends scattered at various locations around the globe, mostly there for work, and of course that bastard Facebook is terribly good at making you feel jealous about whatever it is that someone’s doing and you’re not…

And so it was, when one of my closest friends posted some photos today of her recent visit to Burma (she lives in Thailand and travels to Burma a lot. Yeah. I know).

I had an extreme sensation of itching in my feet and a yen to set off for sunnier climes.

Portugal vintage travel poster
No rain, ah blissful notion…

But I can’t. So, here is the next best thing.

You’ve seen these a hundred times before, of course, but I absolutely love these old 1920s travel posters. I found a whole set recently at the Boston Public Library’s Flickr account from an exhibition in 2010.

These are just a few of my favourites. You can take a look at the full lot here: Away we Go!

Alaska vintage travel poster
If I could go anywhere on my next holiday, I think it would be Alaska…

They utterly epitomise the glamour of travel don’t they? And that’s enough for me at the moment. Travel from my armchair…

Related articles:

  • Well, I shouldn’t really moan so much, since I was in Puglia a mere month ago. But of all the places I’ve been to before, Borneo would be the one I’d return to quickest. If only to see these baby orangutans again…

Letterpress wedding invitations

When it comes to planning a homemade wedding, let me offer you one excellent piece of advice: make sure there is someone really talented in your family at a wedding-related craft and then force them to give you their expertise for free.

Don’t have someone in the family already? No worries, divorce your current family and find a new one. A dressmaker would be helpful, of course, a florist maybe, a caterer would certainly save you a fortune or, in my case, a sister who has just started her own business making beautiful Letterpress wedding invitations.

Letterpress wedding invitation
You’re invited! Oh wait, sorry, it’s a month or so late…

I’d suggest scouring the endless, endless wedding blogs, find an appealing-looking supplier and then send them a (mildly threatening) begging letter, asking them to either adopt you or perhaps become your “blood brother” (or sister). Leave it a few months and then drop the request for lots of hard work for free. Job done. Money saved.

I jest, of course, but I am genuinely super lucky that my sister started to set up her business just at the time we were planning the wedding, so was more than happy to make us our invitations on her brand new press. (Those who were reading my blog earlier this year may remember the stunning business cards she made for me as well…)

Because the hubby and I met out in the Philippines doing a marine conservation diving course, we went for a seahorse picture on the main invitation and a weedy sea dragon on the RSVP card.

Sea horse wedding invitation
He’s a lovely sea horse
Letterpress wedding RSVP
I doubt many people recognised the weedy sea dragon (except our friends from the marine conservation programme…)
Letterpress weedy sea dragon
What a cutie

The RSVP card had our address printed on the other side, so people could literally just tick a few boxes and put it in the post. Being one of the world’s laziest people ever, I always find it a bit of a hassle to actually write a reply to invitations, so I work on the assumption that everyone else does too.

Everything was wrapped up with a three-way folded piece of card printed with the lovely seahorse again.

Wedding invitation with a seahorse
This is what our guests saw when they opened the envelope
Letterpress sea horse
I couldn’t resist giving you a little close up, so you can see all the lovely inky detail

I chose the vintage pictures and did a very, very, very basic design (and, of course, all the wording) which my sister then licked into a beautiful shape and found us the excellent font as well (Manquis CP if you’re curious)…

We were really, really delighted with results and we got loads of compliments from our guests.

Letterpress wedding invitation set
All the various pieces

And if you’re wishing my sister was your sister too, then fret not! Her company will be open to take its first official customers in a matter of weeks. In the meantime, keep an eye on her blog Wolf & Ink for updates and lots of other wedding-related inspiration. (I’m not promising anything, but it’s just possible a certain someone might be guest posting on there in the near future too…)

Just please, please don’t send her any threatening letters asking her to adopt you.

Related articles:

Take a look at some more of the homemade elements of our wedding:

Homemade wedding favours

Everyone tells you that organising a wedding is stressful. So much to do. So many people to coordinate. So many little things to think about.

And of course, you don’t believe a word of it.

“Not me,” you think, “I won’t be some crazed bridezilla, storming around the place screaming at people because my napkins don’t perfectly match my flowers. No way. I’ll be all chilled and laid back. And, really, how much is there to do anyway? I think I’ll try and make everything myself. I think it’s a great idea to do my own flowers. And I’ll definitely make all the favours. Oh and maybe it’s a good idea if we don’t get a caterer and just cook all the food ourselves…”

Ha ha. Okay, insert “me” for “you” in the sentence above and you get the picture. Luckily, someone a lot more sane than we are convinced us that trying to do all the food ourselves was a step too far, but we did take on most of the rest.

But actually, though I had nowhere near contemplated the phenomenal amount of tiny details you need to consider / plan / organise / book for a wedding, I don’t regret deciding to do as much as we could ourselves, and I think I managed to stay fairly stress free for most of the process…

And even if you decide the flowers are a step too far, I really do recommend making the favours. If you’re that way inclined, of course.

homemade wedding favoursI spent quite a lot of time researching different ideas for homemade favours but as soon as I saw an idea on Martha Stewart for hand stamping little bags I was won over. Firstly, I’m a little bit obsessed with hand stamping things. Secondly, we got to have our very own stamp made up! Who could pass on an opportunity like that?

There’s a (very brief) tutorial on the Martha Stewart website as well, but here’s a quick step by step for what I did, including UK-based suppliers and a few tips to get the best results.

Supplies:

Supplies for hand stamping
Everything you need
  • Small muslin drawstring bags. I used a 8cm x 12cm size, which I bought here on eBay. I bought 125, which cost me £65 in total, so approximately 15p a bag. Update: as pointed out by Lynn in the comments below, the cost is of course, actually around 50p a bag!
  • A stamp made up with your chosen design. (More info on this follows.)
  • Ink for fabric. I used Versacraft large ink pad in real black. The pad isn’t as big as the stamp itself, but it’s raised up, so you can just hold the stamp down a couple of times to get the correct coverage.
  • Vintage image to create design. Our car is from the Old Design Shop: clipart vintage car.

What to do:

Step one:

To create your design for the stamp, there are two options. You can either use a variety of pre-made templates at the Martha Stewart site and just fill in your details, or you can create your own.

I used the same text, “Snacks for the road,” but made my own design as we wanted to use the same font as we’d used on our wedding invitations. I did this in PowerPoint: in a blank file use the “basic shapes” button to choose a circle. Right click on the circle, select “format shape” and you can change the fill, outside line and so on. Then just paste your image into the middle of the circle and create the text using a text box. Save as a jpeg.

Step two:

To have our design turned into a stamp, we used the English Stamp Company. They were amazingly helpful, as I couldn’t manage to upload the jpeg in a way that their website recognised, but finally I emailed it to them and they made all the alterations needed to turn it into stamp form.

Stamp for wedding favours
Oh I do adore this stamp. It’s such a shame I can’t use it anymore…

They’ll make a stamp in a huge range of sizes; to fit the muslin bags, I had mine made at a 7cm diameter.

The total cost for this was £21, which I thought was pretty amazing. I am seriously holding myself back from ordering a million more stamps so I can stamp anything and everything…

Step three:

Wait impatiently for a few days for the wonderful stamp to arrive.

Step four:

Now all that’s left is the stamping itself. Practice a few times first on paper and then attack your bags…

Stamping bags for wedding favours
Repeat times 120…

A few tips:

  • Don’t press the stamp hard down into the pad for the ink coverage. Instead, sort of dab it across the surface, which covers it up perfectly without leaving any thick places to smudge.
  • I tore a piece of card from a cereal box and slid that inside the bags before stamping each one, to make sure no ink went through to the other side.

    Homemade wedding favours
    A piece of card looks after everything…
  • I found that I got the most perfect coverage if I was standing up, directly over the bags and if I used both hands to press the stamp firmly down.

    Homemade wedding favour bags
    It took a few attempts to get a perfect coverage of ink

Step five:

Leave to dry. I left mine for 24 hours just to be on the safe side, but they seemed dry long before that. In order to set the dye, you need to just press lightly down with an iron for a minute or so on each image — with the steam setting turned off.

Homemade wedding favour bags
Dry my pretties…

Step six:

Fill with some little morsels of deliciousness. We made vanilla fudge to go in ours, which was a part success, though it was perhaps a little bit too sticky. I had originally wanted to make some peppermint cream hearts (a bit more rrrrrrrromantic as well) but decided against it because of the raw egg white involved and the knowledge that there would be a few pregnant people there.

hand stamped favour bag
Plump and puffed up with fudge

We made these favours double up as place names as well, by tying on a luggage label with people’s name hand stamped onto it. I used the same method for these gift tags. It was a nice effect, I thought…

These bags are great for wedding favours, but of course you could do something similar for a children’s party bag or a box for jewellery or a huge, huge range of things.

If you have a go at this, do let me know what wonders you’ve conjured up in the comments below.

Related articles:

  • Want to see a few photos of the wedding itself? Step right this way: our wedding.
  • And if you’re planning a wedding too, and are wondering about what you bits you can do yourself, take a look at my tips for arranging your own wedding flowers. This was another DIY I was really pleased we took on (not least because it certainly saved us hundreds and hundreds and pounds…)
  • Naturally, I had a Pinterest board to store all my inspiration when I was planning the wedding: Wedmin

A photo a day: August 28th

Vintage plate
Plate and image. Just waiting to be joined

I wish it would surprise you if I told you that I still have a wedding present to finish making for my sister who got married in May. (I wish it would surprise me too.)

I did give her most of her presents at the time, but I had an idea to pretty up some vintage plates for a really personal present too. Um, it’s still in the offing, but the other day I did get the plates out and take a look at them. That’s a first step right?

Related articles:

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