A couple of weeks ago, I put out a cry for help on Twitter. I needed ideas for a non-gender-specific baby shower present, and it had to be handmade. Obviously I couldn’t show up with a shop bought gift – my reputation would be in tatters.
I got tons of useful advice, and ended up putting together a blanket, burp cloth, and bib. It took me less than a couple of hours, and I thought you guys might be interested in what I came up with. I think they make a nice set together.
(Whether these things are actually useful for babies, I have only the vaguest idea. Opinions welcome!)
I wanted to buy everything in one place, and I had a gift voucher for The Village Haberdashery, so that’s where I started. Plus, they have an amazing selection of prints, and I didn’t want to choose boring neutrals or pastel shades just because my present had to be unisex. Babies deserve colour!
- 1 metre of In The Forest – Leaves (this is on sale!)
- 1 metre of Fanfare Confetti Flannel in Blue
- 1 fat quarter of In The Forest – Branches
- 1 fat quarter of Solid White Flannel
Lots of people recommended Handmade Jane’s baby blanket tutorial, which you can find here. It’s beautifully simple and quick, and seems to have the seal of approval from people who know about baby stuff.
I used cotton flannel instead of fleece, so my blanket is pretty thin. The flannel is super-soft and cushy though, and doesn’t shed bits of lint everywhere like some fabrics I could mention.
Also, can I just say that I LOVE this leaf fabric. I wasn’t expecting a quilting cotton to be so soft and beautiful. I would definitely use a fabric like this from Cloud9 to sew a shirt. The colours are super vibrant.
Most babies seem pretty watery (and worse) so something to catch leakage was essential. I’m not sure though if a ‘burp cloth’ is an American concept? None of my friends with kids had heard of them by that name.
Anyway, I used this free downloadable pattern from Cloud9, which has a nice rounded area so it fits over your shoulder better.
The back is plain white flannel, and I used an extra layer of cheap flannelette in the middle to make it extra padded. I also sewed two lines down the middle to stop the layers shifting.
I had enough fabric to make this out entirely out of my yellow fat quarter, but I loved the leaves so much I had to include them. Once again the back is plain white organic flannel, with another layer of cheap flannel in the middle to make it more absorbent.
The pattern is this one from The Purl Bee. It seems very small to me – next time I would use a template with more baby coverage, and possibly a wider neck opening. I used a jersey hammer-on snap as a fastening. These ones from Prym are pretty great and very easy to put in.
Note to self – use woodland animals next time
So there you go, a matching baby set. This cost me about £28 for fabric and just over a hour cutting and sewing time. It went down pretty well at the baby shower, although it didn’t elicit as much coo-ing as a tiny bandana bib made with owl fabric, curses.
You could definitely make it cheaper, although I think it’s worth using a really nice fabric for the blanket top at least. The bib could be made from any old scraps, and so could the burp cloth if you didn’t mind piecing it. I look forward to making many more of these whenever another one of my friends pops out a sprog…