Wednesday July 27, 2011

Show & Tell this week is dedicated to babies.

For the last six years every woman I know has been having babies.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but all my friends are in the stage of starting and growing their families.  I’ve gotten in the habit of keeping on hand, a stock of handmade baby basics like bibs, burp clothes, wash cloths, and embellished onesies.

I love sewing for babies!  Making things for my own children was what first got me interested in sewing.  When we brought Jude home from the hospital I quickly realized that fancy baby clothes were fun and all… but what I really needed was a good stash of baby basics that could stand up to a lot of abuse.

I slowly began to include some of my handmade items in gifts for my friends with newborns.  Much to my delight, not only did the moms-to-be love the way they looked, they actually used the gifts I had made.

There have been several babies born this month, with several on the way (including a new niece or nephew for me!) so I thought it was time to stock up on some baby gifts.

Bibs make the perfect gift.  They are easy to sew, good looking, and extremely functional.

I don’t think you can have too many bibs.  Normally I use my own bib pattern but this time I used Amy Butler’s pattern from her book “Little stitches for Little Ones”.  I like the shape, and it has the food catcher pocket at the bottom, which is a handy feature.


Instead of sewing the front and the back right sides together and then turning it, I edged the bib with bias tape.  I love the look of the bias tape but I’ll admit it was tricky.  I had to use narrow bias tape in order to make it around all the curves, without getting puckers in the bias tape.  It took patience and time to make sure all the fabric layers ended up in between that narrow tape.  I had to redo several bibs, but practice makes perfect… or something like that.


I lined the back with a soft plush material.  I used a cream colored “minky” fabric, but you could use flannel as well.  The weight and the feel of the minky is dreamy!

Burp rags are another gift I like to give.

I  use the plain cloth diapers,  dye them with Rite dye, and stitch a panel of material down the center.  I think dying the burp cloths really adds a special touch.  You have to be careful though, be sure to follow the directions on the dye box.  I like to play it safe.  I color set the clothes by washing them in the washer with HOT water; not once but twice.  If you’re interested in trying your hand at dying, Dana from Dana Made It has some excellent tutorials.


For a little extra effort (and half the cost) you have a stack of burp rags that look like they came from an expensive baby boutique.

One of my favorite little gifts to give is a stack of flannel and terrycloth washcloths.

They are ultra soft, fit perfectly in the palm of you hand, and are nice and flexible for scrubbing all those adorable baby creases :)


I always use coordinating fabrics.  When you are making a simple gift  (like a washcloth) the material you chose makes a big difference.  Think outside of the box.  Don’t always go for the fabric with the pink hearts or the blue teddy bears.  Have fun with it, be a little more daring.  Try to take into consideration the mother’s tastes and preferences.  She is more likely to use something if she likes the way it looks.


Normally I line the back of the washcloth with terrycloth but this time I used the minky I had leftover from the bibs.

Take a few burp cloths, bibs, and washcloths; put them in a fun basket or colorful pail, and you have the perfect gift for that sweet little baby.


A fun gift that will get lots and lots of use!

Happy Wednesday to you all  ~ April

*As always, if you are interested in detailed step by step instructions of anything I have made, let me know and I will put together a tutorial.  Or feel free to send me a message if you have any questions.

49 thoughts on “Wednesday July 27, 2011

  1. Donna7

    Oh those are wonderful gifts indeed! I love the birb cloths dyed with a matching fabric print. Too cute. The little wash cloths look adorable too. You did an amazing job on the bibs. I love your work, thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. H0LDfast

    you know my love of onesies ….. can i start requesting long sleeve ones now?
    and i’ll seriously pay for a fresh batch of bibs!
    you’re just genius. 
    love it all & you!

    Reply
  3. aliyagator

    What size do you make the washcloths?  that’s a good idea.  I personally never. use bibs.  Well, that’s not true.  I do when feeding.  but I make vinyl ones that wipe clean and therefore you only need one or two.  Love the dyed burp cloths.  Adds such a nice touch.

    Reply
  4. Carsonsmom2

    Love those tiny wash clothes! I hate such a hate for those cheapo ones you buy in the store. If ever I am blessed with another child, i will come back here for a tutorial. :)

    Reply
  5. ABAHM

    I saw the title and said, “OH BOY, it’s Wednesday!”  I enjoy seeing your show and tell blogs   These were great.  Love the sets.

    Reply
  6. turningreen

    Absolutely precious!  My mother-in-law made us some personalized onesies and burp cloths long ago and they were so special to me.  I love the way you package them all in a basket for the gift! My friends and I are all past the baby phase now, though, aside from the occasional accidental baby!

    Reply
  7. fruitloops115

    april, you are so talented it’s not funny i just love your taste. i want to have another baby just to order stuff from you Do you ever do onsies with a little mod animal on the front? 

    Reply
  8. Cestovatelka

    Oh how cute!!!! And they don’t seem that hard to make too. I’ll keep this in mind when I reach that stage of my life where all my friends are having babies :)

    Reply
  9. inanorchard

    @Donna7 - Thanks so much!  I love the way the bibs turned out but they were tedious!

    @windupherskirt - Thank you my dear :)   I do love a gift that is pretty AND practical.

    @OsuwarInuyasha - Judah is a great name!  We have friends who named their son Judah. 

    @cazmatazz - Thank you!!  Sewing projects are perfect for the “nesting stage”  of pregnancy.  Keeps your hands busy and your mind off that due date :)   Congratulations by the way!  Do you know what you are having?

    Reply
  10. inanorchard

    @aliyagator - The wash cloths are 6×6 squares.  I have friends who love the vinyl bibs but my kids always grabbed their bibs and rubbed their faces on them   Which is why I switched to cloth bibs… more absorbent ;)

    @foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown - Thanks Rachel!  It is so much fun sewing for little ones :)

    @ABAHM - Thanks Jenny!  Now that you have that handsome grandson in your life you have a reason to make bibs and burp rags :)

    @turningreen - “Accident babies” that’s funny!  A few of mine friends have had those too ;)

    Reply
  11. inanorchard

    @ofunlo - Now that I think about it, and adult sized bib would do me good too.

    @Iloveaholiday - Thank you   I like to give gifts that I would like to have.

    @buddy71 - Thank you!  It’s not much but I so enjoy sewing for other people :)

    @WakeUpLaughing - Thank you!  Isn’t is amazing all the wonderful things they have for babies these days?

    @manuelmusings - What are you saying Susan?  You’re not going to have more children ?  Very well then, I will just have to make you flowers instead of burp rags.  Anything for my more “mature” friend ;)

    Reply
  12. smilesbymiles

    So darling!!!  I wish I knew if we’re having a boy or a girl next time now already so I could sew while I feel well and inspired instead of hoping to see something other than nine months of miserable grey survival.  I was going to ask what size the wash cloths were, too and now someone beat me to it and I already know.  Maybe I’ll have to make a batch of each and give away the ones I don’t use.  Just darling.  Tell me this, though.  When you do the little animal appliques (like the bird on the bib) what do you do to keep the edges from fraying?  I added a kite to the front of one of Adam’s tshirts with a cotton fabric.  I folded the edge in under and *thought* I top stitched close enough to the edge.  It was soo cute, but the edges frayed out after two washings.  Do you have to use a special fabric?  Serge the edge?  What am I missing?  I would love to do some onesies for a baby gift b/c I think they are like the cutest thing ever!

    Reply
  13. lifeisadance

    Ohmygoodness, this is sooooo adorable!! I’ve done lots of burp clothes with various embellishments, but I love the idea of dying them! That just adds an extra special touch! And the washclothes and bibs – they look like they come from some super expensive baby boutique! I always love your choice of fabrics as well – you have such an eye for putting colors/fabrics/patterns together. And goodness, I really want another baby so I can make adorable little things for them. :)

    Reply
  14. appalolly

    Such adorable baby things.  No, it doesn’t make me wish for another baby, but those burp rags are super cute!  I wouldn’t have minded having a couple of those back in the day.

    Reply
  15. inanorchard

    @smilesbymiles - When I make onesies I use Heat n Bonds or Wonder Under to help with the fraying.  Its an adhesive that you iron on to the back of the fabric.  I also do a tight zig-zag around the edges if I’m concerned about fraying.  You can also use cotton knit or wool felt.  If you make some you MUST post pictures :)   I didn’t realize your where expecting!!  How wonderful :)   When is the baby due to arrive (if you don’t mind me asking)?

    @lifeisadance - Thanks Clarita!  I”m afraid I can’t take credit for the fabric coordinating, they were sold in matching bundles ;)   I love Etsy! 

    Reply
  16. babybug329

    Your baby things are so cute!  I like that they’re not the typical prints you’d find in the store.  They have a great personal touch to them.  So sweet and beautiful gifts.

    Reply
  17. smilesbymiles

    @inanorchard - I am not expecting.  I still have a few more weeks of HCG bloodwork since my molar pregnancy before I’m “safe” to try again.  But hopefully soon.  It will feel like we’ve been trying to have a baby forever before we ever get to see a real baby after all of this.  Anyhow, I am very much in baby mode even though I’m not actually pregnant.  It blows my mind to think that I would actually have been 34 weeks pregnant yesterday.  But hopefully by the time I hit my ex-due date I’ll be in the clear zone.  I better be.  I’ve got a boy and girl nursery dream already starting.  I just need an actual baby. :)

    Reply
  18. nurseynursey

    These are all wonderful. Your sense of color and design is fabulous. I sewed for my sister’s twins when they were babies – cotton Butterick pj’s with snaps up the legs for diaper changes – do they still make them? We never had enough pj’s. I sewed them by hand because I didn’t have a machine and never learned to use one. It still amazes me that they held together long enough for the girls to grow out of them and into the next pair! Even the twins are past having babies now. I guess we’ll have to wait for the great grandchildren to get our basket of goodies!

    Reply
  19. inanorchard

    @smilesbymiles - I remembered that you had recently lost a baby, for some reason I thought maybe you were expecting again.  My sister-in-law (hOldfast) just went through the same thing this past January.  She just announced that she is pregnant again and we will have a new member of the family sometime in January!  I will be praying that all the levels are as they should be and that a little one will be on it’s way very soon :)   It’s never too soon to start sewing :)    

    Reply
  20. inanorchard

    @nurseynursey - You sewed them by hand?  How wonderful!!  What a sweet gift!  I have a whole box of handmade baby cloths that my husband’s grandmother made him when he was a baby.  I just marvel at the time she took to sew all those little onesies and bib overalls.

    How are your pumpkins doing?  Mine have all sprouted but they aren’t very big yet.

    Reply
  21. nurseynursey

    @inanorchard - I just posted about my pumpkins. I’ve had a very traumatic morning. Please let me know if you have any information about silver spots on the leaves or (gasp!) squash beetles! (And thank you for asking.)  

    Reply
  22. clearlyhis

    you really are a.m.a.z.i.n.g.!!  These baby cutsies are just so clever and beautiful!  And, I love how you assemble them so neatly in those baskets!!

    Reply
  23. inanorchard

    @ArmyWife4Life2007 - Thank you!  I got a few handmade gifts from friends and my husband’s grandmother when I was pregnant, and they were some of my favorite gifts.  Thanks for stopping by!

    @babybug329 - Thanks!  I try to use interesting fabrics for my baby gifts.  There are so many amazing fabric designers these days.  Thank you for coming by my site, it’s always fun to have new visitors :)

    @clearlyhis - They were so much fun to make :)   I’ve always loved wrapping and assembling presents… to me it’s half the fun of a gift :)

    Reply
  24. fruitloops115

    @smilesbymiles - I think we should form some for little “not-pg-but-in-total-baby-mode” club. With you there  And then April posts all this cuteness to make us even more feverish  It’s all good April. 
    btw April, i didn’t know you and holdfast where SILs i love this whole bloggy world thing, meeting all these new people from the comfort of my own home, it’s great.

    Reply
  25. smilesbymiles

    @fruitloops115 - Totally.  So you wouldn’t look at me wierd if I decided to sew something maternity before I ever get to see the little blue plus sign? :)  You should come over tomorrow.  I could not help myself after this post.  I went to Joanns and bought fabric to make washcloths. :D  So supposedly they are for part of a baby shower gift for Tuesday night, but clearly there is more than enough fabric, for several babies. :)

    Reply
  26. fruitloops115

    @smilesbymiles - that would be so fun, i’d love to sew wash cloths with you. I’m reeeeally trying to just chill w/ the whole baby/maternity clothes thing, just so I don’t get too antsy about waiting for it to happen….altho sew those maternity clothes if you want I mean, if you feel ill your entire pgnancy, why not sew while you still feel good? I totally get that. 

    Reply
  27. inanorchard

    @smilesbymiles - How fun Michelle!  I want to see them when you’re finished :)   You and Thelma are making me a little jealous… all this talking of getting together and sewing ;)   I wanna come too! 

    Actually, I was thinking about making a stack of washcloths to keep in the kitchen for wiping messy faces and hands.  I thought it would me nice to have a pile that was dedicated to “faces only”.  I always feel bad when I realize I’ve just cleaned one of the kids faces with a sour dish rag

    @fruitloops115 - Yes, Allison married my brother.  I love her to bits!  Been thinking about you a lot Thelma.  Wondering how you’ve been… how Eli’s memorial service went? 

    Reply
  28. fruitloops115

    @inanorchard - tee-hee don’t be too jealous. we don’t exactly live next door either  a stack of washclothes in the kitchen sounds like a great idea. I hate the thought of wiping abbi with my gross kitchen cloth, so i go through lots of papertowels. I should just do some fun clothes and save me some $$$s.
    about the memorial service. people keep asking me about it.  i  really should just blog about it… 

    Reply
  29. smilesbymiles

    @inanorchard - Yeah, it’s about as likely for you to come as for Thelma to pop in. :)  Ok, so not quite.  But we are a little over 4 hours apart. :D  I was going to buy boy fabric yesterday, too, and make some for Liam.  He’s not a baby, but I still like a smaller washcloth for him.  He’s so tiny for his age.  But do you think Joanns had cute boy fabric?  Nope.  

    @fruitloops115 - I wish too you would.  But not unless / until you are ready.

    Reply

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