Super Snug Sleep Sacks

When we first arrived in Cape Town from Sydney I was reminded that June in Cape Town is COLD.  My little bunnies were freezing in their camp cots on the ground and they were quickly getting too big for their sleeping bags. So, of course, the solution is not to go out and buy a replacement but rather make new sleep sacks. (Why do we do this to ourselves?!).

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Armed with my mom’s ancient, but immensely reliable, Elna Lotus sewing machine and a bit of internet research I started the process of making sleep sacks. I checked out DIY Mommy’s cute fleece version  and Small Dream factory’s instructions as well as measuring off our existing sleep sacks and scaling them to bigger sizes thanks to this chart that I can’t seem to find the original source to.

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For the one, I chose a fun orange ladybird cotton and a yellow monkey/cupcake flannel for the lining and the other one is a purple dog print on the outside and blue farm animal flannel on the inside.  I spent quite a bit of time looking for the right batting. I really wanted organic cotton but it’s really hard to find.  And I really didn’t want synthetic but that’s the most common batting around.  Eventually I settled for a pure, rough, wool which at first I thought was a bit dirty and not pristine enough for my babies, but as I got to know the material better I started to love the bits of Karoo bush and tiny twigs mixed in with the wool.  I imagined the happy, free-roaming sheep gladly giving up their winter coats and was pretty certain that no chemicals or major factory processes went into the making of the wool batting.

I drafted the pattern and from the beginning wanted a zip on the side to avoid zips scratching little chins and necks. I cut out the fabric for the first sleep sack and after consulting with hubby (my design consultant), we decided the neckline and arm holes looked too small. So I made cut them a bit bigger.  But…we wrong…after I made up the sleeping bag and tried it on a munchkin, we realised that the neckline and arm holes were now too big!  So for sleep sack number 2 we went back to my original design. And now we have one that’s a little looser than the other.

Sewing the sleeping bags wasn’t the easiest task mainly because of the batting.  I first sewed the batting onto the lining with parallel stitch lines and quickly realised that I needed another layer of fabric between the outer and the batting to stop ‘threads’ poking through the outer layer and also to help with the sewing. Next I sewed in the zip, turned it all the right way around and then finally added biased binding along the top edges of the sleep sack.  The very final step only took place about 3 months later (ie a few days ago) when I added the snaps into the shoulder straps. Until then I just used safety pins which worked ok but I much prefer the snaps!

I am pretty happy with how they turned out and they have definitely worked in keeping the girls snug in winter.  I am also much happier with the snaps that the dodgy safety pins.  Now with summer well on its way, I’ll have to think about making some cooler ones for warm summer nights!  It’s never over is it?

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And the twincesses FINALLY have their proper cots back and are out of their travel cots after 3 and a half months of waiting for our shipment to arrive!

Pattern: My own Sleep Sack pattern based on internet research and existing sleep sacks

Fabric: Printed cotton outer, lightweight cotton inner liner, pure wool batting, cotton flannel lining, zip and hand made complementary bias binding

Alterations: On the orange one I made the neckline and armholes bigger…mistake.  Stick to the pattern!

Do it again: I might have to make summer ones next!

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Textured Play Mat

IMG_1697This was a fun project I managed to squeeze in before the girls were born (but have clearly taken an age to post about it!). It’s a play mat using all sorts of scraps and textures that are fun to feel and play with. The idea is that during tummy time the babies have interesting things to feel and their sensory perception develops. And of course with all the bright colours it’s visually stimulating as well.

You may recognise some of the scraps from projects like the Ziggi Jacket, the Charlie Dress, the Big (wedding) dress, The Pearl coat, Moo PJ pants, Baby bunnies etc etc.

IMG_1699For the back I just used some blue fleece I had in my stash. I was going to try to do a batting/quilting thing but went for the quick and easy route and am glad I did because it’s much easier to wash this way – an important consideration with all the baby spew around the place!

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And one last pic showing the play mat in action 🙂

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Message Tree Baby Quilt

DSCN2747For friends of ours’ new baby I attempted my first quilt.  I definitely don’t claim to be a quilter so this was quite an interesting undertaking.  But I kept it simple and quite enjoyed the journey.  I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

At the baby shower BBQ, I got their friends to write notes to the yet-to-arrive-baby or soon-to-be-parents on fabric leaves that I had pre-cut out.  I then assembled it at home.  The leaves and tree trunk fabric were bits from my scrap stash, the front is an old duvet cover and the backing, edge fabric and batting are from Remnant Warehouse.  I must say a huge thank you to the very helpful ladies at Remnant Warehouse who gave me a crash course in quilting while I was buying the fabric.

I first eassembled the layers (back fabric, batting and front fabric) careful to leave enough of an edge that I could cut off to straighten once it was all put together.  I stitched straight across in a hash pattern.  I first tried this with my machine but it started getting bunched up in places so I did quite a few of the stitch lines by hand.

Next I ironed applique interfacing (double sided) to the leaves and trunk and trimmed the edges. Then the big assembly came with putting the trunk and leaves onto the quilt and making sure I ironed them all securely in place. I kept the edges of the pieces raw and then straight stitched or zigzagged around each leaf and the tree trunk. The final step was putting the binding on.  I made 2.5 inch straight binding (doesn’t need to be on the bais because it’s going around a square!) and used a nifty technique to sew it on: fold the binding in half and sew the raw edge aligned with the raw edge of the quilt. Then fold the doubled up binding over the edge and stitch in the ditch to secure in place.

And ta dah!  my first quilt – a highly personalised message tree sending so much love and adoration to the new little one.

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Thanks for visiting and happy sewing!