Once I learnt that my dear cousin and his wife were expecting, I started work on a substantial knitted and sewn layette to send when the baby was born. One of the great advantages of having a large family is that there are always babies to craft for. I really love making gifts for newborns, and this time was no different.
The new bub, code name Rufus, was born in the midst of a Sydney summer. That means HEAT. A knitted layette seemed impractical, so I sewed up newborn to 3 month old sized garments in cool, 100% cotton, and knitted a wool outfit for a 6 month old so Rufus can wear it in winter. As I made so many cute little pressies, I’ll share the sewn items with you today, and the knitted layette in another post, with reflections on crafting them.
I started with Simplicity 4709, a pattern I bought from the op shop. It is a sweet, straight forward dress pattern with a few variations, and a hat pattern as well. This is view C – I can’t remember why I chose it, as it is designed to have open sides, but I sewed them up instead. It is a solid baby pattern and I’m sure I’ll make it up again. I’d love to make the hat pattern when I have enough fabric set aside.
The other garments are the Purl Soho Newborn Kimono Shirt, sans snap closure, and the Goody Two Shoes baby shoe pattern from Meet Me At Mike’s. I’ve made the kimono shirt countless times before, and recommend it if you are looking for an easy newborn pattern. The same does not apply for the shoes – my project notes just read “WORST. PATTERN. EVER.” The instructions were vague and incomplete, and I’d rather less cutesy quips about having a cup of tea and iced VoVo, and more actual information about the pattern (like, say, seam allowances).
Finally, there are two mini-blankets. The first is a super simple throw, which is just a piece of fabric from the remnant bin at Spotlight, hemmed top and bottom. The fabric was meant as a joke – my cousin and his wife are avowed atheists, and I’m sure they would be thrilled with a blanket depicting Noah’s Ark for their child. The other is my first paltry attempt at quilting.
The pieces were simple squares cut from scrap fabric, backed with pinspot flannelette from Spotlight. With the guidance of a quilter friend, I quilted along the seams and diagonally, before binding with store bought bias tape. Don’t go looking for perfection here – I considered this more of a practice quilt for learning new techniques. It’s a bit wibbly wobbly, but I’m sure baby Rufus won’t mind as they roll around on it (before probs chucking up all over it).
For most of these projects, the fabric is just scraps of whatever I had lying around – the duck fabric was used to make PJs for a friend, and the moose and cutlery prints cotton poplin in an Isaform print from Spotlight, originally used to make a child’s dress and shirt for myself respectively. I didn’t intentionally choose a colour scheme, because babies will wear whatever the fuck they’re put in*, but it just happened to all sort-of match.
These will all be bundled off to send to Sydney soon, and I hope Rufus and their parents like them. Next time, I’ll share the knitted layette I made.
*Of course, pink for girls and blue for boys is a recent invention, taking flight in the gender-marketing drive of the 80s. There is some evidence that in the early 1900s, boys wore pink, as it was strong like red, and girls wore delicate blue. And before then (pre-1900s) all children wore white dresses up til about the age of 6 or 7, when they had their first haircut. It’s almost like gender is a social construct.