When it comes to homemade, there’s nothing more special than making things for a new little person. And when it comes to baby gear, the choices are endless. As a new mom, I mostly kept things simple both in what I bought and what I made. If you’re welcoming a new person – or celebrating someone who is – here’s my list of must-have homemade items for baby:
Quilts & Blankets
I am on quilt three for miss Ruby. Naturally, they top my list of special homemade things for baby. Nothing says handmade hug more than a quilt – or six! The Cuddle Quilt in Sweet Booties is a great place to start if you’re new to quilting. 3-inch squares pieced together in sections and then rows….couldn’t be easier! Or more cuddle-able!
Bibs were something I thought I needed as soon as the baby arrived. I didn’t, of course, but I’m glad I made them early as said bundle of joy seriously cut into my sewing time. I love the quilted bibs in Sweet Booties: the perfect canvas for pretty little fabric bits! And the quilting is simple. At some point, I stumbled onto the Bapron pattern at Craftiness is Not Optional. This pattern is ingenious, super fast, uses only a bit of a fat quarter, and fits so well. At first I thought the coverage was overkill (the bit fits over the shoulders and onto the upper back), but babies do tend to get food in amazingly complicated places.
I am a hat person, so my offspring would be as well, right? Like so many things, this is an area where little Ruby had no choice. Logistically, hats probably aren’t actually a must-have right away, but stylistically, they’re critical, friends. Critical.
Top knot hats are my favorite last-minute shower gift, and I made several (with matching pants!) for Ruby using the Pretty Prudent pattern. Even though she was a smack-dab-in-the-hottest-part-of-summer baby, she spent a goodly portion of her early weeks with hats on. Okay, and her later weeks too, until she discovered that she could take them off (boo!). Sunhats are a necessity in summer! I love this sprinkles sunhat from Sweet Booties: it’s simple and straightforward and sweet (of course). For my little hat-removing bundle, the strap is also a must-have. I’m officially in the midst of the wanting my baby to look like a baby a bit longer phase, so I’ve been pondering the bonnet in the book as well.
I’m not picky about my own towels, but all of a sudden, when it came time to get towels for Ruby, no amount of plushy goodness would do. And no licensed imagery for us (just yet anyway). The Sweet Booties Bath Hoodie to the rescue! Sweet binding, circle appliques, and guess what – she won’t outgrow it!
As luck would have it, I’m also a bag person. My diaper bag is a simple canvas affair, perfect for….drumroll….dad to carry! But there are many lovely patterns out there from simple totes to complicated numbers with pockets for everything. I think I’m rounding the corner from carry-everything-and-the-kitchen-sink toward drop a few diapers in your bag and go….which will require a sweet and simple diaper cozy! (Wait, I think that means I need to go to the fabric store.) I’ve also been thinking about making Ruby her first backpack. I’m still shopping around, but I LOVE this owl backpack from The Sewing Loft. Okay, that pretty quickly veered from must-have to momma’s to-do list…getting back on track!
Sadly, as fast as Ruby can get hats off her head, her sock-and-booty-and-shoe removal time is even speedier and more efficient. However, IF Ruby had been the booty type, I would have made her endless pairs, starting with these blue suede Baby Janes from Sweet Booties. In the shoeless meantime, I’m happy with quick access to baby toes.
Making clothing for newborns is a bittersweet endeavor: sweet that they can come home in something homemade, bitter that said homemade item will fit for about 32 minutes. I knew this, accepted it, and jumped in headlong anyway! I started with these wee baby pants. I used the baby tights tutorial from Made by Rae and used the bottom edge of the repurposed shirts to serve as the bottom edge of the pants. Nice jersey prints are hard to find in stores (at least that’s been my experience) so I love the repurposed option. This was also one of my first time stitching on knits. I experimented with the different stitches on my machine (you know, the ones you never have an opportunity to actually use?!?), found one that worked, and then went to town.
Most recently, I finished the Family Reunion Dress from Oliver & S; it’s an adorable dress but already getting snug. I’ve also made Ruby four tops using the same Simplicity pattern; it’s a basic cross-back tank that will (I hope!!) still fit her next summer. I’d actually suggest that mode – find a pattern you really like with some sizing flexibility and make it in several different colors.
You don’t have to go from-scratch on everything. You name a store-bought item for baby, and I’ve put an “R” on it! From cloth diaper burp cloths to washcloths to store-bought bibs to onesies, personalizing is just more fun when it comes to baby items.