Baby Shower Gifts, part 1: DIY Easy Peasy baby blanket and soft toys

Easy Peasy Baby Blanket and Soft Toys

Easy Peasy Baby Blanket and Soft Toys

This is the first part of the three part series I’m going to present to you, lovely reader, about the gifts I gave to my sister-in-law at her baby shower a month ago.  Last week, she gave birth to a healthy, adorable, kissable baby boy; I feel now is the time I can showcase the work I did.

Easy Peasy

Let me stress to you that the baby blanket and the soft toys that I’m going to tell you about are SUPER EASY to make.  These homemade bits of wonder don’t require much time, effort, or talent.  Believe me:  I didn’t have much of these when I decided to start the project.

I had clicked around on Pinterest , pinned a few gems, and settled on my own version of a baby blanket and these super-cute toys.

Disclaimer!

I do not follow instructions.  Ever.  I’m terrible about it.  Just check out a few of my recipes if you don’t believe me.  I fudge left and right with no apologies. Although the instructions for the soft toys from Curious Kangaroos look pretty cut-and-dry, I still made these toys my way.

I’m going to tell you how I did what I did but I certainly don’t expect you to do it Just Like Me.  I certainly wouldn’t.  Heck, I wouldn’t do these like this if I ever made them again.  All of life is trial and error, particularly when it comes to me and crafty stuff.

The Easiest Baby Blanket Ever

The Fabric

I went to JoAnn Fabrics with the handy-dandy coupon they emailed me (seriously, sign up on their website).  I spent entirely too long looking at and touching the various fleece and soft fabrics with adorable prints.  I knew my brother and his wife were decorating their nursery with a woodland theme, heavy on the foxes; I grabbed every soft-feeling fabric with a fox print and put it in my cart.  Then I did the most difficult thing my little control-freak heart could do:  I let Angel Baby pick which one to use.  I then matched it with another print so I could have a blanket with contrasting sides (great for new babies exploring with their eyes).

My red foxes on red background with the contrasting fabric that compliments the foxes' eyes.

My red foxes on red background with the contrasting fabric that compliments the foxes’ eyes.

A closer look at the foxes (they're red-on-red, I promise; not pink).

A closer look at the foxes (they’re red-on-red, I promise; not pink).

The lovely lady cutting fabric that day immediately assumed I was making a baby blanket.  She said that as she has made tons of them over the years, she recommended I get 1 1/4 yards of each.  As I didn’t have a precise pattern (not like I’d follow it anyway), I smiled and said yes, please, thank you.  The fabric I chose was on sale and I had a coupon.  I already had thread at home.  Cheap baby gift!

The Method

I washed the fabrics together on a gentle cycle with cold water.  The red didn’t bleed; I was concerned it would but thought if they were sewn together and my SIL needed to wash the blanket, I’d rather it bleed on me than her.  I line-dried them then snipped off all the loose strings.  Even though the fabric was smooth enough at that point, I still ran a hot iron over both pieces.

While on the ironing board, I measured by fox faces then by polka dots to determine how much I could take off and not slice anything in half.  I took five inches off of one side of each and set these strips aside.  I’ll explain the reason in a minute.

I then pinned the fabric facing each other.  I borrowed my MIL’s sewing machine as mine is a bit on the fritz right now.  I then sewed around the edges, about 1 1/2″ from the outside.  When I was almost back to where I started, I stopped and removed the blanket from the machine.  Then I took my time turning the blanket right-side-out.  Just a quick whip stitch and it was sewn all the way around.  Ta-dah!  Easy peasy baby blanket!

..That I can’t show a final picture of because apparently I didn’t take one.  I do, however, have all the blanket in the background of the toys so I’ll insert that picture instead. (Sometimes blogging isn’t all the cut-and-dry.)

See the blanket behind the toys?  It is real smooth and nice around the edges.

See the blanket behind the toys? It is real smooth and nice around the edges.

Easy Peasy Soft Toys (some even make noise!)

The toys were a fun experiment.  Remember me mentioning I took off 5″ from one edge of the 1 1/4 yards of fabric?  Here’s what I did with them.

The Cutting

I didn’t really measure these out.  I put that in the category of “following directions,” which I just don’t really do.  What I did was fold over the edges so that I made rough squares.  Check out this nifty collage I made with my smartphone.  Hey hey.  Make your square then cut.

3 Steps to a Square:  Fold over, fold back, see a square, cut it, proceed.

3 Steps to a Square: Fold over, fold back, see a square, cut it, proceed.

The Sewing

I hand-stitched these squares.  I recommend you use a sewing machine. I had already returned the aforementioned borrowed machine to my MIL.  Also, hand sewing meant they could travel with me as I watched Angel Baby tear up my house.  I am by no means the neatest hand-stitching crafty person out there.  But I’m bold and unapologetic so here are some pictures:Hand sewing 1

Hand sew 3Not too pretty, not very neat, but as these stitches won’t be seen, I’m not all that concerned.  As long as they’re tight and strong, we’re good.

Remember to fold the fabric back so that the print is on the inside when you sew.  As you sew around the edge, stop before you complete the square.  In this gap, you will tuck the fabric right-side-out.

If you want to get fancy, as I did on a few of these, add ribbons along your stitch line.  I placed four 4″ pieces of black satiny ribbon along two sides of one of the polka dot toys, positioning them so my stitches caught them in the middle (no chance of them coming loose to pull through and possibly harm my sweet baby nephew).

Another way I got fancy was to use that same ribbon and “embroider” around one of the fox faces to make it stand out.  There really are a ton of different ways these toys can be made!

The Stuffing

Stuff the square into the hole you left to turn it right-side-out.

Stuff the square into the hole you left to turn it right-side-out.

I didn’t leave myself large enough holes to easily stuff the right side through to the outside.  It was a struggle.  Really.  I think I have knobby man-hands, which makes small hand crafts like this rather difficult at times.  And by “difficult,” I mean I used more swear words and sweat than necessary.  My own fault.  Leave yourself a good two inches.

Once it is right-side-out, there are a lot of different things you can stuff inside the toy.  I used:  little bells cut from an ugly Christmas sweater (sadly, it didn’t win the contest), worn out burp cloth, plastic grocery sacks, fabric scraps, etc.

Crinkle, jingle, fluff!

Crinkle, jingle, fluff!

After the stuffing is complete, use that fancy-dancy whip stitch to close up the gap.  Your toys are done!

A close-up of the last toy being stitched closed.

A close-up of the last toy being stitched closed.

Lovely Gifts… for the Baby

These are great gifts for a baby and his or her parents.  A blanket to lay on or be wrapped in plus some toys of different sounds and colors.  I really like my fabric choice as there are plenty of contrasts for my new nephew’s new eyes.

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

These are clearly gifts for the baby.  Yes, the parents open them and ooh and ahh then are the ones that use them, clean them, store them… But what about the new parents?!  Or, more specifically, what about the amazing woman who has been carrying this new life around for roughly 9 months while still caring for her other child, her home, her job, her friends and family, and all the neat new things that have been collected for this new life?  She needs something, too.  Don’t argue with me on this.  The mother needs to be reminded she isn’t a vessel but a human being.  For real.

Lovely Gifts for the Mama

Tune back in to ThoughtfullySought.com to catch the next part in this series.  I’ll show you the fabulous (at least I think so) but Easy Peasy blanket I knitted for my SIL.  The final part of the series will include the presenting of the gifts, which is almost as important as the gift itself.

Last thing:

The mother needs to be reminded she isn’t a vessel but a human being.

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2 thoughts on “Baby Shower Gifts, part 1: DIY Easy Peasy baby blanket and soft toys

  1. Pingback: Baby Shower Gifts, part 2: DIY Easy Peasy knitted blanket for the mother-to-be | Thoughtfully Sought

  2. Pingback: Baby Shower Gifts, part 3: Wrapping It Up | Thoughtfully Sought

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