Spring has sprung and it seems to be the time for babies! I’m not sure if it is the time of year or just my circle of friends, but there seems to be a large number of babies being born this year.
My go-to gift for new moms is the simple receiving blanket. I usually use cotton flannelette as it is soft and cozy for the baby. And there are lots of cute prints to choose from although many of the new moms coming into the store are picking up non-baby prints. It can be used to swaddle the baby, as a blanket, as a breast feeding cover, as a spit up wipe, as ground cover when needing to change the diaper …
All you need is 1m of 115cm wide fabric, a pair of scissors, a serger or sewing machine stitch that will finish a fabric edge, some thread and a large eye needle.
With your 1m of fabric, just finish the edges using your preferred method. I like the serger because if you curve the corners, you can do it all in one fell swoop instead of sewing off one edge only to start the next edge. Use the large eye needle to thread the tail end of serger thread into the stitches. I think this takes me total of 5 minutes to make from start to finish! So I “labour” long and hard by gifting 6 blankets at a time.
Another gift I like to make is a baby bib. This is for a slightly older child (6 months) but it’s amazing on how quickly 6 months pass. The pattern I like the best is the Bapron. It is more labour intensive but does not twist around the baby’s neck when worn. It also provides great practice in making and sewing bias binding.
If you make your own bias binding, did you know about the bias tape makers? These little gadgets opened up a whole new world for me. No more burnt fingers or fussy measuring. You also have a choice in tape sizes – anywhere from 1/4″ to 2″ widths. (6mm to 50mm)
For the uninitiated, bias tape is made by using strips of fabric cut on the bias or 45* angle of the fabric weave.
This gives the tape some curving ease for projects such as the Bapron. These strips then have both long edges folded into the middle, making single fold bias tape. The sizes listed in the bias tape makers refers to the width of the finished single fold bias tape. Depending on what size tape maker you use, you will need double the width in fabric.
I use the single fold bias tape in garment sewing for finishing neck lines or sleeveless armholes. With the ability to make my own tape, I can guarantee a match to my fashion fabric. For demonstration purposes, I used 2 obviously different fabrics so you can easily see what I’m doing. Here I am using single fold bias tape to finish a neckline. You will probably have to trim down the seam allowance of the garment neckline so the tape fold line will match the stitching line. Once secured, you press the tape over on the stitching line so that none of the tape shows on the garment front. Top stitch down.
Double fold bias tape is single fold tape folded again. When folding over, have one side a smidge shorter (maybe 3mm or 1/8″) than the other. This way, when you top stitch on the shorter layer, you are guaranteed to catch the bottom layer.
My most frequently used bias tape makers are the 1/2″ for single fold tape and 3/4″ for double fold tape. For the bib gifts, I like to use the 3/4″ maker.
Here is a handy tutorial for making bias trim.
And if you need to make yards and yards of trim, here is how to make continuous bias tape.
If you make baby gifts, what are your go-to projects?