Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Little Baby Love

A Standard Baby Gift
Burp Rags.
This is my "every baby gets at least one" gift.
I make them out of cute and soft flannel.
They offer almost infinite creative possibilities and what a baby receives is really more a function of my mood at the moment it was created rather than degree of love for baby.
How To
1. Go shopping for flannel. Soft flannel, with a nice pile. JoAnn's snuggle flannel is snuggley, and they have nice sales on it periodically. I like to mix prints and solids that coordinate. White is an easy one, but like for the ones I made last night, I used yellow, but ended up wishing I had some of that apple green on hand. (But I have 1 1/2 yards more of the print, so that may end up happening :)
Oh, you need to buy 1/2 yard of fabric. If you are doing the same on both sides, 1/2 yard is enough, otherwise, 1/2 yard each print and solid.
2. 1/2 yard of flannel would be 18"x42-45"
Cut your pieces in half so that it is 18"x21-22.5"
I am going to assume that you are doing the print and solid combo, so you now have 4 pieces.
(Oh, a little sewing-aside, you could prewash your fabric. I don't. I like the look of washing it after. It does run the risk of the fabrics shrinking at different rates and puckers and stuff. Oh well. I don't like how wrinkled the yardage gets in the wash and it is really difficult to iron it out afterwards. You make your own decision about that, though.) 3. Next, pair up your pieces, right sides together. Now would be a good time to make them the same size. I just use an acrylic ruler and a rotary cutter and trim to the smallest piece. Do try to keep it square. I think it is tacky when you try to fold it up and it is all wonky. But then, I am not sure that anyone notices it being off a bit, so I just try to keep it square. (I think it is clear that I am not anal or a perfectionist.)
4. Once you are trimmed up, pin together. The flannel sticks to itself nicely, so you only need a couple.
5. Sew around the edges, leaving a space to turn. I use 1/4" or 3/8" seam allowance, depending on which foot is on my machine at the moment. I use the edge as a guide. (oh, and I am lazy, too. The only reason I re-threaded the machine last night is that it was black thread in there. I knew I wouldn't be able to get away with that, but I left the walking foot on, so that gave me a wider seam.) And you want to leave the opening wide enough to get your hand in and pull all the fabric through.
6. Trim your corners.
7. Turn right side out.
8. Poke out corners (a chop stick is fabulous for pointing your corners) and smooth edges. I iron it to make it smooth and crisp around the edge.
9. Close the opening that you turned through. A few stitches by hand are enough or do it with your top stitch, if you stitch close enough to the edge that it isn't obvious that you didn't close the seam (oh, so lazy :)
10. Top stitch. Lengthen your stitch length, it looks nicer.
These ones turned out about 16"x21" when finished.
These are super easy to whip out. The real fun comes with personalizing them. I have done machine embroidery on some. I do it in a corner, sometimes on point (grin) so that it won't irritate a face lying on a shoulder. I do different edge treatments, too. I use my serger to do the seams or I top stitch with decorative stitches on my machine. The leaf/vine stich in varigated thread is nice looking. I have done some with a rag finish- like a rag quilt, I sewed them wrong sides together with a 3/4" or 1" seam and then snipped the seam every 1/4" or so. Then it frays as it is washed. You need to have a top load machine for it to work, the front load is too gentle to make it work! One very obvious example of the difference in washing machines!! (I cannot felt very easily, either :(
It could be interesting to try stenciling on these, too. Hmm.
I have also made them long and skinny, i.e. shoulder width, only because I saw some skinny ones at the store and thought it was a nifty idea. Ultimately, not as useful, I don't think.
Don't be surprised that you have to sternly say to the receipient, "USE IT!"
I have had too many new moms not want to, thinking they are too pretty. Just remind her that it is not nearly as pretty as the baby.
One friend of mine used it for a changing pad and sometimes as a little blanket (when the babe was tiny in the car carrier.) It is really nice to be able to give a useful gift that you know hasn't been given by 8 other people, too.
This post inspired by:
Those bibs she made are too cute. Lucky baby.
And now I have 2 burp cloths made for Shizuko's baby in February! Yea!

1 comment:

Lacey said...

Thanks for posting a tutorial on the burp cloths. I will have to give them a try!