Simple Makes for Little Ones
With the imminent arrival of a small person in my life, and the thrill of full time maternity leave, I’ve been obsessively making and sewing. So many of you have asked for links to patterns and fabrics, and for advice on where to start, so I thought I would share my favourites with you.
Bloomers and Trousers. This was one of those genius finds when flicking through pinterest procrastinating. I was looking for a simple harem pant pattern and discovered the wonderful world of Wiksten. All the way from Portland, Oregon, Wiksten patterns are designed by Jenny Gordy. Once I’d downloaded the harem pants pattern and realised how ridiculously quick and easy the pattern was, I went on to try the bloomers. I’ve been desperate to make EVERYTHING from Wiksten, but I’m trying to reign it in until we know what flavour has been cosying up in my tum for the last 9 months. You can download the Harem pants here, and the Bloomers here.
Make sure you follow the printing instructions!
Next up is this cute bonnet I made, from a FREE pattern by Purl Soho. These guys are amazing and have a whole section dedicated to free downloadable patterns which I think is the best! You can find the baby bonnet pattern here. The best bit about this pattern is that you can make it from offcuts. I have a habit of keeping tiny bits of fabric that I can’t bear to get rid of so this was perfect. I might have to make more!
Let’s talk knitting - My knitted blankets are ALWAYS made up as I go along. I know some people can’t work that way, so you can find a million free knitting patterns online. Try sites likes Love Knitting, or my old fave, Purl Soho! There are tons of free ideas on there and you can categorise how simple you would like your project to be too. As you all probably know, I’m also a massive fan of Pippy Eve knitting patterns for babies. I’ve made so many of Samantha's patterns and I have to say they are SO simple to follow (even if you’re new to knitting!). Wool and the Gang also make amazingly simple patterns for little ones too, and they’re available as kits! Great if you’re a beginner and want peace of mind.
More made up stuff - My matching changing mat and quilt combo. Believe it or not, quilts and mats are the simplest thing to make. I always start by cutting a couple of squares/rectangles, and sandwiching some wadding between. You can simply (and carefully) stitch these together with straight lines, and then hem with bias tape. I’ve made so many in my time and they’re perfect for shoving in the washing machine. For the changing mat, I used a piece of old shower curtain for the backing. Wipe clean! Handy!
Muslins - In a bid to keep things neutral but still lovely, I decided to make some muslins myself. I bought a few metres of cotton gauze online and stitched up some super size swaddles in cute colours. I just cut them to size and hemmed the non-selvedge sides with invisible stitching. If you want to make some cute, individual looking muslins too, why not try some dyeing? I used Indigo dye and Shibori techniques to make pretty patterns on a bunch of plain white muslins, but you could use all kinds of different natural dyes. Check out Rebecca Desnos and her magazine ‘Plants are Magic’. I bought her book ‘Botanical Colour At Your Fingertips’ and have dyed a couple of household items that were looking a bit sad. Naturally dyeing is fun, safe and simple.
Fabric and yarns - My stash has been getting out of hand so i’ve been using materials from my existing supply for every project recently. If you’re looking to keep things sustainable, I would highly recommend a browse in charity shops, particularly for smaller makes for babies. You don’t need much fabric, so you can buy things like dresses and skirts and cut them up. There is an amazing £1-for-everything charity shop near me and I always manage to find some beautiful fabric.
For new fabric for muslins and cottons, head online. I searched for things like ‘Double Gauze’ for muslin cloth. A lot of my liberty fabrics were handed down from my mum, but I know you can get a fab selection from Alice Caroline.
For yarn, I mostly shop at my local haberdashery. Aside from locally spun/ recycled wool, the best way to keep things ethical is to buy from an independent retailer. Wool and the Gang make wool from recycled denim, or you can buy from numerous independent spinners and dyers. Check out Woolly Mammoth Fibres for some inspiration!
In essence, finding great patterns and great materials for little ones is a labour of love. I love scouring the internet for my next project, it makes it all the more fun. Hopefully I’ve inspired you to get on the case and make something for the little people in your life!