Baby Gift Making

I was going to post this on Wednesday, but as I watched news coverage of the mass shooting in Vegas this morning, I decided to post it today instead. Baby makes are smile-producing and hopeful. On sad days, like today, they can offer a bit of levity.

These two makes are certainly cheerful creations. The tiny size alone makes them adorable. I’ve heard humans are programed to react favorably to small humans and their accoutrements. Apparently, it triggers our biological instincts to protect and nurture. Whatever the reason, small is always super cute.

As a sewists, I view a baby shower as a chance to flex my making muscles, so when I recently received a baby shower invitation, the first thing I did was plan my gift makes.

Rosebud Cardigan

Over the years, my shower gifts have consisted of baby blankets of various types. I’ve made blankets with ruffles, lacy stitches, cables, and monograms. I decided to branch out a bit with this make and knit a baby sweater. I’ve knit adult sized sweaters, but this was my first tiny sweater.

fullsizeoutput_1416I used the Rosebud Cardigan pattern from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight. I purchased this book locally a while back from my local yarn store, Fibre Space. It is also available online (see link above). I have previously knit another pattern in the book, the monogrammed baby blanket which turned out well.

This simple cardigan sweater is knit in five pieces (two arms, two front panels, one back) and then sewn together. A collar and button bands are added by picking up stitches once the sweater is sewn up.

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Sweater images from the book

The pattern calls for the use of a silk or mercerized cotton yarn. Fibre Space carries a large selection of Miss Babs yarn and, after much deliberation over feel and color, I decided on a scrummy skein of Woodbury, a fingering yarn. Woodbury’s fibre content is 65% merino wool and 35% tussah silk. This dusty pink is called “sugar.”

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I made only one change from the pattern as written. When shaping the raglan armholes, the pattern directs, “Decrease 1 stitch… at each end of the next and every following alternate row.” This direction would have me knit two rows for each decrease. I did a quick estimation of how long this would make the final arm measurement based on my gauge and decided to ignore the directions. Instead, I decreased by one stitch at the end of every row. I’m glad I deviated from the pattern. If I hadn’t, the arms would have knit up exceptionally long. I don’t expect baby to have octopus arms, so this wouldn’t have worked out well.

For such a small sweater, it took a considerable amount of time to knit. I binge watched several episodes of The Last Tycoon while knitting it up. (You can stream it here: Pilot.) The costuming on the show is fantastic!

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I finished the sweater, as the book suggests, with little satin rosettes purchased from my local craft store. I found some that look similar online here Pink Satin Rosebuds. The sweater could also be finished more traditionally with buttons.

Doctor Who Dress

I decided my second make for baby should focus on the dad-to-be. I find fathers get a bit lost in the excitement surrounding baby showers (especially when baby is a girl). For baby shower gifts in the past, I’ve sewn football-shaped baby blankets featuring dad’s favorite sports team. These blankets have been big hits at showers. I use the free directions and pattern published online here to create them. I highly recommend the pattern and instructions. Both are great.

This particular dad is not a big football fan, so a football blanket wouldn’t have been appropriate. He is, however, a huge fan of Doctor Who, so I decided to sew a Dr. Who themed dress.

Joann’s is my go-to spot for character fabrics. The section of Frozen fabric alone is mind blowing. I found a super cute cotton printed with the faces of all the different faces of Dr. Who throughout the years (including the most recent doctor). Unfortunately, this fabric is available in-store only.

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I did find another cute Doctor Who print that would also work for this dress and is available online.

Dad-to-be has an affinity for vintage, so I found some vintage reddish-orangish buttons at one of my local sewing shops, Stitch Sew Shop, for the closures.

You know I love a Burda pattern and my Burda Style stash is my first stop when looking for a specific type of pattern. A brief search resulted in the selection of a sweet smock-style dress with two little patch pockets and oversized button closures.

The dress pattern is from the March 2017 Burda Style Magazine. I sewed a size 74, the second smallest size available.

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Burda, March 2017

 

 

The pattern is rated as intermediate (three dots in Burda’s skill rating system) and I feel this is an appropriate rating. The pattern does require the use of piping, the creation of button holes, and the use of facings and bias binding. There is nothing particularly difficult or tricky with this pattern, but it does require some solid sewing knowledge. Burda doesn’t hold the sewist’s hand and assumes detailed directions are not needed. Despite the brevity of the instructions, they were clear.

The only thing I struggled with was the piping. My serger came with a piping foot and I was excited to try it out with this pattern. Luckily, I had the presence of mind to test it out on a scrap piece of fabric first. It did not go well.

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Oops! Piping disaster!

My piping was too thick for my piping foot and everything became a jammed up mess. I gave up and went back to applying the piping the old fashioned way with my zipper foot on my sewing machine.

I was in a rush finishing this dress and sewed on the buttons as my husband hustled me out the door for the baby shower, so I don’t have any in-progress shots and only one photo of the final dress.

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Despite the lack of photographic evidence, I am very pleased with how this dress turned out.

Hopefully, baby will look smashing in both!

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that I will receive, at no cost to you, a commission if you click and make a purchase.

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