Sunday 9 February 2014

Stitching for Babies

I love stitching for babies. It is just so exciting and you can use lovely colour combinations. My first real project on my sewing machine was backing a cross stitched Afghan blanket. I do admit I love stitching full stop but you can find such lovely ideas and patterns for babies and I loved it when I had hand made gifts for my little girl. They all got tucked away in a memory box after use. For her birthday this year my daughter got the most beautifully quilted height chart and I am just in awe of it.

The neighbours of my Mum and Sister have just had a little boy and I was asked to make a couple of designs that I have made before for the new arrival. I would love to say this was a "commission" but in reality because it was for family it was more of a request with a charity donation as payment. My little sister loves owls so I wanted to pass that on to the recipient and they have cats. I chose two lovely embroidery designs of owls and pussycats (but sadly no pea-green boat!). I used sublime stitching designs. They are iron on transfer designs which saves the hastle of tracing and gives clear lines to follow. I love the designs as they tend to be different, modern and simple. The outlines allow you to do a simple backstitch to just use the shape or fill it in if you decide to.

As good as some complex iron on patterns look all of the detail prevents you from just stitching outlines. I decided to do a simple outline of the two owls but using variegated thread. I find the variegated thread give a simple and effective result. The owl design makes me smile because the parent owl is looking half awake checking on the owl chick. I did however come across another interpretation from a friend who thought it looked like the parent owl was winking in a sinister way as if thinking about pushing the chick off! As disturbed as I was by this theory it was a kind reminder that everybody looks at things differently. I will let readers make up their own mind and keep my fingers crossed that my sister's friends see it my way!

I think one of the great things about this design is that I have stitched it three times and each one is different. The first was raising money for charity so was bright and unisex to appeal to as may people as possible, the second was for a friend so was bright and bold and used her favourite colours. The last one has a more subtle colour palate, as that is what was requested, but it is still colourful with the orange and blue. I adore the cat design with the kitten following, again it was very easy to personalise as you can just alter the ribbon colour. I felt that adding a fur effect would have been overkill. One of the things to keep in mind is that the back of the bib is on display so you need to make sure you have a really neat back with no lose threads, loops or anything that little fingers can get into! I am normally very neat with my backs anyway but if in any doubt with a bib I just put some whip stitches round.

The other item I made was a "taggy owl". I noticed when shopping for toys that there lots of comfort blanket type toys about. I then found a couple of examples online that I really liked so I decided to make my own. I made my pattern from scratch using greaseproof paper. With things like this I tend to design on a folded piece of paper and cut my fabric on the fold so it is closer to being symmetrical. I made one for a friend's little boy at Christmas but used different fabric so they are different and  unique. It was great fun choosing fabric and ribbon mixing lots of textures and extra bursts of colour. I made sure my ribbon was folded so that you can rub the sides together and added details to the tummy. The tummy ribbon has textured squares to make it soft and give the effect of feathers.

I added all of the detail to the front and then layered it so it was inside out and sewed a seam around making sure the wings and ribbon were in place. I turned it through a small turning gap and sewed the gap after. It is really straight forward but fun to make.
My first taggy owl
The new taggy owl 

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