Thursday, April 9, 2015

SHB Sew-Along: Baby Accessories Inspiration

If you're planning on sewing along with Mikhaela, Clio, and I, hopefully you've had a chance to think about (or even start!) what you're going to make. We've already shared some clothing inspiration posts, so I thought I'd share a little about what I've done for the second category, baby accessories. There are quite a few free tutorials out there for a variety of bibs, burp cloths, mobiles, toys, and such (here's an excellent collection of links), and it can quickly get overwhelming. When I was on summer break last year and in my third trimester, I aimlessly made a whole bunch of stuff without knowing how useful it would be, so I thought now would be a good time to share what I've found to be actually worth making.

In no particular order:
  1. PUL changing pad: unused. I got two changing pads at my baby showers, both of which are lighter weight and fold up smaller. I may eventually take mine apart to reuse the PUL. For the amount of time I spent trying to get everything lined up and keeping the layers from shifting, it was one of the biggest wastes of time.
  2. Bibs: used once. SHB had a super drooly period where he was going through bibs like no other, but of course, as soon as I made him more, the drool stopped. Even now that he's teething, there isn't any drool. Still, they're easy enough to make (and personalize!) that I would do it again.
  3. Pacifier clip: moderately useful, although not for pacifiers. SHB doesn't do pacifiers, but the clips are still useful for keeping his toys off the floor when he's in his stroller or high chair. 
  4. Car seat cover: very useful. I used this tutorial to make a zippered cover and I love being able to open it part-way to keep an eye on him. I made mine out of leftover sheets from this dress and this skirt, but if I were to do it again, I'd make it out of a more light-blocking material, and possibly a more water-resistant one as well. There have been a number of times that we've been caught in the rain and cotton sheets don't do as well as say, fleece. 
  5. Baby toys: taggie, lovey, shark: very useful. SHB loves sucking on the various appendages of the shark, especially. Good thing hammerheads have so many bits that stick out? (dorsal fin, other fins, tail fins, and the two eye stalks) The lovey is actually the least popular, possibly since it's a little large for him to handle right now. 
  6. Crib sheets: very useful. Paying $16 for sheets is silly when it's so easy to make your own. I used donated fabric so mine were free! My only regret is that I used cotton jersey, reasoning that it would be more soft and cozy, but I've observed SHB grabbing them and pulling them up...not enough to be a suffocation hazard, but enough that there are weird bagged out sections. Next time, I'm going to use a cotton woven. 
  7. Quilts: extremely useful. I was actually afraid at first that they wouldn't be useful since we were gifted so many baby blankets...but I quickly learned that baby blankets are quite tiny, and once SHB hit the 3-month mark he was too big for them. Right now, we mostly use the quilts as floor mats since he's not supposed to have blankets in his crib, but I'm holding out hope that he chooses one of them to be his special blankie one day. 
  8. Mobile: only vaguely useful for a very short amount of time. SHB quickly got bored with seeing the same shapes all the time. Granted, he's a very active baby and generally prefers to interact with things/people instead of passively watch, so that might just be a personality thing. 
  9. Reusable wipes: extremely useful. Because babies have a lot of bodily excretions. Mine are just a layer of flannel (my old pajamas) and a layer of jersey (my old sheets) sewn together into squares, but we use them all the time. 
  10. Nursing pads: extremely useful. I was gifted some Bamboobies, which get pretty good reviews, but they just weren't as comfortable or absorbent as my homemade nursing pads. Mine are just three layers of flannel and one layer of fleece circles zigzagged at the edges, no fancy darts or anything, but they get the job done and are fairly invisible under my clothes. Some people have had issues with reusable nursing pads leading to thrush, but *knock on wood* so far that hasn't been a problem for me. 

I've also been able to figure out what things I wish I'd sewn (and am going to try to sew for the sew-along):
  1. Suck pads for my Ergo carrier: I didn't realize they were a thing until SHB started sucking on the Ergo straps all the time. I started googling solutions that didn't involve washing the Ergo all the time and discovered the booming Etsy trade in suck pads. I'm partial to this design since it offers more coverage than the standard rectangular kind. 
  2. Boppy pillow cover: I used it for nursing and tummy time when SHB was still small and floppy, and now I use it to cushion his falls when he practices sitting. It's gotten a lot of use and while I try to spot clean it as best as I can, it really needs a washable cover. Since I don't already have a cover to trace, I'm going to try to improvise by just tracing the outline of my pillow and adding a couple inches like this tutorial.
  3. Fabric basket: There are so many small-ish items that accumulate once you have a baby, and I feel like I need containers to, well, contain them all so they don't just take over my house! This tutorial looks easy enough and would be a good way to use up scrap fabric. 
  4. Small soft toys: Okay, SHB doesn't really need anymore of these, but they're so fun to make!
After all, look how much fun he's having!
Incidentally, is anyone interested in a pattern for my hammerhead shark plushie?

Since I was stashbusting when I made most of my accessories, I didn't end up with a very coordinated look. If you've got the energy and resources, you can always go for a specific color scheme, theme or motif for your collection. For more ideas, check out the links on our Pinterest board, then hop on over to our Flickr group to share your goals!


  1. First, yes, I am definitely on board for a pattern for the shark! That is adorable and would be something I would sew for a friend's baby due this summer. So cute. Second, where did you find the solar system quilt? That is a great design!

    1. Isn't that quilt great? It's from here:

  2. The ergo suck pads are genius! I think I need some stat.
    Does your boppy pillow cover not come off? Both of mine do but my boppy pillows are really old models that got handed down to me.
    For the bibs, I gotta say, it depends on the baby. The Larva didn't drool at all even when teething. The Grub? She's a freaking leaky faucet. I was having to do wash bibs every other day (not even exaggerating here. LOL) I finally went out and got some terry cloth and made 15 large bibs and now I only need to do bibs like... every 4 days. =P

    1. My boppy has a non-removable cover, but it's not a brand-name boppy, just an imitation one with the same shape, so maybe that's why? And yes, those little troll babies! Making us think we need to make bibs, then just turning off the drool.

  3. Great post!! I've just gotten to the point where the pacifier clips are being used daily for keeping the little toys from being jettisoned from the stroller or car seat - I'm wishing I had more. I also second the car seat cover; they double as a barrier against all those strangers who see a baby and want to reach in and touch.

    1. At first I was afraid that I wouldn't have a use for pacifier clips, but I guess I needn't have worried.

      The barrier factor is one of the main reasons why I wanted a car seat cover!

    2. Do strangers really reach in and touch your baby? ARGH! /shoos people off
      I get the looking and coo-ing, but why would you think it's ok to grab at someone else's child? @_@

  4. You should definitely make a pattern for the shark, it's adorable! (Plus my husband has a thing for sharks, so my mom's already given Hobbit a few homemade bibs/a Dr. Seuss-type book that feature them.) And thanks for sharing the car seat cover tutorial. The seat she specifically mentioned in the post is even the same type I got, so I know it would work!

    You're making me wonder if I should rethink my plan to do a changing mat. But then, what else am I going to use that leftover suedecloth from the diaper bag for? Hmm...

    1. These were just my observations, so your needs may be different! I'm trying to decide if it's worth keeping the pad around as a waterproof barrier for say, hanging out on the lawn, but SHB doesn't really stay put very well so it may not work.

  5. Ooh, thank you for the run down on these baby accessories and their usefulness! That really helps a FTM like myself prioritize - - I'm sure you know, but it can be very overwhelming sifting through all of the stuff to know what is useful and what is not. I'm definitely planning on making a lot of different things for baby (and myself) during the sewalong. Thanks for hosting!

  6. I would LOVE a pattern for the shark plushie! :) :)


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