Scrap Sunday: the homemade tag blanket – a tutorial

I am really busy these days businesswise and I actually have to follow a rather strict time table in order to fulfill all pending orders. That sounds spectacular, I know. And I like it. Even if it is slightly, just slightly exaggerated. But I do have to make a few yoga bags (manly ones. I hope I will achieve this goal this time round) and knit a cardigan plus a birthday dress for my niece (ok, that is a private matter but it definitely has a deadline). Plus I have to write a scheme of work for my class “numeracy through knitting”. So while I was busy doing the latter, thinking a lot about numbers, shapes, patterns and spacial sense, I needed a break and thought finally making that little tag blanket might be a welcome change.

As super-ambitious teacher and generally smug person I thought I’ll spoil my readers with a little tutorial as I am clearly an expert of turning things inside out as I had recently experienced with the coat.

So here is how it is done properly 🙂

You’ll need two nice pieces of fabric, I went for woven cotton, I guess, jersey might be softer but I wanted to use the cute animal fabric from the advent calendar. I also cut a really broken and scratchy face cloth into shape to add some texture. For the tags you can use all bits of left overs, ribbons, labels, bits of fabric,…. Just make sure you’ll have all the edges sealed. The easiest will be to fold them and have the open edges inside the seam.


You could also add some crackling material, either in the main part or, as someone had commented last time, just in some of the tags, which I did for this one.

As one of the fabrics features unsuitably dangerous sharks, I cut (twice) a few blue waves and stitched them together with some of that crackling foil.


I left the piece open at the bottom to be able to turn it inside out and that open side will later be inside the seam of the blanket anyway.

Next, you carefully arrange the layers. It works best if you smugly explain your baby or any other person present how brilliant you are that you whip this up during a “numeracy through knitting scheme of work” break, just before you’ll have to go shopping. And that you are going to take some pictures for your blog readers to explain them how things are done.

Basically, all you have to do is to put the layers in a random order on top of each other not caring about right and wrong side as long as you are taking pictures of the process. And pin everything in place. Make sure that all tags are looking inside, in line with the seam. There is no need to take pictures of the five tags that you pinned sticking out in the first attempt as you will realise early enough which way to place them. You are a clever and well rested person after all.


Take an other picture to show your readers that the right side of the top layer is facing down as you are going to turn the whole thing. You are not stupid after all.


Stitch around the four sides. For added safety, you should secure each tag by going back and forwards again. Actually, don’t go around the whole thing. Leave a gap of a couple of cm for the turning. Be proud of remembering that. I’d take a few pictures of that really.

IMG_4593Even if by now you might be realising that you actually hadn’t payed attention when you put the first layer of fabric on the table. And that the sharks will be facing inwards after turning. They are inappropriately dangerous for a small baby anyway and it might be better that way. No need to get the seam ripper out. You only have about 5 min until the baby sitter comes anyway.

IMG_4594Just make sure your readers will see that gap properly. That is the only important thing here.

And then turn the inside out. IMG_4595This might now be the moment where you are slowly realising that not only the wrong side of the sharks but also the old and scratchy face towel will be on the outside and the cute animals will be completely hidden. But possibly give the whole thing some added stability. And that scratchy face towel will really have a very different feel and the baby will enjoy that. At this stage it is all about different textures. After all this is why you created all these different tags.

So you could just keep turning the whole thing. Or you do take that seam ripper and take the whole thing apart.

No it is probably time for shopping. A bit of fresh air might not be the worst at this stage anyway. So do that and continue with this quick project later.

When reassembling the layers, just remember one thing: The two sides that are supposed to be on the outside later, need to be on the inside, with the tags in between them. The middle layer can either be underneath everything or on top of everything. Doesn’t matter. As long as the two pretty sides are facing each other and have the tags in between them. Easy. And actually follows the same principle as the crackling material in the waves. Remember when you stitched them together correctly in only one attempt?


The benefit of this slightly longer process with the few extra steps before this one is that you will actually have a line of dots from the previous stitches showing you where to sew. Which is really helpful. So just be proud of it again.

Shorten the seam allowance, especially the corners.

And turn the whole thing inside out. You can either close the gap by hand or top stitch around all sides and close the gap during that process.

Now, it is optional to iron the whole thing. I decided not to take pictures of the ironing process as I would like to leave a bit of room for imagination to keep my readers active.

Time for more pictures. And to be proud. Before you finally go back to your numeracy scheme of work and all this thinking about spacial recognition and logic.

IMG_4597IMG_4598Needless to say that the baby was most impressed by the cleverness of his mum. And the crackling waves are so much fun. I really enjoy playing with them.







The bib project – part 2

If you have missed part 1 (or want to remind yourself of the incredible important thoughts about the perfect bib) then have a look here. And please remember, we are going to talk about apparently disgusting things, so please do not continue to read if you happen to be sensitive to any kind of material coming out of babies.

I think we have all agreed on the fact that there is no such thing as the one perfect bib. It will always depend on the circumstances.

So lets have a look at different shapes today, starting with triangular types.

We had the fancy reversible one here – this is definitely a very good present for a new(ish) baby, quick to make, uses up scrap fabric and looks incredibly stylish.

I have just made a few more actually:

IMG_4541They have one patterned and one stripy side and will be teamed up with a matching hat, both made from klimperklein patterns:


Another triangular version would be even quicker to make: When I run out of posh bibs I often end up folding a muslin square in half. It is a little bit bulky, especially if you try to tie a knot at the back of a tiny baby neck. However, it doesn’t just cover the front, it protects the shoulders easily, too. And obviously due to the amount of fabric involved, it soaks up a lot. Saliva. Snot. Vomit. Or any mixture of the above mentioned.

If there is no need for huge amounts of fabric, you could just cut a muslin square diagonally in half and finish the open edge with a rolled hem or fold it twice and stitch.

IMG_4527I guess this is quite a good solution if you need many bibs but maybe not for enormous amounts of whatever.  They are very practical, easy to wash and dry, cheap and the neutral colour matches any outfit. However, as I said, they are not necessarily able to soak up as much as other bibs. I went quickly back to the original sized muslin square folded in half. Sometimes I actually use that version to cover a cute bib from getting spoiled before we have been able to show it off 🙂 And the baby looks sort of cute with it too. So instead of a young Shakespeare (see part 1) he reminds me more of a young John Wayne.

So a definite thumbs up for a folded muslin square.

As you can see on the picture, the muslin triangle is rather deep. Or high. Which might not be needed if you are aiming for stylish looking neck wear without any purpose other than looking stylish. So, if you wanted to make your own single layered triangular baby scarf, then I would take a nice stretchy fabric, jersey or interlock, cut out a triangle,  about 70cm long and in the middle about 20cm wide, roll hem around the whole thing (easier if the third edge of the triangle is not actually a edge but rather a curve. Done.

IMG_4543I haven’t made this one. We bought it six years ago for our first child. When I still thought any kind of bib will do for a vomiting child (I guess, it wasn’t as bad as this time round). It looks very nice. And stylish. Even on older children. So, I do not regret the purchase of it. But I will definitely not bother to make another one right now. It would be a waste of time.

So, that is the triangles done. Lets have a look at the classic bib shape.

There are the ones with a binding around all edges which will then become the fastening.

I have only seen them in a rather rectangular shape. We got a few as presents, they were handmade by someone and are really cute. And they have been excellent for slightly bigger babies and toddlers when eating.

IMG_4544The big one is about 40cm long. Great coverage of the whole child 🙂 I might make some more in a couple of months. I am not sure about the straps to be tied at the back.

Velcro is another option but  other items will get stuck to it in the washing unless you actually had actually bothered closing it. So my personal favourite are definitely snap fasteners.

But back to bib shapes.

The bibs which usually come with these newborn sets that you get everywhere are tiny. I am not even sure for which purpose they are destined…. but it is definitely not reflux.

IMG_4545Just look at the difference! We own quite a few of these tiny ones. Clearly I hadn’t taken the  search for the perfect bib seriously enough with child No 2.

By now you are probably not only extremely bored but also wondering why I keep showing you things that I haven’t even made myself. Right. So the first one I have made myself (apart from the muslin triangle) was this one.

IMG_4390I had searched online what people suggested. For this one I followed a tutorial by Hamburger Liebe.

I found another interesting freebook at farbenmix  – a great idea to use up old t-shirts. It is a very different look, rather cool than cute and I guess a great idea for personalised gifts for bigger babies and toddlers. So click on the link and have a look there. Who knows, I might make one of these one day.

But back to the one I made. I don’t think having the fastening at the back is ideal for a tiny baby as they tend to lie on their back the whole day. So I adapted the shape for our needs and put the fastening on the side.


This is much better. Almost perfect actually 🙂 I think it could be a bit wider on the sides to cover the shoulders but to be honest I haven’t tried that out yet.

(As some people – who were rather impressed by the amount of vomit that seems to fit into my son – have pointed out, the perfect shape would actually be an apron with sleeves, similar to the ones they have for arts and crafts in nursery. Protectionwise that might be true, a considerable percentage actually goes down the sleeves. But it just looks wrong. Slightly obsessed. And I am definitely not obsessed.)

Enough for today, next time we will look at the perfect fabric choice for the different textures potentially ejected on those bibs. . Stay tuned 🙂






Downsizing: Klimperklein jacket modified

We are a bit short of baby clothes because I lent them to someone a few years ago and never got them back. So I decided to use up the lovely Viking jersey initially purchased for my nephew’s birthday jacket to make a baby version of the same Klimperklein pattern.

Klimperklein is the brand of an amazing woman with 5 lovely children who still manages to create lovely patterns for baby and children clothes. Her blog is in German and I think the e-books are also only available in German but they are brilliantly written and with so many pictures that even those professional looking jackets were fairly easy to make. So I guess, what I am saying is “Learn German” 🙂

So far, I have made these for my children…

and this one for my nephew…


I love the colour combination of this one, I made the cuffs and the hem (I really have no clue how you call the red piece of the main body: hem, waistsomething? Help, anybody, please) slightly wider as I had one of the pattern pieces accidentally folded on the wrong line and the main body would have gotten too short. Oops.

But back to the modified baby version. As you can see the original klimperklein jacket has a zip and in my case a hood but there is a collar version too (and many more options to choose from).

But I thought for a baby, none of these things are very suitable, all I wanted was a simple jacket with snaps, normal neckline and simple hem and cuffs. Something like this:


At first glance it is what I wanted but actually I have mixed feelings about it so lets have a closer look.

The most important modification from zip to buttons or snaps is obviously that the front pieces have to overlap rather than just meet in the centre. So I added 2cm to the original front pattern and the initial zip facing to make sure that I would have a wide enough button border.


First jersey snaps of my life, 10mm from Prym, I think I want to find slightly smaller ones for those children clothes. Also, I need to get stronger, they are slightly on the loose side I think.

Instead of using a ribbing for waist and arms, I just added 2cm seam allowance, neatened the edges with the serger, whilst at the same time closed the seam between the button facing and the hem


Usually I am using the twin needle to give the hem a professional finish…IMG_2277a

but as I have recently noticed that these seams seem to fall apart easily (not sure what I am doing wrong) I wanted to do something different and went for another stitch.

So, I ironed the hem to the back, estimating 2cm instead of using a ruler. But then suddenly I took it very seriously and actually tacked on the serged edge to give me a line to follow when sewing on the right side, making sure that I am really sewing on the serged edge… Which was a good plan but I never actually compared the ends of my tacked line and also got a bit caught up when finally topstitching it with my fancy stitch. So….. good idea but really bad execution led to this:


Whilst I am really unhappy with the result (especially as this was a very obvious danger and something I knew about), I think that it has been a necessary mistake to be made once. And hopefully I will forever remember and for once really learn from it 🙂

The other section that needed alteration was the neckline. My initial idea was to use the pattern for the hooded jacket and cut the neckline without seam allowance and to finish with some bias binding.  But when I stitched the facing to the front openings, I thought it would be clever to just continue the seam where the facing goes into the neckline to make the whole bias binding attaching more straight forward. Which was a big mistake. Obviously, if you are stitching facing to jacket right side to right side and then turn it,  you will loose the width of your seam. So there will be a gap  or maybe rather jump between the part of the neckline with facing and the part without facing. IMG_3941

It wasn’t a big deal, it just meant that my whole neckline became slightly wider (which does matter in the case of a tiny newborn jacket), but at the same time I realised that actually I would prefer a normal neckline with facing all around. So I copied the neckline from the pattern to make a back neckline and elongated it to hide the ends on the already existing neckline.IMG_3948

As the initial facing gets really narrow the result looks a bit silly. But again, the learning curve here is really steep. If I ever make a baby version of this jacket, I will make a proper facing, widening the neckline part of the button band facing and make it longer, to make sure it would go around the whole neck. This might result in a waist of fabric but I guess, once the pattern is perfect you could split it into three sections and safe some material.

Now that I have shared all my mistakes with you – maybe one last thing I would like to add: I made the smallest size 56 which corresponds to something like 1 month or 1-3, I forgot, but to me it looks really really huge. I don’t think it will fit for the next couple of months but I will find out I guess…. considering that I still need to get the future owner out, I am actually hoping it will only fit in a couple of months 🙂

Back to the start of my sentence: Now that I have shared all my mistakes with you, I would like to point out that I am still pleased with the result. I kind of want to make another one just to see that correcting the mistakes will lead to a perfect baby jacket but then we won’t need two of these. Maybe someone else could step in and use my mistakes to make their own perfect baby jacket, please?