Baby Sleeper Teddy Bear

I can’t seem to stop sewing at the moment! The other day I was sifting through a box of our daughter’s newborn clothes and after “Awww-ing” repeatedly, I decided I had to make something out of my favourite newborn sleeper. Pinterest hooked me up with a blog post, pattern and tutorial so I decided to go for it- first I tried it with my second favourite sleeper of hers, just in case! This was a bit trickier than I thought it would be and I am REALLY GLAD that I followed the tutorial and used the iron-on interfacing. The jersey knit fabric would have been not pleasant to work with around all those curves! I’m glad I decided to do a trial run first because there are a few things I would change.

baby sleeper bear in progress
Front pieces joined for hand stitching nose and eye details

finished baby sleeper bear
The finished product

I think he’s pretty sweet, for a practice bear! When I’m ready for the main event, I’m going to modify the pattern slightly for the “bear front” so that the nose is a bit lower on the face and less pronounced, and make the legs point outwards more. If I do and it’s successful, I will post the new pattern as an update later. I continued to build on my sewing skills with this project by learning how to do a satin stitch with embroidery floss. Pretty basic stuff but it’s always fun to try something new!

There are so many things you can do to preserve those fleeting newborn moments- I like the idea of a quilt too- but I think this teddy will get a lot of snuggles and hopefully stand the test of time. I’m not one for keeping boxes and boxes of clothes that never see the light of day. I have more of a minimalist mentality and clutter really stresses me out, so I would rather donate the majority to someone who can use it and keep a few precious items as a keepsake.

Let me know if you try it or if you have another pattern to suggest, I struggled to find one that I liked!
-C

Whale Baby Mobile Tutorial

whale baby mobile tutorial from DearDIY.com

After I made the felt fishies mobile for my nephew, I was itching to try another one- and a good friend of mine just happened to be expecting. I am so, so excited to finally have it done! I have been working on it for about two months now, a little bit each day. And I must say it turned out as adorably as I was hoping.

She wanted a whale/beach theme for the nursery, so we brainstormed and swapped pictures of mobiles that we found on Etsy and Pinterest. Since she knew it was a boy, we went with navy blue/light blue/yellow for the colours. She pretty much gave me creative control (hope she doesn’t regret it!) and I opted to try to recreate this one that I found from the Etsy shop hingmade:

hingmade whale mobile

I made a few changes to mine from the picture above: I used an embroidery hoop to hang it instead of the crossbars, skipped the fins and the water spouts (except for a water spout on the centre whale), used a thin white ribbon instead of white string to hang it, and used 6 smaller whales on the periphery instead of 4 large ones. And I am THRILLED with how it turned out!

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I’m going to share how I made it, so you can make one too!

Whale Baby Mobile

Supplies you will need:

  • Felt in different colours of your choosing
  • Sturdy paper to print out templates
  • Pins
  • Thread to match the felt
  • Clear wax (optional but makes hand sewing easier)
  • Buttons for eyes, if using; or contrasting thread colour
  • Batting
  • String, yarn, or thin ribbon to hang mobile
  • Embroidery hoop (I removed the hoop with the screw and used the inner one, which I spray painted white)
  • Hot glue

Instructions

  1. Cut out fish and whale shapes from felt of your choosing using the templates below. You can scale them to whatever size you wish- my whales were about 4″ long and the fish were about 3″ long. You will need 14 whale shapes (2 x 7 whales) and 14 fish shapes (2 x 7 fish). If your felt has a “good” and a “bad” side, make sure you flip the template to cut out each side.
    whale outline_watermarkedfish outline_watermarked2
  2. Match the two sides of each fish and fasten with a pin.
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  3. Using a blanket stitch, sew around the edges of the felt shape. I started just before the tail on the underside, so it would be easy to stuff both the tail and the body and my stitches to finish it would be hidden (note that the fish in this photo is upside down).
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  4. Stuff the inside with batting. Use a dull object to get batting into the fins (the eraser end of a pencil works great!). Finish your stitches to close it up.
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  5. Repeat steps 2-4 with the whales, but add buttons or stitches for the eye details to the felt pieces first before sewing together.
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  6. Using a canvas/leather or other sturdy needle with a large eye, thread the whales/fishes on lengths of thin white ribbon (I used pieces about 13″ long). Tie knots to anchor, if necessary. Attach each ribbon/whale/fish to the inner circle of an embroidery hoop, spacing them out evenly.
    2014-03-13 22.44.04_watermarked
  7. To hang the mobile, cut 2 long lengths of ribbon (I started out with pieces that were about 32″), fold both pieces in half together and tie a knot about 2″ from the folded ends to form a loop. This will give you 4 lengths of ribbon to use as follows: 3 to tie to the embroidery hoop and 1 to hang the centre whale. Adjust the lengths until the centre whale hangs where you want it-I was tying the ribbon to the frame at about 8″ from the centre knot. It was hard to take a good photo of this step so here is a pretty drawing instead:
    hanging the frame3
  8. Test out the mobile at this point by suspending it from the centre loop. If it needs to be leveled out, move the whales around until it is balanced. Once you are happy with the placement of the whales, put a small drop of hot glue on each knot you made.

And there you have it!

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Tip for hand sewing: after a few thousand tangled stitches and much cursing, I discovered the secret: wax your thread! I used some old dental wax from my braces days, rubbed a chunk between my fingers til it was soft, and ran it along the length of thread I was using about 4-5 times. It made a HUGE difference.

Other than that, this project just took a lot of time and patience but was fairly easy and cheap to make. I’m pretty happy with the cuteness:effort ratio!
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Felt Fishies Baby Mobile

Hope you had a great Christmas/New Year’s! In the lead up to the holidays I put the finishing touches on the mobile I have been working on for my sweet baby nephew, T. As per usual, this project took way longer and was much more work than I was anticipating. Also as per usual, my husband got roped into helping me!

My brother-in-law loves to fish and he and my sister both love being outside and on the water… they had wanted something “fish related.” I used felt to make fishies/clamshells and hand-sewed them with a blanket stitch around the edges, then stuffed them with batting. I followed this really helpful tutorial from TammyHallam’s youtube channel for the blanket stitch. My old button collection came in handy for the fishie’s eyes and I used fabric paint on the clamshells.

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For the sailboat, I used fabric for the sails and denim from an old pair of jeans for the boat. I machine-sewed both (I tried the blanket stitch at first but since it wasn’t as rigid as the felt it looked really shabby), stuffed them with batting, and then closed them with a ladder stitch/blind stitch that I learned how to do here. I appliqued a felt heart to the largest sail which I think was a really cute touch. The “mast” is actually an old pen barrel that used to say Holiday Inn before I wiped it off with acetone/nail polish remover!

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The frame was formed from thick gauge wire by my super helpful husband and then I covered it with packing foam and strips of fabric (I ripped the edges so they had that unfinished, rustic look I was going for… or maybe I just didn’t feel like finishing the edges?). Then I strung beads and the felt shapes on fishing line, using seed beads with a knot tied around to anchor everything in place. I made sure to choose really colourful beads that were shiny and eye-catching, hoping that will hold my nephew’s attention until he falls asleep! After all the knots were tied and it was more or less balanced, I tacked everything down with drops of hot glue. I’m really happy with how it turned out and I hope my sister likes it!

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Click here to see the mobile in action!

Can’t wait for more projects in 2014 :)
-C