With so many friends having babies (or about to have them) I had been trying to come up with some perfect gift ideas. And then I read Issue 1 of Love Sewing magazine and found three patterns for baby bibs and thought I should give them a try. Well, I gave two out of the three a try. I had some leftover polka dot fabric in my stash in orange and red and I matched these with some patterned fabrics I had leftover from a baby quilt I made last year.
The first design I tried is what was called The Reversible Bib with Contrast Pocket. A backing fabric (which is the same as the pocket fabric in both of my versions) is place wrong side together with the front fabric, which has been coated with Vilene Lamifix Mat. I purchased this from Empress Mills. The pocket is placed on top of this coated fabric. Bias binding (which I had in my stock, but I find Ebay a great place to get cheap bias binding) was placed along the top edge of the pocket and all layers were stitched together very close to the edge. This stitching was then hidden by the bias binding across the top edge and all around the outside edge…this latter piece of bias binding was used to create the ties as well.
I’m pretty pleased with the final outcome, although there could be some improvement. I think I’d use a softer bias binding the next time as the ones I used are a bit rough for a baby, although they should soften after washing. Also, the front fabrics were both a little bit creased when I fused the Lamifix and this shows a little. I quite like the Lamifix though and I’m looking forward to experimenting some more on other projects.
The second design of bib was title the Applique Bib in the magazine because it had a applique apple motif on it. However, I omitted this from my versions because I felt the fabrics were a bit busy and didn’t lend themselves to further modification. Also, where the instructions called for lightweight interfacing, I used a lightweight quilting padding to make them soft. These are very simple to make: the front and back fabrics are placed right sides together and the interfacing/padding placed on top of one of the pieces. The fabrics are stitched all the way round the outside leaving a small gap (around 3 cm) on one edge. The bib is the turned right sides out and the hole closed with slip stitch. A popper fastening is attached. Simple but effective.
With some ladybird fabric left, I decided to make some matching baby shoes. I used the Cloth Baby Shoes pattern from Stardust Shoes. I followed the pattern exactly except for constructing the soles from fabric, interfacing and the same quilting padding I used in the bib pattern above, rather than bonded fleece. It made the sole very thick to sew but nothing my lovely Janome sewing machine couldn’t handle! I prepared the soles first stitching around them very close to the edge to secure the fabrics. I shan’t describe the whole process here because it is so well described by Joanna at Stardust Shoes. I don’t think I’ve ever sewed anything so tiny and it was quite tricky but it only took me a couple of hours and I got to use my new pinking shears to tidy up the inside seams!!
I also like how all three items look good together as sets, as you can see in the pictures below. All in all a successful couple of days of sewing and I think all the mums/mums-to-be were pleased with the gifts. It remains to be seen whether my sewing will survive the day-to-day wear and tear of being worn by a baby! Reports are welcome because it’s always good to know how to improve things.