Make Your Own Baby and Maternity Stuff
Learn to sew for your Baby
When I found out I was pregnant I was worried about how much everything costed and how I was going to be able to afford it. It can be really overwhelming when you're expecting your first baby. There are all these things that people tell you that you'll need and you start wondering if you can even afford to have children.
I decided to look for creative ways to make my cash go further.
As I had a lot of fabric lying around not doing anything, I went online and discovered a variety of tutorials about how make maternity and baby gear myself.
On this page you'll find my experiments and links to tutorials for baby clothes, baby bedding, cloth wipes, cloth diapers, and even postpartum pads for moms.
General Sewing for Baby Stuff
There are lots of turorials available for free on the Internet varying in the range of skill and experience you need to make various items.
The following two sites are packed full of great ideas.
Sewing Freebies.com has plenty of free baby patterns to sew including baby quilt patterns, bib patterns, preemie patterns, baby costumes and other baby sewing patterns.
Make-baby-stuff.com includes ideas and tutorials for toys, nursery decorating, baby food recipes, baby clothes and slings.
Baby Diapers and Changing Stuff
Diaper Sewing is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to find out how to sew diapers.
If finances are tight then consider buying used cloth diapers. It might sound disgusting but these diapers are made to last through several babies and are clean. Secondhand diapers are considerably cheaper. I managed to get hold of a huge set of diapers for about a third of the cost of a new set and they came with several wraps.
Cloth diapers are going to work out cheaper than disposables (although this may depend on the water bills in your area).
You can find more of my experiments at making cloth diapers here.
Make some cloth wipes to go with your diapers - you're not making more rubbish and they're on hand whenever you need them, as long as you remember to put the washing machine on. This wipe tutorial is a good starting point.
Most handmade diapers need a cover or soaker to stop them from leaking. Katrina's Sew Quick Soaker Pattern is a great place to find patterns and information for making your own soakers.
If you've felted a sweater by accident recently then try out this pattern.
If you're using cloth diapers and want to go out for any amount of time then you'll need a bag to carry all those diapers, wipes etc in. This diaper bag tutorial shows you how to make a stylish diaper bag which you could customise to use your favourite colours.
I love the idea of sewing baby clothes but I quickly accumulated more baby clothes than I needed. If you love to sew then check this website out but if cost is the problem then check out your local thrift stores, secondhand sales, Freecycle and ask around family and friends.
If you look around the web you can find various great tutorials for making baby clothes out of what you already have lying around your home. There are tutorials for making baby pyjama pants out of old t-shirts for example. I also saw a great (and very simple) tutorial for extending the life of your baby's footed pyjama pants as they grow, simply by cutting the feet off the pants. Of course if you're planning on having more babies then you won't want to ruin any clothes that might be passed down.
Maybe sewing isn't your forte and you're more comfortable with knitting or crochet. There are thousands of knitting patterns out there. You can find some of my favourite ones here.
I knitted a couple of blankets for my baby - see my favourite one opposite. I knit this blanket freestyle - after all blankets are just squares or rectangles. To add interest I used basketweave stitch and used different-coloured yarn.
I loved the idea of sewing some mini quilts like the ones featured here.
Who knows - you might end up making a future family heirloom.
Stuff for New Mothers
I was determined to buy as few disposable products as possible. I decided I'd make my own nursing pads (shown opposite). I used this tutorial but didn't put in any of the shaping and left the pad as a flat circle.
I ended up not needing these pads but discovered that they made great wash cloths, cloths for cleaning dishes and alternatives to cotton rounds. They last for ages - mine have lasted 3 years already and have saved us from buying dish cloths that just don't last that long.
You can also make your own postpartum pads (a must if you already sew your own cloth pads - do you really want to go back to using icky disposables?). This tutorial is a great start.
© 2011 Rachel Field