With 3 friends expecting happy events shortly, I'm concentrating some of my sewing time for sewing for the little ones. Today, making handmade baby toys. Don't we always joke that if you buy a child a toy, it spends more time playing with the box than with what's inside. Somewhere along the line, moms started to notice that babies enjoyed the feel of the labels on their toys, and the ribbons, and so those started to become a feature of the toy itself. Such as the satin binding on the comfort-blanket.
As we get older, what feels good to us changes. Right now, good feels like a big creamy latte and a Danish pastry.Photo credit: Linh H. Nguyen via photopin cc
But back to the sewing, and a quick and easy toy for a new baby with plenty of snuggle and feel-good factor.
Bring a little sunshine
For making this sunshine ribbon toy:
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- Fabric – I used yellow terry toweling. You could use a regular cotton fabric, minky, or cut up an old towel or face cloth.
- Ribbon in a variety of colors
- Small scraps for the eyes and cheeks, and matching threads
- Heat N Bond fusible web
- Embroidery floss
- Fabric marker
- Template or pattern, draw your own or download at the bottom of this article
Gather together all of your supplies, and download or draw yourself a template for the face. Transfer your design for the eyes and cheeks onto Heat N Bond Lite fusible web, and iron it to your fabric.
Cut out your design and fuse it to your main fabric. I cut through the eyes and cheeks on my template to make sure I was getting my pieces in the right place.
Applique your pieces in place with a satin stitch or stitch of your choice. I found my terry didn't go through the machine as smoothly as I would like so I put a regular piece of computer paper underneath as I sewed the applique and it as much easier to turn around the circles.
Then transfer the line for the mouth onto your fabric. I've recently started using these Frixion pens, because they write like regular pens so you can draw and mark all over your fabric but then they simply disappear with heat – pass your iron over it and its gone. Draw on your mouth following your template and stitch using your embroidery floss. I'm not a hand-sewing fan and don't know many stitches so I used a simple back-stitch. It looked just fine.
Time to add the ribbons. I cut mine 5 inches long and folded them in half with the shiny or more satin side on the outside. I pinned around the edges, making sure they were going to be well held inside, leaving about an inch between each. I used 15 pieces. Next you'll need to baste them in place, about 1/4 inch from the edge so you can remove the pins and they will stay put while you sew.
Cut yourself another big circle for the back. If you like, add a face to this side too, then layer them right sides together. Stitch around the outside, with a 1/2 inch seam allowance leaving a gap of 2 or 3 inches for stuffing.
Turn the right side out and stuff lightly. It's for small hands so no need to stuff it so much it comes out like a ball! Carefully hand-stitch the opening closed, give him a squish to even out the filling and you are done.
I made two in very quick time.
Please note, you should always give extra thought when sewing for babies and small children. This toy would look really cute with a button nose, but buttons and eyes etc can become loose and be choking hazards. With this toy for example, don't make the ribbon loops too long where they could get caught around a babies wrist and get pulled tight. Please use your own judgement as to whether this toy or any you make and design yourself are suitable for your child as they will not have undergone the usual vigorous safety testing applied to toys you buy in the shops. Please supervise babes and young children at all times when playing with home-made toys. [End of Public Service Announcement :-)]
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Want to sew more softies for babies? Head on over to my guest post at Little House Living on making a cuddle blanket or soother in a similar way.