1. Hooded Bath Towel
Some babies love bath time. Others…not so much. Turning a towel into a hooded wrap for post-bath snuggles can make the whole experience a little less traumatic for everyone involved. For extra softness, line the towel with absorbent cotton flannel—avoid polar fleece, as it’s typically made from synthetic fibers and repels water.
2. Baby Headbands
Who hasn’t seen the adorable newborn photos of sleeping babies wearing headbands? The perfect accessory for little ones who still spend most of their time swaddled or in sleep sacks. Make sure you choose soft, flexible fabrics that are comfortable for baby. Here’s a tutorial on how to make a simple knotted baby headband!
3. Car Seat cover
Babies shouldn’t wear anything bulky that can interfere with the fit of their car seat restraints, but the winter cold can be bitter without some extra cover. Plus, when baby finally falls asleep, it’s good to keep out as many disturbances as possible. A simple car seat cover fits the bill perfectly, and they’re so easy to make, especially if you have access to the car seat to measure for just the right fit.
4. Pacifier Clips
For parents that use pacifiers, retrieving and keeping track of them is half the battle. Save them the headache with simple pacifier clips! One end clips lightly to baby’s clothing, and the other attaches to the pacifier. No more wrangling in the back seat of the car to find a lost pacifier, no more tearful breakdowns at the store when the pacifier falls unnoticed.
5. Heirloom Quilt
This is a special gift that a family can cherish for generations. Gather up special fabrics to represent family members, like clippings from old work uniforms, snips from bridal gowns, or baby clothes from siblings. Combined with quilting cottons in a simple patchwork pattern, these can form the basis for a truly special quilt. Embroider with the new baby’s name and birthday, or add a printed tag with the information so it can be passed down through the generations.
6. Sleep Sack
Warm and comfy, but safe for sleeping babies, a sleep sack is a great alternative to blankets, which can pose a serious suffocation risk. There are lots of designs out there, including those with sleeves and without, those that leave the feet free, and those that keep them covered, and even some that include features like tiny weights (think weighted blanket style). Whether you’re making a warm fleece version with a mermaid tail or a soft style that avoids zippers, there’s something for every baby!
7. Bibs…Lots of Bibs!
Meal time or play time, it’s always time for a bib! Help keep those tiny adorable outfits clean for just a little longer, and provide a whole range of fun and funny baby bibs for the new arrival! These are a great stash-busting project and a great opportunity to practice new and different techniques, like bias binding, machine or hand embroidery, heat-set vinyl embellishments, fabric piecing, and more!
8. Soft Toys
A cute teddy bear, a soft bunny lovie with knotted ears for chewing while teething, or a stackable set of fabric blocks—the possibilities for sewing baby toys are just about limitless! Make sure that the toys are age appropriate (nothing too fiddly or delicate for little ones) and that there aren’t any pieces that could possibly come off and pose a choking hazard, especially things like stuffed animal eyes and noses, buttons, tags, or other accessories.
9. Baby Sling
“Babywearing” isn’t just a trend—it’s been a cultural staple for millenia. What better way to keep baby close by and have your hands free? There are lots of different sling styles, and the right one for you will depend on everything from baby’s size to your own personal style. Some designs use heavy knit fabrics that stretch to conform to baby’s shape, but these are quickly outgrown as the baby gets heavier. For maximum adjustability, opt for a design that features rings as the fasteners. Just loop the other end of the sling through the rings, and you’re ready to go.
10. Personalized Onesies
These are sure to be a hit at any baby shower! Use applique, heat-set vinyl, or embroidery to add fun sayings or shapes to onesies in a range of sizes to grow with baby. Get creative, playing off the parents’ senses of humor and favorite styles. You can also embellish in other ways, adding skirts, sleeves, ruffles, and more to turn a basic onesie into something handmade and special.
11. Diaper Bag
New parents will quickly learn that they’re never going anywhere without a diaper bag stuffed with all the necessities. A spacious bag with an adjustable shoulder strap is a great way to go. Line with vinyl to make wiping up spilled snacks and other messes a breeze, while a gusseted base lets the bag stand open for easy filling.
12. Hats and Bonnets
From fun in the sun to a day in the snow, there’s a hat for every occasion. For winter, polar fleece is a great option, as it’s soft and warm, with enough stretch to be comfortable to a growing baby. In the summer, opt for lightweight cotton and use interfacing to create a stiffened brim that can keep the sun out of little eyes.
13. Play Mats
Not only does a play mat protect baby from anything on the ground (and protect carpets and floors from baby!), but it also gives you a great opportunity to build in some fun activities. Create a patchwork of different textures for baby to explore, from fluffy minky to smooth satin. Felt shapes appliqued to the mat are great for story time. You can even add removable items, like teething rings or other toys—just make sure to carefully consider your method of attaching them, as buttons may come loose and pose a choking hazard, and ribbons or ties can get tangled around baby’s little limbs and cut off circulation.
14. Burp Cloths
A new parent’s best friend! Make these from soft, absorbent fabrics like cotton flannel. A kidney-bean shape tends to work best, as it stays positioned on the shoulder without sliding forward or back. Use at least two layers for a thicker, more absorbent cloth, and make sure to be generous in your sizing. The new parents will thank you.
15. Felt Mobile
This is a project baby’s older brothers and sisters can help with! Felt shapes are ideal for learning how to sew, as the fabric won’t fray and is soft enough to easily stitch by hand. Cut felt shapes for animals, flowers, trees, stars, or whatever seems to suit the personality of the new baby and their family. Layer the shapes together to add features, like the stripes on a zebra, the leaves on a tree or the tail of a shooting star, and stitch in place. Apply fine details with embroidery thread or fabric markers.
16. Changing Pad
Turn any surface into a changing table with a waterproof changing pad. The vinyl lining easily wipes clean and can be sprayed to sanitize. Add pockets for keeping spare diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes close at hand, and a strap that allows you to roll or fold the whole thing up and securely fasten it closed.
17. Baby Leggings
Stretchy and easy to get on, these quick leggings make getting dressed a breeze…or at least less of a battle. Use knit material for optimal stretch, and wide, soft elastic for the waistband. If you don’t have a serger, switch out your regular presser foot for a walking foot, and set your sewing machine to a stretch stitch or zig-zag. This will maintain the elasticity of the knit material and keep your seems from getting wavy and misshapen.
18. Shopping Cart Cover
Hitting the grocery store with baby? Bring along a shopping cart cover to keep baby comfortable and entertained while riding in the cart seat. At its most basic, the cover provides some warmth and softness, but it also provides a spot to anchor a pacifier clip, or use similar clips to attach small toys and items to keep baby’s attention while you get the weekly shopping done.
19. Baby Slippers
Who can resist the adorable tiny-ness of baby shoes? Soft slippers are easy to make from all kinds of different fabric, from felt to polar fleece to lined canvas. For the best fit, trace the outline of baby’s foot onto a piece of paper. Be sure to add room to grow and your seam allowance before cutting out your fabric.