babydress3

When we found out we were having a girl (something I won’t fully believe until the baby comes out of me), I was mostly surprised and a little bit terrified. However, I was very, very happy that I would get to use all of the beautiful baby clothes my grandmother sewed for me. I’ve mentioned this before, but she is an amazing seamstress, far more precise and skilled than I’ll ever be, and I have bags and bags of handmade dresses and sweaters and pinafores, many of them smocked, knitted or embroidered with such skill that it blows my mind. I should have ironed these before I took pictures, but I never iron anything so I didn’t want to falsify information on my blog.

babydress1

babydress2

babydress4

There are tons of embroidered and smocked dresses like the ones you see above, ranging in size from newborn to about six-seven years old. There are stacks of the sweetest pinafores, though they are impossibly small and baby will have to have several costume changes a day to get through them all.

babyshirt

babyshirtstack

As stated above, I am nowhere near the seamstress my grandmother is, and probably never will be, but I did want to make a few things for the baby myself. I had never done any type of garment sewing before, and the thought of it has intimidated me for years — patterns, sewing on curves, finishing seams, BLECH. I just always assumed it was never an attainable skill for me. Have I mentioned I’m a total optimist? Guys, it turns out it’s not that difficult, ESPECIALLY baby clothes which are tiny and usually boxy because babies don’t need fitted things.

jumper

This crossover pinafore is the first garment sewing I ever attempted, and it was mind-blowingly easy, because the instructions were crystal-clear. I’m sure there’s some way you could even make it reversible but the logistics of that confused me (mostly just the button placement) so I didn’t try. I love it because it can go from a dress to a top as she grows up. Trying this really simple thing first gave me a lot more confidence to branch out to this peasant dress:

heartpocketpeasantdress

There’s a free pattern available for this dress for newborns 0-3 months, but I would highly, HIGHLY recommend purchasing the pattern with sizes from newborn to 6 years, which also includes options for a top or dress, and straight or scalloped edge. I LOVE THIS DRESS. So easy to customize in any way you want (embroidery, appliqué, pockets, etc.) and such a confidence-booster.

embroideredpeasantdress

This is the same dress with an iron-on transfer from this embroidery book, which took about two hours in total, including embroidery time.

elephantpeasantdress

..and the same pattern again, with added pockets and scalloped edge.

newbornwrapshirt

This newborn wrap-style shirt is from the Purl Bee blog, one of my favourite sites for free patterns. When we were in New York on our honeymoon, we went into the Purl Soho brick-and-mortar store, and I wandered around in a deliriously happy daze for a few minutes. I couldn’t afford anything in there, but it was the most beautiful place in the world.

babypants

The baby pants are from the same blog, though I hurried through these so they’re not as neatly finished as I would have liked. I might try making another pair with a drawstring waist instead. Though maybe that’s somehow dangerous for a baby? I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT ANYTHING, YOU GUYS.

babypants2

Here’s another pair of baby pants that sewed up quickly and to which I added elastic at the cuffs, just because. Again, I wonder if these might end up being loose around the waist, so next time I might either cinch them a bit tighter or use a drawstring instead.

jerseyhoodie1

jerseyhoodie2

These hooded kimono wrap jackets may be the cutest things ever, and though I had never sewed with jersey, this blog post really cleared some things up for me. Basically I just switched to a ballpoint needle and it was fine.

gingeronesie

I’ve made a lot of appliquéd onesies, but this one is my favourite. We might put this phrase on her birth announcement. Have I mentioned that Mark is a redhead?

I also whipped up a few bibs (think I just Googled “bib template” and worked from there)…

bibs

…and a few of these super-easy pacifier clips (though I made them shorter than the tutorial called for because of strangulation risks)…

pacifierclips

..and finally, this oversized baby quilt. I’ve made a lot of blankets and quilts for her, mostly just to kill time. I’m working on my first entirely hand-quilted quilt right now, but I go so terribly slow that she might be a teenager by the time she receives it. For this one I just sewed a bunch of triangles together into patches, and then I had them up on my basting board in the order I thought I wanted, then Mark came into my office and started switching them around and we ended up with this sort of parallelogram thing. Hey, that’s the first time I’ve used that word since junior high, probably! I like that we both worked on it together. Also, I know this is the girliest fabric ever, but I have so damn much of it.

babyquiltfront

I just quilted diagonal lines — it took less than an hour to quilt — and when she’s born, I’ll sew on a little patch with her name and birth date on it.

babyquiltback

babyquiltbinding

This nesting period has been so delicious. I know I won’t have time to be doing a lot of this when she’s here, and I also know that second baby will probably get nothing (Mark and I are both youngest children, so we’ll be able to sympathize). I have a few more things I’d like to make, but I’d also be very happy if she showed up tomorrow. Which is totally possible. Which is terrifying.

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crib

When Mark and I were getting married, waaaaay back in 2010, I remember a lot of people asking us what our “theme” was, and I’d always stare blankly and be like, “uhhh…marriage?”. We really didn’t have a theme, or specific wedding colours; it was more a slightly batshit crazy amalgamation of whatever stuff we liked (mason jars! the Jeopardy theme song!) and whatever, it all kind of went together or maybe it didn’t, but we were surrounded by stuff that was important to us.

Putting together the baby’s room has been a similar process — we don’t have dominant colours, or an animal theme, or matching…well, anything, but it’s been a labour of love in ways I can’t even fully describe. Almost everything in the room is handmade, either by us or someone we love. We don’t have a diaper genie, or a fancy crib (so far we’ve bought every single item for this baby secondhand, with the exception of the stroller/carseat combo), but everything in there was made with so much love and excitement and anticipation.

animalbutts

This print was the first thing I purchased after finding out I was pregnant. It’s classy, it’s timeless, you’d have to be a monster to not love it.

mobile

The mobile pattern came from Etsy, and I also purchased the fabric panels so that putting it together would be nice and easy. I made it in one gloriously lazy day spent on the couch, and it was such a fun, satisfying project to work on.

shoes

I had a several-day stint of making baby shoes, which are really kind of stupid and impractical but OH MY GOD SO CUTE. From left to right: Felt baby shoes, baby shoes pattern from Etsy, felt baby booties from this shop (can’t find the specific listing, but there are tons of shoe patterns available).

lambsoftie

This lamb softie was really quick to sew up and the only thing I would change would be to use the same grey felt for her body as well.

 maggierabbits

Of all the things I’ve been making for baby (another post of clothes is forthcoming), I think these Maggie Rabbits have been my favourite. I love all of Alicia’s patterns (I currently have about four of her projects on the go) but these might be my very favourite. They’re completely handstitched (except for the clothing), and the perfect project for a rainy day. I’m not going to lie; baby might not actually get to keep these ones. These might just be for me.

There are many other things I could show you, like the beautiful shelves Mark made to fit into a very oddly-shaped, specific spot, or the rapidly-growing collection of baby quilts, but here is the thing I love most about the room. It’s a bit bizarre and out-of-place, but we made it together and I love it so much. Behold baby’s tree:

tree

tree2

There’s an owl to watch over her

owl

and several well-hidden birds as well.

bird

There are leaves cut out of old children’s books

leaf

and gauzy Bodhi leaf lights.

leaflight

I’m not sure where the idea came from — though I think Mark was the one who suggested it — but working on this together was so much fun. The “trunk” is PVC piping wrapped in burlap, and the branches are cut from a huge twisted filbert tree from the front of our house that we let dry out for a few weeks and then attached to the PVC with screws. There’s a wooden mount at the back of the tree securing it to the wall on two sides, so little missy can’t pull it down when she’s having a tantrum. I know that when Mark and I look back on this pre-baby, nesting time, some of our fondest memories will be of putting this tree together, talking about how we want her to feel like it’s a little bit magical in there. In the wintertime, maybe we’ll hang snowflakes from the branches. Next fall, perhaps we’ll find an old bird’s nest to place up high in the tree. Mark might make a little squirrel to peek out from behind the trunk. We can adapt it any way the three of us want. I anticipate many nights nursing her underneath her tree, trying to stay awake and thinking about how seven and a half years ago, I walked into a coffee shop to meet someone, and now here she is.

tree3

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