I realize we can't all be Martha Stewart. I, as a matter of fact, haven't a creative bone in my body. Not one. So how is it that I've shown you furniture refinishing projects, aprons I've sewn, burp cloths, bow holders, and other fun things that I've made? I'm an idea thief. I've realized that I live in the 21st century, the age of the internet, and since I have no creativity but I do have this skill called reading, I get ideas from other people, and then I read and follow instructions on a given project.
I don't know much about sewing, but after getting basic instructions from both my mom and mother-in-law, I've been able to learn a lot simply by doing. I'm still very much a beginner, so I need quite a bit of help and advice from time to time, but I know my limits and keep working at it. I also let perfectionism go out the window. A sewing project will never be perfect.
So when you're looking at your list of essential baby items and a list of "nice-to-haves," consider making some items.
Just what can you make?
- Slings and wraps: My crafty friend, Jo, informed me that you can make your own Moby Wrap. They sell for $40 at Target. I decided that I would love to have one for my second baby, so she acquired a large length of fabric, and all we needed to do was cut it in half (one for each of us) and hem the thing. Sounds easy enough! It's on my list of things to do. But now she's offered to do it for me--how sweet is that? One less thing for me to do before this baby is born! Another type of sling you can easily make, among others, is a ring sling. I've seen one of these in action, and they're pretty fabulous. My friend, Elizabeth, made hers in a nice, feminine fabric. It's gorgeous, very convenient, and also doubles as a nursing cover. I did a quick Google search for ring sling and came across these instructions for making your own. It looks like it only requires very basic sewing skills. Elizabeth commented below and advised that you should be sure to order your slings from slingrings.com rather than picking them up from a fabric store. Slingrings have been put through various tests to ensure safety for your child, whereas most fabric store rings are primarily intended for crafts and are probably not safe for carrying an infant. Thanks Elizabeth!! Don't you just love moms of 4? We can learn so much from them!
- Burp cloths: These really are a piece of cake to sew. They're one of the few things that I've simply looked at and copied. A family friend gave me a few embroidered ones when Isabelle was born, so I've enjoyed copying those and doing the same for baby gifts for other friends. The most expensive part is the embroidery. You can also simply sew fabric down the center of a cloth diaper for an easy but decorative burp cloth. I made a few this weekend for my cousin and it took very little time.
- Baby bedding: Again, I'm a novice seamstress, but I felt like I might be able to tackle this project. I was a little unsure, so I asked my husband's aunt if she would be up for it, and she was eager to do it! We'll be sewing together this weekend, so I'll let you know how it goes. I'm going to start the piping today during naptime. I've never made piping before, but again, I got advice from my husband's grandmother (who is visiting us right now) and then stayed up last night watching videos on how to do it. I'm a visual learner, so it really helped to actually see the entire process.
- Furniture: Consider refinishing an old dresser for the nursery. You can paint or stain, depending on the look you're going for. If my $20 desk doesn't convince you that it can be done, then I don't know what will! And again, this is not something I'm especially skilled at. The first time I refinished anything, I simply followed instructions from a website and confirmed them by talking to my mom before I started. I stripped and stained the massive antique armoir that had been in our living room growing up. It had to be stored outside in the garage for a number of years, so it just needed some refinishing to have it back in great condition. It makes a beautiful bookcase for our bedroom.
Any other ideas on baby gear you can make yourself?
This is the sixth post in a series called Babies on a Budget. To read more, click here.