I have finally finished the Patchwork Sleeping Sac from Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings book and I have to admit I am a little proud to share it with you today.
Let me just take a moment to sing the praises of Handmade Beginnings one more time... the projects in the book are fabulous and the instructions are extremely well written. That Anna Maria Horner gal ain't no slouch: she certainly crosses her "t's" and dots her "i's." If you're going to buy one sewing book for babies and/or pregnancy in general, this should be the one. It's just that good.
I started the Sleeping Sac waaaay back when I didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl, and as you see, my fabric choices aren't the most "masculine," but those things don't really bother me.
At first I had decided to wait until finding out the sex of the baby before beginning the project, but then a very wise customer (I believe it was Miss Nena C...) pointed out that if I made the Sleeping Sac from unisex fabrics, we could use it in the future for aaalll our babies.
Since I want many babies some day, I thought this was very good advice and began making my patchwork panel directly.
I chose yellows and greens, as you can see, and pulled all these fabrics from my stash.
Since I was working with stash fabrics and scraps that were all manor of different shapes and sizes, I cut out the squares individually and sewed them into rows: no strip-piecing for me! (Because I know someone out there will wonder, the squares are 2.5" and finish at 2". You can use any size square you'd like, but I chose this size because any leftovers would work great for a 1" hexie project I am working on, too.)
Once the patchwork panel was complete I set about tracing my pattern pieces (for the record, the best $11.99 I ever spent was on my roll of Swedish Tracing Paper... we carry it at the shop if you are local, but I haven't quite figured out a cost-effective way of mailing the rolls of tracing paper out for online customers and therefore haven't listed this most fabulous, useful stuff in the online shop yet, but you really should have some, I insist).
I lengthened the pattern by 2.5" so it would fit the baby longer. Anna Maria's pattern is for a baby sized 0-3 months, but I figured if I was going to work long and hard on this project it should fit my baby for as long as possible. Anna Maria gave great instructions for how to lengthen the pattern if you wanted to go that route, too.
The hardest part of the entire project?
Cutting into my patchwork panel.
After finishing the panel and being at the point of needing to move on to the "cutting it up" stage, I looked at the lovely panel of squares up on my design wall for a couple of days before finally taking the plunge and cutting into it.
I love patchwork squares and I could make them all day and be happy, so that part was tough. It killed me that some of those cute elephants and hedgehogs peeking out at you from the squares were going to be lost and not show up in the finished project.
But, cut into the panel I did.
From there, the sac didn't take very long at all.
Per Anna Maria's suggestion, I hand-stitched the bias edging to the lining, just like you would bind a quilt (I'm someone who loves a little hand-stitching, but you could very easily stitch this part by machine if you wanted to skip that step).
I lined the sac with some of our new organic fleece which had arrived just in the nick of time and miraculously, the color turned out to be oh-so perfect with my patchwork.
I cannot tell you enough how much I love the organic fleece.
First of all, it's organic (hell-o!) and second of all, it's the softest, most coziest fleece ever.
The fleece is 100% cotton, so it washes up just fine... it has a bit of stretch in it, but nothing a couple of extra pins couldn't handle.
Since our baby is due in December and this is Maine, after all, I thought the warm fleece would be a great match.
Another happy by-product of using the fleece is that it's thick, so the finished Sleeping Sac feels like a quilt, with armholes, that you wrap your baby in.
I wouldn't mind one for myself, actually (I guess that's kind of what a snuggie is, but those things scare me and they can't be half as nice!).
For the backing and bias trim I used this new print from Lotta Jansdotter. There was lots of stuff that would have matched, but this one I felt was the best choice at the time.
If you wanted to make this Patchwork Sleeping Sac without the patchwork panel, just from one solid fabric or even a cheater print, that would be much faster to stitch up.
Or, of course, if you wanted to use all flannel or all quilting cotton or a mix of the two (depending on where you live and how warm you want your baby to be) you certainly could... lots of good choices!
It was such a fun project: I certainly took the most laborious route and this was a labor of love, but for the next few months "labor" is going to be the name of the game for me, I suppose!
(You have to keep a sense of humor about these things, right...?)
Thanks so much for listening to me jabber on...
I'll see you again soon!