I Sewed! (a cloth book for baby)

As soon as I heard the news that my sister-in-law, Emily (who is married to my brother, James), was expecting her first baby, I knew exactly what I was going to do. Knitting was the first thing that popped in my head, but I ruled it out right away, because I knew my mom would knit a blanket. Turns out that my brother Nate, and my daughters, made blankets as well! I decided to make a fabric book with all the members of the baby’s family. I didn’t know how I would do it, I just knew I would figure it out. I had plenty of time, after all.

As is typical for me, I left it, and left it, but I finally got to work as the due date was approaching. I am really happy with how it turned out! (I have bleeped out my nephew’s face, and the kids’ names, for their privacy, and not all the pages are shown.)

To start, I took images of all the people (and dog) and made them black and white, and flipped them horizontally. Then I printed them on t-shirt transfer paper (after testing for size on regular paper). The images were then transferred onto white cotton fabric. The same thing was done for the names of each person.

For each person in the book, I chose fabric that I thought suited their personalities. This started because I saw Elvis fabric one day, and knew I had to get that for my Dad. I cut out each piece of fabric in a square, leaving a good size seam allowance, and allowing extra room for binding the book. After cutting a small square in the center of the page, I placed the face behind it, and sewed it in using a zig-zag stitch. I then sewed on the name of the person. I offset each face to the right, thinking that it would allow for the space needed for binding, but I forgot that not every page would be on the right side! So the faces on the left pages ended up too close to the binding.

Once all the pages were complete, I placed them in order, which is a tricky thing when there are divorced/remarried people that you don’t necessarily want to have back-to-back, or beside each other in a book! It all worked out fine.

I then placed the pages right sides together, and sewed around the edges, leaving a large hole to allow for turning the pages inside-out. I tried it with just a small hole, but I ruined a page doing this – it destroys the image transfer! I had to make sure not to bend the transfers too much. Once the pages were turned right-side out, they were sewn closed.

The pages were all done and then it was time to bind them together.

Shit.

I spent 2 hours thinking, scouring my brain, swearing, and feeling like crap that I wasn’t going to be able to put this thing together, after all that work. I thought of sewing on the machine (too thick), hand-sewing (way too thick), drilling (what was I thinking??), cutting holes (ack! Fraying ends!). It was this last idea that finally led me to the solution. How can I make holes without them fraying? Buttonholes! SO … I put 4 buttonholes near the edge of each page and bound the pages together using a thick yarn. Yay!

The best part of making this book was seeing the joy on Emily and James’ faces as they looked through it. So happy! Yay!

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