Thursday, March 3, 2011

Aine's Cloth Baby Book

Yup! I also do crafts. I guess I am a "crafty mom", but I don't like using that phrase. It doesn't give me enough street cred. "Cool mom" is how I'd like to be known. Spread the word. So I'm currently working on a few "cool" projects, but this one is particularly close to my heart. Please stay and read about it! It's so cute you can't say no!

My daughter Aine (pronounced Ahn-yuh) is almost 11 months old. She's our first child and she's awesome. She's squishy cute, smart, spastic, goofy, cranky, and gnomey (she looked exactly like a chubby gnome when she was 3 months).

For all those mommies out there, I'm guessing the first child inspired you to hand-make something that you hoped they would hold on to for the rest of their lives. For Annie, I made a couple mini-baby blankets that she could drool on as a newborn. It was actually my first sewing project using a sewing machine. This is the better looking of the two.

Of course I quickly decided that the blankets weren't enough. I took on a huge pain-in-the-ass project of making her a cloth baby book. 9 months later I finally finished! Hooray! I feel like I can breathe easier because it's been hanging over my head for such a long time. Don't think I worked 9 months straight though. I would work on it 5 days in a row, then take a whole month off. Cutting tiny pieces of felt, sewing tiny pieces of felt onto other tiny pieces of felt, and sewing all of those minuscule felty bits onto canvas can really burn you out quickly.

When I first started brainstorming my book project, I had to make a lot of decisions.

1. What should the story be about?
2. Should I draw on the fabric or use cutouts?
3. If I draw on the fabric, should I use fabric markers or paint?
4. What kind of fabric should I use for the book and if I use cutouts, what kind of fabric should that be?
4. How do I write the story on the fabric? Should I write the story on the fabric?
5. Should I make it washable? Is this really a book appropriate for a baby to play with or is it more of a keepsake?

After debating back and forth, I decided to create a story about a button mushroom named Push who loves to use his/her imagination. Get it? GET IT? YAY! Cutouts were the way to go because I didn't feel comfortable using the markers or paint (again, my hand isn't steady!). I chose canvas for the book itself because of the neutral color, sturdiness, and durability. Felt was used for the cutouts because it was cheap and I could easily buy small pieces of it in different colors. Also I didn't want to worry about fraying. Recently, I decided not to write out the story in the book at all. I will be recording the words and attaching it to the book separately, but I thought it would be more fun for Aine to use her imagination when she's older. Get it again? YAY! Of course she's the inspiration for Push! Last of all, I decided that the book would be a keepsake. I didn't want to worry about her picking off the felt and eating it, etc. so I would make this for her while she's a baby, but not let her play with it until she's old enough to handle it carefully.

Oh yeah and the washable question? I totally ignored it. I did not want to even think about washing the book. Aine will be a clean child. CLEAN I tell you!

Here's what the book looked like 2 months ago. Tons upon tons of tiny hand-cut pieces of felt. I pre-sewed some of the cutouts like the "P" on Push's cape. For the pages of the book, I sewed together canvas rectangles and turned them inside out.

Story included. Keep in mind, this is a really basic story aimed towards young children.

Push the Button Mushroom

Left Page: Hi, I'm Push! I'm a button mushroom!
Right Page: I love to use my imagination.

BOTH PAGES: Today I'm imagining that I can fly. Look how high I can go! Higher than the gum-gum trees and the sweetie birds.

LP: Now I'm imagining I'm a superhero!
RP: On no! It's Spin, the evil turnip! He's always turning up, this time to steal the clouds!

LP: Push to the rescue! POW! CRUNCH!
RP: Hooray! The clouds are back in the sky!

LP: What a great day! Wonder what I'll imagine tomorrow?
RP: The End

Here are some close-ups of my felt cutouts.

After all of the grueling work and late nights hand-sewing the cutouts, it was totally, completely worth it. Also I forgot to mention, to personalize Aine's book I signed it with a sharpie. I have fabric paint but it usually turns out a little puffy and can easily be scratched off once dried. Also when I've used it in the past, I smear it all over the place. So sharpie it is!

I can't wait to read this to Aine and I'm even more excited to hear her version of the story one day.

Linking to:
Beyond The Picket Fence


  1. Adorable! Such a clever and well-executed idea. I'm in the process of making my daughter a book, but using photos (a bit less time-consuming).

  2. Thanks so much Ashley. Good luck with your book! You take such great photos. Your daughter will love the book when she's older!