There’s nothing like the promise of a newborn baby to get you thinking about creative gifts. When my friend in the UK announced she was pregnant, I immediately began to think about what I could make and send as a baby gift. The first idea was easy – a stuffed animal.
I was first motivated to buy my sewing machine almost sixteen years ago when a friend was pregnant with her first child. I wanted to make a stuffed animal back then. Amazingly, that same pattern I bought still serves its purpose today.
I bought the McCall’s Crafts – “Carol’s Zoo” pattern for a teddy bear, lamb, and rabbit. Over the years, I have made both the teddy bear and the rabbit on multiple occasions. While the pattern doesn’t seem readily available anymore, there are a couple of copies on Amazon, and I’m sure that there are many other patterns out there for stuffed animals which would be just as good.
I followed the directions that came with the pattern, laying out the fabric and pattern pieces, cutting them out, marking all the notches, sewing the pieces together, stuffing the animal, and sewing the last bit up by hand.
The only thing I adjusted was to hand sew the eyes and a nose. I didn’t want any chance of a baby pulling off any accessories and swallowing them. For a newborn, I never add a bow, unless it’s to present the stuffed animal to the parent with a little gift tag. Then, I include a note to remove the bow before giving it to the child. (Yeah that’s right, I’m a little paranoid.)
For older children, I usually add a bow.
Years ago, when Scott and I were dating, I made him a teddy bear and adorned him with a bow. May I present, Nathan.
If you noticed the white spot on his eye, that was the twinkle that was sewn into each one. I got that idea from my grandmother who, upon replacing a plastic eye on my favourite stuffed animal with a yarn one, sewed a twinkle into it. I think of her everytime I see it.
I wanted to personalize a gift for my British friend’s baby as well. We had nicknamed the Baby, “Baby Awesome,” as we often tease my friend about the way she tries to pronounce “Awesome” with her Mancunion accent while trying to sound Canadian. It comes out a strange mix of Northern British and American. The harder she tries, the funnier it is, and it has been a source of much laughter for us all over the years.
I didn’t want to make an entire onesie so I cheated and bought one. I then drew out on graph paper, “BABY AWESOME,” pinned the paper to the front of the onesie, and hand stitched over it with embroidery thread, gently pulling the paper away after. This way, the stitching stayed straight and a controlled size.
Finally, I packed everything up in a box for shipping.
Jasper the bunny, so named after Jasper National Park, arrived a few days before the baby. Both were very special deliveries.