Somewhere in between all the baby stuff you want and all the baby stuff you need is the precious realm of baby stuff you can make.
And while you are in the market for baby gear, make sure you check out the Five Most Overpriced Baby Items and Their Alternatives.
There are tons of baby essentials you can make and these are fantastic projects for a mama whose is in full-blown nesting mode or for a group of friends planning a baby shower.
Outfitting your nursery can be cheap, maternity clothes don’t have to be expensive, and you don’t have to spend a fortune on baby gear. Here are five baby essentials you can make yourself:
Disclaimer: A sewing machine would speed things along but is not required. However, you will need a needle and thread.
Burp cloths are pieces of cloth you toss over your shoulder after the baby has eaten but before they spit up most of their meal. Burp cloths can come in any shape, so don’t fret over the exact dimensions.
Start by cutting a piece of soft fabric, either from a fabric store or a worn out t-shirt, into a rectangle approximately two feet by one foot. Wash and iron.
Trim any frayed edges using scissors, then fold or iron down a half inch of fabric around every edge. Secure with pins or spare needles.
Sew a seam about a quarter-inch from the edge. Voila! Your first burp cloth is ready to be sullied!
This is another easy project and one that even the most novice crafter shouldn’t shy away from.
Using cloth wipes is completely safe but unlike homemade burp clothes, the fabric you select is very important. Pick something soft and absorbent to wipe your baby, like high-quality fleece.
You can also consider sewing a piece of hemp to one side of the fleece, as hemp wicks away moisture from the fleece.
Grab your fabric and cut a square measuring seven inches by seven inches. Wash and iron. Fold or iron down a half-inch around the edges, secure with pins, and sew a quarter-inch hem.
This project takes a little more skill, so ask a crafty friend to help you if you aren’t comfortable making a basic pattern.
Buy one sleep sack (new or used) and use it to make a pattern. Pay special attention to fit because babies can suffocate on loose material.
I repeat, for safety issues, I recommend you copy an existing sleep sack pattern. I do not recommend making a sleep sack pattern from scratch.
Sleep sacks sell for as much as $46, so making your own duplicates is a great way to avoid spending too much on baby gear.
Turn your existing sleep sack inside out and measure the dimensions of the body. You should have three sections – one for the back and two panels making up the front. (One panel on each side of the zipper.)
For every dimension, add one inch to allow for shrinkage and seams.
Select the fabric based off which season your baby will be wearing the sleep sack. Cotton is best for summer, while thicker cotton-poly blends will keep baby toasty in winter.
Double check with a manager that the fabric is flame resistant. Make sure to purchase matching thread and a zipper that is long enough to run from neck to toe.
Cut, wash, and iron the fabric. Sew quarter-inch seams on both edges of the front panel that will attach to the zipper.
Once you have the seams done, sew the hems onto the zipper, leaving room so the zipper won’t eat the fabric when you use it.
Sew a quarter-inch hem at each arm and neck hole – six spots in total.
Now, pin the front panel to the back, inside out. Sew quarter-inch seams all around, except at the arm and neck openings, where you have already sewn a hem.
Pay attention: Along the body you are sewing two pieces of fabric together, while at the holes you merely are sewing one piece of fabric to itself to reinforce the edge. If you sew an opening closed, you can always cut the thread and back track.
I don’t knit, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make my baby a hat! Start by measuring the circumference of your baby’s head at the widest part.
Divide that number by four to get the dimensions for the four sections of fabric you will be using. Add one inch to each section to allow for shrinking and hems. This is your base length.
For example, if your baby’s head is 16 inches around, each base length is four inches plus one inch, which totals five inches.
Next, multiply the base length times 1.4 to get the base height. Use the base length and base height measurements to make a T on a piece of scrap paper.
Using a ruler, connect the ends of the T to the tip of the base height. Now you have a triangle. Cut out the triangle and trace it onto your fabric. Cut out four triangles. Wash and iron.
Pin the four triangles, inside out, into a cone so that a half-inch of each long edge of the triangle overlap with each other, with the base lengths forming an opening at the bottom of the hat.
Once the edges are pinned together, the base length of each triangle should be four inches. Sew quarter-inch hems on the long edges.
Hang in there — you are almost done!
Pin a half-inch hem along the base lengths of the hat and sew a quarter-inch hem. Sew on a fuzzy ball to the top if you are up for it.
Grab an old sweater or thick, fuzzy material. The nice thing about using a sweater is that you can re-use the waist hem so it becomes the wrist hem of the mittens, which means less sewing!
On a piece of scrap paper, trace the outline of your baby’s palm so that the four fingers are flush and the thumb sticks out at a comfortable angle. Add an inch to this outline to make your pattern.
Cut two pieces of fabric using your pattern. Flip inside out and pin a half-inch inside the edge. Sew a quarter-inch hem. Repeat on the other hand for a brand new set of mittens!
Julia Scott founded BargainBabe.com, which shares the best curated freebies daily!