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Friday, December 31, 2010

Up-Cycling Baby Blankets into Nightgowns

Many of my friends and relatives are sewing for Christmas.  The closer the date comes, the more I hear about Grandma's and Mom's sewing pajamas for their children.  Because I absolutely love having my children in adorable new PJs for opening presents on the morning of Christmas, the thoughts I conjure are very 'Courier and Ives'.
However, I didn't plan to make anything this year for the kids.  The worst place in the world to take many little children is shopping in a Jo-Ann Fabric during the Christmas season.  Other than the extreme increase in consumer traffic, there are also displayed of Extremely breakable Christmas Decor everywhere!!!  I made the mistake of trying to shop the week before Thanksgiving for some fabric.  With-in the first 5 minutes Porter and Isabella had both broken something!  We hadn't made it in the store more than 20 feet!  I almost gave up and went home at that point, but I continued bravely on and an hour later I left the store with the all the children and one extra bag with some fun material for a project.
Yet last night as my toddling angel was being wrestled into pajamas  dressed for bed, I realized that she really needs new pajamas that fit her.  Footies are great for babies, but she's now a little girl and needs nightgowns.  Yet I had this epiphany at 8:30 pm at night with no major desire to leave the house in a whirlwind to try to get to the store before closing.   I did have a stack of beautiful flannel blankets that rarely get used anymore.  I try not to let people see Zander wrapped up in the blue and purple tea set blanket, though it does occasionally happen. As most of these blankets are approximately 36"x45" It turns out, it is enough material to create a very simple but adorable nightgown!
I first tried on a blanket that I didn't absolutely love.  If I messed up and had no new finished project, I could easily toss it in the garbage and not feel badly.
The blanket did have a cute heart embroidered stitch around the edging which I tried to utilize on the cuff of the arm.  I think its a cute little reminder of its first life. The neckline is a bit odd but I think I'll turn it into a V-neck and call it good!  Not to shabby for 2 hours of late night creativity.

With a mostly successful first attempt, I got even braver!  The neck on my first attempt made me really want to make a nightgown with a yoke.  So once again, while wrapping presents for Christmas after the kids went to bed, I took some more tissue paper and redesigned my first pattern just a bit.  I traced the original neckline and then drew a larger circular shape 4 inches out.  Because I wanted the sleeves and bodice to be gathered into the yoke, I widened both of those pattern pieces as well.  The bodice changes a bit toward the top, but if you lay the pattern pieces out together, its not too hard to find the proper shapes.
When laying this out for cutting, I could not get the front and back bodice to fit on the front of the blanket because of their width, so I shortened them and cut a ruffle for the bottom from the back of the blanket along with the yoke and sleeves.

As an added bonus, that I was hoping for, but wasn't sure could be done.... Both little girls can wear the same nightgown.  Its a bit big on Abigail, but she doesn't mind.  Anything that simplifies laundry, I am all for!

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