1/29/10

Tutorial - Soft Baby Blocks

Ruby is spending more and more time on her tummy to help strengthen her neck and back and lately I've noticed her staring at things in the studio with bold, graphic patterns. It's common knowledge that babies notice strong contrasts in color so I decided to make her some soft blocks to place in front of her while she's on her tummy to distract her from 'the burn'. No pain, no gain, Ruby.

It's an easy project for beginner sewers that has been around for a long time. I've seen some sweet ones made from vintage linens, embroidered on, and embellished with felt letters and numbers. You can add sound affects by adding bells, crinkly paper, etc. It took me about 30 minutes to finish the second one while the little one napped.

I chose two patterns with colorful, strong patterns and decided on two blocks with one block having more of the black and one block having more of the white. This turned out to be six squares of each print measuring about 6" squared.

I lined up my squares in a cross shape, as shown above, and pinned them together horizontally. I sewed them at the edges and then ironed them flat. Before you start pinning, decide which direction you want your fabrics with print to face.

Finish pinning the vertical pieces and stitch them together. Iron flat.

Make sure you stop just short of stitching all the way to the edges so that when you sew the corners together in a cube shape, you have a little room.

Proceed to sew the edges together so that you end up with an inverted jack-in-the-box shape. Then stitch two of the three remaining edges together. The open edge will allow you to stuff your block.

Turn it right side out and stuff with poly-fil. Add some jingle bells for even more fun!

Tuck the remaining sides together and pin. Hand-stitch with machine thread using a blind stitch for a seamless look!

Two or three blocks will keep your baby's attention now, provide something soft to stack when she's a toddler, and something light to throw around your house when they are stuck inside because of a snow storm.

Ruby is demonstrating for you. She's a good demonstrator.


We're enjoying the beautiful snow from the confines of our couch this evening. Tomorrow we might venture out to the Expo Center to the largest garage sale ever to be hosted in January anywhere. At least I hope.

Be back soon!
xoxo,
Rachel

41 comments:

Christen Krumm said...

Oh these are awesome! I'm gonna go throw some together for Elsie right now! Hopefully they will distract her from the "yucky tummy time". She doesn't like it at all!! :)

Thanks for these AWESOME tutorials :)

xoxo,
Christen

Jazmyn Alexandria said...

Aww I love it! Your baby is too cute! :)

http://candidnoir.blogspot.com

sarah bear said...

Those are so cute :) May have to make one for my niece.

mrs boo radley said...

Adorable! And way bigger than I thought they would be. You're such a creative mama.
And Ruby's head is so smoochable.

HELLO TIGER! said...

So cute!!

nikki peterson said...

adorable! i have some similar ones bookmarked that i wanted to make for the nursery... thanks for the tutorial!

velvet said...

these are the cutest!! love your site :)

Roxanne said...

This color combo makes me smile! Ruby is adorable.

evie s. said...

Love your blog Rachel! Thank you for the tutorial, these would make great gifts!

Rosie's Whimsy said...

Love your mix of fabrics and the tutorial is so well done! Ruby's a doll :-)

Sophie said...

Thanks for sharing.
^-^

ashlee said...

i love the way your sheet looks! those blocks are so fun to make with chenille for added texture:)

Liv said...

I love the fabric you chose. I made lost smaller ones last year for my little boy... and then I made a big one like that with his initials on it.

I'll definitely be making more!!

http://saturatedpalette.blogspot.com/2009/06/b-is-for-blocks.html

handmade charlotte said...

ohhhh i went crazy with the black and white thing with my first!!!i even had black and white pajamas!

Staci Danford said...

Those are the BEST things I have seen in a long long time.. Man I wish I would have seen them before my little fellow was out of that stage.. WHat a wonderful idea..
Staci

Melissa Mann said...

thanks for the great tutorial!

jari spry said...

and the drool.... so sweet! i wanna come hold you Miss Ruby!!!!

xo.

kelly* said...

i could never get evangeline to do tummy time...prettyblocks may have helped!
Your daughter is beautiful by the way...<3

Evy said...

Ohhhh they are great! I had one like that when I was a baby! I'm gonna try this on sunday. Thanks for the step-by-step tutorial! And Ruby totally rules her new job!

xxx Evy

Little Monarch said...

wonderful! I think my kitten Ella J. would love one of these XO

Janet said...

I love these Rachel! I'll definitely being trying to make some for Jonah (he's 6 weeks old). Those fabrics you used are so nice - hope I can find some black and white patterns in my stash somewhere... :)

Rachel Kay said...

Oh wow, I love this! I really want to make something for my nephew who was born about 3 weeks ago, and this would be perfect!

Rachel Kay
x

Visible Voice said...

Holy cow! I think I could actually make this! :)

Holly S said...

Super cute project! Oh and I love the drool coming from Ruby's chin! Miss those days!

Tara said...

Ruby really is a great demonstrator!

My Love is..... said...

wow this fabric is awesome.... not to mention the cuteness of your baby drooling over her new toy so precious! thanx for sharing :)

Cat said...

oh so cute! I love the demo pic. I just made some blocks out of felt. THey are so therapeutic to sew together...

Rach H said...

you always make things look so easy!!
I had one given to me for my first born + all my babies used it + loved it + as well the maker of the cube made a run that I use to hang down the back of the car seat (not babies car seat but seat in car) so my babies could look at while we drove around.
Do your babies have to sit rear facing until they are 1 in the US?
Also black + white visual babies love!!
Also forgot to add my cube had textures + when you touched certain sides it made noises. Not sure what the maker of this gift put in it.
thx for sharing!

Maggie Whitley {Gussy} said...

ummmm, love this!

xo

Erin said...

Just another one of your awesome projects I will be making! Thanks for all the inspiration!!!

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

These are so much fun! Thanks tons for the how-to, I'll be linking.

Jacinda said...

Love these! My nanny had ruby's sheet when we were kids. : )

Kel said...

I love this!

Kim @ seven thirty three said...

These are so sweet! I think I can even pull them off! :)

Thanks for linking up.

ana-maria said...

do you mind sharing the name/manufacturer of the fabric you used for this?

Cecile said...

Hi, I would love to know where you got the fabric from, my local Jo-Ann definitely doesn't stock it :-).
Thanks
Cecile

Cecile said...

Hi
I would love to know where you got the fabric from. My local Jo-Ann definitely doesn't have anything as nice :-)
Thanks
Cecile

RachelDenbow said...

Cecile,

The black and white is Alexander Henry (got it from JoAnn's about two years ago) and the other is a bedspread from Urban Outfitters two years ago.

Good luck!

Micah and Katie said...

I love making these for gifts! Along with the stuffing I usually put in some paper that crinkles so it makes noise when the babies play with them. I find wax paper works great or the liner from the cereal box.

Cottage Industrious said...

Thank you for this tutorial, I was so grateful for all the photos, they help so much! I made a couple of these for my friend's baby, and they love them so much. Even the husband keeps mentioning how cool he thinks they are and that they could be sold at a baby boutique for $$$. Hooray for handmade gifts! I Love your blog!

pantareijewellery said...

Thanks for this tutorial. I have just used it to make some recycled felt blocks for my, yet-unborn, baby boy. I'm sure he will love them when he finally arrives!

http://pantareijewellery.wordpress.com