Tag: colorado mama

Aug 15

{tutorial} baby jingle block.

Homemade How-To {Baby Jingle Block}

There are times when gifts call to be homemade. It’s that little touch of extra that can make all the difference. It doesn’t have to be perfect, or even pretty. But a unique treasure from your heart and hand can really show you care. Gifts for baby are easy to¬† make, because babies love simple things; soft things, colorful things, things that they can grasp with their tiny hands (such accomplishment!), and especially, things that make noise. In harder times when cash flow may be, well, not flowing, handmade gifts save money while still showing huge amounts of love.

We’re going to make a Jingle Block. It has all of the above characteristics, while being super easy to make. If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, this project is small enough to sew by hand. It’s made with fabric scraps so can cost next to nothing. You can make it any size you want. The block shown was made out of 6 squares each roughly the size of a C.D.

Supplies:
*A square template. You can make this out of a piece of paper or cardboard, or even another piece of fabric. Just measure it out to be equal on all sides.

*Fabric scraps. You will need 6 squares, preferably all different. Choose fabrics with different textures, like velvet, corduroy, or denim, and others with fun bold prints. Babies love stripes and polka-dots. Try to use what you have. Maybe there is a box that has been waiting to be delivered to the thrift store. You don’t need much, just scraps big enough to hold your template. I used an old silk nightgown, a terrycloth hand towel, some corduroy scraps and some old heavy curtains I got at a swap.

*Stuffing. You can usually always find some kind of fiberfill at the thrift store. I found an almost full bag at the ARC for .99 cents. Another thing you can do if you sew a lot, is to save all of your small scrap cuttings in a bag. These are the ones that would usually just get tossed because they are too small to work with in anything else. “Waste not, want not”, right? You can stuff this block with all of those pieces. Or you can just make the scrap filling by cutting up the rest of the fabric you don’t use from the template into small pieces.

*Jingle Bells. I found these at the dollar store. They’re just small bells, meant for necklaces, I think. Or you can use an old one you might have around from Christmas. I stuffed mine into a small drawstring bag filled with extra fiber fill before putting it into my block.

*Sewing Machine, or needle and thread. This is a very simple project and we’re using a straight stitch either way. A polyester thread will cost about $2-3 a spool, and you’ll use very little of it. If you’re using needle and thread, just make sure you use a double thickness for extra strength by threading your needle and pulling the thread all the way through to make a double line. Knot at the end.

*Scissors.

Instructions:
*Iron out your fabrics and cut out 6 squares total. Line them up in the order you want to sew them. This will be 4 squares for the sides, and 2 for the top and bottom. Be aware of stretchy fabrics that may prove tricky. You can still use them, but know that if you’re using a sewing machine you may have extra fabric at the end of your line because of the stretch. Straight pins can help correct this, but not always. Don’t worry about it if it does happen. Just trim it up. It’s a baby toy. No need for perfection. They’ll love it anyway.

*With right sides together, sew the sides of the first two pieces at 1/4 inch from the edge. Back stitch at the beginning and end to secure and then cut your thread. If you’re hand stitching, secure by going back over your first couple stitches. There is no need to trim up, as we’ll be turning it inside out. Continue with the 3rd piece to the 2nd piece, and then the 4th to the 3rd. Finally sew the 4th piece to the 1st. You now have a cube with open ends.

*Again with right sides together, sew your top piece on. This generally works best if you pin it, and if you start by sewing opposite sides. For example, sew 1 side of the top square to 1 side of your cube, and then instead of continuing on to the side that is touching what you’ve sewn (the perpendicular line), cut your thread and sew the opposite side (the parallel). Now sew the other 2 open sides the same way, remembering to back stitch.

*Sew the bottom piece on the same way, except for the final side, which you’ll leave a gap in the middle of to insert your filling into. Turn right side out by pulling the fabric through the gap. Poke out your corners with the eraser end of a pencil.

*Insert your filling, followed by your jingles, followed by more filling. Don’t over stuff, you want it to have a little bit of cushion room for baby to get a grip on it.

*Turn your gap seams to the inside, and slip stitch together with your needle and thread (don’t forget to back stitch!), tucking the knotted ends inside. You can always use your machine here as well if you can maneuver the block enough to get it under the foot. Cut your end threads.

All done! While this little block is made for a baby, it’s also a great toy for a 2 year old learning to catch! My daughter had a great time playing with it, and the angles and different textures make for easier catching. As an added bonus it’s very lightweight and soft, so won’t hurt if she misses and gets a face plant. :) It’s machine washable and dryable. And if you put a tennis ball in the dryer with it, it helps to keep it plush, pushing around the filling inside.

Happy sewing!

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