Apologies for the slightly gloomy photos - the sun has abandoned us today.
I made this sleeping bag from the pattern in Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings(a book that's getting a lot of use in this house at the moment. Remember the bag? I'm also about to start cutting out another project from it).
I used the same fabrics as I'm using in the Single Girl quilt. Even though the baby doesn't have a nursery of its own (it will be in with us for the forseeable future, then probably in with Teddy), I've stuck to this colour scheme for the 'nursery' things I'm making. Fairly pointless, but pleasing nonetheless.
Verdict: I'm really pleased with the look of the sleeping bag (I absolutely love that it's like the baby's own little quilt for when it's too small to actually use the quilt I'm painstakingly making for it), and the construction is great for a newborn (velcro for easy access for lots of nappy changes). The construction was also reasonably simple, although I ended up fudging the velcro and the bottom edge. This may well have been to mis-reading the instructions rather than lack of detail in the book - I haven't actually gone back and looked to see just where I went wrong. Anyway, it doesn't really matter - the bag is finished, is nice and soft and the velcro does the job of doing it up. Oh, and Anna Maria's suggestion of flannel lining is genius - this bag is so much softer than the cotton lined shop-bought ones we have, without being made from that hot and sweaty polyester fleece.
Saying all that, there are a few shortcomings for me:
- I would have liked this to be a pattern with a zip - no way is velcro going to hold the bag shut for a bigger baby that's kicking its legs around and beginning to roll. I'm not even sure it will be strong enough after the first couple of weeks, and I used wider velcro/hook and loop than called for in the pattern. I thought I'd be able to alter the pattern quite easily to put a zip in, but I couldn't work out a simple way of doing it. However, I totally understand that making this a zippered pattern probably would have rendered it too long and complicated to fit in the book. It also probably would have necessitated adding snaps to the 'sleeves' so they could be undone, and generally making the entire thing rather time consuming.
- The bag is teeny. Maybe it's something to do with the ginormo-baby I produced last time, but I just can't see this fitting a three-month-old (maybe up to 6-10 weeks? Although, as I say, my view of newborns is a little skewed thanks to producing a 9lb 9 ouncer last time). Easily remedied though - if I were to make this pattern again, I'd simply add 4-6" onto the bottom of the pattern.
- I'm a reasonably experienced sewist (OK, advanced beginner. When do you qualify as an intermediate sewist?) and I felt that, compared with the absolutely brilliant directions for constructing the Here We Go bag in this book, and the dress I made using one of Anna Maria Horner's patterns, the instructions were just a fraction less detailed and straightforward than I was hoping for. Again, hardly a huge problem, just meant the sleeping bag took a fraction longer than it might otherwise have done. Also, as I say, this might be due to my hasty instruction reading.
All in all though, this was a useful exercise with a sweet result, and the sleeping bag will definitely get used. I think to make some bigger bags I'll do a combination of taking ideas from this pattern and copying (and resizing) one of Teddy's old sleeping bags. The smallest one I think he has, though, is about 6-12 months, as he refused to abandon being swaddled for a long time. One of the reasons for wanting a couple of small sleeping bags is to hopefully avoid the swaddling thing all together. Very tedious, even once you're pretty quick at it (and trust me, I got good at swaddling - Houdini himself would have given up on escaping).