Handmade Gifts: Baby Edition

20080603 - Lane's dress

I got so much satisfaction from sewing this weekend.  Once I finally started, I got on a roll.  And linen? Much easier to sew with, because it doesn’t stretch or slide around.  

I made a linen dress for Lane.  No pattern, just rectangles sewn together.  There’s an inverted pleat on the front for shaping.  I enclosed the seams using a great tutorial from Sew Mama, Sew.  There are buttons down the back (6 buttons on a toddler dress?  probably not good forethought).  

I never knew how to make buttonholes before, so I always avoided them.  This weekend I found out that my machine has an automatic buttonhole maker, so I read the manual and it is so easy! I will be putting buttons on everything now.  I even made a matching little purse.

20080602 - Matching purse

I made gifts for some new babies coming soon.  I made a set of burp cloths that are soft flannel on one side and absorbent terry cloth towel on the other side.

Notes for burp clothes:

  1. Cutting terry cloth makes a ridiculous mess.
  2. This slides through the machine much easier if the smooth flannel is on the top side and the towel is underneath.

20080602 - Burp cloths

I also made a linen diaper case to hold a couple of diapers and some wipes.  I like to keep one in the car or toss it in my tote bag.  It has saved the day more than I care to remember.  This one is linen with a muslin lining.  It closes with a vintage wooden button that has been in the button basket since about third grade.  I liked making this because it is basically just a long rectangle with a U on the end.  Even so, I became well acquainted with my trusty seam ripper while I made this one.

20080602 - Diaper case

I wanted Lane to try on the dress, but it was difficult to persuade her.  She ran around yelling “I’m a monkey! I’m a monkey!”  I tried to convince her that, yes! this is a monkey dress!  Foolish mama.

About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. Is that pink floral fabric linen? It’s soooo pretty!

  2. Love everything, the dress, burp cloths, purse, and diaper case! I might even be able to make those burp cloths…what a great idea to have those ready for baby gifts…

  3. smallnotebook says:

    Thanks Jessica!

    Tiffany, the fabric is linen and the flowers are embroidered! I found on sale at Joann’s last week.

  4. Beautiful! I need to get my hiney in gear and start sewing some things, but it’s just too hot for me to shoo the kids outside for too long. What happened to spring? We went straight from winter to summer…94 degrees today!

  5. smallnotebook says:

    Thanks Lauren! I was trying to think of Christmas gifts to make, but it just feels silly to do that when it’s so hot outside.

  6. I love the burp clothes! I was going to make some soon and I’m glad I found this, now I’m going to use terry cloth too

  7. Just found your site and it is wonderful! Can you tell us how you made the dress, size of rectangles, etc? For a beginner!

  8. Thanks char, I’m glad you liked it. I’ll see if I can come up with something.

  9. Hi again.

    You must be thinking that I am spamming you.
    But this is one thing that we have in common.
    Making use of waste stuff and making something useful from it is my favorite pasttime, of course after writing.

    I make pen stands, bags, decorative pieces, note books of waste stuff. Will click them some day and share them with you.

    Hope you can find some time then to have a look at them.


  10. Hi Pooja, I really appreciate that you would take the time to read and leave a comment! I’d especially like to see your pictures sometime.

  11. Those burp cloths are to die for, do you have an etsy account, or somwhere you sell your fabulous sewn items?

    God Bless!

  12. Those burp clothes are absolutely adorable!! My best friend just had a baby and I know that she would love these. What size did you cut fabric to make these with…if you don’t mind sharing?

  13. I have no babies except the ones at my husbands job that are born to his fellow workers to sew for so, I have learned to keep a few ready made gifts for such an occasion. My second best, the first being a quilt, is a drying towel for the baby made from a purchased thin towel, usually white to make clean up easier. Lay the towel flat with the seam edge facing down, this will be the side you will sew. Fold the towel down to 1/3 of its length, pin at the double towel so that a flap is formed; this is where the head will go in. Measure the top of the towel and in the middle of the fold, place a pin to mark the point–you will have an inverted V shape. Sew the V shape, cut away tthe excess toweling material to 1/2 inch, sew near the edge to seal the stray threads, turn inside out and you have a cape like towel to put a baby in to dry, head covered against the cold air. One of the babies I made this for now uses it as a cape to be a hero, running naked around the house after a bath. Nifty and useful idea for a harried mom trying to bathe a squirming bundle of joy.

  14. this is such a great idea im goin to have my baby girl try it.