Saturday, July 14, 2012

These Booties Are Made for Walking

I have had two baby showers to attend in as many weekends last month and both moms are expecting their very first, a boy.  I could have made it easy on myself and just done the baby registry thing....which I did as well.  But I just had to try something new and although time consuming, I'm thrilled with the results of this sewing for babies time. Since the babies will be born in the fall, I made warm infant sized shoes with two different patterns.  Here's the scoop:
I used my Viking 5 needle embellishing machine to "make" the fabric.  The red shoes are from a cashmere St. Andrews golf sweater that my husband inherited but the moths got to it over the years.  I have put it through the heavy duty wash and dry cycle in my machines a few times which felted it but it still wasn't sturdy enough to work as a tiny shoe.  I cut off one sleeve (enough for the smallest size of shoe) and proceeded to run the embellisher up and down, back and forth the two layers until they were felted closely together.  Wonderful layer still has the ribs of the sweater slightly visible, bottom layer is a little fuzzy and woolly feeling, perfect for the shoe interior.
Bitty Booties

Next I assembled the shoes using a free pattern from Heather Bailey's website:  Bitty Booties by Heather Bailey  What a generous resource and so many inspiring versions.  I'll eventually post a pic of mine on the photo group she has set up.

But I couldn't stop with just one pair so I tried out the Simplicity 2867, a 1948 vintage baby bootie pattern that is too precious for words.  Simplicity 2867
Simplicity 2867

I did the same needle felting on apiece of mohair wool that I had washed and cut into potholders a few years ago.  It made great potholders because wool insulates so wonderfully and because it still had some fluffiness for padding.  But again, I wanted the baby booty fabric to be a bit thinner for sewing so I felted it for about an hour.  It thinned out but was still flexible and comfy.

For both of these I overlapped the back seam to reduce the bulk inside where it would rub against the baby's heel.  I did very "rustic" looking embroidery floss trim and added the ribbon bows, using a hole punch on the Simplicity brown booties to make them fully adjustable.

Here are a few more pictures of the process
Back heel overlapped seam
Needle felting the fabric to make it "thinner"
Two Simplicity pattern pieces

Fuzzy inside of the booty and ribbed outside

Two sweater layers felted together

Delicate burpers, use the left one, hefty burps, pick up the right one.
I also added two different versions of baby burp cloths to the gift bags for the showers I was attending.  I sewed up a two flannel contoured version (roughly 20 inches long by 7 inches wide with rounded corners and a contour for the shoulder in the middle) and for the big burpers, a cloth baby diaper and flannel traditional version.  

Knip Mode 04-2008
I was working on these gift packages at the end of June right around the 4th of July.  I did take a break from sewing for others to make something fun and easy to wear, this Knip Mode 04-2008 twist top.  It's fabric from my June Fabric Mart excursion and I wanted some version of a red white and blue knit for the July holiday events we attend.  This ITY knit was perfect and although it's probably an Asian inspired print, it does resemble fireworks to me as well.
I wore it to the annual Baltimore Symphony concert at Oregon Ridge Park, an event that I've been enjoying since the 1970s.  Gorgeous setting, beautiful music, wonderful friends, great food and then fireworks, wow, that's what freedom means to me.  Thanks so many men and women who gave that ultimate sacrifice to let us enjoy this and every other day.

Next post I'll show you the dress pattern that I've fallen in love with in this latest heat wave, catch you up on books I've been enjoying....and not enjoying... and show you what else is stealing my time from the sewing room this summer.


  1. Awwww, so cute!!! I love both versions.

    1. Thanks, Shams. The recipients seemed pretty happy, too.

  2. Those booties are sooo adorable! I just got an embellishig machine so your info on felting two layers of wool together was interesting and timely

    1. Oh, Audrey, your creativity is really going to shine with that new machine.

  3. I am so glad you decided to make something cute and practical for the new babies. All babies deserve to have at least one hand made item in my opinion. The tradition seems to be dying out, sadly.

    1. Yarndiva, you would have been impressed that one of the gifts at the shower was a handed down baby quilt that had been made almost forty years earlier and looked just as beautiful today.

  4. That's an interesting way to use your felting machine. Cute booties. Your red top is lovely, too.

    1. Thank you, Gwen. I need to use that felting machine more frequently for some of my own projects, too.

  5. The booties are absolutely adorable!


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