Sunday, May 01, 2011

Swaddler Tutorial

I've never done a tutorial and the pictures I have are not very good. The next time I make one of these I will try to get better pictures. And hopefully I can explain how to do this without too much confusion.

I'm going to show you how I took this ugly old gigantic maternity shirt:
And made a swaddler:

I used my Miracle Blanket as a template, and then made a few changes. You can use a large shirt for this or probably about a yard of fabric. The length is 62" so if you want to make it without a seam across the length you will need a longer piece of fabric. First I will show you how I did it, then I will give you a pattern at the end for it. Here are the basic measurements.

First I cut along one side seam of the shirt and around the sleeve to open it up:At this point you can remove the sleeves, which will be used to make the inner arm flaps of the swaddler.

Then I laid out my swaddler and traced around it. Because I planned to use bias tape instead of hemming I didn't add any extra around the edge, but if you want to hem the edges add about 1/2" around the pattern. I wanted the pouch to be longer so when I got to the curved edge I added a few inches.You can see my shirt wasn't long enough for the whole length, so I then traced out the end flap onto the shirt to add on.

For the pouch I folded in the extra material on top of it so I could trace around the pouch, again adding the extra length. After cutting I put this piece on top of the main body and made sure the length matched up (which I was surprised it was pretty close since I free-handed it lol).
The last pieces were the inner arm flaps. I used the shirts sleeves and traced around the flaps, using the sleeve hem as the straight side. They came out shorter than the original flaps but still a good length. You will make 2 of these.
Cut out all pieces. (Yes, I am using little kid scissors. Sadly those are the sharpest scissors in the house. I really need some sewing shears!) You will have the long piece for the main body (including any extra length to stitch on), one pouch piece, and two arm flaps.I added bias tape around the edge of the arm flaps (the straight edge was already a finished hem, if not using a sleeve hem go ahead and just hem that side under) and along the top edge of the pouch. You can see the measurements here for the flaps and pouch. Also, my pouch narrowed towards the top, but I think it will work better if you just make it straight like the lines. Also optional is just hemming the top of the pouch under to allow it to stretch as needed, or making your own bias tape that allows for stretch. The store-bought stuff doesn't stretch and it makes it hard to get baby into the pouch.
I sewed the additional length I needed on now (yep, it's a bit wonky, I accidentally traced it on the wrong side so I had to flip it and try to get it to match up ok lol).
I then added the pouch by pinning the curved edges together to match up wrong sides together. You can go ahead and stitch along the curved edge but since I was adding bias tape around I just pinned it and stitched it together while adding the bias tape. If you are not using bias tape you will need to put the pieces together right sides together and stitch, then turn right side out. I went around (most of) the whole thing with bias tape. I ran out so I didn't get the top done, but luckily that was already the finished edge of the shirt so it's ok until I can get more so that it matches and the top isn't so much stretchier. Then I folded the raw sides of the pouch under and stitched them to the body.
Now it's time for the arm flaps. The bottom of each flap will fit just inside the pouch and the top will come almost to the top edge of the body. (my pouch was also a little wonky so the flap on one side went farther into it.) Just sew each straight edge down. I did two lines of stitching just for a little extra strength.
And you are done!

This was actually very quick and easy to put together. I had a few little mistakes and some pieces were wonky (and I love saying wonky!) but it works just fine. I'm sure my next one will come out much nicer. To wrap up baby, place baby in middle of pouch/flap area. One arm at a time, take each arm flap and tuck it over the arm and under baby's back snugly. Tuck baby's legs into the pouch. Bring short end of body piece over baby, then wrap long end around baby until all wrapped. You can also look up videos on youtube on how to do it.

And now for a pattern for those of you who want one: Swaddler
I have not used this pattern, it's just what I came up with according to the basic measurements, so anyone who tries it out let me know how it works!

*Please make sure you are using the blanket correctly. Look up how to use a Miracle Blanket on their website to insure proper swaddle. Loose blankets and other items can pose a suffocation hazard to babies. I am not liable for any injury caused by use of this item.*


Suella said...

Hello. I'm amazed to see that you have no comments for your miracle blankent swaddling tutorial. I'm about to use it to make one for my new granddaughter, using merino wool jersey, as she lives in cold Tasmania. I may make one out of some heavy cotton jersey that I have lying around to test it out first.

Thank you so much for putting the work into this pattern. It looks good to me, so I hope I can make it work! I've just finished 2 swaddlers for this bub and my grandson, born in the same week, using this pattern but as they're both large babies (4Kg) and long (55cm) it now looks to short, and as they're made in cotton, they won't stretch. So I'm giving your pattern a go. I'll let you know how it goes.

Cheers - Suella

Kara said...

Suella- I would love to hear how it works for you! Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

I think your tutorial was really pretty good about showing the piecing for making a miracle blanket much like they are sold. I haven't made one yet but am going to!! Thank you!

Debrushka said...

I just now found your swaddle pattern & directions. It looks like it will be pretty easy to do. I want you to know I actually enjoyed your "wonky" writing and "wonky" sewing style. It cracked me up! Most tutorials are stiff, 'proper' and boring. Yours is great!!!
Much luck with your future tutorials - Deb

Anonymous said...

Hi I am making one for no 1 grandbaby , just want you to know the pattern looks great, just 1 measurement needed is the distance between the shorter end flap and the start of the pouch, would be helpful, I am eyeballing but would be useful for others less confident, thanks for posting, great for all diy'ers if that is a word

Kara said...

Hm guess I somehow managed to forget to specify those lengths! The shorter end should be about 12-14" long, from where the pouch starts.

Let me know how it turns out!