Monday, December 3, 2012

Fast & Easy Quiet Book Made from Baby Clothes

Last week I was cleaning out a cupboard to make room for Christmas decorations and realized I'd never posted about the quiet books I made clear back around the time Anson was born.

Now I should preface this by saying that no recent baby gifts were harmed in the making of this book.  These are all clothes that were used and well loved by my older kids...and there are plenty more where thee came from.

Our family is on a never ending quest to find ways to help our kids get through Sacrament Meeting at church while being quiet and reverent.  I wish I could say these quiet books were a panacea and now our kids behave perfectly...but I can't.  The kids do enjoy them though, and we try to rotate them through other activities so they don't get to play with them every week.

I love seeing all sorts of quiet books show up on Pinterest and blogs.  There are so many fun ones out there...but they really can be a lot of work.  I also know from personal experience that any pieces not attached to the book will be lost within a week or least that's the way it works at our house.

Then I was inspired by this idea from Forty Two Roads to make a quiet book out of baby clothes.  There are some crafts which you should be warned ahead of time can be really addictive.  Cutting out I-Spy squares is one of them.  Well, turning baby clothes into a quiet book is another one.  I'd just planned on making one book and then before I knew it I had enough pages to put together three quiet books.

What you'll need:
  1. Baby clothes with an assortment of closures.  I found 0-6 month sizes worked best to fit on the page, but you can always cut larger clothes down.
  2. Scrap fabric or felt for the back of each page.  I used felt with scrap fabric on top, so it would be a little stiff.  Each page is 12 1/2 inches square...because that was the size of my square quilting ruler.
  3. Other fun odds and ends to embellish with...ribbon, buttons, knit scraps, yarn, whatever you can think of.  Let your creativity run with it.
  4. Needle, thread, sewing machine, etc. 
  5. All the printable flash cards I used came from here.

Button Shirt
This is actually the back of a shirt that fit kinda awkward, so it looks much better in the book than it ever did on my girls.  I trimmed off fabric from the sides and sleeves to make it fit on the page. and added the skirt and pink waist for cuteness.

And tucked inside is a puzzle...cut from a page in an Anne Geddes book I picked up for 50 cents at the thrift store.  (That way when the puzzle gets lost, I can just cut a new one out.
You want to choose something with the biggest buttons you can find to help their little fingers manage them.

Zipper suits are great...and so much easier to use a baby outfit than to sew the zipper in yourself.  You can tuck a puzzle or something else fun inside.

And if you're lucky enough to have pockets in it, you can tuck in some little flashcards.

I sewed a snap in to keep the pocket closed.  It gives the kids something extra to play with and also keeps the flashcards from falling out.
You can order these fun printable flashcards here.

Ribbon Weaving
These aren't actually made from old clothes, but they're some of the kids favorite pages.  You basically just sew two rows of ribbons. 

 Make sure you use a candle to melt the ends slightly so they won't unravel later.
Pockets and more pockets!
Love these jean pockets.  I loaded them with a pad of paper (just a few sheets sewn together across the top), pencil, and math flashcards.  I also added some belt loops and a belt for the kids to fasten and unfasten.

How could I have a clothes quiet book without overalls.  I love little babies in least I love the idea of them in overalls.  It turns out these were always too bulky to put a newborn in and they were size 0-3 into the book they went.  The kids and fasten and unfasten the buckles, do up the belt, and tucked in the pocket are some shape matching flash cards.

 I sewed the belt on with my sewing machine, but my carefully hand-cranking the stitches.

Button Flowers!
This just might be my favorite page.  This outfit was calling out for some big, bright buttons to be sewn on.  I reinforced the fabric with a little circle of felt behind each button when I sewed them on.
I made the flowers out of two layers of T-shirt scraps with some heat'n bond in between and the edges sewed together, but you could make them out of felt too.

And because I new the flowers were get lost...They're attached with ribbon and the ribbons are sewed to a spot on the inside.

I wasn't sure if I'd be able to sew these on, but it worked pretty well going slow with my machine.  This gives little fingers practice with velcro.
My husband had an pair of torn up converse shoes in our closet.  This was the perfect excuse to get ride of them.  Since they were just thick canvas they sewed on really well.

Choose a Tie
These pants were left from an attempt to make some for my nephew a while back, but the ended up WAY too small.  I sewed a strong magnet behind the onesie and then a magnet inside of each tie.  Note:  You want to be VERY careful with strong magnets and kiddos.  I sewed each magnet carefully inside a sandwich of felt and then that is securely sewed into the tie, so there's no chance it will come out for a baby to swallow.  The ties are made with a two layers of T-shirt scraps with heat'n bond in between.

Ribbon Dress
This was a onesie and skirt that I added a bunch of ribbons to for tying practice.  Just before to secure the ends of the ribbons to make sure they won't unravel.
This is just a cheap pair of gloves.  I sewed them on with zigzag stitches at the wrist, so the kids can slide their hands in.

Pennant Banner
Most of these were left over from making Becca's doll quilt.  I added a few new ones to get some different the blue sparkly fabric and some fleece.

Bead mazes
These are some of the kids favorite pages.  They're not made out of kids' clothes, but I did use some old adult T-shirts.  I drew the maze shape ahead of time and just stitched the lines.  Then add a bead or marble and close it up.

Hair braiding
Lots of yarn sewn into a "hat" made from some extra fleece.
Ribbon braiding and buckles
I thought some ribbon braiding would be good too.  I just sewed some pieces of ribbon down and then sewed a button on top to make it cuter.  I also thought a buckle would be a good idea because kids encounter them a lot.

And finally, a picture perfect for pinning.

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"What Shall I draw?" from Lisa @ Usborne Books

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  1. Love these! How fun. We actually have one of the pairs of jammies that you used!

  2. Wow, these are so amazing. Lucky kiddos! Too bad I didn't know how to make quiet books like that when you were little. :)

  3. That is such a unique way to reuse old clothes.
    The converse page is my favorite.

  4. OH MY GLOB! Hands down, one of the cutest things I've ever seen!! My kiddos are way to old to play with a quiet book, but I want one of these for ME. DYING.

  5. This is seriously amazing!! I'm pinning it right now!!

  6. This is one of the most amazing things I've ever seen! I had to pin it for future reference. Please come link it up to my Pin Me Linky Party tomorrow!

  7. This is seriously the most BRILLIANT idea I've seen for a quiet book (and I've seen some!) yet!! I am in total excitement over these!!! I cannot wait until January when I will have time to make a couple with the cute baby clothes I have been getting ready to get rid of. Thank you so much!!

  8. These are great! I'll definitely be making one for my girls :)

  9. What creative ideas! I love the bead maze. I'd love to have you stop by my weekly link party and link this up.

  10. I am not a sewer or a crafter, just a desperate mom that needs something to keep her 21 month active boy happy on a long plane ride. I had about given up hope that I could create something that was useful and at least presentable to other people, when I stumbled onto this blog. Yeah!!! I am copying many of your ideas, but using a staple gun instead of sewing. Thank you so much for these ideas and great pictures. I just got done cutting up a pair of canvas shoes!

  11. Polly! This is just amazing! Your kids are so lucky to have you. I just love your site here, I used many of your Harry Potter ideas for a birthday party we just had last month. It was such a hit, so thank you!

  12. I linked to this on my blog because I used your ingenious maze idea. I love it! Thanks for sharing.


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