I made this quiet texture book for my baby nephew after visiting with him and discovering how absolutely into textures he is. Touching, feeling, tasting – it was amazing to watch his little brain work overtime with every new texture he experienced. He was about 7 months old when I gave this to him, and if I was more on top of it I would have made it about 8 weeks sooner so he could have gotten more use out of it. I think this would be a perfect new baby gift to make someone because then the parents could decide when their baby would be interested in a quiet book, and could give it to them as early as possible.
Skill level: This sewing project would be good for beginning to intermediate sewers, depending on how elaborate you get with the pages.
Time commitment estimate: 3+ hours depending on experience and how fancy you get with the pages.
To start: I am lucky enough to have quite a big stash of sewing and craft supplies, it happens when you’ve been doing this as long as I have, so I actually made this book using all items I already had. But basically to make this personalized baby book, you’ll need things that a baby can chew/suck on without them coming off of the page or without causing any safety issues. Feel free to use the pages I made as inspiration to gather things you already have, or to make a quick trip to a craft store.
Sewing supplies you’ll need (below are some links to Amazon if you want things delivered to you, otherwise Joann’s will have everything you need):
1. Felt – I love using Rainbow Classic Felt because they’re made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles (!), and I rarely need pieces bigger than the 9″ x 12″ they come as. You can buy them by the piece at your local craft store, or order a bigger pack online to have on hand for future projects.
2. Sewing machine – You’ll need a standard sewing machine to complete this project. See here for some suggestions.
3. Thread – The only thread I use is Gutermann. Other brands have the little lip that always gets caught when I’m sewing and it drives me crazy. This would be a good investment if you need various colors for future projects as well. Otherwise just get a spool that matches your fabric.
4. Scissors – Invest in a decent pair of scissors (not expensive, just decent) and then don’t let anyone else use them. I had a sewing instructor in school harp on that constantly – everyone puts pressure in different areas of the scissors and you don’t want your alignment to get messed up. Fiskars is my brand of choice, and this pair looks like a great place to start. Also, don’t use them for anything except fabric. They’ll get dull quicker and there is nothing worse than trying to cut fabric with dull scissors.
5. Needle – for hand sewing the buttons on. I bought this same set about 12 years ago and it’s still what I use every time. Just make sure and put your needles back after each project and you’ll never need to buy more.
7. Various Trims – Depending on what you want your pages to look like, you’ll need a variety of buttons, ribbons, tags and fringe.
I personalized this touch and feel book by making a felt letter to represent the baby’s first name. It’s a simple way that anyone can personalize it, and the layers of felt in the photo below add a nice lofty texture to the front of the book.
For the below buttons, I took my time and sewed them on better than any buttons I’ve ever sewed on. You want to be absolutely sure they aren’t going to come off and cause a choking hazard. If you’re unsure about your hand sewing skills, I would recommend skipping anything that gets hand sewn on.
Since I have so many ribbons and lace in my stash, I went for a rainbow effect and had it spread over two pages.
I scored big time at Goodwill a few years ago when I found about 12 unused twin size vintage sheets. My collection now includes He-Man, Star Wars, Rainbow Brite, Smurfs and various Disney characters like the ones below. I have already used them for countless projects and know I’ll be bummed when they’re all gone.
I used the fuzzy side of a velcro strip below to add some texture that wasn’t too rough, and on the right is a leftover square from a blanket I crocheted a couple of years ago. I had no idea why I saved it until putting this book together.
When I was in high school the woman I baby sat for paid me to make jackets for toddlers that she sold in her antique store/coffee shop. (I bet no other high school student has ever put that sentence together before. Ha.) The jackets were made out of vintage fabric, or vintage-like fabric. I know I would be mortified to see what those jackets look like now since I had only a vague idea of what I was doing, but to have that experience at such a young age – pleasing a customer, selling goods I made, time management with school, sports and babysitting, etc – was pretty amazing. Even more impressive is that I still have the leftover fabric I used. Below on the left is a cutting from a vintage chenille blanket with the trim still attached. On the right are some denim patches that come pre-cut in that shape. I wanted to add some stiffer texture that wasn’t too rough and figured since I hadn’t used these in the 7+ years they’ve been in my stash, I may as well put them to use now.
On the left in the photo below is the wrong side of fleece fabric. It’s very soft to the touch and I figured I couldn’t go wrong with that. On the right is a really bright fun fabric that actually has some metallic running through it, although that’s hard to see in the photo. I left the selvaged edges on both of these squares to add even more texture.
On the left in the photo below is some flannel baby fabric, I wanted to get some animals in the mix, and plastic diaper pins. Again I sewed this on better than anything I’ve sewn on in my life to make sure there would never be a risk of a choking hazard. If you’re unsure about your hand sewing skills, I would recommend skipping anything that gets hand sewn on. On the right is a plastic sleeve I cut from a standard 8 1/2″ x 11″ plastic sleeve, and I left an opening along the top to put photos in. I of course added photos of our family, but the parents could always switch out for other pics. Unfortunately, this plastic sleeve is the only thing that makes this book not machine washable (it’s hand washable, line dry at the moment). Next time I make this book I’ll make the plastic sleeve attach with velcro so it can be removed before washing.
Because I have a fancy sewing machine that embroiders words, I take advantage of it as much as possible. You could always hand embroider something if you wanted to as well.
Overall it took longer than I expected, but it’s something that will hopefully last forever and will get passed on to another baby when our nephew has outgrown it.
Slideshow below of the pages start to finish: