Friday, November 14, 2008

Owner of a Taggie!

...And so proud! I've never felt so loved and appreciated by one of the kids for something I've made. Lauren literally can't leave it alone!

Anyone can sew one of these - here's what you do (in case it's not obvious...) to make a basic one. Mine above is just a variation on the theme - I made mine larger and added rows of tags on the surface of the taggie instead of just around the edges.

1. Not visible - but get a plastic wrapper from a baby wipes refill. Have your friends save them for you! This will form the magic, crackly, fun-for-baby middle of your taggie. If you're not sure what I'm talking about here's a lady who made a video about them.

2. Cut 2 pieces of fleece in a rectangle using your plastic as a guide. I use 1/2" seam allowances so my fleece is 1/2" wider all around than the plastic wipes package.

3. Cut ribbons, ric-rac, nylon straps, double-fold bias tap, elastic, tulle (with a knot tied into the end that hangs out of the taggie), thin braided cording etc. to use as tags. I love the piece of camo material with grommets I have in mine - all babies love to suck on metal. My ribbons are cut about 4 and a half inches long, my ric-rac and cording a bit longer. Eyeball it. Just be sure that a baby can't get stuck or hurt in your tags - not too long, no beading/sequins or pieces that can fall off and choke baby etc. Learn from my mistakes and don't use super thick cording - remember you have to be able to sew through it! Make as many as you like to fit around the edge of your taggie leaving an inch or two between tags.

4. Decide what tags you'd like where and space them around the edges of one of your fleece rectangles until you like the placement. Leave at least an inch between all of the corners and any tags so you don't accidentally sew tags into the seam. (Yeah, I've done that)

5. Now to make your pieces of ribbon into tags. Fold the ribbon in half, tie a knot in the tulle, etc. Take one piece of fleece right side up on a flat surface and pin each "tag" in the spot you'd like it - the edge of the ribbon will be flush with the fabric edge but place your pin farther down - about an inch away from the edge so you can leave it in when you sew and you won't sew over your pins. Face the tags so they all lie with the cut edges flush with the edge of the fleece and the folded part of ribbon laying toward the center of your rectangle. Nothing should be sticking out or when you turn your taggie right way 'round after sewing all your tags will be on the inside and you will be mad.

6. Place the other piece of fleece on top - right side facing the other piece of fabric and the "tags". So the right sides are facing each other. Pin the top and bottom fleece together with a few pins - I use very few, just on the corners and one or two pins in between to keep the fabric from sliding out of alignment.

7. If you trust yourself not to forget to leave a gap to turn your taggie the right way around, just start sewing in any arbitrary spot (I like to start a few inches in on the short side of my rectangle), stopping (leaving your needle in the fabric) and pivoting at the corners.

If you think you'll get carried away and forget to leave a gap, mark a stopping and starting point with pins perpendicular to the fabric's edge - like a wall that says "Go no further unless you want to befriend the Seam Ripper!". Then sew all around the rectangle - leaving your gap and doing some backspacing at your beginning and ending points so your thread doesn't come out. BTW - you'll probably want some tags in that gap later. Don't worry about your carefully placed tags for now - take them out and you can put them back in before you topstitch.

8. Take out the pins pinning the fleece together and carefully (cuz you still have "tag" pins inside) turn your taggie right side out. The little flap you left will now be tucked in. It should have a natural tendency to do that since you've sewn on either side of it. Tuck it in so it's all even with the rest of the side. Put your tags that you want in the gap space in and pin them in place. The rest of the pins can come out. Now start at a corner and do a topstitch (that means just sew - it's called a topstitch cuz it's on top, not hidden inside) all the way around. Do this as close to the edge of the fabric as you can so you look like a pro. No gaps this time - all the way around, overlapping and backstitching when you reach the beginning of your seam so you don't unravel. Take out any pins. You're done!

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