A much-loved second child has added to my friend’s family. As baby number two is born within two week of my godson’s birthday, I’ve been passing on baby clothes. Even for someone who isn’t a mother of any human children, I find baby clothes to be so sweet and, of course, remember how adorable my godson looked in so many of those suits! (The four-legged furry children don’t take kindly to being dressed in clothes.)
A while after my godson grew out of his first batch of baby clothes, I was speaking to his mother about how she had a certain attachment to some of the suits, particularly the special “coming home from the hospital” t-shirt and pants set we’d picked out. I made the suggestion, why not “upcycle” the clothes into something the baby can keep? For those not in the know, upcycling is the trendy term for a kind of recycling, crafting new things from existing materials.
We came to the conclusion that upcycling her favourite clothes into a stuffed toy for the baby would be awesome. At that age, my godson had a fascination with owls (not without a bit of influence from me, of course…), so I sketched out a pattern for a big stuffed owl and spent a couple of days cutting and sewing together panels of his old baby clothes into a toy.
These days, Owl-cush is misshapen and deflated from all the baby love-wrestles he receives.
The belly-panel with the puppy picture, and the pale blue eyes, tufts, beak, and feet are from my godson’s coming home suit. The other pieces were either deemed super cute, like the grey elephants and mint stars, or I picked them for the matching colours. All in all, I discovered baby clothes don’t have nearly enough fabric for crafting with – which is why there ended up being so many sections – and it’s rewarding to make a keepsake which the baby will love, and the parents will cherish for the meaningful inclusions. Plus, no one feels like they’re keeping too-small baby clothes solely for sentimental reasons!
And it gives me more excuses to make cute things.
Amy Rose Davis has Button Joy! She’s been a crafting manic lately, and found a buttony treasure during a big spring clean, spurring my own recollections of Button Joy. Now, I’m a bit of a button hoarder. Nothing serious. I just have a big jar of buttons. And I can blame it all on one person.
I grew up learning to sew from my paternal grandmother, and maternal great grandmother. They are pretty much the reason why I can sew and crochet, and have done so since the time I could wield a needle or hook. My grandmother was an amazing seamstress, and I think it was her careful eye which led me to be able to draft patterns however I want. I’m not exceptional at it, but if I want to make myself a pair of pants or a new skirt, I don’t need to buy a pattern for it, I will just draw one up and modify it as I go.
My great grandmother was an avid crocheter, though. Not only that, but she kept a jar of buttons; the jar which I inherited upon her death. Some of these buttons are very old, gorgeous wooden things or cast metal. Others are newer, some match, some never will. I’ve used buttons from this jar in my sewing for years; anything from teddy’s clothes, to replacing a popped button from a shirt.
But the truly remarkable thing about my jar of buttons is the smell. This seems a common theme among those with Button Joy. Open it up and stick your nose is, and I swear, it smells exactly like my great grandmother’s house, all these years later. It’s surreal and evocative. It’s the scent of a yarn collection, and her endless cooking, and whatever little things made the house so distinctive. Her moisturiser and make-up. Her perfume.
My jar of buttons sits on my computer desk, tucked into the shelf in front of me. It’s just the convenient place to keep it; accessible, yet out of the way. But it’s also a lovely connection to a woman who meant so much and taught me many wonderful things. I like buttons. Treasures from the past.