Craft · Home Decor · Parenting

Patchwork Art {From Baby Clothes}

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
Winnie the Pooh

Framed Patchwork Baby Clothes. Turning my baby's clothes into home decor. Via {In Our Gumboots}

One thing I’ve learned since becoming a mum is that babies grow at a ridiculous rate! One minute they’re swimming in their newborn bodysuits and the next minute you’re squeezing them into a very snug 000 jumper. In that first year they have more wardrobe changes than a Katy Perry concert. So the seasonal wardrobe clean out suddenly becomes a monthly event. I have to admit I have a weird enthusiasm for cleaning {to the untrained eye it looks like I’m throwing away everything that’s not nailed down}. So, the first time I had to cull the baby clothes I bounced into Bug-a-lug’s bedroom, donation bags at the ready, keen to tackle her wardrobe. Until…

I found the 0000 outfit that we had packed for her to wear home from hospital. The perfect white and yellow, gender neutral bodysuit with a little yellow duck embroidered on the front. Our favourite baby outfit. Beside it was the soft pink premmie outfit that she had worn for three months before she could actually fit in to her Duckie bodysuit.

Then there was the little outfit she’d worn when she first met her great grandparents… and the top she’d worn on her first birthday… and her favourite top stained with bolognaise sauce!

Nearly all of her outfits had little stories and memories attached and all of a sudden this notorious turbo-cleaner got all sentimental. I wasn’t ready to give them away! So, I did what any sentimental mum would do – I donated the less meaningful/never worn outfits and stored the favourites just in case we had another girl. Our second daughter arrived – same scenario; same outcome. I stored our collection of favourites {which seemed to be growing} in case we had another girl. Then, the Little Fella arrived… I bagged up his clothes but I was out of excuses as to why I needed to keep them. Our little family of five was complete and by this point my plan to save our babies’ clothes had overlapped into saving their toddler clothes and 5 year old clothes and bags of little outfits were taking over our walk-in-robe. At any moment a clothing avalanche could occur and we’d be crushed by 5 years of childhood memories! There was only one thing to do… get creative!

One afternoon, I busted open all the bags and sorted the clothes into piles for each of my little people. My initial idea was to use their clothes to make a quilt for each of them but, having no quilting experience whatsoever, it was quite an overwhelming concept. So I decided to start with just the teeny tiny baby clothes to create three mini patchwork pieces instead. Everything else was bagged up and later used to create one large quilt of all the kids’ combined clothes.

I searched for some large white box frames and found the perfect frames at IKEA. I bought one for each of the kids.

Creating Patchwork Art from Baby Clothes via {In Our Gumboots}.

I then measured up the frames and started creating the mini patchwork quilts. I have to admit, it wasn’t the easiest crafty project. At first I just stared at the clothes with a pair of scissors in my hand trying to talk myself into making the first cut. Once I started snipping there would be no going back and I’d be doing irreversible damage to items that held memories of my little one’s childhoods. But eventually {hours and hours later} I realised that these outfits would never be worn again. Some of them were so loved they were more suited for the rubbish bin rather than the donations bin so I psyched myself up and made the first snip. Once the first one was cut it was smooth sailing, although there were a couple of outfits which escaped the scissors and are now stored in a memory box. I cut the outfits into mismatched shapes to keep the integrity of pictures, prints and embellishments on the clothes.

I then laid them out like a puzzle and frequently put the frames over the top to make sure each patchwork was balanced.

I did a combination of hand sewing and machine sewing around the prints and buttons then gave the patchwork pieces a quick press with the iron.

Creating Patchwork Art from Baby Clothes via {In Our Gumboots}

When everything was finished I secured the patchwork pieces into the frames and we hung them in our favourite room of the house.

I know that chopping up my babies’ clothes was a decision that I can’t go back from but at the end of the day, we now have three very precious pieces of artwork decorating our home. Every frame tells a story of our little ones’ baby years and also the story of our own parenting adventures. They’re something that we look at every day rather than keep stored away.

Creating Patchwork Art from Baby Clothes via {In Our Gumboots}

As for the scraps of the baby outfits… well, I’m a fabric hoarder. They were put away with the rest of my fabric and have been used for other projects like cushions {see here} and blankets.

Have you found it hard to part with your baby’s clothes. Did you store them or do something creative with them? I’d love to hear your stories.



4 thoughts on “Patchwork Art {From Baby Clothes}

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