I've always been a strong believer of the concept that everything looks better in miniature, so when I got an invitation to a good friend's baby shower in the mail, I decided it was a great opportunity to make something tiny for the upcoming arrival of their first baby girl. My friend and her husband live in Naples, Florida and love going to the beach, so when I found an adorable teal cotton fabric with little mermaids and sea horses on it, I knew what direction I was headed.
I had originally planned on making a little dress, and then a matching toy or doll, but as per usual when I try something new I got rather carried away. Each time I finished a portion of the gift, it made me want to create another item to go with it, and by the end of the process I had put together that I think is generally referred to as a layette (?), or set of items to welcome the baby home. I deliberately did NOT make a blanket for this one, since I know the new mama lives in a warm climate, and had heard that they were doing just fine in the blanket department. All things considered, I REALLY enjoyed the process of making a whole set of interchangeable mini things, and can't wait for an excuse to do it again!
The full set included four pairs of shoes (in two sizes so they would last longer) a newborn mermaid costume made up of an embellished onesie and a cotton mermaid tail 'skirt' with an elastic waistband, a mermaid print tunic/dress with adjustable straps for ages 6 months and up (fits like a dress for the baby, and works as a tank top as she grows), a lightweight cotton jacket, a mermaid doll, a reversible dress in NB size, and a set of three coordinating elastic headbands.
: A little closer up detail of some of the items.
The adjustable mermaid dress is sized for a 6 month old, but since the straps are just custom bias tape ties, and the bodice is gathered, the garment is loose enough to fit as a tank top later on. I edged it with some white pom pom trim from my stash.
The four pairs of shoes were one of my favorite parts of this process. I made some of them in newborn size, and some a bit larger since some of the clothing was in larger sizes as well. All of the shoes are 'vegan' (made from faux leather marine vinyl) and have reinforced stitching. A lot of the commercial patterns for baby shoes leave the upper edge raw, but I think it looks much cuter trimmed with the brightly colored elastic. The loop at the back of the shoe covers the seam that might have been uncomfortable, and makes it easier to pull the shoe on, while the cross strap helps keep it on the little one's foot. This gold vinyl was one of my favorite fabric finds in LA this past winter, and I wish I had bought more of it! All of the shoes are now available in a full range of sizes in the shop.
I was REALLY happy with how this little jacket turned out. I used a vintage 1950's pattern for a size 6 months, and made the whole thing out of pre-washed cottons so it would be durable, washable, and not too heavy for the Florida weather. It is a soft sea foam color liked with the mermaid fabric and trimmed with some teal ribbon with gold anchors. I added vintage buttons from my stash for the closure.
This little cotton dress is newborn size and totally reversible.
It ties at the shoulders and has a little fringy trim along the bottom edge. It took me forever to decide what the two main fabrics should be; since you can see the opposite color when the shoulders are closed, I wanted them to coordinate well.
It's hard to tell in the picture, but the swirly pattern on the teal color is actually a shimmery metallic. The striped fabric I used for the pockets on this side was a remnant of the fabric I used for the bias tape straps on the mermaid dress.
I am super excited to hear how the tiny little mermaid costume works out!
I used the same cotton fabric for the tail that I used for the doll, and some scraps of the gold vinyl to make the starfish 'necklace' on the onesie.
I made three little matching elastic headbands, and then gave one of them another little gold starfish.
The icing on the cake was this sweet little mermaid doll. I used scalloped cotton for the tail, and a scrap of stripes for the bikini top. Her skim is an unbleached muslin with machine embroidered facial features (totally baby safe!) and felt hair. I also stitched on one last little gold starfish to mimic the headband I made for the baby. Now I keep hoping for more requests for tiny baby clothes and shoes!