Sweet Swaddler

I have always adored Lotta Jansdotter's work. She was up there with Orla Kiely as an inspiration during my college years and when she began writing modern sewing books, I was instantly hooked. Her Simple Sewing for Baby (which I'd LOVE to get my hands on in French or German or Japanese regardless of being monolingual) is full of sweet projects for babies and toddlers—but the one that caught my eye from the get-go was this swaddler pattern.

So, I don't know if the whole swaddling technique has been taught consistently throughout the years, but these days, when a mother is in the hospital with her newborn they are actually taught the technique and the nurses also explain why it is such a good way of calming the baby down. Now, not being a mother myself, it never really dawned on me that wrapping the baby snugly during the first few weeks especially would be calming to a child who is used to living in the tight quarters of her mother's womb. Watching an inconsolable baby being swaddled and then calming down nearly instantly is pretty amazing. I'm sure that this is totally common knowledge for all you moms out there . . .

I cut out this pattern ages ago . . . probably in January when I was home recovering. The only complaint I have is that the whole marking of the pleats for shaping and the placement for the velcro is a little difficult. I also tried using the 1" velcro the pattern calls for but it just didn't seem like it was going to hold a squirmy baby very well so I upgraded to this 2" industrial strength stuff. I wish I would have gone about an inch longer, too, so that the swaddler might get more use on a smaller baby.

The only other modifications I made to the pattern were to use regular cotton quilting weight on the inside and flannel on the outside—as opposed to the other way around which the pattern suggested—partly because I thought the flannel was so cute and partly because I sometimes think that flannel against the skin can be too hot, especially when it's not a particularly high quality, breathable flannel.

Like my lifelike little doll? He normally has a pacifier in his mouth. He was a splurge purchase when I was in high school and working for a small local toy store on Sunday afternoons. These sweet Lee Middleton dolls are very lifelike with weighted bodies and soft skin. I kind of forgot how much I used to love dolls. At last now I have a great baby model for projects like this.

This project took me far longer than it should have. I don't really know what my hangup about it was but aside from the marking of those pleats and velcro placement, it really was not a difficult project. Maybe I'll start another one right away and time myself from start to finish. I really don't think this needed to take me 3+ months. Do you? :)

Today I will package this fun little project up and send it off to a special mom for her baby girl. I kind of want to keep it . . . but maybe it'll make its way back to me someday.

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