Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby Age Photo Prop: Fun Fabric Letters & Numbers

It's no news that with 2 weeks until our little one arrives (or less!), I have baby on the brain in a major way! There is a really good chance that I'll be taking lots of pictures of the baby. There also is a very poor chance that I'll be on top of editing those pictures enough to remember how old she was in each picture, so I wanted a cute way to mark her age that will be in the picture with her. Which is why I was SO excited to get started on these!

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I saw a project like this on Chez Beeper Bebe, (check out her bright fabric letter header), but I wanted my fabric to coordinate and be neutral enough that I could use it now, and again if I was photographing a baby boy at some point in the future. I wanted it to be delicate enough to use in the pictures those first few weeks when the baby is so tiny and innocent, but still sweet for a photo of a big, rambunctious 10 month old.

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I found the perfect fabric bundle at Raspberry Creek Fabrics here. Diana is so sweet and helped me to get exactly what I needed, she even has a discount available if you're an Etsy seller!! So great!

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The designs are perfect! Sunny, sweet, playful, and have a bit of a fun vintage feel to them.

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I went to my Silhouette to do the dirty work, cutting out all of the letters and numbers from card stock to use as templates. If you don't have a Silhouette you can easily cut some block letters and numbers by hand. You could do the whole alphabet if you'd like, but I just did the letters and numbers that I will be using for the baby's age: DAY, WEEKS, MONTH, and 0-9.

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I had some 4" by 4" muslin squares leftover from a quilt project, so I decided to use those for the backs of my letters. Since the muslin would be on the back of the fabric letters, I lightly traced the letters backwards with a pencil. (You'll see why in a second.)

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I then cut my various fabrics from my fabric bundle into little 4" by 4" squares, along with some cotton fabric batting.

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I then pinned the fabric pieces together to be sewn. The traced letter/number was on top, then 2 layers of cotton batting, then the patterned fabric on the bottom, with the pattern facing down.

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I took it to the sewing machine, and using a straight stitch, sewed along the traced pencil lines.

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I was surprised to discover that this was actually a pretty fast project! When I sat down at my sewing machine I had all of my little bundles already pinned together, and the letters that were all straight lines (A, L, E, etc.) were finished in a pinch!

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But the ones with some curves were a bit more difficult. This is the first project that I have done that has required sewing that wasn't in a straight line, so I would just advise you to take it slowly. I had been sewing on a fast speed and it was difficult for me to shift the fabric around quickly enough to stay on the lines.

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So I started sewing my curves on a slow speed and that made a huge difference. I even hand-cranked the very small circles inside the 8 and 6, and it was still exceedingly faster than hand sewing!! There were a few where I had to pick out the stitching and re-sew the crazy looking lines (like the 2 above), but there were others that I left slightly flawed. It adds character, right?

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Here are the backs of some finished squares (above) and the fronts (below.) Fun, right?!! I filled my bobbin with a dark brown thread, so that is the color that outlined my letters and numbers.

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I cut them out, and was so pleased!

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I chose to do all of my numbers one pattern, and used the other 4 patterns for the letters. I love it this way. :)

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You may notice that there is no 9. It turns out that you don't need it if you've done a 6. Or vice versa. But I realized this after I had already sewed the 6 and 9, so I just kept the one that looked best. :) But I made two 2s and 1s, so I could celebrate the baby's age on days like this (below) as well.

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Once everything was cut out, I used a bit of fray check along the edges.

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As the fray check dried it curled up the edges a bit. But once they were all dry, it was nothing that a warm iron couldn't take care of.

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And then they were perfect!

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I got some craft magnets with sticker backing to use if I want to temporarily attach them to something metal, and some little velcro circles if I want to attach them to fabric.

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Here is the whole set.

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I just love them, they're so sweet and versatile! My son keeps picking them up and playing with them as well, telling me the numbers, letters and sounds. I guess I could make a few more to spell out his and baby's name. It was easy enough that I really wouldn't be opposed to doing so.

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So what do you think? Are you more likely to use this as a teaching tool, a fun addition to your kid's room, magnets for the fridge, or a photo prop? Try them out, they're so easy, so cute and have lots of short term gratification as you're going along. (That always seems to help me stay on task.) Every time that you finish a letter you're so proud of how cute it is, it makes you want to try another!! At least that's how it was for me. :)

Thanks to all of you for all of your sweet comments and suggestions last week about my being on bed rest! Baby and I are both doing well, not long to go now! :)

Hope you all have a great week! Check out the following parties where I'll be sharing these fabric letters this week.

Happy Monday!!

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Madara May 30, 2011 at 6:28 AM  

beautiful idea :)

Lori P May 30, 2011 at 6:48 AM  

I just LOVE this! My kiddos are too old for this but I can think of so many more uses and I have a plethora of scrap fabric. Definitely bookmarking. Thanks.

Tiffany May 30, 2011 at 8:06 AM  

These are fabulous, Erin! I want some now!!! Love them. Great idea! : )

Michelle {Daydream Believers} May 30, 2011 at 8:20 AM  

These are great! I love the fabrics you selected; very sweet! :) Thanks for sharing!

Jessica May 30, 2011 at 10:06 AM  

I love these!!! I just got a sewing machine last night finally and there are SO many things I want to try! These are just so great!!

Emily May 30, 2011 at 9:28 PM  

I love these!! I've been wanting to make some letters for a long time and now that my daughter is 3 1/2 it seems like a good time. Thanks for showing how simple it is!

Patrice May 31, 2011 at 7:18 AM  

Such a fun idea! And gorgeous fabric too!

Emilee May 31, 2011 at 8:13 AM  

How cute and creative! Love this idea!

Page May 31, 2011 at 9:51 AM  

I love this Erin!!! Just in time for me to get my act together and make some too to try with our baby. Thanks for sharing!

Steph @ Birdhouse May 31, 2011 at 10:37 AM  

Very cute idea! They turned out so well!!!

Lisa June 1, 2011 at 8:06 AM  

These are really cute! I love this idea versus the little stickers everyone uses on the onesies. I may have to try this! Less than 3 months left for me!

Congrats on your little one!

Kimberlee, The Spunky Diva June 1, 2011 at 9:32 AM  

These came out great! I am going to have to try making these. Visiting from Show and Tell Wednesday.
{Accuquilt Giveaway} 

AsylumTanya June 1, 2011 at 11:01 AM  

This is a wonderful idea! My children would love them! Thanks for sharing!

Lorena June 1, 2011 at 2:22 PM  

Very cute! love this idea!

Fishtail Cottage June 2, 2011 at 11:09 PM  

very sweet idea...Popping over from Show & Tell Friday's to say hello! oxox, tracie

Brooke June 3, 2011 at 9:47 AM  

So adorable! My baby is due in August, and I'm going to have to give this project a try!

kim west June 5, 2011 at 12:28 PM  

featured this on my blog today

Mimi June 6, 2011 at 9:06 AM  

These letters and numbers are wonderful! How fun! My kids are grown but I think these would be great as gifts, decor, etc. So happy to find this at The Girls Creative and bookmarking this post!

Stephanie Hillberry June 6, 2011 at 4:00 PM  

What a great idea! Since I don't have children, I would definitely use these for photo staging, but I also love the idea of gifting them, especially as a teaching tool (I'm the aunt who give books as gifts...). And this technique (which you explained so thoroughly) could definitely be used for other shapes, etc.

Lovely post and lovely site!

Stephanie from Deviantly Domesticated

Emily S June 6, 2011 at 5:22 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily S June 6, 2011 at 5:25 PM  

What a fun project! Yup, I definitely need to make this one for baby on the way. Thank you for sharing! So adorable!

Deviantly Domesticated

Jamie June 8, 2011 at 9:43 AM  

Very cute!

Vanessa @ {nifty thrifty things} June 11, 2011 at 4:19 PM  

That is such a great idea! Love it!
Thank you so much for linking this up to {nifty thrifty things} last week!
I hope to see you again tomorrow! ;)

Be Colorful Coastal June 12, 2011 at 12:58 PM  

Clever mommy. I'm thinking you could market these fun little numbers. Thanks so much for sharing on Motivated Monday at beColorful

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