A couple of weeks ago marked a fairly momentous occasion for me: dusting off the sewing machine and getting to work with it again. Those of you who have been around here a while will know about my obsession with sewing that started back in 2014 when I picked up a sewing pattern and bought a machine on a whim, up to around early 2017, when life got super busy with wedding planning alongside everything else and sewing had to take a seat in the back. During this time, I sewed dresses, capes, bras (many, many bras!), even jeans one time and a couple of corsets – the focus was really on clothes for myself.
But life is changing again, as is my focus. I’ve got back a bit of time and motivation for sewing, so I’ve decided to start on some new projects. And first up was this baby nest.
A quick aside, I’m planning to sew a few things here and there for baby for a couple of reasons. First because I like sewing and I think it’s fun to have something unique, sewn especially for her. Secondly because I’m trying to be more eco-friendly. I know I’m still using fabric and resources, and no, not all of these will be sustainably sourced (because it can be a struggle!), but in making items myself, I’m trying to use up old fabric scraps or clothing, and I’m trying to create less waste: I’m less likely to throw out something I’ve made myself. There are also times where it saves money – like this project.
I’d planned from way before even getting pregnant to have a baby nest. I didn’t know that’s what they were called at the time – I just saw other people with their Sleepyheads and thought they looked cute and practical. For those that don’t know, a baby nest (sometimes called a pod) is basically just a place for a baby to sleep with a padded “mattress” bottom and soft sides – they’re something that are very popular in Scandinavia and are seen more frequently over here nowadays. There have been some doubts about the safety of baby nests since the mattresses aren’t always firm and since it has sides that could potentially suffocate a baby, however, for most parents, us included, the baby nest is used only under supervision. I plan to use our baby nest during the day time while I’m next to baby as a safe place to lay her down where she won’t be able to roll away and will feel comfortable – she’ll always be within my sight in it.
Having noticed the price of Sleepyheads being a little steep considering that we already had other safe sleeping options, I decided I’d give it a go making one myself. After gathering some inspiration on Pinterest, I found fabrics to suit our nursery (and, you know, just general baby) theme – the white cotton I already had as well as the wadding for the sides and base, and I bought 2m of grey chevron fabric, 3m of yellow bias binding and 3m of grey cord from Minerva Crafts.
The only problem was finding a pattern. I struggled to source a commercial one that I actually liked the look of, so I ended up loosely following a tutorial by Yuki Clothing, although without the additional sheet. This requires you to trace out your own pattern based on the measurements and diagram provided which proved a little tricky at times for my non-mathematical brain (there was circle maths involved!). Once I had my own pattern traced and cut out, the making of the nest was actually very simple!
This baby nest requires only two pattern pieces: the main piece that’s cut once for the front and once for the back, then another piece which is used for the wadding and for the sheet if you choose to make it. The main piece is sewn together around the edges to create the shape, which is then overlaid with bias binding for a neater look and to create the channel for the cord. You then stitch the wadding into the centre to create the mattress. This creates the larger channels around the outside that make the buffer edge, which are stuffed with more wadding. It was really very simply to sew up and took me only a matter of a few hours, including creating the pattern pieces. The most difficult part for me was threading the cord through the bias binding as I only had a tiny safety pin, although sewing the bias binding on neatly was also a liiiittle bit of a challenge as it was a long piece and I was tempted to rush!
Obviously I haven’t yet had a chance to try the baby nest out with a real baby yet, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out! I think if I was to make another (and I might do, it would be really quick now I have the pattern traced already!), I’d make it slightly bigger to grow more with the baby, and I’d put more wadding in the sides for a fuller look. I do like the way that it uses cord to pull the edges in tighter when baby is smaller, and can be left open when she’s bigger. One other fun thing to note is that, since both sides of the baby nest are the same pattern piece, it could be reversible! The other side would look mostly grey with only the white showing around the edge.
All in all, a fun weekend project that’s a little different from my usual that cost less than £20 in materials to make – plus it looks pretty right now in our part-finished nursery!
Pin this for later: