While I was working on the book list last week (I haven't forgotten about it, it's just taking a long time to put it together), I remembered that there was one book I'd been wanting to make that wasn't exactly on the list!
This is the Baby's First Book project from the totally beautiful book Sew Liberated: 20 Stylish Projects for the Modern Sewist by the super-talented and sweet Meg McElwee. Meg is an amazing designer. Everything she makes is modern and warm and fun and so pretty. I'd actually bought this book a couple of months ago with the intention of making the Blossom Blouse first, or maybe the Petite Artiste Smock (adorable), but since I was watching sixteen episodes of Chuck in a row and didn't want to leave the sofa, and haven't yet figured out how to sew with a sewing machine in my lap (working on that), the hand sewing won out. Applique is not something I do very often (though a million years ago, these felt photo albums were part of my little product line), but everytime I sit down to do it these days I love it. Such it was with this project, which I realized was actually designed and contributed by the equally amazing Melissa Crowe of Checkout Girl. Her work in felt applique is simply beautiful. It's amazing how evocative those little pieces of felt can be, isn't it? Beautiful. I thought this soft book was just the sweetest thing ever. Here's my version:
I thought about doing it in brown, like our real house, but I thought a little pink Parisian-looking house would be cuter.
I did make the puppers look like someone we know, though. Mwah, Puppers!
And the kitterses. The Bee is sitting straight up, and the Vee is lying down, just like in real life.
There's the tree.
Birds! These look like my mom's canaries.
Such a cute boat.
Happy little fishy.
I am so happy with this little book! When I was done I threw my arms up and smiled just like the happy baby. I can't tell you how much I loved working on this. So much. For such a small book, I would say this is not a small project — but that just means you can really get into it. There is a lot of prep work involved in a project like this — gathering up a lot of fabric, copying and cutting out the patterns from so many different pieces of felt (by the way, the felts I have been using for many years are wool/rayon blends thatI buy wholesale from a company called National Nonwovens. They sell some of their felt at a few of our local retail fabric stores here in Portland, and I believe that Prairie Point Junction's Wool Felt Central carries the whole line of their colors, as well). But if you can just take your time and enjoy that part of it, it is SO very worth it. Because I truly loved the stitching part, and watching each picture slowly come together was pretty magical. The directions were wonderful. I used different colors than Melissa, and wound up turning under the edges of each picture and appliquing (sp?) it to the page by hand with invisible hem stitch instead of machine zig-zag as she did in the book (again, didn't want to have to sit the machine), so that's a bit different, but otherwise my version is almost exactly like the one in the book. (I will make an embroidered bookplate when the baby arrives, too. :-) Thanks for such a wonderful project, Meg and Melissa. I felt really proud of myself when I was finished. I think the baby will really like this!