It's hard to part with baby clothes. The little onesies, socks, newborn caps, pajamas and outfits hold heartfelt memories. So you keep them. Sure, some get donated or given to friends or family, but rather than keep the rest hidden away in a box, do something creative with them.
Here are a few ideas.
There are tons of patterns for making softies (plush toys) in books such as "Softies: Simple Instructions for 25 Plush Pals" by Therese Laskey. Instead of new fabric, use some baby clothes. If you don't sew well, you can still have them created into memory bears. Visit www.memorybears.com, where you can order a personalized bear using baby clothes. Or simply use some of them for teddy bear or doll clothes. Little socks can be made into finger puppets for older children. Add some felt and wiggly eyes for the faces.
Cut the clothing into squares and make a quilt.
Create a collage of baby photos. Include an outfit or newborn hat and frame in a shadow box.
Make a cute little decorative item for your laundry room. Use a clothesline and hang baby clothes with clothespins.
Tiny socks and mittens can be crafted into cute ornaments. Simply add a piece of ribbon to hang them or stuff a baby sock with polyfil and make mini snowmen. For instructions, visit familyfun.go.com/crafts/baby-sock-snowmen-660538 or crafts.kaboose.com/sock-snowman-ornament.html. Socks can be attached to a garland of ribbon or twine and used as an advent calendar, too.
Baby socks can be folded into a rose bouquet to display. Visit www.homemade-gifts-made-easy.com/baby-sock-rose.html for a video tutorial. This craft was originally intended as a baby shower gift, but it's a creative way to save and reuse some baby socks from your own baby.
Cut fabric squares, fill with potpourri and sew shut. Hang them in your closet or place them in dresser drawers.
Baby dresses or tiny overalls can be sewn on the bottom, hung on a clothes hanger and used as a clothespin or lone-sock bag in the laundry room. Or use it to hold plastic grocery bags.
Fabric can be cut into strips and crocheted or braided into a rag rug.
Many baby clothes can be refashioned into clothing for small dogs. And speaking of pets, little socks and mittens can be filled with catnip and a jingle bell to make a fun toy for cats.
Clothes such as onesies can have material added to them to make them into dresses. Visit www.prudentbaby.com/2010/03/10-minute-onesie-dress-easiest-dress.html or www.dana-made-it.com/2008/11/onesie-dress.html for tutorials. Along the same lines, you can cut the feet off of footed pajamas or add material to the bottoms of pants. The legs from baby tights can be cut, sewn and cinched with a small piece of ribbon and made into fashionable headbands. Arms from sweaters and sweatshirts can be made into arm warmers, or cut pullover sweatshirts down the center, add lace, ribbon or fabric and make them into cardigans or jackets. Extra trim or fabric can be added to the cuff if needed.
Stuff and sew closed and keep a few of your favorites as decorative pillows.
If you plan on donating, avoid giving anything that is heavily stained. Try to remove any stains by using either a bar of fels naptha or applying dish liquid and 1 tablespoon ammonia. Rub gently and rinse. Or soak clothing in 1/2 cup powdered Cascade and 1/2 cup Clorox 2 in a big bucket of hot water and let soak overnight, and then launder as usual. Place the garment outside in the sun. It works as a natural bleach. You can make an applique or add patches on stained clothing, so you can give them to friends or family, too.
photo by mark pilgrim