handmade blocks & a debut

Over a week ahead of schedule, my precious "niece" was born this morning! Welcome to the world, Reece Isabel – I absolutely cannot wait to meet you this afternoon!

You may remember me posting a while back about the Alphabet Magnets I made for her a few months ago. Well…I've been sewing like a mad-woman trying to finish all the other projects I've been working on for her, including: plush blocks, a nursery pillow set, and a baby quilt/play blanket. Thanks to a bad cold over the weekend, I was finally home long enough to finish them all before she arrived! I'll be sharing all of my projects in the upcoming weeks along with (hopefully) a pic or two of the little lady herself. 

Today's post is not only to share the immense joy this doodlebug is going to bring to our family, but also to share a fun and somewhat surprisingly easy craft for kids in your life: Homemade Plush Ribbon Blocks. Beginners…don't freak out, they're easier than they look!

Here's my final product (I made 3 in all but took the photo when only two were done).

Scrap fabrics
Scrap ribbons
Polyfil or cotton filling
Rotary cutter
Self-healing craft mat
4" square ruler
Sewing machine

First, pick out a bunch of random, fun fabrics that a baby would enjoy looking at. I included several bold, black and white patterns intentionally for early eye development – but whatever you pick, make it colorful and fun. Then pull out all your scrap pieces of ribbon – different textures and widths are preferable.

I wanted my blocks to be bigger and easy to toss and grab so I decided on 4" squares (plus they're the easiest to measure with a 4" ruler!). Cut out 6 squares in your 6 different fabrics. Set them aside and choose between 4-6 ribbons to go with; cut a 4.5" length of each ribbon.

Lay your pieces out as mine are below (but unsewn, obviously). To make the ribbon loops, just make a sandwich of one fabric right side up, a ribbon loop with the tails sticking out at the seam (I made all my loops approx 1–1.5" inches so little hands could grip them but not get stuck through them). Then finish the sandwich with the next fabric piece wrong side up. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture at this point, but if you sew a 1/4" seam down the side with the ribbon tails, the loop will be formed between the two right side fabrics. 

Always using a 1/4" seam allowance and sew A to B, B to C, and C to D just adding the ribbon pieces wherever you see fit. This will make the four sides of your block. Once that is done, sew E to A and F to A. Now the slightly tricker part. Make sure you keep right sides together and sew E to B, C, and D, then do the same for F. At this point your block will be square and inside-out with one seam still open. I'd suggest sewing the final half-way shut. Now gently turn the whole block right-side out, fill it with polyfil (you can even put a bell inside if you're feeling fancy). Then hand stitch the rest of the seam shut. 

Now marvel at your work and then come back here and remind what a terrible tutorial-maker I am for not taking enough pictures! If you get stuck I can answer questions and here is another tutorial with more step-by-step bits. Let me know if you make your own blocks…I'd love to see them!

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