Make It Pretty Project: Coming Home Outfits.
My children are 14, 10, and 6. (It pains me a bit to say that... I still think of my youngest as a 7 month old.) For years I have been squirrelling away pieces of their clothing into a covered plastic tote... a shirt here, a dress there, a pair of pants with fancy trim- things that have special memories attached. Some of them were given to us by someone special, or for a specific occasion, or just encapsulated that kid at that moment in time. I only keep one tote for each child, and when it gets filled up, something has to be tossed out before another item can be placed in it. It's brutal, but neccessary.
My plan for most of the items is to eventually make a separate quilt out of each kid's clothing, and when they are all grown up and out of the house, I will wrap myself in said quilts, plop myself in a rocking chair, and rock away my pain and emptiness and tears while staring at pictures of them when they were little.
(Too much? Sometimes I go a little emotionally overboard.)
ANYWAY, one set of clothing was even too special to be made into quilts: my kids' coming home from the hospital outfits.
Each of the three outfits was carefully picked with love and great anticipation, washed in Dreft and folded away until the baby was born. My husband usually did the ceremonial First Dressing of the Baby while I snapped about 472 pictures.
(Again, too much??)
Several years have passed since those coming home days and I still cherish every stich of those outfits. I wanted to do something that would display them so I could enjoy them and all the wonderful memories associated with them. I decided to place them in shadowboxes and hang them in my craft room, which is the closest thing I have to a girl-cave in my house.
I got three of these shadowboxes from Hobby Lobby... two big ones and a smaller one. They were a great size and well made. And on sale, 50% off.
Other items I used were low loft batting, plain muslin, and burlap. I wanted to use burlap for the background because it adds texture and interest without drawing attention away from the stars of the show: the clothing.
And here they are, all washed and ready. Obviously the boy items are blue and the pink items are a combination of my daughters' outfits. My older daughter wore the cordoroy overalls with the sweet print pattern on the far left, with an adorable matching hat (Oh! How I loved that hat!), and my middle daughter wore the cotton check overalls with the matching embroidered shirt.
All I basically did was take off the backing of the shadowbox and wrap the backing with a layer of batting, then muslin, and then covered it with the burlap. I had to tape the whole thing together on the back of the backing with packing tape. This layering of the batting, muslin, and burlap gave me a three-dimentional surface to pin the clothing to to keep it in place. I used simple straight pins.
By far, the part the took the longest was figuring out the arrangement of each piece of clothing and then pinning it so no pins were showing. I ended up placing many pins in seams and on the inside of the clothing. After a little trial and error, I got it to look exactly how I wanted and I placed it all back into the shadowbox.
And this is what I got:
I loved it. It's like having a snaphot in time.
I did a third, smaller shadowbox for the shoes that all three wore when they were baptized... just simple white satin shoes that have a cross embroidered on the bottom of them. Their baptism days were magical for me and I loved having that reminder.
The framed picture in the middle is something I purchased on etsy, and had customized. It reads, "No one else will ever know the strength of the love I have for you. After all, you are the only one who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside." And I had her add all three of my children's names on the bottom. Because it was custom, she was able to make it in colors that coordinated with the outfits. 'Cause I'm fussy about that kind of stuff.
Here's my final display, all hung up over my sewing table and ready for me to longingly stare at:
I was so happy with how this turned out. If you have baby outfits that are special to you, I highly recommend preserving and enjoying them this way.
Part of the gift of being organized is 1) knowing where special items like these are located, and 2) figuring out a nice way to enjoy said items.
Life is just too short not to enjoy the meaningful moments.
Even if you're cryng and wrapped up in clothing quilts.