Introduction: DIY Wrist Rattles and Foot Finder Socks - a Wearable Sensory Toy
Is it a rattle? A bracelet? A sensory toy? Baby socks?? Well, it's all that and more! These are wearable toys that promote the baby's reach-and-grab movements, helping develop hand/eye coordination and fine motor skills. Perfect for when the baby starts to play with his/her hands and find his/her feet. Also a great baby shower gift, IMO.
I chose to make the toys shaped as bee/butterfly/dragonfly/lady bug (because nothing says "cute" like insects, right?? 😏), but this idea can be easily adapted to any other shape/animal you like.
- my pdf sewing pattern (attached)
- fabric scraps
- satin cord
- "velcro" strips (non-adhesive backing)
- "polyfill" stuffing
- crinkle material (you can either buy it like this, or recycle your cereal/chips/cookies' bags!)
- sewing machine
- basic sewing supplies (scissors, pins, needle, threads...)
- hemostat (optional but highly recommended)
Step 1: Prepping
Cut your fabrics pieces according to the pattern. For the lady bug and the butterfly, you'll need to sew 2 fabrics together before cutting the bodies, as shown on the pictures. As for the bee, sew 3 strips of black fleece (or felt) on top of your yellow piece, then proceed to trace and cut.
Note: I measured my 10 month old baby's wrists and feet to draw the pattern I'm attaching here. My guess is that it will fit most babies from 5-12 months. The bracelets hook and loop provide a nice adjustable range, and I suggest cutting the socks perpendicularly to the fabric's stretch direction. You don't want the socks to be tight but you don't want them to fall off easily, either.
Step 2: Crinkle Wings
Pair the fabric pieces corresponding to the wings- right sides facing each other. Lay your crinkle material on top of your paired wings pieces (If you're repurposing a snack packaging, make sure it's clean and dry before reusing.)
Sew on dashed line and turn it inside out. This is where the hemostat comes in handy (to pull the fabric inside out).
Repeat this step 4 times for the dragonfly wings, and twice for the butterfly wings.
I must say that the dragonfly wings were particularly difficult to turn inside out, due to its tiny size. Even with my surgical tweezers, 2 of them opened at the seams when turning... If you find it too challenging, try making larger wings for the dragonfly.
Step 3: Dangling Parts
Place the legs/wings/feelers on top of the front main piece of fabric (body) and then turn them over inwardly, to the opposite direction of how you want them to stick out. Stitch along the edge.
Step 4: Bodies
Pair the bodies' pieces of fabric facing each other (right sides in), sandwiching the already fixed-in-place "limbs" between them. Sew along the edge, leaving an opening (as shown on the template) to turn it inside out and stuff it afterwards. For the lady bug, sew the darts on the front piece before proceeding with the above.
Note, the butterfly and dragonfly's wings are longer/wider than their bodies, so make sure to fold them in the center so they won't get in the way when sewing around the body.
Step 5: Stuffing
Stuff the bodies with some polyfill, and insert the rattles according to the side of the toy (in the narrow ones I put a mini bell rattle). Close the opening by hand with ladder stitch.
Step 6: Details
Embroider some eyes (French knots) and smiles (back stitch) on each face. I used black embroidery thread for all of them except for the lady bug, on which I used white thread for contrast.
Step 7: Bracelets
Sew the velcro hook and loop sides on each bracelet fabric strip, and then pin the strips together (right sides facing) with the hook and loops at opposite ends. Sew along the edge, leaving a small opening. Turn it inside out and close the opening by hand with ladder stitch.
Step 8: Socks
Heming: Fold 1cm inwards (on the wrong side of the fabric) and sew along the edge using your machine's stretch stitch.
Then pin each pair, right sides facing, and sew them together.
Step 9: Affixing
Firmly sew your toys onto the bracelets and socks. I used a double ladder stitch for that, hand sewn on the backside of the toy and in between the layers of the bracelet / sock to make it unobtrusive.
Step 10: Playtime
That's it! Now put them on your baby and watch him play & discover.
My son already found his hands and feet a "long time" ago, but he could still benefit from the sensory function of it. He touched it, tasted it 😂... he was especially amused by the sounds and textures, and kept shaking his arms to hear the rattle!
Now go enjoy their milestones - they grow up so fast... *nostalgic sigh*
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