Sewing Volunteers needed for NICU outfits

Whilst clothing is available in the Neonatal Unit for parents to dress their babies in, the outfit included within the Tiny Sparks WA Neonatal Care Package is the parents to keep and does not go back in to the communal clothing pool. The feedback we have received about these outfits is exceptionally positive, including from one parent who framed both of the outfits she received for her twin boys once they had been discharged; they become a treasured keepsake and a reminder of just how small their babies once were.

These outfits have distinct girls and boys designs, are lined and include press-stud backs and shoulders for Neonatal Unit compatibility. The outfits are sized to fit up to approximately 1.2kg and 'up to 1.6kg'.

We are pleased to include below the directions for making both of these outfits. If you would like to have a go at creating some of these precious outfits to donate to Tiny Sparks WA for inclusion in our Neonatal Care Packages, we would be very grateful! You may use any reasonably light weight cotton fabric you wish, and you may send the finished item with or without press-studs, Tiny Sparks WA are happy to attach the press-studs with our specialty equipment. 

Knitted beanies are also welcome, but donations of outfits without beanies is perfectly acceptable, these items do not necessarily need to come as pairs. [Update 2 April 2015: The knitting pattern for these beanies is available here]

Finished outfits (and/or beanies) can be sent to: Tiny Sparks WA, PO Box 1114, West Leederville WA 6901, Australia.

A list of answers to FAQs can be found at our knitting and sewing page.

Girls' NICU Outfit

The pattern for the Girls' NICU outfit can be downloaded from the knitting and sewing page here The pattern is available in 1.2kg and 1.6kg sizes.

Material should be light weight cotton and pre-washed. Depending on the materials pattern and your placement, you will need approx 22cm x 45cm of each lining and outer fabric for the 1.2kg outfits (i.e. a 'fat quarter' of each lining and outer fabrics should make two outfits) and a slightly larger piece for the 1.6kg size.

The pattern is designed to be printed at 100% scale on an A4 piece of paper. There is a small square which should measure 1cm x 1cm when printed to ensure the patten is the correct size (9.5mm - 10.5mm is acceptable).

Step 1

Cut 1 x outer material and 1 x lining material out of FOLDED fabric, with folded edge placed where pattern indicates. The unfolded product is shown in Step 2.

3 - Cut on Fold.jpg

Step 2

Sew the lining and the outer fabrics together with the correct (end product presentation) sides together (i.e. the reverse sides of the fabric should be facing outwards); the pattern is inclusive of a 6mm seam allowance. Ensure an opening is left for turning the garment inside out.

4 - Sew right sides together.jpg

Step 3

Turn the sewn together dress inside out to reveal the correct outer side of the final product.

5 - Turn in right side.jpg

Step 4

Hand sew the gap that was left for turning the dress inside out - you're done!!

Tiny Sparks WA will attach the press-studs and package the dress ready for distribution to a NICU family. If you have the appropriate equipment to attach studs and sockets (they are not sewn but attached by a pressing machine), please click here for more details on stud type and placement.

2 - NICU Dress.jpg

Boys' NICU Outfit

The pattern for the boys' NICU outfit can be found here The pattern is available in 1.2kg and 1.6kg sizes.

Material should be light weight cotton and pre-washed. Depending on the materials pattern and your placement, you will need approx 22cm x 45cm of each lining and outer fabric for the 1.2kg outfits (i.e. a 'fat quarter' of each lining and outer fabrics should make two outfits) and a slightly larger piece for the 1.6kg size.

The pattern is designed to be printed at 100% scale on an A4 piece of paper. There is a small square which should measure 1cm x 1cm when printed to ensure the patten is the correct size (9.5mm - 10.5mm is acceptable).

Step 1

Cut 7 pieces in total as indicated on the pattern. 1 x front in outer material, 1 x front in lining material, 2 x back pieces in outer materials, 2 x back pieces in lining material, 1 x pocket in contrast material (lining or other).

The front patterns are cut along a fold then unfolded to create 1 larger piece (i.e. there is no seam on the front of the outfit). The back patterns are placed away from the folded edge to create the 2 individual back pieces.

3 - Cut.jpg

Step 2

Sew the pocket (cut from lining or other material contrasting to the outer fabric) on to the front outer piece.

4 - Sew pocket.jpg

Step 3

Sew the two back pieces of outer fabric to either side of the front piece of outer fabric. Then repeat this step for the lining fabrics. The 6mm seam allowance is inclusive in the pattern.

5 - Sew side seams.jpg

Step 4

Sew the lining and the outer fabrics together with the correct (end product presentation) sides together (i.e. the reverse sides of the fabric should be facing outwards); the pattern is inclusive of a 6mm seam allowance. Ensure an opening is left for turning the garment inside out.

6 - Sew together.jpg

Step 5

Turn the sewn together outfit inside out to reveal the correct outer side of the final product.

7 - Turn press.jpg

Step 6

Hand sew the gap that was left for turning the outfit inside out - you're done!!

Tiny Sparks WA will attach the press-studs and package the dress ready for distribution to a NICU family. If you have the appropriate equipment to attach studs and sockets (they are not sewn but attached by a pressing machine), please click here for more details on stud type and placement.

2 - NCIU Shirt.jpg

Volunteers

We greatly appreciate any assistance and welcome all donations from keen volunteer sewers! Finished outfits can be sent to: Tiny Sparks WA, PO Box 1114, West Leederville WA 6901.

If you would like to be kept up to date with volunteering opportunities with Tiny Sparks WA, including sewing opportunities, please contact admin@tinysparkswa.org.au or complete the volunteering form here.

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Happy Mother's Day!


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Were you greeted this morning by smiling faces?  Cards?  Flowers?  Freshly cooked bacon and eggs?  Wafts of coffee or tea?  We hope your family is showering you with love and affection.  Sometimes the best gift of all is simply a cuddle or a hug from your loved ones.

Today we honour Mothers everywhere.  Those snuggling their little babies tight, those with empty arms, those who’s ‘babies’ are now grown and have moved away.  We think of the children both big and small who no longer have their Mothers by their sides.

 Gift provided by Tiny Sparks WA for Mother's Day

Gift provided by Tiny Sparks WA for Mother's Day

This week we organised 150 small gift's for Mother's Day.  The gifts were distributed through hospitals in Perth to Mother's of current NICU/SCN babies and high-risk, hospital bed resting soon to be Mums.  For many this will be their very first Mother’s Day and they will be spending it with their son or daughter in NICU/SCN, or still in their tummy with the unknown ahead.  We hope the NICU/SCN babies are strong enough for a kangaroo cuddle today and those still baking stay safe for many days and weeks to come.

Please leave us a comment and share with us how you are celebrating today.

Happy Mother’s Day!!


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Babywearing

Guest blog post written by Lisa R.

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Years ago before I had even fallen pregnant I remember dreaming about being a Mum and certain things I would do raising my child. Oh how things changed very quickly when I did become pregnant and started to read and research things in depth. I changed my views and ideas in regards to many subjects but one thing I never looked into was babywearing. Actually I didn’t know that babywearing was even a ‘thing’. While pregnant I was handed down a carrier and pocket sling and thought that would do, one thing to check off my list. I spontaneously went into labour the day I turned 23 weeks gestation. My son Wynter was born 3 days later and that started another journey filled with more reading and research for me, now into premature newborns. I soon discovered the importance of kangaroo care, bonding and keeping baby close. There were so many benefits for my son as well as for me to keep up my milk supply.

Naturally we want to be close to our babies but it can prove difficult in a NICU scenario when our babies might be too sick or weak to even be moved. Any pregnant woman that gives birth and has to face the gut wrenching reality of leaving the hospital without their baby knows all too well how precious those cuddles are when they do happen.

So fast forward a 117 day hospital stay for my gorgeous boy and I am home with a tiny baby. I can have cuddles all the time. Now how do I get things done around the house? I hated putting him down. We wanted to spend time as a family out and about now we were free from the hospital too. We used our pocket sling and front pack carrier a few times but found them pretty uncomfortable and bub seemed a little squished.

Thank goodness my sister who had just had a baby 4 weeks before I had started to look into the world of babywearing a few months later. Initially I was put off by the term Babywearing. I honestly didn’t like the sound of it but I could not deny the generous community and joy of carrying my son around in an optimal carrier. Wynter was around 10 months old at this time and keeping him close for breastfeeding and to be hands free to get the cooking, cleaning and shopping done was a god sent. It’s the ultimate form of multi-tasking which we as women are so good at because we have to be!

If you think you would like to carry your child but don’t know where to start the best resources are online. Websites based in Perth such as www.carrymybaby.com.au and www.karritreelane.com Perthbabywearers (facebook group) and BabywearingWA (facebook page) are all great resources that are a wealth of local information from experts, vendors and babywearing mums. Don’t be put off by the lingo and abbreviations (I thought I was reading a second language when I first started looking) everyone is willing to help you find the best carrier for your family. Then the next thing to do is to go to a meet in your local area. They are held most weeks around Perth and surrounds and are wonderful to get some advice and try different types of carriers. As long as you know about the TICKS guidelines to safe babywearing now is the fun job of choosing a carrier. The main type’s are- 

1) SSC Soft Structured Carrier- Brands include Manduca, Tula and Ergo. These are buckle style and favoured by dads too. Easy to use from newborn through to toddlerhood. This is my go to carrier for quick trips.

2) Ring slings- Different to pocket slings these are easier to adjust. Nice and soft they sit over one shoulder and bub is positioned upright. Some brands include Sakura Bloom and Maya Wraps.

3) Stretchy wraps- This is a very long piece of fabric that you can wrap around your body and baby. Stretchy wraps are made of a stretch jersey usually and are great for newborns and babies till around 5 months old. Unfortunately you can’t back carry in a stretchy wrap. Brands include Boba, Moby and Hug-a-bub.

4) Woven Wraps- These are same as above but the fabric has been woven on a loom, it’s a little thicker and heavier duty so it can carry newborns to toddlers. There are so many ways to use the long piece of fabric in many different carry’s. The advantage is that the fabric can be very pretty and you can adjust it to your body for comfort. You can also back carry with a woven wrap. The disadvantage is it does take practice especially with back carries to master getting your child into the right position. It is so satisfying when you get it right though. Brands include Natibaby, Didymos, and Kokadi.

5) Mei Tai’s- These are a panel of fabric that sits over babies body and long wrap straps that wrap around you. Brands include Girasol and Babyhawk. These are from newborn to toddler too.

Now Wynter is 2.5 years old I still occasionally carry him on my back but he is very independent and wants to run around like most kids his age and I’m fine with that. If I am blessed enough I look forward to carrying my next baby in my baby wrap collection. You can buy carriers to use up till pre-school age though which can come in handy for traveling and around busy roads, car parks and shops.

This is just a start to the pile of information out there so I encourage you to look into the world of babywearing. Hope you will enjoy holding your precious babies close.


If you've enjoyed babywearing with your child please leave a comment to let us know which carrier you preferred.

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