Knitting & Sewing
One of the small highlights for a Neonatal Unit parent is choosing their baby's outfit for the day from the Neonatal Unit pool of clothing. This is only possible thanks to the kind donations of hand made items including hats and gowns from fabulous volunteers. Not only are the babies in Neonatal Unit often too small for regular baby clothes they have medical requirements which means that their clothing needs to be very particular. Only garments made from approved patterns can be used in Neonatal Units.
Thanks to our Neonatal Unit Care Package programme, parents also have the opportunity to receive an outfit which does not need to go back in to the communal pool of clothing and is theirs to keep. The outfits provided within our Neonatal Unit Care Packages come in two sizes, 'up to 1.2kg' and 'up to 1.6kg'. Additional details of the Neonatal Unit Care Package program can be found here.
Current Items with Low Stock Levels
- Neonatal Unit boys' shirts size 'up to 1.6kg' (pattern linked here) (instructions within blog, here)
- Neonatal girls' dresses size 'up to 1.6kg' (pattern linked here) (instructions within blog, here)
Special 2016 Christmas Quilt Stocking Project
We have launched our 2016 Christmas Quilt Stocking Project. Due to the overwhelming generosity of our quilters from 2015, we have sufficient stock to provide quilts this year, so decided to do something different. To find out more and to access the pattern, please click here.
Sewing and Knitting Patterns for NICU Care Packages
The below links contains the patterns, and separately the instructions, for the girls' Neonatal Unit dresses and boys' Neonatal Unit t-shirts that are supplied with each Neonatal Unit Care Package. Volunteer sewers who wish to contribute to Tiny Sparks WA and the parents of premature babies born in Western Australia are encouraged to make any of these outfits rather than outfits from any other pattern you may find or already have, as outfits from other patterns may not be able to be included within our Neonatal Unit Care Packages. Instructions are via links and FAQs can be found further down this page.
- Neonatal Unit boys' shirts size 'up to 1.2kg' (pattern linked here) (instructions within blog, here)
- Neonatal Unit girl's dresses size 'up to 1.2kg' (pattern linked here) (instructions within blog here)
- Neonatal Unit boys' shirts size 'up to 1.6kg' (pattern linked here) (instructions within blog here)
- Neonatal Unit girls' dresses size 'up to 1.6kg' (pattern linked here) (instructions within blog, here)
- Knitted beanies (pattern within blog, here)
Completed outfits (with or without press studs) can be posted to: Tiny Sparks WA, PO Box 1114, West Leederville WA 6901. Please include your name and email address in your parcel. Alternatively, you can drop off at any of the Wardrobe Fashion stores located in Joondalup, Mt Lawley, Applecross and Bunbury. Alternatively, keep your eye open for our busy bees which we hold periodically throughout the year..
Register as a Sewing and/or Knitting Volunteer with Tiny Sparks WA
Please complete the form to the right to register your interest as a knitting or sewing volunteer with Tiny Sparks WA.
Registering with us will ensure you are informed of new patterns when released, current stock levels and any change in our needs.
FAQs: Answers to Knitting and Sewing Frequently Asked Questions
1. I have my own pattern for a gown for premature babies, can I use this instead?
We are not able to utilise gowns from other patterns within our Neonatal Care Packages. Other gowns may be donated to the communal pool of clothing at KEMH, provided they comply with the patterns provided on the Women and Infant's Research Foundation website (linked below).
2. How do I know if I have printed the patterns at the correct size? It looks very small!
These outfits are very small! Patterns should be printed at a scale of 100% on A4 paper (do not select 'fit to page'; the 1.6kg patterns should take up the majority of the A4 page with some pattern edges touching the edge of the printed A4 sheet (the 1.2kg patterns slightly smaller). To check the printed pattern's size there is a reference square on each pattern which should measure 10 x 10mm (1x1cm) when printed correctly. If your square measures less than 9.5mm or more than 10.5mm this may significantly affect the size of the completed product.
3. Why are there distinct boys and girls designs for your provided patterns?
The primary motivation in creating separate girls and boys patterns came from feedback from parents who enjoy choosing their babies clothes each day, especially those of baby boys unable to find particularly boyish clothes within the communal clothing pool at KEMH. Whilst some does exist, it is limited. We have had wonderful feedback from Neonatal Unit Care Package recipients that have been parents of baby boys, including one who framed her boys' outfits!
4. What material is suitable for sewing the outfits?
Soft and lightweight cotton fabrics in fun patterns or colours are the preferred choice for outer fabric and soft, lightweight plain cotton fabrics for linings.
We cannot use poly-cottons (due to increased static and clinging) or satins, thick flannelette, jersey or fleece.
5. I don't have the equipment required to add the snaps, can I send my completed outfit without these?
Yes, absolutely! You are more than welcome to send sewn outfits completed up to the stage where snaps would be added and our sewing coordinator will arrange for this step to be completed.
6. I do have the required equipment to add the snaps, how can I obtain the placement information?
Further details can be found here.
7. Do I have to send an outfit with a matching beanie? Or can I provided the individual items?
We will gratefully accept any combination of only outfits, only beanies or outfits and beanies. We understand that not all sewers are knitters and vice versa!
8. Does the pocket on the boys outfit need to be a functional pocket?
No (although we will admire your skills if you can manage it!), the pocket is decorative only and not functional; it can be sewn across the top.
9. Can I add other embellishments, embroidery or decorations to the outfits?
Minimal embellishments may be added to the front of the outfits that do not interfere with functionality nor contact babies skin directly.
10. What yarn is suitable for knitting the beanies?
Acrylic-wool blend or 100% acrylic yarns are suitable; we are not able to utilise 100% wool fabric due to hospital requirements. The pictured beanies were knitted with 4ply wool. Variances in wool and needles may result in slightly different overall sizing, however please use the measurements within the linked instructions for overall sizing guides.
11. I can't knit but I love to crochet! Can I still help?
Unfortunately crochet beanies don't stretch as well as knitted beanies so are not suitable, but if you wish to crochet a baby blanket that would be most appreciated.
12. Do the babies in the Neonatal Unit need winter clothes? Can I help with some of these?
The Neonatal Units are kept very warm! The babies in humidicribs may have additional warming within the crib and therefore lightweight clothes (such as our provided patterns) are all that these babies need and therefore winter clothing is not required in these sizes.
13. I've sent some items but have not received any feedback and don't know if you need any more?
We are very sorry if you have not received any communication from Tiny Sparks WA in regards to your generous donations, they are all very much appreciated and your efforts have not gone unnoticed! We endeavour to email all volunteers who send packages of clothing to us (posted thank you notes are often cost prohibitive to our not-for-profit organisation), however occasionally due to lack of details or volume of packages received in a day some are missed. If you are looking for specific feedback on your items prior to making more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can also email us pictures of your items prior to sending them to us and we will have our sewing coordinator take a look at them for you! Please note as we are an entirely volunteer run organisation, it may take some time to provide any feedback, or respond to emails or phone messages in relation to knitting and sewing enquiries.
14. Can I drop my item in to your office rather than posting them?
Yes, you can! You can drop off at any of the Wardrobe Fashion stores located in Joondalup, Mt Lawley, Applecross and Bunbury. Alternatively, keep your eye open for our busy bees which we hold periodically throughout the year..
Other Sewing & Knitting Patterns
Please note: These patterns are for items to be used within a communal pool of clothing at King Edward Memorial Hospital and not within the Tiny Sparks WA Neonatal Unit Care Packages.
The Volunteer Knitting and Sewing page on the Women and Infants Research Foundation (linked here) contains patterns for garments developed and approved by King Edward Memorial Hospital Neonatal Unit including cardigans, booties, blankets and wraps.
You are welcome to post items to Tiny Sparks WA, PO Box 1114, West Leederville WA 6901, particularly if you are combining with items that can be utilised within our Care Packages.