I’ve finally finished the baby blocks that I started about three months ago! Considering that I made 48 blocks, I’m sure any reasonable person would think that a titch excessive but I’d prefer to have too many blocks than too few.
I first found the idea for these blocks on Pinterest. Naturally, now that baby is on the way, I’ve spent a lot of time browsing baby and toddler crafts and Pinterest and my ‘queue’ of things I want to make overfloweth.
The instructions that were included with the original pin that I saw for these blocks, unfortunately, weren’t very good. They basically suggested that you cut upholstery foam into 4″ cubes, cut fabric into 5″ squares (0.5″ for the seam allowance on each side), sew 6 squares of fabric together to form a fabric cube (leaving one side unsewn), squish the foam cube into the fabric cube, and handstitch the unsewn side. VOILA! A perfect baby block.
Of course, my blocks are FAR from perfect.
The first problem I ran into was cutting out the upholstery foam. The Pinterest tutorial suggested that one can simply use ordinary scissors for the job. Nope. One does not simply use scissors to cut upholstery foam! I ruined several pieces of foam attempting that. Upon further research, I learned that a much more successful and precise approach is to use an electric carving knife. I then embarked on a journey to find such a device at a thrift store and, lo and behold, found one for just a few dollars at only the second thrift store that I went to. And I was equally delighted that cutting the foam using an electric carving knife was also successful. Hooray!
The other problem I encountered from the instructions was in cutting the fabric with a 0.5″ seam allowance on each side, resulting in a fabric cube that was the same size as the block. After I cut out ALL of the fabric and sewed together my first fabric cube, I squished in the block and found that the fabric was much too loose and floppy. I removed the foam from the fabric and resewed all of the sides, so that there would be some negative ease, and that worked much better to fill up the block. I later found an Amy Butler sewing for babies book wherein she has a pattern and instructions for blocks, and she likewise recommends negative ease.
This meant that I had to sew all of my fabric sides with a 5/8″ seam allowance (which was just a lot of wasted fabric). I also chose to trim the excess with pinking shears. And of course, handstitching was a great opportunity for me to make that final edge look bad.
So yes, these blocks are not perfect. But they are soft and squishy, with some different colors and patterns of fabric. They can be stacked in many different ways, matching colors and patterns, or not matching.
And one of the joys of building blocks is always knocking one’s creation over into a big block heap.
As a kid, I loved playing with blocks… so of course, anticipating my own baby is an opportunity to recreate some of my favorite childhood moments.