Baby's First Book

comments: 160


While I was working on the book list last week (I haven't forgotten about it, it's just taking a long time to put it together), I remembered that there was one book I'd been wanting to make that wasn't exactly on the list!


This is the Baby's First Book project from the totally beautiful book Sew Liberated: 20 Stylish Projects for the Modern Sewist by the super-talented and sweet Meg McElwee. Meg is an amazing designer. Everything she makes is modern and warm and fun and so pretty. I'd actually bought this book a couple of months ago with the intention of making the Blossom Blouse first, or maybe the Petite Artiste Smock (adorable), but since I was watching sixteen episodes of Chuck in a row and didn't want to leave the sofa, and haven't yet figured out how to sew with a sewing machine in my lap (working on that), the hand sewing won out. Applique is not something I do very often (though a million years ago, these felt photo albums were part of my little product line), but everytime I sit down to do it these days I love it. Such it was with this project, which I realized was actually designed and contributed by the equally amazing Melissa Crowe of Checkout Girl. Her work in felt applique is simply beautiful. It's amazing how evocative those little pieces of felt can be, isn't it? Beautiful. I thought this soft book was just the sweetest thing ever. Here's my version:


I thought about doing it in brown, like our real house, but I thought a little pink Parisian-looking house would be cuter.


I did make the puppers look like someone we know, though. Mwah, Puppers!


And the kitterses. The Bee is sitting straight up, and the Vee is lying down, just like in real life.


There's the tree.


Birds! These look like my mom's canaries.


Such a cute boat.


Happy little fishy.


Happy baby!

I am so happy with this little book! When I was done I threw my arms up and smiled just like the happy baby. I can't tell you how much I loved working on this. So much. For such a small book, I would say this is not a small project — but that just means you can really get into it. There is a lot of prep work involved in a project like this — gathering up a lot of fabric, copying and cutting out the patterns from so many different pieces of felt (by the way, the felts I have been using for many years are wool/rayon blends thatI buy wholesale from a company called National Nonwovens. They sell some of their felt at a few of our local retail fabric stores here in Portland, and I believe that Prairie Point Junction's Wool Felt Central carries the whole line of their colors, as well). But if you can just take your time and enjoy that part of it, it is SO very worth it. Because I truly loved the stitching part, and watching each picture slowly come together was pretty magical. The directions were wonderful. I used different colors than Melissa, and wound up turning under the edges of each picture and appliquing (sp?) it to the page by hand with invisible hem stitch instead of machine zig-zag as she did in the book (again, didn't want to have to sit the machine), so that's a bit different, but otherwise my version is almost exactly like the one in the book. (I will make an embroidered bookplate when the baby arrives, too. :-) Thanks for such a wonderful project, Meg and Melissa. I felt really proud of myself when I was finished. I think the baby will really like this!


Dear Alicia
your book is beautiful! Its funny we are on a bit of the same trajectory, I have been collecting all the books I loved for our girls who are 8 months old - I had a parcel from Amazon the day you put up your book post and have been reading and remembering and loving it. The girls love books already, and because they are dribbling (!) I have been trying to remember the fabric books we had as kids. Then I thought, well I could try to make one, but I would have to think up a story... and then I read your post and went first word book, perfect! Not that I think I will actually do it, what with two girls to be looking after.
Anyway, you guys sound like you will be gorgeous parents and its so lovely you can use this (undetermined) 'gestation' time to prepare in such lovely ways. I hope she comes at just the right moment - oh, and girls are SPECTACULAR!
Good luck, and thank you so much for your blog, which is so generous, beautiful, real, funny, sad, inspiring etc. I love that you decided not to be a writer... and now you are a writer! And we are all touched and charmed by your stories. Also, thanks for not getting advertising and 'guest bloggers' etc when you so easily could.
take care
Juliet xx

Wow - I am stunned. This is just so beautiful and special! How creative!

Oh, I love Meg, and I've been wanting her book so much. This just sends me over the edge.

Such a sweet gift. I have a new baby nephew and I can't wait to begin on one of these tactile little books for him.

Oh, your book turned out adorable! I've been wanting to make one for our baby too.

Just gorgeous. Love the dog page. So charming.

Oh, I love that little book so much. I bought Meg's book a few months ago, too, and have been wanting to make that project, even though there are (sadly) no babies in my life. So lovely!

this reminds me of a "quiet book" my mom made for me when I was little for church on sundays. Each page had a different activity and it was all hand sewn. One page had a clock with moveable hands, another one had buttons to do up, another had shoelaces to tie, then there were several with little removeable animals or even little stuffed figures. They were all based on nursery rhymes. I still have and cherish that sweet little book. :) P.S. Your book is so lovely, it's just so pretty with all the fabrics and colors you chose! :)

Lovely! Absolutely lovely!

Tina Mack says: June 01, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Well, the book is quite perfect. Nothing more to be said. Quite. Perfect.

i LOVE this!!!! So, so sweet.

Your baby book is utterly charming. Many thanks for sharing it with us.

tacomapat says: June 01, 2010 at 04:13 PM

Completely priceless. You awe and inspire us all.

I totally agree with Sara on Northern Exposure - incredibly quirky and wonderful series. I own the series and I do not lend it out!

SO stinkin' cute!!!

Be still my heart. Most darling thing ever...

Meredith says: June 02, 2010 at 10:17 AM

This is lovely! What I was thinking it would be when I started reading, though, was what is apparently called a "busy book". It lets a small child practice with buttons, zippers, snaps, etc. Vogue used to have a pattern for an adorable one with different kinds of animals. I think, for example, there was a kangaroo whose pouch buttoned and there was a tiny kangaroo inside. I got several pages made ... gave up when my nephew was about 10. I am kicking myself for getting rid of the pattern now. I hope you'll make something like that too -- I know it would be great!

love this book! i have one that is almost like this, but the pages are little skills--one has a zipper, one teaches you to tie laces, one has flowers you count, etc.

Lovely, lovely Alicia. Hope the sun stays out for you this summer. XO

how lovely! and i love the illustrations too. look at your perfect little stitches...hmmm

The book you made is incredible!

Cute as can be! This book will move to the top of my Wish List! Melissa's work is always beautiful :)

new reader here! This darling baby girl is going to have one amazing set of loving parents when she finally arrives!! Lucky girl!

I love your felt book - it makes me want to make one too!

i have to say after looking at the book and your pages, i am in love with your baby book if only for the finishing details! very nice!

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


post a comment

About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.