Craft · Sewing · Sewing for Kids

Pom poms, penguins and a pompous flamingo

I went for pinking shears to finish the edges – partly because it adds another layer of texture, partly because I love using pinking shears..

It’s that time again, another month has passed which means another Sewing Mamas Project has been on my sewing table. March saw us tackling a quiet book for our little people.
For anyone who might be unfamiliar, the idea of a quiet book is one that is tactile, engaging, usually educational and that can keep your little ones quiet when you could do with a breather. Something to attach to your pram or stick in your bag so that you always have a means of keeping the wee cherub happy. Speaking as a mum who has frequently faced the conundrum of answering the phone, making dinner, writing essays etc etc while attempting to placate a grumpy child, any solution that claims to give you a moment of quiet is absolutely worth a go!

I made one of these lovely books for Lydia’s 2nd birthday (just a few of the pages below) and so enjoyed the process of creating it that I was delighted when Pilar suggested we set this theme for our monthly challenge.

Lydia’s quiet book was full of little activities to help her develop and learn as well as including colour, texture, shapes and numbers. Now as much as I’d love to make her another, she still plays with it often (hoorah!) so I thought I’d take this opportunity to make a little surprise present for a certain impending arrival…
With the imminent arrival of a nephew/niece, I decided to make a book that would be fun for a teeny newborn but would hopefully grow along with them. As a basic start point I wanted it to be a sensory book, rather than an activity book as, short of the birth of a miniature genius, it would be wasted on the little bundle.
After much deliberation on what I wanted to include, I decided I’d better pick a theme otherwise I would never stop. I have trouble with self control apparently…
So it became an alphabet animal book. One animal per letter, with some sort of textural interest on each one.
As if to further illustrate my lack of restraint, I had underestimated the work involved in making 26 separate pages, including actually finding an animal that begins with every letter of the alphabet! I wanted to choose slightly off-the-wall ideas for the animals to combat the abundance of bunny rabbits and lions that seem to be the source of inspiration for most baby items. But even with this in mind, some letters left me flummoxed. As a result there are some, ahem, creative options here in an attempt to stick to animals that the poor child might actually recognise and be able to pronounce.

I am really pleased with the result, and that doesn’t happen that often! I have somewhat retreated from life in the past 6 weeks, feeling a bit overwhelmed with the everyday stuff and suddenly feeling the need for space. As it turns out, this was the ideal project for me in my hermit mood. I spent my days planning, sketching and hand sewing. Steady, repetitive, slow and as an added bonus, something I could do sitting on the sofa of an evening.

After I constructed all the individual pages I decided to use eyelets to hook them all onto a keyring, so it can be attached to a pram or car seat (and not at all because when I tried to sew the pages together I broke my needle into three pieces…). To finish it off I used a sweet little iron-on motif on the front cover.

I think if I had to choose one thing to make over and over again, it would be the quiet book. There’s so much scope to be creative – they can be as simple or complex as you wish, they can be tailored to any age or level of education and can be adapted to any level of sewing skill.
Having made such a tactile gift for this little one, I really hope they love it as much I have loved creating it. It’s my attempt to sew all the extraordinary, enormous and fluttery feelings I have about being an aunty into one place. And if it helps the wee one learn the difference between a walrus and a flamingo then that’s just the icing on the cake.

Lift the flap sunbeams and sequin stars
Flappy antennae and grass
Flapping butterfly wing and a glittery pom pom. I love the look on the flamingo’s face – I have inadvertently given him a rather snarky, ‘and your point is?’ sort of expression.
The giraffe’s scarf is loose to blow in the wind. I also sewed little triangles of felt onto the hedgehog for a little texture and a sequin dandelion.


The flowers are made from velvet and the jellyfish has a range of ribbons and trims for tentacles
The koala is made of really soft and fluffy felt and the llama’s sombrero has a lace overlay giving it an interesting feel
The mouse’s paws flap up and down and so does the narwhal’s flipper.
The owl has a fluffy tummy and the penguin’s hat is made of fleece.
Queen bee (because there really are very few animals beginning with Q) has a sparkly crown and velvet stripes, and the raccoon has a woolly jumper and bouquet of pom poms.
Pom pom bubbles and a feathery tail.
Woolly-tailed unicorn and fleece clouds
The top hat is shiny and the fox has a fluffy tummy. (Incidentally, there are no baby friendly animals beginning with X – can you say xenops? – so at least this gives the right phonetic sound!)
The yak’s wellies are loose so he can kick and the zebra’s neckerchief has loose ends.

3 thoughts on “Pom poms, penguins and a pompous flamingo

  1. Well done Kate. What a wonderful heartfelt gift for the new arrival….who is adorable by the way. How lucky he is to have such loving caring family surrounding him with love. X


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