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A couple months ago, I had a BRILLIANT IDEA to sew my own busy book for Walter. Crazy. Who has time for that? Turns out I did, and I don’t.
Busy Books are a great way for little ones to explore different textures, fabrics, senses, and try new things. My intention was to use the Busy Book on our flight to Montreal. Needless, I didn’t finish the DIY Busy Book before our trip because, well it took A LOT of time to create.
I searched the web. I searched Pinterest and I gathered some ideas. Originally my busy book was just going to be different fabrics and colours for Walter to feel. He was about 6 months so he didn’t need things to do. Now that he’s 9 months I decided to add some busy pages with zippers, buckles and things to do.
Here’s how I made my Busy Book. Perhaps, like many things you can learn from my experience and make a better one. If you do, show me! I love ideas. I sewed my Busy Book, next time I would just make a felt one.
My DIY Busy Book
I thought I would embrace my inner sewing diva and sew my own Busy Book. I passed sewing class. My husband gave me this beautiful sewing machine for Christmas couple years ago, and I had a stash of fabric. —- This was perhaps my first mistake. Sewing is a lot of work.
This is a DIY busy book from a busy mom who doesn’t thrive on perfection, so my book is less than perfect. The pages are all different sizes and there is bad stitches and many mistakes. It is raw and very much the project of an amateur. Its okay for your busy book to be not perfect. What matters is you tried and you dedicated yourself to the project.
This book is targeted towards my 6-12 month old. Its not too complicated and it truly focuses mostly on senses with different fabrics, colours, textures and experiences (and less on activities as some felt books showcase)
My Busy Book is made with scraps of fabric from my own collection of remnant fabrics. I also raided the scrap section at local thrift stores and the scrap bins at the fabric store. I used all sorts of fabric – silks, fleece, denim, cotton, synthetics. This wide array of options help give it a bunch of different textures.
Buckles, Zippers, Snaps, Hook & Loop, Buttons & More – again, I raided my stash and then made a trip to the Fabric Store for other pieces. I also took advantage of old stuff — belts that we didn’t use anymore, shirts for the garbage, etcetera.
Thread & Sewing Machine – for sewing things together. I used TONS of thread because I did tons of sewing.
Scissors – for cutting.
Basically, I just winged it. I sat down in my pile of different fabrics and started sewing. There was no rhyme or reason. There was very little thought processes. This isn’t a step by step tutorial, but rather the process you can also engage in making your own book.
- Think up some ideas! Or search the web/Pinterest for some great ideas about what to include in your busy book.
- Select a size for your busy book. My book measures INSERT MEASUREMENT
- Start sewing.
- Bind the book.
- Give it to your baby to experience.
My Mistakes – What I would do, if I did it over again.
Reflecting on my process there are many things I would do over again. Before you start on your own DIY Busy Book I suggest you read these suggestions and incorporate it in your own project.
- Consider how you are going to bind your book – oops, otherwise I would have added ribbons to tie it together, or holes/snaps for snapping together. Maybe I would have even done long rectangular pages that I stacked, sewed down the middle and folded in half.
- Be patient.
- Use pins – I hate using pins, so therefore I didn’t. Thats why everything is wonky.
- Make the pages sturdy – add layers of denim or thick fabric, even fleece, or stuffing. This will help give the book texture. Some pages I remembered, some pages I forgot.
- Pull out your iron. Ironing is sewing bestfriend. Don’t be scared, don’t be lazy. Use the iron. (I didn’t iron, but you really should)
- Use what you have – old belts, shirts, fabric scraps, buttons – you know that bin of clothes your going to donate, or those clothes that just need to be trashed, you’ll be surprised by the fun things you can salvage.
- Consider a no-sew or a sew felt book – Those look super cute.
- Make it interactive.
- Use your imagination, just let it be.
- Target your book to your childs skills, interests and personality.
Here’s my book. These are the things I incorporated. Theres more I wanted to do, but I just called it finished. I can add more pages. I can take out pages. Or I could make a different book.
My book is no where near perfect, and this is no where near the greatest tutorial. But, I think that building a busy book is more about the experience, and less about creating something perfect. Sometimes, we all get caught up on making something EXACTLY like that Pinterest tutorial instead of embracing ourselves and our own creativity.
Take the time to use your skills, and what you think your child will like. Brainstorm and do it in a way that works for you. This is my process, it’s organic, its imperfection and it worked. There will be many more Busy Books in our future. I really enjoyed building this book. And after building a Pinterest inspiration board to share with you, I think my next book will be a felt Busy Book.
Or Maybe it’s just easier to buy something…