Peanut Butter (and Jelly!) Granola Bars

 

If you’ve ever had a picky eater in your household, you know the angst of trying to get them to branch out. Our picky eater would eat the same meal for lunch and dinner every.single.day. if we let him: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Seriously, this kid LOVES his PB&Js. I’m constantly working to get him to try new foods or even a new way to eat a food he likes. You mamas of picky eaters know how hard this is! So for a healthy and fun twist on his daily PB&J, I’ve been making these super yummy peanut butter and jelly granola bars for lunch or snack time instead!

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I’m pretty choosy about what foods we put into our bodies, so I really enjoy cooking and baking from scratch whenever I can. I’ve made these granola bars for years, and they’re always a big hit. I feel good about my family eating them, because I know exactly what’s inside. Homemade granola bars are always better than packaged and processed! They are also really easy and quick to make, which is a necessity in this season of my life.

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Because we put Jif Natural Crunchy Peanut Butter inside the bars, they pair absolutely perfectly with our favorite Smucker’s Fruit Spread!

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We have used Smucker’s Fruit Spreads in our house for as long as I can remember. I absolutely love their “Simply Fruit” line – no added sugars! I’m a big fan of short ingredient lists. :) And the Fruit and Honey Triple Berry spread… oh my, I could eat it on its own, it’s so yummy.

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We spread the jelly and peanut butter on top, and then – to make it more like a true PB&J – we put another granola bar on top.

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This “sandwich” is easy to pack in a lunchbox, or put some jelly in a reusable container for dipping your granola bar. Pickiest eater approved!

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If you follow me on Instagram, you won’t be surprised that one of my favorite places to shop is Target. We go through a loaf of bread in like five minutes, so the fact that I can pick up our PB&J supplies and this adorable basket and PINK rolling pin, all while drinking coffee (bonus points if I’m alone!)… well, I’m sold. ;)

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And I love love LOVE the Cartwheel app! Last month, I forgot my login password, and seriously spent an extra 20 minutes in the store trying every password I could possibly have used, then reseting my password, just so I could use my coupons. Ha!! Right now, both Smucker’s Fruit Spreads and Jif Peanut Butter Spreads have Cartwheel savings – which I totally used. Because seriously, five kids is kind of a lot and any little bit I can save makes me a happy mama!

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Ready to make your own??

Peanut Butter (and Jelly!) Granola Bars

3 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground flax
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 – 1 cup raisins/chocolate chips/chopped nuts *optional

1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
generous 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

optional toppings:

jelly
creamy peanut butter
bananas
chia seeds

Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients.
2. Combine all wet ingredients.
3. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until evenly moistened.
4. Spoon onto 9×13 pan lined with parchment paper – press evenly into the pan.
5. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until the edges begin to brown (27 minutes is the sweet spot for me!)
6. Let cool completely before cutting into pieces. If you don’t, they will be crumbly and not stay formed into bars. They will still be yummy, but they may be more like granola instead of bars. :)
7. Top with Jif Natural Creamy Peanut Butter and Smucker’s Fruit Spread, and maybe some bananas or chia seeds too!

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My kids could NOT wait for this batch to cool, so we ended up with a lot of bite-sized pieces. Luckily, small pieces make the perfect snack.

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How do you combat the boring lunch blues??

15 Sewing Projects to Help You Get Organized!

Happy New Year! I love when things start fresh… new years, new seasons, new school years, new notebooks. As we’re starting 2017, I’m doing a huge purge of my house. We moved into our new (old) home last February, and in that time I’m realizing all the stuff that we don’t need – or want – encroaching on our space. I’m also looking for pretty and functional ways to organize the things we do have. So today I’m sharing 15 sewing projects that will help you get organized!15-sewing-projects-to-help-you-get-organized

Floor cushion with hidden storage

This floor cushion was an easy way for us to store stuffed animals and other soft items when we needed to corral them. We’ve simplified the stuffed animals collection, so I think we’ll repurpose this one for blanket storage this year.

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Nesting Baskets

I was eyeing up some fabric baskets at the store the other day, when I realized I’d rather have handmade ones! These from Jess at The Sewing Rabbit have a free pattern, so I’m going to use some of these to corral toys and baby blankets.

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Puzzle envelopes

I love these puzzle envelopes from my friend Jodi at Sew Fearless, and I think they’d work great for organizing some of our homeschool supplies.

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Essential oil travel case

I need to make a few more of these essential oil travel cases, because one just isn’t enough for the oils I want to carry with me out of the house!

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Zipper pouch

This is my current favorite type of zipper pouch to make and use. I’m finding them so handy that I need at least two more.

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Rolled camp kitchen

I’m not a big fan of junk drawers, but I need a place to put miscellany – items that don’t seem to have a home, but should. I think this rolled camp kitchen from Sabra at Sew a Straight Line would be great for hanging in the closet and collecting those items.

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Trading Card carrier

I made this carrier for my boys’ football cards last year, but I think I need to make a similar one to hold playing cards and other little card games. It would make it super easy to grab when I know we’re going to need a distraction at an appointment or when we’re headed away for the weekend.

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Fabric Tray

I hate how dresser and table tops are stuff collectors! I want to make a couple of these fabric trays from Anna at Noodlehead for our night stands and other places that seem to collect all.the.things.

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Clothespin Bag

This clothespin bag from Melissa at Melly Sews is the perfect solution for housing plastic grocery bags in our basement by the laundry!

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Simple tote bag

A lot of our reusable grocery bags have gotten dingy and just need to be tossed. I’m going to sew up a few more of these tote bags to replace them!

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Gym bag

New year must mean new health resolutions, right?? Everyone and their mom is heading to the gym. This baby weight isn’t just going to melt away. ;) I love this gym bag from my friend Melissa at Sew Like My Mom!

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Bedside pocket organizer

My boys love to take books to bed, and I think this bedside pocket organizer from Sew Can She will help keep them from becoming a giant pile next to their beds!

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Wet Bag

I need to make a larger version of this wet bag. I still use this one in my diaper bag (SO handy to have, along with this changing mat!), but my large wet bag has seen better days and needs replacing.

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Vinyl Lego Organizer

Any other moms have a love-hate relationship with Legos?? Okay really, we love Legos in our house. They provide my boys with hours of creative play. But organizing them… YIKES. I love this vinyl lego organizer from Emily at Nap-time Creations, and I think it could be a great solution!

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Crochet hook case

Okay, so I don’t actually crochet (ha!), but my mom recently taught my oldest how to knit, and my knitting needles aren’t very accessible. I want to make a case like this one from my friend Delia at Delia Creates to put all the needles, so he can get to the ones he needs on his own, without me digging through a bin in the basement!

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Here’s to getting organized in 2017! Happy sewing!

Holiday Traditions: Throw a First Snow Party (and a giveaway!)

We recently had our first snow of the season! And wow, it was a beautiful one. It was the kind of snow where it sticks to the trees and comes down in big, fluffy flakes. It looked like we were living in a giant snow globe! It was also the kind where you didn’t really have to shovel, hehe. The kids had a blast playing in it. Since this is our first full winter in our new home, they were over the moon to sled down our hill and traipse through the snow-covered woods. There’s something magical about the first snow (I know Lorelei Gilmore would agree with me on this), so we like to celebrate by throwing a First Snow Party!
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I love holiday traditions, and since becoming a mom, that’s something I’ve really enjoyed sharing with my boys. I can tell they love having things to look forward to year after year. Plus, traditions like this are just FUN!

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We pull out all the stops for our First Snow party: holiday treats like ice cream, cookies, egg nog, hot chocolate with homemade whipped cream (or a peppermint mocha for mom!), and some popcorn thrown in for a salty fix. ;)dsc_8700-copy

There’s also something so special about holiday foods, and Kemps Candy Cane Ice Cream, Peppermint Bark Moose Tracks, Egg Nog are perfect for this tradition. I think they almost taste even better because you know that you’re not going to be able to eat it year-round.

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My boys seriously went nuts for the Kemps Candy Cane Ice Cream, but the Peppermint Bark Moose Tracks was my fave. They kept thanking me over and over for the special treats. You know something is a hit when they are literally licking the bowl!

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I also discovered that my boys had never had Egg Nog before. What?! Don’t worry, that’s been corrected. It went over like gangbusters, in case you were wondering.

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See how much fun my kiddos had in this video:

(Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the video.)

I just love the holidays!! Sharing these traditions with my family is such a blessing, and I’m so excited for all the memories we’ll make this year, our first Christmas in our new (old) farmhouse and our first Christmas with our new baby.

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And in the spirit of Christmas, I get to give away some of this yummy goodness! Five winners will each receive a coupon for free Kemps products, so you can try these delicious treats for yourself and make memories with your family!

To enter to win, leave a comment answering the following question:

What holiday traditions do you have in your home? How are you celebrating the Christmas season?

*please leave your email address if it is not connected to your account, so I can contact you if you win!

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You can find out more about Kemps by visiting them on Facebook or Twitter.

Buffalo Plaid Sweater Pillow Tutorial

I’m going to make a confession: my house isn’t decorated for Christmas yet. Usually I’m way ahead of the game, but with a little baby, it just hasn’t happened yet. And I love decorating for Christmas! I may have to leave things up a couple extra weeks to make up for it. ;) This year I made a fun and  holiday pillow – it’s one of the few things I have out right now. This buffalo plaid sweater pillow is cozy, easy to make, and would be a great gift or addition to you own holiday decor. Christmas decorations are so fun to make, like this vintage-style Christmas light garland, and this one has a touch of whimsy that is sure to add to your festivities!

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Supplies:

  • old sweater
  • polyfill or pillow form
  • pom pom trim
  • buffalo plaid fabric scraps
  • scissors
  • sewing machine
  • thread

1. Grab an old sweater in the color of your choice. I’m a huge fan of upycling, and sweater pillows are one of my go-to decor options.

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2. Cut the sweater to your desired size – cut apart the seams so you have two separate pieces.

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3. Cut out your letters from your buffalo plaid fabric. The fabric I had on hand was a french terry (which is stretchy), but you can easily do this with a woven non-stretchy fabric. Pin the letters in place onto the front piece.

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4. Zig-zag stitch around the letters to appliqué them onto the front of the pillow.

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5. Sandwich your pom pom trim in between the front and the back, with the right sides together. The pom moms should be pointed toward the middle of the pillow. You can pin or clip the two pillow pieces together, but I found it easier to just tuck the trim in as I was sewing.

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6. If you are using a pillow form, you will want to sew only three sides of your pillow and then insert your pillow form. If you are using polyfill like I used, then you’ll want to leave a small opening at the bottom of your pillow, with your pom pom trim unattached as shown.

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7. Turn the pillow right side out, stuff the pillow, and then close up your opening (or your entire side of the pillow if you are using a pillow form). Use a small zig-zag stitch to close up your opening, as this will hold your trim in place a little better than a straight stitch.

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The trim and the buffalo plaid are so fun, they are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face this holiday season!

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I’m loving the red and teal combo – it’s a little out of the box for typical Christmas decor, but breaking from tradition is good sometimes! :)

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If the pom pom trim is a little too crazy for you, try some piping instead! The process is the same and still gives a fun touch to your sweater pillow.

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Buffalo plaid is everywhere right now, and I can’t get enough of it! This cozy sweater pillow is the perfect way to add some to your holiday decor!

Have you started decorating for Christmas? What are your favorite DIY decorations?

This post originally appeared on Skip to My Lou on 11-17

A Baby to Snuggle

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve heard the news, but I’ve neglected to share it here. Baby five has arrived!dsc_8962-copy

Little Ezra joined us about two months ago, though it feels like he’s always been a part of our family.

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He spends his days being adored by his big brothers. And I spend my days keeping his big brothers from smothering him with their love and affection. ;)

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Now I have an adorable model for my baby pants and baby hat patterns (which are both free, if you haven’t snagged them yet!)

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The hat has gone from wide cuff to narrow cuff as he’s grown, but he’s been wearing it since he came home from the hospital.

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The pants were a little big on him when he was first born, but they fit him perfectly now. He’s on the smaller side for his age, so he’s getting a little extra wear out of his itty bitty sizes, compared to some of his brothers.

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I haven’t been doing quite as much sewing as of late, but I’m squeezing it in when he lets me.

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These baby days will be gone before I know it, though, so I’m going to soak them up a little bit longer.

Real Mom Confessions: How to End the Toothbrushing Battle

                                  

I think it’s fair to say that parents everywhere have experienced the same struggle at least a time or two: the dreaded tooth brushing battle! Whether it be a toddler who refuses to open her mouth or a preschooler who hates the taste of toothpaste or an older child who just can’t remember to brush, the struggle IS real. With four tooth-bearing kiddos, we’ve gone through our fair share of brushing battles. If you’re nodding your head, saying “Yes! This is me!” I have some toothbrushing tips to make brush time a little easier.

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Some of my kiddos have fought tooth brushing more than others, so I’ve used my fair share of tricks to try to get them to brush. I’m sure you parents can relate to this video:


(Click here if you’re having trouble viewing the video)

Here’s how we ended the tooth brushing battle in our house:

1. Make it silly

When you make a silly face, act like a monkey, or bring out the goofy voices, your toddler will have a hard time holding back his smiles. This relaxes you both and makes it more of a game, less of a battle.

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2. Don’t push it 

It’s important to brush your kiddos’ teeth,  but sometimes we just need to back off for awhile. If your little one is suddenly refusing to brush, take a few days off (her teeth won’t fall out!) and come back to it with a fresh approach.

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3. Give them control 

Kids love to be in control! Let your preschooler squeeze the toothpaste himself. Ask your elementary aged child to be the tooth brush monitor. Give your toddler a choice of toothpaste flavors.

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4. Buy a really yummy toothpaste

This kind of seems like a no-brainer, but honestly? Some kids’ toothpastes don’t taste good! Many have a fake taste that I wouldn’t enjoy using, so why would they?  Some of my boys are really picky about food, and they don’t care for traditional toothpaste flavors. I’ve truly never seen my kids like a toothpaste as much as they like this hello toothpaste. Sometimes they brush their teeth three times a day, without me even asking. What?!

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The unique flavors (watermelon and bubble gum are the kid favorites here) really get them excited to brush. And the toothpaste is naturally friendly, which makes this mama excited! I love when our personal care products say no: no dyes, parabens, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, triclosan, or microbeads. I’m super conscious of what we put in our bodies, so that’s all really important to me.

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Something else I love? These toothpastes have fluoride and fluoride free options. Personally, I love the natural sweet mint flavor (fluoride free!)

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I love anything that can make my mom life a little bit easier (can I get an Amen, mamas??), and eliminating brush time battles with hello toothpaste has made a huge difference in our house.

So time for your own real mom confessions… what crazy things have you done to get your kids to brush their teeth? What tips do you have to share??

Embroidery Hoop Snowman for Crazy Christmas Event

Today I’m guest posting over at I Heart Naptime, and I’m sharing this adorable embroidery hoop snowman. This little guy is already adorning my wall, and you can make one too! Head on over to check out the tutorial!

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Buffalo Plaid Pillow for Bake Craft Sew 2016

Hi, friends! Today I’m guest posting over at Skip to my Lou, sharing this adorable and whimsical buffalo plaid sweater pillow as part of her Holiday series!

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Click over to Skip to my Lou to see the full tutorial!

Happy sewing :)

10 Things to Sew for Baby from a Flannel Sheet

We’re in full-on baby prep mode over here, and I always have a few projects I want to sew before baby arrives. So when Dana of Sew Thrifty invited me to be a part of her Thrifty Baby Celebration, it made perfect sense to participate! I love to upcycle, and baby clothes and accessories are PERFECT for this, because they’re so small.  So I’ve collected a list of 10 things you can sew from a flannel sheet.
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Flannel is great for fall and winter babies, and flannel sheets are excellent for getting lots of yardage for little cost. Between thrift stores and clearance sales (and your linen closet!), you don’t have to spend a lot of money on flannel. Sewing for baby can be super inexpensive!

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1. Prefold diapers – this is one of my most popular tutorials and one of my most-used baby items. Because babies use a lot of diapers. ;) I’ve sewn quite a few from flannel sheets as well as flannel remnants.

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2. Bandana drool bib – some babies are super drooly or spit up all the time, and these little drool bibs are so cute and perfect to catch the mess before it gets on their clothes.

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3. Cloth wipes and burp rags – if you’re cloth diapering, cloth wipes make total sense and are super cost-effective. If you aren’t using cloth diapers, these are the perfect size for wiping little baby noses or cleaning up after a meal. And of course, burp rags are a must-have for every household with a newborn!

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4. Changing pad cover – the vinyl changing pads (affiliate link to the one I personally own!) are great places to change baby’s diaper, but they aren’t super comfy. Especially with a fall/winter baby, I hate to put baby down on a chilly surface. This same concept could also be used to make flannel crib sheets!

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5. Easy baby blanket – of course, every baby needs blankets! The yardage that you get in a flannel sheet is perfect for making extra blankets for gifts or for when your baby spits up all over his blanket and you need a clean one.

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6. Baby blanket with piping – the piping adds an adorable accent to a flannel baby blanket!

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7. Ragged baby blanket – how great would this blanket be to lay on the floor for baby to play on? Or to throw over the carseat when the weather is cold? It’s also perfect for the scraps leftover from all your flannel projects. ;)

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8. Flannel pants – While itty bitty babies probably aren’t going to use flannel pants as jammies, they’re still so cozy to wear on chilly fall and winter days. Plus, baby pants take so little time and fabric to sew!

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9. Seatbelt covers – since flannel is absorbent, these would do a great job at soaking up baby’s drool in the carseat. Not to mention how soft they are! Make sure these don’t interfere with the use of the chest clip, and use your own judgment as to whether or not adding this to your carseat is safe or not.

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10. Baby bibs – whether you’re soaking up drool or baby is venturing into the world of solid foods, bibs are a must-have. I’m pretty sure we have zero cloth bibs left in our house (because after four kids, they’ve all long since bitten the dust!), and I will be making a bunch of these from this free pattern.

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There are SEW many things you can make from a flannel sheet! Happy baby sewing. :)

Free Newborn Baby Hat Pattern

If you’ve been around the blog lately or following me on Instagram, you know that we’re just weeks (days??) away from welcoming baby boy number five. So I’ve been cooking easy meals and making last minute baby items. Baby pants are among my absolute favorite things to sew for babies, and I decided baby also needs some matching hats! I have a free hat pattern to share with you, so all the babies in your life can be covered from head to toe. :)free-newborn-baby-hat-pattern

Baby hats are a necessity for a fall or winter baby, and knit hats are just so cute and cozy.

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This pattern is super quick and easy to sew! It takes less than 1/4 yard of knit fabric, so you can use up some scraps.

Supplies:

  • less than 1/4yd knit fabric
  • thread
  • serger or sewing machine that can zig-zag
  • scissors or rotary cutter

Download your FREE Newborn Baby Hat Pattern

1. After you’ve taped the pattern together, cut out your fabric. This is how the fabric looks opened up:

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2. Fold the fabric right sides together and sew along the long curved side, leaving about 3 inches open on each end.

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3. Fold the fabric in half, wrong sides together – this will put your seam on the inside. Fold the hat as shown in the photo below, matching up the points. You will have four layers of fabric together. Sew all four layers together from one point to the side, using either a serger or a zig-zag stitch. If you are using a serger, leave the tails long. If you are using a zig-zag stitch, be sure to back-stitch at the ends.

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4. Turn the hat and sew together the next four layers of fabric. Again, leave the tails long if you’re using a serger.

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5. Continue to turn the hat, matching up the four layers of fabric, and sewing them together. All the seams should be coming together at a point at the top.

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7. When you’re finished with all the seams, it should look like the photo below. If you used a serger, tie all the tails so they don’t unravel before cutting them.

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Now turn your hat right side out and cuff!

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Since I don’t have a baby to model this hat yet, this old baby doll of mine will have to do. ;)

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It’s obviously a little big for the doll, but will be perfect for baby!

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This baby hat pattern goes perfectly with my free newborn baby pants pattern!

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I mean seriously… how cute is this??!! I think baby might be coming in home in one of these outfits!

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The brown striped pants were upcycled (which is also why they’re longer… since my babies tend to grow longer instead of chubbier, I didn’t bother to cut the pattern shorter to account for re-using the hem). The arrows came from Raspberry Creek Fabrics, and the plaid from Girl Charlee.dsc_8291-copy

Don’t forget to download your FREE Newborn Baby Hat Pattern!

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Happy baby sewing!