T-shirt Refashion – “Hands Up” Baby Swaddle, Attempt #1

I’ve been learning a lot these last few nonths with a newborn.. and probably the key thing that I’ve learned about my little one is that she likes to sleep with her hands up by her face – ok, maybe not the key thing, but one of the important things. We’ve tried a few different swaddles – normal muslin blankets, HALO sleep sack, and Anna & Eve Swaddle Strap – but the one that has worked the best so far for night sleeping is the Love to Dream Swaddle Up.

Traditional swaddles swaddle the baby with the arms down by the babies side – burrito style – and prevents the arms from flailing around when the baby is lying down. My little one hated having her arms down by her side for nighttime sleeping. For her daytime naps she would be fine, but for longer periods, she would struggle for trying to get out of her swaddle. She would wiggle herself around in a circle, thrash her body to try to get the swaddle loose, and then end up with fabric bundled around her face – no good for baby!

The Swaddle Up swaddles the baby with the arms slightly up, by the baby’s face, so allows a little bit of flailing but mainly allows the baby to self-soothe once she finds her hands. She stayed asleep longer because she wasn’t fighting against a straight-jacket keeping her arms down. Up side was that she was definitely self-soothing on her hands (through the swaddle fabric), but this meant that the fabric was getting kind of wet and gross.. and we didn’t want her sticking something gross in her mouth every night (if we could help it). We tend to do laundry about once a week, so this meant that we would need to invest in additional swaddles to last through the week. Not wanting to spend a lot of money buying new things that would only be used for a short time, I decided to figure out how to make my own swaddles from old t-shirts.

My first attempt at making my own Swaddle Up showed much room for improvement, especially in the order that I decided to sew it all together, but it still turned out pretty nice. I started with a rough pattern by tracing my swaddle up onto some butcher paper, and I used an old t-shirt of mine for the first trial (Adult S). I’ll save the step-by-step for another post once I get the construction down, but this first attempt turned out ok.. and seemed to work well for baby too!

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