Saturday, August 11, 2012

Homemade "Mitata" Style Co-Sleeper/Crib

I ran across this on Amazon and thought, "Wow, what an overpriced, easy to make and very, very useful baby item!" It's billed as a co-sleeper and portable crib. I think it will be perfect to lay baby anywhere that you need protection from falling (couch, dresser for changing) or a little extra padding (floor).

Right now I'm in a situation where I'm due with baby #4 in ten weeks. Muscle man is trying to get a job transfer that would take us to Dallas which would mean living temporarily with my in-laws, teenage nephew, sister-in-law and her hubby and their newborn due in January plus my other 3 kids and 3 dogs total until we can sell our house in KC and find a new one in D. town. That's twelve people and 3 dogs in a 3 bedroom house, oh, and a cat, livin' like real Mexicans, hehe. Any who, that doesn't exactly allow much room for a crib for baby #4 so we need something small and portable to keep the baby safe. We have a bassinet too but this just seems so, appropriate, and I think would come in handy even at home. So, here's how I made my own, in one afternoon, for free since I already had everything I needed. (Even if you had to buy everything it could be done for well under $20.)

Disclaimer: Although the original product has met both US and European safety standards, my version has of course not been tested. Please use with extreme caution and as with any baby product, check frequently for any wear that could make the product dangerous to use.

2 yds woven cotton or other non-stretchy fabric on a 50-54" bolt
heavy weight thread
30"x25" piece of batting
stuffing or fiberfill (I used almost all of a 16oz bag)
walking/quilting foot for sewing machine
needles, scissors, etc
opt: sew on Velcro
opt: water-proof insert for top sheet

When we had baby #3 I had made a woven wrap style carrier from a gorgeous batik print that I found at Hancock fabric. To make that all I did was take a 4 yard long piece and cut it in half length wise, hem the long sides then fray the ends. I used the other half for this project. Any sturdy cotton or other non-stretchy fabric would work. The dimensions given for the original were 28"x22" The width of my fabric was about 25" so accounting for 1/2" seam allowances and width changes after stuffing the side bolsters, I figured that was just about right. I measured down 30" from the end, folded it over then cut across so I had a piece about 25"x60". Then I cut 2 more 5" strips off the short end for the handles so you have two 5x25" pieces. If you're starting with a new piece of fabric, first cut it in half length wise along the fold that it comes with off the bolt. Then measure down 30", fold it over and cut just like I did, trimming off any extra from the edge to give you the 25"x60" piece. (You'll need a second 60" piece later for the top piece.) You should have just enough and a little extra off the end to cut the handles.

The next step is to fold the handle pieces in half length wise, right sides out, and press flat.

Then flip it and sew along one short side and the long side with a 1/2" seam allowance, right sides together. Turn it right side out and press, turning under the open seam so that when you sew the handle to the co-sleeper it will close the seam.

Lay out the main body of the sleeper and place the handles along the long, 30" side. You'll sew them on the outside of the bottom piece. Place them about 2 1/2" down from the long side and 4 1/2" in from the short sides on the right.

Pin down then sew securely leaving a 1/2" seam allowance under the handle for sewing the top piece onto the bottom piece of the main sleeper.

Now turn the handles down on the right side of the fabric and fold the large 25"x60" piece in half with the right sides together. Pin sides and make sure the handles are out of the seam allowance. Lay the whole thing on a piece of batting and cut around it so the batting is the same size as the sleeper.

I also straightened out that left side when I cut the batting ;-) Next, sew around 3 of the edges starting on the corner of a long side, around the folded side and the other long side. Then measure in 5" in from from each corner (from the seam) and sew along the last short open side leaving a 5" opening on each end to stuff the bolsters.

Turn the whole thing right side out and sew a vertical seam from the inside of each opening all the way to the other end, leaving a 5" slot on each side to stuff. Firmly stuff the bolsters then whip stitch them closed. If you don't know how to close a seam, here's a very simple video tutorial to follow.

Next, you need to make the top part that adds smaller bolsters along the top and bottom of the sleeper. Cut out two pieces from your remaining fabric that are about 17x30". Sew along both short sides and one long side, again with a 1/2" seam allowance. Along the open side, measure in 2" from the seam and sew along the last side, leaving a 2" opening on either end to stuff the bolsters, similar the how you did the main sleeper. Turn your piece right side out, stuff firmly and whip stitch closed.

Attach velcro if you're using it either as tabs at the corners or as strips along the short ends, whatever you prefer to hold the top piece to the bottom.

I had thought about adding a waterproof layer inside the top piece but decided to skip it and just use a regular lap pad on top. Feel free to get creative and let me know how it works for you! I'll try to remember to come back and post some action shots of our sleeper in use and let y'all know just how well it worked for us.

This post is included in the Homestead Barnhop and Growing Home's Teach me Tuesday

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