Monday, September 16, 2019

DIY baby taggy toy


Several years ago, a lovely friend sent Donovan an adorable handmade taggy toy when he was born.  He was pretty ambivalent about it; he could take it or leave it.  But a couple of years later, along came Henry. . . and he LOVED it.

baby Henry!

Seriously one of his favorite toys.  I wanted to make him another one, and the toy seemed easy enough to make.  But I never had much ribbon lying around the house at the time, so I never got around to making one.

However, with BABIES arriving on the scene very soon, and a plethora of ribbon around here, I decided to make some taggy toys, and write up a little tutorial for them, too!  Friends, they are super simple (and quick!) to make -- easy enough for beginner sewists.



The hardest part about making the taggy toy is arranging all the adorable tags (ribbons) on the fabric.  I'm not even kidding.  That's what took the longest, and it was only a few minutes.


For the ribbon tags, anything goes!  You can use all one color, just a couple of colors, or all the colors of the rainbow.  If you prefer the happy mix of colors like the ones shown in the tutorial, I offer a colorful ribbon taggy bundle in my shop so you don't have to buy 15 different spools of ribbon ($$$!!!) and you'll have just what you need to make the toy.


Choose grosgrain, satin, or woven ribbons, from 1/4" to 1.5" wide.  Of course, you'll need more ribbon with narrower ribbons, less with wider ones.  I used 6 feet of ribbon total for mine, using a mixture of widths and textures.



For the fabric, you'll need a cotton / cotton blend piece of fabric (8" x 8") and a piece of minky, flannel, or even a washcloth of the same size.  You could make 4 taggy toys with a fat quarter of each fabric.

The seams will be stitched with a quadruple seam, ensuring a secure, safe toy* for baby to chew on.
*As with all baby toys, please regularly monitor and inspect toy for safety (no loose tags, fraying, tearing, etc.)  I am not liable nor responsible for your toy or anything that may arise from its use or misuse.

Let's get started!

LEVEL: beginner

Notes:
**Seam allowance: 1/4" and 1/2" where instructed, and 1/4" and 1/8" topstitch for finishing
**Use a reinforcing stitch (a couple of back-and-forth stitches) when beginning and ending your stitching.
**Pivot at each corner. (When you come to the corner, place needle down in fabric, lift presser foot, turn (pivot) the fabric 90 degrees, then lower the presser foot again, and continue sewing.)

What you need. . . .



  • 8" x 8" piece of cotton / cotton blend fabric
  • 8" x 8" piece of backing fabric, such as minky, flannel, or even a washcloth would work
  • approximately 2 yards of ribbon, or 24 pieces of 3" long ribbons in varying widths (I offer a bundle of ribbon tags HERE for your convenience.)
  • ruler, rotary cutter, and mat (optional)
  • pins
  • scissors
  • sewing machine (or needle for hand sewing)
  • coordinating thread
  • turning stick or chopstick
  • iron
Cut. . . .

Cut your fabrics to 8" x 8" squares.


Next, cut your ribbon(s) into 3" long pieces.  I used 24 tags on my toy.  You may need a little more or less, depending on how wide your ribbon is.


Pin. . . .

Folding the ribbons in half, arrange the tags around the edges of the fabric square.  You'll place the cut edge of the ribbon along the raw edge of the fabric.  The folded tag will be facing toward the center of the fabric square.


Pin them in place.


You can make a pattern, or just place them randomly like I did.  I spaced mine a little over 1/4" apart, but how you space them is completely up to you!  There's no wrong way to do it. . .  just have fun with it!


IMPORTANT >>> The only "rule" in this step is do not pin any tags within 1/2" of the corners.  Leave at least 1/2" near each corner free of any tags, so they don't get caught in the seams.


Sew. . . .

This step is to make your assembly easier, but it also makes the toy that much stronger -- no tags falling off!  Don't skip this step.

Sew a stitch 1/4" away from the edge of the fabric, removing pins as you come to them.



Assemble. . . .

Place the backing fabric (in this case, the minky) on the cotton fabric, right sides together, and pin in place.   If you're using minky, work carefully and gently, so as to not stretch it too much if you can help it.


You're going to leave a 2" opening on one side (NOT a corner) for turning the toy right side out, so make a note (mental or visual) where you're going to leave that opening.



Tip: I'll usually use two red pins where my opening will be, to remind me to leave that opening!  (And I use red pins because... red means stop.  hahaha!)  ANYWAY.



Sew again. . . .

Now, beginning where you plan to leave the 2" opening, sew all around the fabric edges, using a 1/2" seam allowance. . .

(the tape... I place a piece of masking tape on my machine's
guide at the 1/2" seam allowance mark so I can see it better while I'm sewing.)


. . . and stopping at the other side of the 2" opening.

the opening is between the red pins

Trim. . . .

Clip the corners of fabric.  Don't snip the (inner) seam you just sewed.

Turn. . . .

Turn the taggy toy right side out, and then use the turning stick to gently poke out the corners and seams.



pressing out the seams and corners with
a turning stick ensures neat sides and corners

Press. . . .

Now, tuck the raw fabric edge in at the opening, to make it even with the sewn sides. . . 


Pin the opening closed.



. . . and then gently iron the fabric on the cotton side, using a low heat setting.  Be careful not to press the ribbons much (or at all) to avoid melting them!!  They CAN and WILL melt.
And DO NOT press the minky side!


pressed and ready to be finished!


Sew once again. . . .

Now, sew around the entire toy, using 1/4" seam allowance.

I switched to a white top thread for the final stitching.
Choose whatever color you want to compliment or contrast with your design.


Don't stop now!  Next, sew another seam around it again, 1/8" from the edge.  This should be halfway between the seam you just sewed, and the edge.  Take it slow.  You can do this!




And ta-daaa!  You're done!



I hope you'll give this a try. It's quick, fun, and that special bambino in your life will LOVE it.  Please feel free to leave a comment or question below. . .  I love hearing from you!
Talk to you soon!

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