I’m sure you’ve noticed that a lot of baby items are very unattractive and overpriced. Or if they are really cute, interesting colors, they are REALLY overpriced.
When I was thinking about what to make for baby, I checked a bunch of books out from the library to get ideas of what I could realistically make and would definitely use. I wanted to make practical, pretty things, and my favorite book along these lines was Sew Modern Baby by Angela Yosten. I recommend this book for the creative and totally practical variety of projects – plus she uses beautiful fabric combinations I’m sure you’ll find inspiring!
I was pretty impressed by her baby play gym – it never would have occurred to me in a million years to make my own. Our playgym is in our main living area. and we are looking at it constantly, so I’m really happy I was able to make a cute one that I actually like to look at!
The great thing about this project is you can do it with any baby quilt – just add some ribbons to attach the overhead arches, and construct the arches, and you’re good to go. I decided to make her a double sided baby quilt/play mat (more pictures of that soon!) so I could have some variety in the play gym. When she outgrows the play gym arches, I can pick out the stitches of the ribbons that attach the arches to the quilt, and have the quilt for whatever we want.
This picture shows the other side of the mat – a rainbow ABC quilt – I’ll have a tutorial for this later too!
All you need to buy (besides fabric – though I made mine from stash!) is some of these baby play links – which are great developmental toys anyway – and some sort of tubing for the overhead structure. Anything somewhat flexible could work, but I ended up using blue PEX Water Pipe – because I found some cheap used at the Habitat Re-store. Note: If you don’t have the store cut it for you, you’ll need a pipe cutter, which are very cheap, to cut the pipe.
I deviated from the book’s suggestions for constructing the arches quite a bit, mainly because I hate turning tubes inside out (with a passion! ha!), and that was the method she recommended for making the overhead arches. She also called for using pipe insulation to pad the arches and give them extra structure, and I wanted to use quilt batting 1. because I had some scraps on hand that I wanted to use up and 2. Quilt batting seemed less toxic for the baby to chew on.
Another change I made was having the arches cross over each other, as pictured below.
Her arches look amazing, and you should totally check out her book for the instructions on how to make them the “right” way, but if you want to know how I made my version, read on!