I am realizing there are plenty of differences between your first and second pregnancies (if you missed my analogy of duct tape vs. ace bandages, feel free to catch up here), and I am certain there will be a fair number of differences between our first child and our second. The amount of toys, baby gear, and clothing you can accrue between Baby One and Baby Two is a prime example, and I think of it often as I try to clean, organize, and sort through the growing piles.
I am a minimalist at heart. Okay, maybe not a full minimalist since I like to hoard yarn and am certain to buy an extra yard of fabric with any project just to be sure, but I also strive to trim and prune down from time to time to keep my home from being over-grown with piles of useless stuff. With the approaching arrival of Baby HG2, I have been working hard on preparing her room so that it is easily organized, the newborn and three month outfits are easily accessible, and the rocking chair is clean and cozy for the many hours we’ll spend together on its seat in the coming months. With Quincy, nearly every outfit we had was new or had been passed on to us with no need to return it. What does that mean in the world of Maggie the Organizer? No need to label clothes, worry if they got stained, or constantly need to remember whose outfit it is and where it needs to be returned to once he out grew it.
Now, as I said, the second child changes things. Since we are having a girl this time around that is born in a different season, there are less outfits in our stash of Quincy Clothes that would fit Baby HG2. We also received clothing from some of my awesome friends (Hi Lindsay, Laura, & Jenny!), but they are meant to be passed on to the next baby girl that joins our little crew. And finally, we have other awesome friends and family that have gifted us some beautiful outfits for Baby HG2 to add to the mix. So, between the Quincy Clothes, the Community Clothes, and the New Clothes, it’s hard to keep track of whose is whose and where it needs to go when we’re done!
I’ve used permanent markers to label tags, but a lot of baby clothes now come with a printed label on the fabric (yay for no itchy tags!) and writing on the fabric would bleed through to the other side (boo for no itchy tags!) I got to thinking, and devised this system just by using my sewing machine, a colored thread, and a zig-zag stitch.
1. Start with the Onesies. For all of those shirts without tags that have snaps that connect between baby’s legs, zig zag stitch a little block in your colored thread on the inside layer next to the snaps. That way, when the snaps are open you can see your marker, but once it’s snapped onto baby, it can’t be seen at all!
2. Move on to Sleepers. Whether they have snaps or zippers, I have always found a tag inside the sleepers, typically near baby’s waist. The washing and drying instructions are less important to me, as almost all baby clothes can be washed in normal wash and dry cycles, but make sure to avoid the sizing information. Since the fabric of the tags is kind of slippery, I make sure to zig-zag stitch one direction, then rotate 90˚ and zig-zag again over the other stitches, helping to keep the block of stitches in place.
3. Next up: Pants. I have yet to find a pair of pants that hasn’t had a tag, I treat them just like sleepers and zig-zag both directions to secure the stitches.
4. If the tag has been cut-off? Well, then we have to get a bit creative. If there is a snap, you can always treat it like a onesie and stitch your mark on the bottom layer next to the snaps. If no snaps, look for a zipper and try to sew to an underside layer that won’t show once the zipper is pulled closed. If it’s a pair of pants with no snaps, zippers, or buttons, you may have to stitch on the fabric and it will show on the outside. If this is the case, try to pick either the back near the waistband (much like where a tag would be), or near a seam in the leg so it is somewhat hidden.
5. And then there are the Fancy Outfits. I’ve come across some fancy outfits that I can’t bear the thought of stitching into the fabric and there isn’t a tag I could use. If that’s the case, either leave it unmarked, or grit your teeth and sew a small block of stitches. I got lucky with this one, and was able to hide my marker near a button.
6. Oops? Mislabeled? Sometimes I can get kinda gung-ho about labeling things, so when I realized I’ve stitched on the wrong side of a onesie (so it’s visible when snapped close), or I accidentally labeled an outfit that wasn’t mine, or maybe the outfit is being sold at a garage sale and it’d look nicer without the label. In these circumstances, it’s when your trusty Seam Ripper comes into play. Simply slice through the stitches, pull out the thread pieces, and no more marking saying it’s yours! Sure is a lot easier than trying to erase permanent markers or cutting off a tag that has information you may need in the future.
Have you had success in labeling odd clothing or toys? Share in the comments!
Organizedly* passing the days until Baby HG2,
*yes, that is not a real word.