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We Believe...

..that the solution to inequality, pain, suffering, and lack in the world is ‘those that have’ sharing willingly from the heart with ‘those that have not’ who are sick and/or needy.

Warm clothing and bedding for babies, quilts for the aged or ill, books for the disadvantaged, essentials and household goods for those who have lost everything in floods, house fires, or due to job loss; these are just some of the need we assist with. You can help.
 

Nov
30

Free baby cocoon pattern to sew :-)

By

Thatcher's Cocoon

I have added a free (albeit rough) pattern here for everyone to enjoy.  Hopefully the ‘cocoon’ bug will bite folks and they will be happily making up loads of them and sharing them with local hospitals, neighbors having babies and families.   I welcome tips and ideas on how to make them nicer and faster :-) If there are left overs from making cocoons for their own purposes, I would love extras sent my way to take care of the hospital’s needs.   I also just delivered one to a 4 month old baby here who keeps pulling the blankets over his face and scaring his mom and grandpa half to death.  Problem fixed LOL.

The pattern is so easy.  A tube with a rounded end and slightly narrower at the top. approx 18 to 23″ long, depending on how big the baby is you are making it for, and here it is – http://grandmothersattic.net/reliefshare/cocoonpattern.jpg

This is called “Thatcher’s Cocoon”.  My newest grandson is Thatcher.   Add 1/4 seams on the side and an 1″ at the top.  If you are using a tee shirt or sweater, use the hem of the garment as the top of the cocoon and you don’t have to add 1″ at the top.  The widest part across is 10 1/4″ inches and the narrowest part at the top is 8″.  Use a dinner plate or something round to make the curve at the bottom. I just folded the paper in half and eyeballed it.  Cut 2 and sew together.

Hint: pin, pin, pin.  If you are doing it out of recycled sweaters, sew FIRST along the seam to make sure all the fibers are caught or you may have a run (thank you so much to the list members here that suggested it when I had such a problem with the serger lettucing the edges).  You can zig zag the seam after that for stability or serge.

I love sergers, as they are three times as fast as a sewing machine and sewn and finish the seams in one quick shot,  and wish I had more on hand as the ones we have now are going full speed ahead and folks standing in line for their turn to use them.  I have 2 Janome 4 thread with differential feed and have one in black thread and one in white thread going all the time so depending on what color items we are making, we just go over to one or the other serger and make the cocoon.  Ditto with the sewing machines.  My favorite sewing machine, that is used constantly, is the quilting machine with the large plastic tray that allows the items being made to be sew without tugging on the needle.  It is a huge blessing and I pray God blesses the donor each and every day for sending it.  All the volunteers love it, but I am usually the one on that particular machine as it’s the nicest to use. It has a very nice stitch on it as well.  We use it for everything.

I am still working on a nicer way to finish the top inside seam near babies face instead of just having a serged seam.  Sometimes it’s rolled down for a smaller baby and sometimes all the way up so I need a way to make both sides of the seam look nice and feel soft.  I already though about putting ribbing around the top or a finished edge with the seam inside but it really adds to the time it takes to make the cocoons and takes extra fabric. I never have enough ribbing and go through it like water when it’s here.  Ribbing is expensive, too, so I try to find ribbed material to use instead of actual ribbing.  I found some wonder ribbing at the flea market once and made the entire cocoon out of it – heaven!

I hope folks enjoy the pattern.  I know it’s rough, but it gets the job done.  On this blog there is now a pattern to crochet, knit and sew a cocoon.  I am working on getting a pattern written for machine knitting a cocoon on the ISM knitting machine.  Not hard, just something else I need to do that takes me away from actually making the cocoons LOL.

The  Hospital intends on keeping a supply of 350 on stock to use for the babies who are born there – some to stay with the hospital and some to go home with babies.  After we have filled the need for their inventory, we will continue to supply the mothers who are needy in the area through DFS, the crisis center, medical center and homeless shelter with cocoons to use and keep for their little ones.

I’ve been sewing quilts and receiving blankets for my charity for 20 years and this is the first time I have heard of cocoons.  They originally were made as photographers props, because they are cute and lull the baby into being calm and sleeping.  When mothers saw how wonderful they were for comforting babies and found out they were marvelous for transporting babies without wrapping and unwrapping layers of receiving blankets that seemed to slide everywhere, they really caught on and are now the latest ‘hot’ items for mothers in the know.  The cocoons are big in the earth friendly mother channels and recyclers as well as you can either take apart sweaters and use the yarn to knit or crochet the items, or you can simply sew the cocoons out of the sweaters or tee shirts themselves.  The cocoons do take some kind of stretch material.  Velour, knit, tee-shirt material, baby print knit, etc are marvelous – and my favorite – rib knit.

Yes, they will be washed in the hospital laundry, but our hospital has a volunteer that takes items home to wash that can’t go through the high heat and autoclaves in the hospital laundry room.  I also deal with hospitals that actually had regular washing machines and dryers installed on their floor for the nurses to wash items in that come from my charity ;-) The extreme sanitization of items is only required for children with serious contagious diseases and they have their own separate items that are never reintroduced to the regular laundry items.

I don’t use wool for the cocoons as it does felt.  (I love wool, though, for the other projects we do).  Acrylic is naturally hypoallergenic and bacteria resistant so the #1 choice for hospital and baby items.  Cotton is marvelous but expensive.  It also tends to be harder in larger yarn weights and more appropriate for wash cloths.

I had one well meaning lady send me a baby blanket out of heavy cotton yarn and the blanket weighed a ton and had huge holes in it due to the pattern.  I felt so bad for her, she tried so hard, but it was pretty much unusable for the babies.  It wound up as a lap quilt for a elderly person’s wheelchair blanket.  We never waste anything  – all items that are send in for donations find a useful home somewhere ;-)

Yes, this would be a marvelous item to give to a new mother for a baby gift.  Like I said, it is the newest ‘hot’ item for buying for baby that is

out on the market.  There are fancy swaddling blankets with all kinds of flaps and snaps, but this is so simple, quickly understandable and way more effective than anything else I have seen, that it is very much in demand.

Babies prefer the cocoons over blankets.  It’s being nicely wrapped up in something soft, comfortable and warm.  Babies stop fussing, twitching, crying and they just calm down and quietly lay there or they go to sleep.  Nature’s way of calming baby ;-)

You can put a baby in one as long as you want to. I just sew them a longer and a tad wider for older children.  There are 4 year olds who love these.  It’s basically the same principle as a sleeping bag, too.  I know adults who would use one if they could get their hands on one big enough LOL.

President Carol Green,
info@ReliefShare.org

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8 Comments

1

If the cocoon is made from a recycled sweater, the ribbing would be perfect for the top edge. Depending on the size of the sweater, it could be made with the neck opening as the top edge. The length would probably not extend to the bottom ribbing (of an adult sweater), so that ribbing could be cut off and saved for another one.
I just want to mention something. You say these are good for ‘transporting’ babies. They CANNOT be used in a carseat. The hospital should be pointing this out at discharge if a parent tries it. They would be great for putting baby in before putting baby in a sling though, or for during the “pass the baby” rituals, LOL.
There are many superwash wools that would be quite lovely for these, so I wouldn’t say not to use wool as a general rule.
I once made a worsted weight cotton baby blanket that also weighed a ton. But it turned out to be perfect for a play mat, as I made it full of different textures, and it was a natural colour so it didn’t fade with repeated washings. My kids though, LOVED their lacey blankets that they could get their fingers through–I know everyone says to not make lace for babies, but maybe these holes were big enough to not get fingers stuck.
I think I might knit up a few of these for gifts after Christmas :)

2

I’m making cocoons for newborns at our local hospital and for the Prolem Pregnancy Cemter. I’v mde blankets but I believe the cocoons will be less expensive to make, and actually better for the baby.
Thanks for this simple pattern. I’ve crochetd and knitted them, but sewing goes much faster when the need is urgent.

3

How I wish I had known about cocoons 7yrs ago when my son was born premature :/ In any case thankyou so much for sharing. I hope to make and share with some babies from the special care nursery :D I think this would be great for premie babies and super cute too ;)

4

adorable, I can’t wait to make one for my best friends first grandchild

5

Hello! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Thanks

6

These cocoons are a great idea. They go faster whether you hand knit, machine, crochet or sew. They are less baggy than a blanket to wrap the baby around. the most important is benefit is that the tiny feet are always covered. thee little feet seem to drop the booties no matter what kind and the bare feet manage to come out bare when you are holding the baby during feedings. I love to hand knit and fast but using a T shirt or a sweater sounds good. sometimes new mothers prefer soft fabric ones usable compared to knitted ones.I really hope these cocoons become more popular as they are less bulky and faster to knit and more ose thatn Blankets and Booties for newborns and preemies!1

7

Carol,
A French fell (sp) seam will take care of the edge at the top. Very simple to do: Sew the last few inches with the seam on the RIGHT side of the cocoon. Turn the cocoon & sew the seam again, with a straight stitch, enclosing the serged edge. It is the way I was taught to sew pillow cases, back in the dark ages! LOL
A group of us are knitting, crocheting, sewing for Newborns in Need. We are in a small town in SW MO. I’m going to present the cocoon at our next get together. I think sweatshirts would make nice, warm cocoons for cold winters!
Hope my idea helps!
Jo

8

Thank you so much, Jo ;-) We love great information that helps volunteers do an even better job in making items for the sick and needy that we love so much. As founder of both Newborns in Need and Relief Share, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your wonderful sacrifice and service to take care of the needs of God’s most tiny and helpless children ;-) Carol Green, ReliefShare.org

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