Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jess's Girl

Know what's amazing? When a girl you grew up with is having a baby. I first met my dear friend Jess when she was 15 years old, on the first day of rehearsals for Into the Woods. She rocked a really cool bowl cut and swooped in to take the lead as the Baker's Wife with her booming, gorgeous voice. Naturally, we were all intrigued. Over the years, I've watched her grow out of that bowl cut and into a smart, gorgeous, fashionable New Yorker. She's mean and compassionate and hilarious all at once, and she's one of my favorite people. So naturally, she's going to be a great mom.

For Jess's little girl, I wanted to make something sweet, but not too sweet, and not just any old thing would do. So after much consideration, I decided to make her a very simple little quilt and a very cuddly little stuffed mouse. (And I cannot tell you how happy I was when I visited Jess and Ryan's new apartment and found that they were painting the baby's room seafoamy blue  and wanted to decorate with pink  accents. YES!)
For the quilt, the hardest part was picking the fabrics. When I saw this pale pink polka dot, it absolutely spoke to me. The border could have gone lots of different ways...a blue stripe? A solid yellow? But no, this floral was the match I was looking for. (I may have squealed a little bit when I held the two fabrics together at the shop.)
I used the polka dot fabric for the front and back--two yards is the perfect amount for a 36" x 44" baby quilt. Just fold the fabric in half and cut it down the fold. Slip some batting between the two pieces and you're ready to pin the layers together! The actual quilting could not be easier. It's just long rows of wavy lines, about two inches apart, and to make them you just let the quilt meander back and forth as you push it beneath the foot. Once you've quilted the blanket, you add your binding and you're all set. 
The mouse doll was more of an impulse creation. The blanket needed a friend! Years ago I edited a sweet little book called Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt, which features a whole family of stuffed animal projects, and the author sent me a kit for making this mouse girl. (You can buy your own kit here!) You just cut out the felt pieces and whipstitch all around them--the sloppier the better!--and then you stuff the mouse's head and body and sew them together. I finished this little girl in one night, and it was so so so fun.
The scariest part, of course, is sewing the face. But you really can't go wrong. I gave Jess's mouse girl a sneaky little smile, because I can already tell that her daughter is going to be just a wee bit mischievous. 
Finally, to top it all off, I made a gag-worthy matching card to go with the gift. I know! It was too much! But sometimes I can't stop myself. Especially when I'm happy for someone. And I could not be happier for Jess and Ryan.

Come on, December 13! Let's meet this girl already!


  1. aww i LOVE this!! That's one lucky little girl and she hasn't even been born yet :)

  2. That mouse is so sweet!! And the quilt! Adorable! Does the little girl have her treats yet?