Bye, baby bunting

Baby can sleep tight in her handmade, cuddly duffle bag

By Anna Hobbs
Designed by Marget Davis

For the first four months of her life, Hannah Davis viewed the world from a snug little duffle bunting bag that her mother had made. Newfoundland craftswoman Marget Davis got the idea from Labrador, where everyone "duffles up" for the winter.

The blanket-like wool fabric appealed to Marget because it doesn't slip and slide in your arms as nylon bunting bags do. "Duffle seems so warm and cosy," she says. "And lining it with a closely woven cotton adds a windproof feature."

Many Labrador bunting bags have fur trim around the hood, but Marget preferred to finish the edges with blanket stitching to complement the flowers and butterflies she embroidered down the front. She also incorporated Hannah's name into the design. "You could include the birth date, too," she suggests. The bottom of the bag makes a great place to stash extra diapers, and the length is adjustable.

You need:
Download the pattern by clicking here
(PDF format requires free Adobe Acrobat Reader)
• 1.00 m wool duffle cloth, 150 cm wide
• 1.00 m closely woven cotton broadcloth, 115 cm wide, to match
• 45 cm zipper
• Matching thread
• Wool tapestry yarn in the following colours:
1 skein each of: red, pink, bright green, pale yellow and 2 skeins of: bright yellow
• Embroidery needle
• 5.00 mm crochet hook
• Dressmaker's chalk
• Tracing paper and wheel
• Brown paper

To make:
1. Enlarge pattern by the squaring method. On brown paper, draw a grid of horizontal and vertical lines 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Each square on the diagram equals a 2.5 cm square on your paper. Enlarge by drawing each line of the design onto the corresponding square of your paper. (Place centre back line on fold of paper and cut out double thickness, to give entire pattern for back.) Transfer embroidery outlines to brown paper, enlarging as you do so.

2. Pin pattern to broadcloth and cut out 1 back, 2 fronts and 1 hood.

3. Pin pattern to duffle. Outline with chalk. Remove pattern. Cut out along chalk line, cutting one layer at a time. Remove 13 mm (1/2-in) seam allowance from hood and front sections where indicated.

To stitch:
Use 13 mm seam allowance throughout. Backstitch at beginning and end of each seam.

Bag:
1. With right sides together, join front sections of duffle from bottom to notch. Press seam open.

2. With right sides together, pin front to back. Starting at X at right neck edge, stitch around entire bag, ending at X at left neck edge. Clip curves. Turn right side out.

3. With right sides together, pin bottom edge of hood to neck edge, matching front edges and centre back. Ease in fullness of hood. Stitch. Press seam open. At outer edges of seam lines, diagonally clip corners of seam allowances.

Lining:
1.
Stitch lining in same manner as bag, then press under 13 mm seam allowance along zipper opening and around hood.

To embroider:
1.
Starting and ending at bottom of zipper opening, blanket-stitch around raw edge of bag and hood. Use bright yellow yarn and space stitches 6 mm (1/4 in) apart and 6 mm deep.

2. With pink yarn, embroider a straight stitch diagonally between blanket stitches, reversing direction of stitch at bottom of zipper and at top of hood seam (see diagram).

3. With tracing paper and wheel, transfer embroidery outlines to hood and front of bag at positions indicated on diagrams. (Reverse pattern so each side is a mirror image.) Include name on right hand front. Write it first on brown paper, then transfer to fabric with wheel and paper.

4. Embroider as shown in diagram using colours as shown in photographs.

To finish:
1.
Insert zipper in front opening, stitching in place be along inner edge of blanket stitch.

2. With wrong sides together, insert lining into bag. Pin in place along zipper tape and around edge of hood. Slipstitch in place using small invisible stitches, leaving a small opening on either side of hood just above neckline, as shown on pattern.

3. If drawstring is desired, machine-stitch around hood as indicated on pattern to form casing. Fold 10 m (11-yd) length of bright yellow yarn in half. Single crochet this double strand to form tie. Thread through casing. Knot ends.

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