A New Grandfather

I don't remember when I grew 'old-er'.  I still can't grasp the idea that I'm beyond the 20-somethings, 30-somethings, 40-somethings, mumble...mumble...mumble.  I still like cute things like Hello Kitty. (By the way did anyone out there find my Hello Kitty watch that I lost in Berkley?)  I love Harry Potter movies (and yes, I read the books too), Star Trek the Movie, and The Big Bang Theory.  I have a Totoro stuff doll and coin purse.  I wear tank tops most of the time.  So does age really matter?  Answer: Only when you look yourself in the mirror!

I always thought I'd be a young grandmother.  But alas...time is a'ticking and no grandkids are in sight.  The closest thing to a grandchild is my son's cat. (whom we adore !)

On the other hand, my boss who is REALLY old, is going to be a grand daddy.

I wanted to make a gift for his new grand daughter. I decided on a baby futon (a Japanese baby comforter).  This is a special gift tied to memories of my own son with his very own baby futon; made in the traditional manner; purchased at a fabric store with roots dating back to the late 1800's in Hawaii.  Imagine that!  (A bit of trivia - the store's owner is credited with making the first "aloha shirt".)
Here's my cutie with his baby futon

Over the years, I've sewn 7 or so baby futons.  It's a struggle each time but worth every bit of sweat in the end. The pattern is quite simple but the inside batting is a bear!

I'd like to say that this is the 'traditional' way of sewing a baby futon, with a pattern of over 30 years in keeping. The futons of yesterday were stuffed with cotton batting layers but today, polyester rules and I do have a secret to share on batting...so stay with me.

 Pretty In Pink Baby Futon

Baby Futon (The "how to" is for personal use only and is most likely copyrighted)

  • 1 yard for the center panel 
  • 1 1/2 yards for the backing
  • 3 layers of Cotton Batting
  • 2 skeins of embroidery thread
Center Panel
  • Cut off 17" from 45" width 
  • Final size : 28" x 36" 
  • Mark centers on each of 4 sides of fabric
  • Keep cut off piece for another project
Seam Line : I used a 3/8" seam line but a 1/2" seam line is good too.

  • Fold & pin the two short sides of the fabric, right sides together. The folded fabric will be 22 1/2" (half of 45" width) x 1 1/2 yards
  • Sew the pinned edge, leaving a 20" gap in the center to pull cover and batting inside out in a later step.
  • Cut the folded edge and open up the backing.  (the edge that you sewed is now the center seam of the backing)
  • Mark the center of each side of the backing
Sewing the Panel to the Backing
  • Place the center panel and backing right sides together
  • Match the centers and pin
  • Here comes the tricky part with the corners: After pinning the front panel to the backing, you will find an excess of fabric at each corner.
  • Match the corners of the panel while joining to the backing fabric. The fabric excess is still there but don't worry about it for now. (see pics below on how this will be addressed)
  • I drew a seam line on the center panel to use as a guide for sewing.  I sewed up to the seam line on one side of the corner, then stopped, then continued sewing. You can keep sewing without stopping if you like. 
 The corner of the center panel will look like this at this point. (The pic is ugly..sorry about that)

Finishing the Corners

 This is the futon cover at this point. Note the excess fabric at the corners.

Draw a seam line from the corner of the backing to the corner of the front panel. Sew down this line. Cut excess. 

The corners on the backing will now look like this. 

  • Cut one cotton batting to fit size of futon (approximately 35" x 43"); set aside
  • Turn futon cover inside out, where wrong side of the center panel is facing up
  • Place the remaining two layers of batting over the futon cover with 7" extending over the sides
  • Tear off corners by hand.
  • Fold over 7 inch overlapped batting towards the center.  
  • Place the batting that was set aside on top for a smoother layer
  • At this point, the fabric is on the bottom and the batting is on the top. To get to the opening to turn the futon inside out, grab the futon cover and batting on one side and roll up towards the center. The opening will now be visible. 
  • Stick your hand into the cover and reach for two corners on one side. Grab the fabric along with the batting and pull towards you and through the gap part way. Then repeat for other side. Then pull all the way through. Or find a way that works for you.
  • Fix the batting as needed. Fill the corners will more batting.
The Finishing 
  • Sew gap closed
  • Tack down the top with embroidery thread: Measure and mark where you want to tack down. Thread needle with a 5" strand of embroidery floss. Start at a corner where the front panel meets the backing. Poke down through the top and back up again. Tie into a top. Trim.  Add one tack at the opposite corner, then 2 more tacks in between (4 tacks in a row).  Repeat tacking with 4 in a row up to the opposite end of the cover.  The tacking helps to keep the batting in place. 

  • Add tassles to the corners : Cut a 1 yard strand of embroidery floss. Thread through the needle; moving the needle towards the middle so that you end up with 2 strands. DON'T KNOT.
 Sew 5 loops

Without cutting the thread, wind up the thread to the top
To finish off, turn fabric towards the back of the futon, slip the needle through as shown above. Pull needle through to secure. (my loops are uneven which is bad thing!)


What you say? ... you want to know the secret I promised about the batting? Okay, for the softest, most "huggable" baby futon use the batting inside a JUMBO pillow.  ( I bought one on sale at Sears for half price) You will need to carefully 'delayer' the batting then fold it to fit the cover (with the 7" extension as indicated above). 

Just look at all this SOFT, CUDDLY batting...good secret huh?

Now and go a make a memory for that special someone...


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