Friday, September 15, 2017

Sleep Tight

With a newborn in the house, sleep has suddenly become a precious commodity! So naturally, anything that can prolong Scout's slumber (better for him and better for me!) is an attractive idea. Sadly, I am quite possibly the worst swaddler in history, and all of my four children have hated having their arms swaddled. Scout, at least, doesn't usually startle himself awake like the others did -- but sometimes when's he restless or trying to fall asleep, he'll flail his arms enough to wake himself up. Scratch mittens helped a bit, but not enough.

I made a few sleep sacks for Laddie way-back-when, using a self-drafted pattern based on the Zipadee-zip design. They worked beautifully, but they were quite worn out and I wanted to try a different design this time. I really like the Love to Dream Swaddle UP, and I've been intrigued by the Woombie. So when I came across Toni's Peanut Swaddler Pattern and Tutorial, I had to give it a shot! I had a super-soft long sleeve knit shirt that had been in my stash for ages, just waiting for this project. 

Okay, my version may not look a lot like Toni's -- the most significant change being the top design. Scout sleeps with his hands up most of the time, so I wanted to give him that option (and my experience with the Zipadee design was that just having fabric to "push" against was soothing enough for Laddie; he didn't seem to need his arms close to his body). I reshaped the top of the sleep sack pattern, and added a fair bit to the bottom -- mostly in length, but also a bit in width -- to accommodate my massive "little" guy. 

I did omit some of the nicer finishing touches (such as the fabric behind the zipper, and the little handy tab that comes over the top) because I was:

A) Lazy
B) Not wanting to invest a lot of time when I wasn't even sure if Scout would like it
C) Willing to be careful not to snag my child's skin in the zipper
D) All of the above

Did you guess D? Yay! You win! I'd pat you on the back, but since I can't you'll have to administer your own prize. Fortunately, the "bare" zipper hasn't been an issue (though I might go the extra mile on a future sleep sack, because it's a nice extra touch and I'd like to try it).

By far, though, the best part of this tutorial was Toni's fabulous guide to making a 2-way zipper out of 2 one-way zippers! It took some finagling (actually, a lot of finagling -- I tried and tried, got quite frustrated, and finally figured out that I had to tug on the zipper a certain way to get that 2nd pull on), but in the end I got both zipper pulls on. Mind. Blown.

If you wanted to use this idea for a bag, just reverse the directions -- now you have a double zipper that opens in the middle!

In case you haven't changed a baby's diaper in the middle of the night lately, a 2-way zipper is life-changing because you don't have to take off the whole sleep sack. Just unzip from the bottom, pop those legs out, and take care of business!

My one caveat to Toni's instructions would be that you only need one long zipper -- zippers are usually priced according to length, so buy one long zipper for the sleep sack, and then the shortest zipper with an identical zipper pull (identical is important) because all you need from the second zipper is the pull.

I'm still amazed that the double zipper works -- and I've had no issues with the zipper doing anything wonky, like pulling apart when it's not supposed to. Here's another bonus shot of the bottom with the reversed pull:

Happily, Scout seems to like his new sleep sack! He definitely seems calmer and more content, and considering that he's managed several 8 hour stretches before 8 weeks old, I'm considering this a win. So much so, in fact, that I made a second sack in gauze (sweaty baby!), and will probably make another soon. Because spit-up happens, y'all...

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