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It’s become a bit of a tradition that when one of my friends has a first baby, I make a couple of these crinkly taggie baby toys. It’s a known fact that babies frequently prefer playing with non-playthings, so you’ll find them having fun with the toy’s packaging instead of the toy or the tag on the toy instead of the toy’s other features. And thus was born the Taggie, which is actually a registered trademark. These things are really so simple to make. All you have to do is sew folded ribbons into the seams of the object. I make these taggies hanky-sized so that they’re easy for baby to handle and with a special upcycled something inside to make a fascinating (at least for baby) crinkle noise. Here’s how to make a couple of these in 15 minutes or so, getting rid of scraps of fabric and ribbons and making new mom and baby happy!
Gather your materials. For two of these toys you’ll need: four 20 cm x 20 cm (8″ x 8″) squares of fabric, one washed and dried plastic cereal bag and scraps of ribbon, ric rac, t-shirt yarn that has been stretched out, etc. The fabric can be bigger or smaller or even completely different shapes, but I find this size to fit well onto half of a cereal bag. I like to use cotton flannel, but you could use whatever you want (though I’d stick with natural fibers, as babies put *everything* into their mouths). You could use velour or corduroy for extra tactile enjoyment or upcycle some fabrics from old clothing. Making a patchwork of different fabrics would be fun, too! This time I chose to make one toy with similar pastel colors on white and another with fabrics with black backgrounds.
If you have a flat label with your name or business on it, sew it in the corner of two of your squares (that will go on two separate toys) about 2 cm from each edge. If you have a side label, just use it like another ribbon when sewing.
Then start picking out your ribbons, ric rac, etc. Try to pick colors that will look nice with your fabric colors as well as a variety of textures, which makes it more interesting for baby. Don’t use yarn because the fibers could come off in baby’s mouth. Cut off pieces between 8 and 15 cm long and iron them in half. I left mine relatively long so that the baby’s hand can fit in them, but usually they’re shorter. Most ribbons are synthetic, so put an ironing cloth or other piece of fabric on top of the ribbon while ironing or else it could melt.
Take your cereal bag. Please make sure that you’ve washed and dried it thoroughly. You can use other types of plastic packaging, too. I remember having seen baby wipe packages used as a crinkly material. I use cereal bags because the plastic is food grade and hasn’t previously contained chemicals that are used in disposable wipes. Open the bag up along all the seams and cut it in half.
Place one of the fabric squares on top of each cereal bag half, right sides up. Position the ribbons on top of the fabric square with the folded end facing inwards and with the cut ends lined up more or less with the fabric square edge.
When you’re happy with the layout, pin them in place.
Place your other two fabric squares on top of the ribbons face down, lining up the edges with the squares below. Pin those in place, leaving the pins holding the ribbons as well.
Sew all along the edges with a 1 cm seam allowance (left). Leave a space open in the center of one side, preferably between two ribbons. The sewing machine’s feed dogs might not move the fabric sandwich along very well with the plastic on the bottom, so you might need to help it along. Don’t worry if the stitching doesn’t come out perfectly even. Nobody will see it! Then trim the fabric and plastic around the seams, clipping around the corners (right).
Turn the squares right side out through the hole you’ve left open. Iron the squares, taking care to turn the opening’s edges inwards. Then topstitch around the whole square close to the border, closing up the opening. It will be much easier to topstitch because the plastic is no longer on the outside. And that’s it! Here are the fronts and backs of my two crinkly taggie toys.
Now I’d like you to just TRY to resist crinkling these things! The sound and sensation is so interesting, even for a grownup, it’s no wonder babies can’t resist playing with this type of toy! Now go and make them for all of your little friends!