Quilting Blog

Join the 2nd Annual Craftsy Charity Sew-Along!

Join the 2015 Craftsy Charity Sew-AlongDid you take part in last year's Craftsy community service sewing project? We had an incredible response, with blog readers sewing more than 250 NICU smocks to be donated to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital!

NICU Charity Smocks | Blend Fabrics

This year, Craftsy (in partnership with the Music City Modern Quilt Guild and Craft Buds) is once again inviting readers to sew along with us and bring some cheer to families of babies admitted into NICU care at Vanderbilt!

Because of the wires and tubes babies wear in the NICU, normal newborn clothing is not an option. That is why Craftsy member Kymy created the free NICU Smock sewing pattern. It’s encouraging for parents going through a difficult situation to be able to dress their baby in a handmade outfit for photos and for warmth.

NICU Charity Smocks in Treelicious for Blend Fabrics

Last year, readers sewed a variety of NICU smocks in holiday and everyday, child-friendly prints. Every little outfit adds up, and I was blown away by the number of readers who sent in not one or two, but 10, 20 or even 40 tiny little smocks! Each year, Vanderbilt's Level 3 NICU admits over 1,300 critically ill newborns to its 104-bed facility. All this to say that we'd love to donate just as many smocks as last year, and any number of smocks you can donate will go to good use!

Music City MQG NICU Smock Drive

Want to sew along with us?

This charity sew-along runs from August 1, 2015 to November 1, 2015. This gives you three months to sew up one or more NICU smocks (each takes an hour or less to sew) and donate them to a great cause. No matter where you live, we’d like to invite you to join us in sewing for charity.

The NICU smocks pattern is a FREE download from Craftsy member Everything Your Mama Made.

Get it here on Craftsy!

According to the pattern, you can either finish with a serger or sew them together as pictured (pressed and top-stitched). With a serger, these would go together in no time at all. Please finish the smocks with Velcro closures, because the hospital has stricter regulations on snap closures and the smocks cannot be used.

Involve your community

  1. Is your child in a 4-H club? Suggest sewing NICU smocks as a charity project! Isn’t it wonderful that kids how they can get interested in community service from a young age?
  2. Use your weekend! Spend Friday night cutting out fabric, Saturday sewing smocks, Sunday pressing and adding velcro. You can even ask family and friends to help.
  3. Contact your local hospital's NICU and ask if they can use handmade smocks. (Some can't, simply due to regulations.) If you prefer and the hospital allows, we'd love for you to donate them locally!
NICU Charity Smocks

We'd like to receive smocks in holiday prints, but also cute baby girl, boy, or gender neutral fabric like these animal prints from Ann Kelle that can be used any time of year. Last year, we received about half and half (holiday and non-holiday prints) for a great mix.

Alternately, you are welcome to sew along and donate outfits to your local NICU. Get together some friends and sew a whole bunch of smocks if you’d like. Tip: Make sure to call ahead and see if they are willing to accept this kind of donation.

NICU Charity smocks

Want to sew along with us? Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the FREE NICU smock pattern on Craftsy.
  2. Print off the last six pages, and follow the directions for the 3- to 5-pound size.
  3. Sew one or more NICU smocks in cheerful holiday fabrics or child-friendly prints. Please use quality quilting cottons for the outside and any coordinating flannel for the lining. You may pre-wash your fabrics or not — it’s up to you! Please secure with velcro, not snaps.
  4. Fill out this Google Form if you plan to sew along. We'll give you the mailing address to donate your sewn smocks to benefit Nashville’s Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
  5. Mail your smocks to the address provided. All smocks must be postmarked by November 1, 2015.
  6. Join our Facebook group to share your creations.

32 Comments

Carolyn Bailey

We made these for our local hospitals for our Cenla Threads of Love but the hospitals will not use them. Do not want babies covered. Wish they would. We hv lots of fabric and time tied up..

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Lindsay Conner

Carolyn, if you still have them, you are welcome to mail to us. Address available via the sign-up form. Would hate for them not to go to use!

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Shari

Our Threads of Love group made these and none of the six hospitals in our local area will accept them. Call around before you commit too many resources and time. God bless.

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tommie ilg

Yes I would like to join

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Melissa J. Graebner-Young

I would like to get my shop involved! Is there any way to donate to this cause in a local fashion? Even though most of my fabric is Civil War reproduction, I do have some cute flannels and flowery prints!

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Lindsay Conner

Yes, just place a call to your local NICU and ask if they have rules about donations like this. You can send them a link to this article for photos. Some hospitals have stricter rules on the donations they can receive and what the children must wear. 🙂 Would love for you to donate locally!

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Chira Oravetz

Would love to sew!

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linda downing

I would love to join, I would do this in memory of my mother who just passed away on 7/6/15

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Toni Gambino

Assisting in this endeavor will bring me great joy. I have 48 years of sewing, quilting and needlework experience. I am retired and l finally own my time and spend it in creative accomplishments. I am at your disposal.

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DEBORAH ISABELLE

I WOULD LOVE TO HELP!

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Nancy Gentry

I would think pre washing would be preferred, so as to remove the chemicals from the fabric and the garment would be softer. Just my thought.

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Kymy - Everything Your Mama Made & More!

Yes Nancy the directions specifically say to prewash all fabrics.

“Make sure to pre-wash your fabric in warm or hot water & dry on high… these are washed often & need the fabric needs to be pre-shrunk.”

The NICU will rewash them in special detergent generally anyway, but they are washed in very hot water and dried on hot as well. So it’s important to remove the chemicals, but also to pre-shrink them because they will shrink afterwards if not.

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Lisa

I had a preemie in the NICU 14 years ago and we were so grateful for the little smock that we got for her. She was born at 25.5 weeks and weighed 1 pound 11 ounces and we were in the NICU for 89 days. For the first while, their skin can’t handle contact with fabrics, or humans 🙁 but when she got a little older we were so glad that we could cover her up in a little smock. It made her look like a baby and not a science project. 🙂 She was born in Minneapolis and spent her time in Children’s Hospital. I’m not a seamstress nor can I sew but they were such a blessing to us! I know it seems weird to someone who may not have a child in the NICU but being able to “clothe” them like a normal baby takes just one little stresser away. At least for me. Thank you ladies for doing these!!

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Bev Bates

Would you be able to take them from a Girl Guiding group in the UK if we sent you some? As a group of ladies we have made Linus quilts,teddies for tragedy and also pillowcase dresses for Africa so these little gowns would be ideal for us to make in one of our meetings.

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Lindsay Conner

Of course! If you cannot find a place locally to donate, we’ll accept international donations.

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Bev Bates

Brill,thank you

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JulieCC

My daughter was born at 18 ounces (and 11.5 inches) at 22 weeks, 4 days gestation. I have a plan to make these for her NICU. However, be sure to check with the NICU you are donating to. My daughter’s hospital does NOT want Velcro…it will not hold up in their laundry system, plus it will attract fuzz and threads, etc. They don’t want metal snaps, either. Plastic snaps are fine, like those from Babyville (Hobby Lobby has their own version of them now!).

Also, check what sizes they want. Ours doesn’t need any for one-, or two-pound babies. Like my daughter for several months, the babies cannot wear even these smocks for various reasons.

Also, think about making some as bereavement items – with fancy fabric, laces, etc. Hospitals rarely have these for families – for photos, funerals (if there is one), etc. For those they CAN use one-pound sizes.

Flannel is great and prewashing is a necessity.

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JulieCC

Oh, and I forgot to mention that my daughter’s first clothes (for photos) were DOLL CLOTHES as nothing would fit her. The “preemie” t-shirts went to her mid-calf and were about four times as wide as her!

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Jennifer

What kind of fabric is used for the outside of these? Flannel or woven cotton??

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Guilded Gal

Would it be possible to see how these fit on a NICU baby, using a doll, with simulated tubes? Thank you. I would like to join but really cannot envision how this works.

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Patsy Blume

I would love to participate in making these smocks, but need to contact the hospitals here in Portland, OR before starting. I also would like to see a smock on a baby.
Patsy

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Lindsay Conner

Hi Patsy! If you download the free pattern, there is a photo of the smock on a baby. 🙂

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Lindsay Conner

There is a photo in the free pattern showing how it fits on the baby. Hope that helps!

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Cynthia Booth

Can you use fleece to make the smocks?

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Mimes

This is a wonderful support item for our preemies. I would NOT recommend using fleece. It can produce electricity and cause problems with equipment. At Christmas, I made quilts for local hospital that had fleece backing. Could not be used for the sick children- but was able to give to siblings of the sick children. And definitely check with the local hospitals….
Good luck!

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Sherry

Do the families take them home or do they stay at the hospital?

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Nikki

Are there any other items we can make as well ? Like fitted sheets or knitted/crocheted hats , booties ..etc

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