Book Title: Dressing Up Baby: 5 Crochet Sets
Author: Darla Sims
Publisher: Leisure Arts
Copyright Date: 2010
ISBN 13: 978-1-60140-983-6
ISBN 10: 1-60140-983-4
Format: Softcover With Staple Binding
Number of Pages: 44, not including the covers
Cover Price: $10.95 US dollars
Skill Level: 3 of the baby layette sets in the book are rated as "easy +" and 2 are rated as "intermediate."
The book promises to deliver crochet patterns for five different layette sets, each of which includes a baby blanket, jacket, hat and booties.
Projects Included in the Book:
- ”Bundle of Joy” Crochet Baby Layette Set -- This set is pictured on the front cover of the book, modeled by a little boy. You could just as easily make the set for a baby girl; it’s unisex-friendly. The set features a cabled jacket, cabled blanket, beret-style hat, and booties. It’s an intermediate-level project.
My opinion: thumbs up to this set! It’s super cute, and I think the set, or any of the items in it, would make a fantastic baby shower gift. My husband and I both like this set quite a bit.
- ”Hugs and Kisses” Crochet Baby Layette Set -- This is a lovely textured set made with two different colors of yarn. The patterns are rated as “Easy +.” This looks to me like it could be made for either baby boys or girls, depending on the colors you choose. The sample set is crocheted in sea green with what looks like a navy blue accent color. My husband really liked this set, and I think it’s nice too.
- ”My Little Posy” Crochet Baby Layette Set -- This is a pretty, feminine set featuring what looks like little rosebuds and leaves. The blanket is a ripple / zigzag design featuring a fringed edging. Every piece in this set is feminine; there’s no making any of these items for baby boys, to my way of thinking.
I crocheted this pattern and found that the instructions were clear and easy to work from. However, I disliked one thing about the pattern: several (in my opinion) un-necessary instances of having to end off and re-join yarn. This is one of my personal pet-peeves. I find it really irritating, because for one thing I don’t like having to weave in lots of ends, and for another thing I think projects that will be frequently laundered, like baby clothes, would be better off without un-necessary breaks. Because I really hate cutting yarn and re-joining it, I modified the pattern slightly to avoid having to do that. It wasn’t difficult to do, it just took a little pre-planning.
In the scheme of things, that one little issue is not a deal-breaker, and the pattern is really lovely overall. I’m happy to recommend it to other crocheters. Please note: I haven’t actually tried the finished jacket on a living baby yet to know if it will fit. I assume and hope that it will, but don’t know for sure at this point.
- ”You Are My Sunshine” Crochet Baby Layette Set -- This intermediate-level set features a textured stitch and bunches of layers of ruffles. To my way of thinking, all the ruffles make it look pretty “girly,” although it’s possible that perhaps you could get away with making either the blanket or the booties for a baby boy if you stick to using boy-friendly colors. The hat is really ruffly, and so is the jacket. I think this set is cute, but my husband didn’t care for it at all, adding to my hunch that this set isn’t really what you want to make for a baby boy.
- ”Sweet Pea” Crochet Baby Layette Set -- This set is rated as an “easy +” project. It features a four-color afghan that’s crocheted in stripes, although it doesn’t look striped at all. The overall pattern looks like a repeating hexagon design, with three-dimensional flower accents.
This set is really not to my taste at all, although I do think it looks like it would be an interesting group of projects to crochet. My husband didn’t care for it either.
- The projects look to me like they would really keep a baby warm, although they could be made even warmer by changing the closures. Four of the five baby jackets close with ties – cute, but not the warmest possible choice. The fifth closes with buttons, and looks like it would be quite toasty.
- Three of the five sets look really “girly” to me, and I think they would be great for baby girls. The other two sets could go either way, depending on the colors and yarns you use for crocheting them. So if you’re crocheting for a baby girl, this book is probably a better investment than it is if you’re crocheting for a baby boy -- since there are only two sets that are boy-friendly. It depends. If you absolutely love the two boy-friendly sets, and would make either one or both of them, the book could still be a great investment in that case.
- The styling in the book is beautifully done. I find myself drawn to the photos, lingering over each detail, enjoying the lovely, professional presentations.
- I appreciated that skill level ratings were included for each pattern. I know exactly what to expect when I choose to get started on one of these patterns, and have already used this info in determining which pattern I wanted to work first in the book. Since I was in the mood for an “easy” project, I chose to make the “My Little Posy” set (easy +) instead of the “Bundle of Joy” set (intermediate), although I like both sets.
- Finishing these projects appears to be reasonably easy, with the most challenging things apparently being some buttons to sew on in one set, some fringe to make in another set, and some pompoms to make in yet another set. No zippers! No linings! (Of course, maybe this is more of a “con” if you wanted warmer projects that would result from details like zippers and linings…)
- The size range is limited. You get two sizes for each set: 3-6 months, and 12 months. There is no “newborn” or “preemie” size, therefore I would not recommend this book for charity crocheters who focus on crocheting for premature babies (unless of course you know how to grade patterns and are willing to take the time to do all that work.)
- Schematics for the garments are not included in the book, which in my experience would make it a challenge to do the pattern grading even if you are willing and able.
- The garments all use worsted-weight yarn, which, in my opinion, makes for sweaters that are too-bulky even on adults, let alone on babies. It would have been nice to have at least a couple of patterns that used finer yarns so that there would be some variety.
However, this is really a matter of opinion. Just because I would prefer finer yarns, doesn’t mean that everyone would. So, for other crocheters, this may be more of a “pro,” especially if you are in the “make it quick or don’t make it at all” camp. The downside to finer yarns is that the projects would take somewhat longer to crochet. For the baby jackets, my preference would definitely be to have the project take a little longer if it means that I would be able to make a jacket that’s finer, and in my opinion, better-suited to a baby’s small proportions. If you agree with me on that, this may not be the pattern book for you – unless you would still find the baby blanket patterns and other patterns useful to have. I think it’s great to have baby blankets like these made up in worsted weight yarns, especially for those who live in cold climates.
Overall, I think this book is well worth its cover price. I think that intermediate-level crafters crocheting for baby girls will get the most value out of the book, but it’s also a good buy for novice crocheters and / or crafters who are crocheting for babies of either gender.
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