I spent some time this past week making a baby gift for my brother’s newborn baby, Johnny Austin.  He was born on Saturday.  And, he is named after our dad.

Today is my dad’s birthday.  He is no longer with us.  He passed away in 1998 from cancer when my little brothers were only 12 and 16.

Do you make baby gifts?  This is my first time to do so.  I’m not an ooey gooey baby person.  But, this time, I wanted it to be special given the circumstances.


Our dad, Johnny, was a Western shirt and Wranglers man.  This is a photo of him that I worked on redoing (read more about him at that link) so I could make sure all of my siblings had a good photo of dad.


So, I went out and found a shirt at Savers that closely resembled the type of shirt he’d wear.   I cut out shapes and appliqued them on to onesies.  The Texas because my dad was a cowboy living in Texas.  The J on the second one is for the namesake.


With the left over shirt fabric, I decided to make a hug pillow.   A term I made up, but it represents a hug from my dad for the new baby.  The concept can be used for anyone you miss, even a father who travels a lot or boyfriend who is away.  You could even be sure the person’s scent is on it.  It’s perfect for a child to snuggle with.

And, the buttons all unsnap so it’s great for future motor skills.


The bottom of the arms are not stuffed so you can pull it tight and tie it should you want.  It’s great for an older baby to lean against while playing or a toddler to lean against and watch television.

All made from this shirt.


Here are the onesies again.  The pearl button (a signature of my dad’s) is placed over Houston where he lived.


And, the back of the Texas onesie with the name and middle initial.


It’s not perfect, but it’s handmade with love.  And, represents something special.

I got the idea from Michelle at Décor and the Dog.  She made this one for a friend’s baby.


I’m by no means a master seamstress (I’d call myself a beginner for sure), but this wasn’t too difficult.  …Other than the fact that my machine was broken and wouldn’t sew right and so after hours days of working with it, I had to buy a new one.   So, I will post tutorials for each in the next couple of days!

Do you make handmade gifts?  What are your go-to gifts?  Do you sew?  If so, what kind of machine do you use?  I just got a new one that I’m pretty excited about – Brother Innovis 950D.  It will do small embroidery and sewing as well.  The cool things that I’m not used to are that it will cut the thread for you, thread the needle for you, and has over 200 stitches to choose from!  So much easier than my $50 Brother machine I had been using.  Maybe it’s good that it broke in the move.

Hope my brother and his wife like these!  Wish they were from my dad’s actual shirts, but we didn’t have the forethought to save them.

Happy birthday, dad!   Miss you.