Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drawstrings and baby caps

A knitter wrote to me today asking about how to make a drawstring for a baby cap.
I believe that the best sort of drawstring is no string at all--drawstrings have the horrible potential to come loose and strangle the baby.

Illustration 1: If drawstrings absolutely must be used--as in a family heirloom christening cap for example--their danger can be lessened (but not eliminated!) by sewing the drawstring to the cap while leaving the extending ends to be used as ties, but keeping these ties as short as possible.

Illustration 2: If the cap will be too large for the baby's head unless the drawstring snugs the cap up, then sew the drawstring to the cap in the already snugged-up position.

Illustration 3: I believe that a safer modification for a drawstring cap is to thread the drawstring through the eyelets, sew it down, and then work the protruding ends into a frog and frog-closure.

At heart, a frog is nothing but a knot, and a frog-closure is simply the little loop which slips around this knot, acting as a loop-buttonhole would. I think that frogs are safer than buttons, as they cannot be pulled (or bitten!) loose by a teething baby. Frogs come undone from their closures easily, it is true, but this is actually an advantage: you WANT the frog to pop loose with very moderate pressure, for safety's sake.

Addendum 11-18-09: I forgot to say: the illustration shows a single knot. However, if that is coming out too small, consider making the protruding end a bit longer, then folding the end back on itself, and THEN tie the knot in the doubled-back end. Also, make the frog-closure loop smaller than you think: it'll stretch out through use.

--TK You have been reading TECHknitting on drawstrings and baby hats.


Abby said...

Excellent idea! Thanks for sharing this safer method of tying baby's bonnet on.

Kelly said...

Such wise advice. I was just thinking about this the other day as I have been searching to make our Lucy a new bonnet and was uncomfortable with the drawstring cap patterns I was finding. Thank you for the tip. ~Kelly

unDeniably Domestic

Laura said...

Thanks for the advice. I'm just completing a baby cape and I'll use your frog solution. Much safer than a yard of ribbon!

Marseille said...

I edited the instructions for a baby hat I made my new niece--instead of drawstrings (the hat was all in garter, from the Drops site) I made a narrow-ish (3/4 inch?) strap that buttoned on one side.....not only did I not want the baby getting tangled in the ties, but this is likely easier when dressing her, too. And gives some ease, 'cause garter is so stretchy

Clair St. Michel said...

brilliant!! you are literally a lifesaver!! thanks for your thoughtfulness. you have done so much for me, so much for us all. i hope that someday i can do something for you. you name, i'll do it!! :-)

Sooza said...

Another idea would be to add a predetermined breaking point to your ribbon. I've read about this in a savety brochure from nursery school or something. Cut the ribbon/tie/cord in half and stitch it back together but only fairly loosly and put it back in place. Now if too much pressure is applied the cord will break at that point and won't strangle the wee little one.

Anonymous said...

I have similar concerns about buttons on baby cardigans. And I think that zippers (front or back) are not very comfortable. Velcro would be worse.

My solution so far has been to knit bobble "buttons" or sewing flowers out of ribbon, but neither is very satisfactory.

Do any of your wonderful suggestions cover safe baby-sweater closures? Or at least a pattern for a knitted rosette or something, to use as a button?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Anonymous: Thanks for writing. I believe a very good design would be a wrap-over (overlapping front) sweater with a single or a couple of very firmly attached and short ties.

Margot said...

With respect to sweaters, I've found that my vintage patterns often have lovely shoulder closures - either overlapping flaps like most onesies, or shoulder buttons, which are neither easily accessible to the teething mouth, nor in the back (I hate back closures for newborns, what a pain in the a**!)

For hats, I'd go for a helmet type style if you're in a really cold climate, or just a standard toque/beanie otherwise.