OMG! The Best Organic Cotton Baby Blankets Ever!

The title for this post comes from a customer’s review. It’s pretty nice of her. Thanks Katy.x

So what is it about Outie’s organic cotton baby blankets that makes them the best?

1) Designed in New Zealand

I studied Fine Arts at Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and I have always loved drawing. Prior to opening Outie, I taught English, Art History and Art (painting) in secondary schools so it makes me happy to still be drawing every day. My inspiration is often locally sourced (Kowhai hearts, NZ native flora) because a good day for me starts with a bush walk and I use my walking time as thinking time of ‘what could be cool’ for someone’s baby.

Kowhai Native NZ designer organic cotton blanket

Native New Zealand Kowhai heart patterned organic cotton baby blanket by Outie

2) Original Illustrations

I am also an illustrator (have you seen my first published book? Squee! It’s a fun practise run for my button baby coming soon.) and I like to keep a hand-drawn vibrant feel to all of my designs. Some imperfections in my drawings are left in as part of the process (sometimes I have a toddler on my knee or I am feeding my baby late at night (we do not talk about sleep club) – and, for instance, now I am writing one-handed with my 11 month old wriggling on my knee). Some drawings start out as scribbles on the back of bills and then I digitise them whenever I can find the time. I love how each drawing has a story that is so much a part of my life at home with my kids. The popular Saurus. Raurus. print, for example, happened because of the way my son learned to say ‘dinosaur’ as ‘saurus ‘ and then called ‘lion’ a ‘roarus’.

aleep aid mini organic cotton baby blanket comforter

Dinosaurs and lions are called ‘saurus’ or ‘roarus’ by our two year old and so this fun little design happened for this organic cotton baby blanket comforter or sleep aid.

saurus mini blanket

3) Made to order

There is a three week wait time for most orders because I don’t like to keep stock stored for a long period of time. I also find it hard to predict what will be popular because I have my own quirky sense of style that might not be to everyone’s taste. Philosophically I also love how each blanket is actually printed with purpose so it is made for the right reasons from the get go. I am also aware of babies and dust allergies so keeping storage time down at every part of the process is important to me.

organic cotton custom baby blanket hippos

A custom organic cotton blanket design featuring hippos for a nz customer . “Hippo Dreams” for Kristin.

4) Certified organic cotton

Fabric is sourced from the United States and it is a natural white organic cotton interlock knit. I love how it is not pristine ‘Persil white’ and that is has more of an unbleached colour to it. They are certified organic cotton baby blankets as the fabric is certified in the USA by Global Organic Textile Standards.

5) Water based inks

Outie organic cotton baby blankets are printed using eco-friendly water based inks. No additional chemicals are used in the printing process so they are a safe solution to swaddling your baby traditionally.

organic cotton kids bedding cot sheets

Custom cot sheet sets and single bed sets available by request.

6) Sewn in my home studio

Outie is currently just me. That means you can imagine your blanket being cut by me and sewn by me and it won’t just happen in your imagination. This is a weird additional detail, but I also never sew when I am in a bad mood because I believe that projects can absorb the energy that was around when they were born. That might be a bit hippy dippy but I can happily say that every single Outie thing is made with love and happiness.

7) Little blankets too

We use all of our fabric and this means that we also offer soother blankets, cuddlies, snugglies or mini comforter blankets to help older children sleep. My organic cotton baby blanket mini blankets can be a great comfort for babies with separation anxiety or to help them to feel secure in general. Mum or Dad can tuck the smaller blanket inside their shirt so that the blankies absorb their smell and this makes the comforter blanket more comforting because it smells like a parent. Some people like their teddies or dolls to have matching blankets rather than using them as a comforter blanket. They are 45cm square.

organic cotton comforter soother woogie cuddly sleep aid

Mini organic cotton comforter blanket or teddy/doll blanket featuring my ‘Little Hunter’ print.

8) Inspired by my children

I never planned to open a ‘baby’ business… but it is all falling into place because my two children are my constant inspiration and I love being at home with them. Everything I make/have made for Outie is because I wanted to make it for them (or me as their mum) first.

comfort blanket sleep aid attachment prop

We call our daughter’s dinosaur organic cotton comfort blanket her ‘woogie’ but they are called all kinds of other things traditionally.

 

9) Custom designs

I can match nursery colours, add names, use symbols or family motifs that are important to you to make your blanket extra special. I love coming up with designs that are special for my customers.

10) Thick cotton

The thickness of our organic cotton baby blankets is like a ‘thick T-shirt cotton’. The organic cotton we use for our baby blankets is soft and foldy and delicious. “I can vouch for how soft this fabric is. It is amazing.” – Melanie

11) Breathable/absorbs smell

As a natural fiber, cotton absorbs smell which is why cotton (and merino) are such staples for babies. Our blankets are also breathable so that babies who like to put their comforter over their face (why do they do that?!) can still breathe. It is best to remove it all the same…

13) Generously sized and suitable for swaddling

The organic cotton fabric we use has a crosswise stretch of about 25% making it a nice soft stretch for swaddling purposes. The size of the big blankets (90cm square) is also a nice swaddling size to give a nice sense of security right from the newborn stage.

14) Matching reusable wipes

I make sets of 6 reusable wipes up out of smaller off cuts of our organic cotton and these make an amazing money saving extra. You can just wet them with water and use them for all things baby. Because they are thick, you will find that you will use one wipe (maybe two) per change. They can be rinsed and washed just like cloth nappies and are a real money saver long term. We have only ever bought TWO packs of wet wipes in nearly three years…

organic cotton reusable wipes by Outie

Organic cotton designer print reusable wipes come in a set of 6.

15) NZ Made and Local

Although we get our organic cotton fabric from the United States (no cotton fields in NZ!), everything else is done right here in our home studio in the Waitakere Ranges in West Auckland, New Zealand. It’s all done by me (Katrina) from design through to packaging… so you can feel good about supporting a local business and a stay at home mummy (me) doing her thing too.

 Get your designer organic cotton blanket here.

Breastfeeding Dresses for Special Occasions (How to avoid a wedding nightmare)

First the breastfeeding at special occasions nightmares you can happily avoid (from my experience):

Once I had a dress fitting for a wedding and forgot that, because I was leaving my baby at home, my boobs would be two sizes bigger due to my milk coming in. I was all boobs and practically falling out of my dress. Whilst my man didn’t seem to mind, other men had trouble looking at my face and I felt like a lopsided Pamela Anderson.

Once I went to a wedding and took my baby. They provided me with a discrete area in the back to feed him but I hadn’t checked how my dress might look if it got wet. He fussed due to being somewhere unfamiliar and my milk leaked on my dress. The fabric of my dress turned a very dark colour where it had spilled and I spent the rest of the wedding trying to cover my stained top with a wrap. (Embarrassing!)

Once I went to a wedding and wore a low cut V-neck dress which I thought would allow for easy access. Sadly access was too easy and I fought with my baby trying to pull my dress to the side to play with my nipple.

Once I went to a wedding and wore a strapless breastfeeding dress (it was really lovely with tiny zebras all over it) but I had trouble keeping it in place because my baby created tension on my hip with my wrap and it caused the fabric to bunch and the top of the dress to keep slipping.

Once I went to a formal occasion and had trialled my top before the event. Unfortunately you could see the line of my breastpads through the fitted fabric and it looked like I had ridiculously large nipples which proved to be a distraction for some and an embarrassment for me…

Once I went to a friend’s wedding and chose what I thought would be the perfect breastfeeding dress only to find that, while it was great for breastfeeding, it was a light colour and the inevitable poo explosion that had to happen on me was difficult to clean up.

Sigh.

So I have come up with the perfect solution and I have called it ‘The Everything Batwing’ because it is the ‘everything and everywhere’ dress that solves the problems I have faced when trying to nurse my babies in public.

I make Outie breastfeeding dresses so that breastfeeding is easy. All you need to do is pull the sleeve slightly to the side to nurse your baby easily. You can breastfeed in public easily and you don’t need a wrap for discretion. I use performance pique fabric (other fabric options are available too) so that it is quick drying, drapes nicely, is breathable and has a soil release finish for easy laundering.

I design my own fabrics so that you can have a one of a kind designer dress made in NZ that is perfect for breastfeeding or maternity for special occasions. You can choose a top, a dress, a panel contrast option, a lace overlay, a wide waist band (great for post-pregnancy tummies), a mullet hem/drop hem or a standard Batwing dress shape.

We ship globally too.

I live in them. I stand by them. I love them. That’s why I make them.

You will love them too. Promise.

Shop now.

Breastfeeding top batwing

Batwing top for easy breastfeeding.

special occasion breastfeeding dress

NZ designer breastfeeding dresses are designed by a mum for other mums who need an easy breastfeeding dress to wear for special occasions

one of a kind designer breastfeeding clothing nz

Design your own special occasion breastfeeding dress that is one of a kind

maternity and breastfeeding dress nz

Stylish dresses by Outie can be worn for both maternity and breastfeeding

designer nz maternity and breastfeeding clothing

Special occasion dresses for maternity and breastfeeding can be designed to match existing accessories

discrete bursing or breastfeeding in public

Discrete feeding in public has never been easier with our designer breastfeeding Batwing dresses.

stylish breastfeeding dress nz

Customised breastfeeding dresses can have contrast panels and can be worn even when not breastfeeding.

Large bust top for breastfeeding special occasions

Batwing shape suits large busts too and can be made as a top in our signature fabrics.

nz designer fashion for breastfeeding

Special occasion dresses in signature nz designer fabrics.

textile design nz designer nz fashion

Our fabric is designed in nz by Outie director and textile designer Katrina Ward

NZ designer breastfeeding fashion

NZ designer breastfeeding fashion made in Auckland, NZ

‘Not just a mum’ – How to take charge of your career at home in five easy steps

It’s a frightening thing to share a goal. It’s as if once you put something out there, that people might hold you accountable. But in the same breath, they might be able to help you reach it or remind you of it when you are having a down day or if you are feeling like ‘just a mum’.

I thought that becoming a mum would force me to tread water in terms of my career while I stayed home to be with my kids, but instead it has opened up brand new doors. My career path has changed so much that my ‘old job’ is probably no longer the best fit for me.

How can you use parenting to your advantage?

Step one: Find your love.

The great thing about being home with children is that you can try new things every day and nobody can see you trying them. This means that the fear of ‘failing’ is much less fierce. You could try golf, watercolour painting, crochet or practice head-stands. You could jump on a trampoline or become a crossword expert… without the weight of ‘work’ on your shoulders, you are free to try anything you like – and ‘like’ should be the drive for whatever it is that you do.

If you loved sewing as a kid, why not take some online courses? If you loved drawing, why not draw?

For me, my loves are drawing and sewing. Both of these ‘old loves’ led me to start Outie.

Step Two: Upskill

It’s hard to believe that prior to having children I was an ‘anti computer’ type. I thought e-books were the ruin of reading (but then I realised how handy they are when you are breastfeeding), I thought painting had to be done with real paint (until I realised that digital paint couldn’t be spilled), I thought facebook was silly (until I realised that it is a valuable tool for connecting with people when you are stuck at home with your baby…). Enough said really.

I taught myself some new skills. I can happily say that I am now good friends with Photoshop, proficient with several social media tools and have become a better knitter and crocheter because I have been determined to make the most out of my time at home with my kids – for me as well as for them.

Some of the skills I have learned are not necessarily ‘career’ related, but they still mean that I feel like I am progressing in some way for my own sense of purpose/sense of being and becoming a better me as well as a better mum.

Things I still want to do include learning a new language, learning how to sew a perfect invisible zip and how to be more professional with my use of Illustrator for fashion design.

Step Three: Practise

Once you decide what it is that you love and/or what it is that you want to learn, it’s important to try to set aside time each day to do it. Of course, this is almost impossible once you tend to the needs of your baby/ies but making sure you find ‘some’ time ‘sometime’ is workable.

Five minutes stolen out of your day every now and then all adds up…

Step Four: Set Goals/Have a vision

I imagine future me is better suited to daily drawing/design and my ideal job would be designing fabric full time.

If I returned to my old job as a teacher, I imagine that I would be pursuing a more senior role. I like to think that my time spent at home with the acquisition of new skills all contributes to me being more employable if/when I return.

Step Five: Keep a record and share it

It’s a frightening thing to share a goal. It’s as if once you put something out there, that people might hold you accountable. But in the same breath, they might be able to help you reach it or remind you of it when you are having a down day or if you are feeling like ‘just a mum’.

It’s having a down day that prompted this post.

Today I forgot about all the personal progress I have made because I was bogged down with ‘mum stuff’ after a difficult day with the kids.

I had one of those days where if someone called me, ‘just a mum’ I would probably have just run with it even though it goes counter to everything that I believe about motherhood.

Being ‘just’ a mum is already quite the job description. It requires a big heart as well as managerial skills, behaviour management skills, gumption, enthusiasm, team-work, leadership, time management, organisational skills, social planning, accounting, hygiene management, active self esteem preservation, perseverance, accountability, other-centredness or altruism and more.

And it’s so easy to forget about your own development and your own path when you so carefully monitor and are embedded in the development of your children.

I don’t know where this is all heading yet  –  but I just wanted to share with you that becoming a mum has changed the way that I see my career because it has gifted me time to reflect on what I really want to do with my life, allowed me to try new things, prompted me to learn new skills and enabled me to try new things and maybe it will open new doors too.

fabrics for leggings feather falls batwing

It turns out that there are no predictable paths for creativity or for where your role as a parent might take you…

Thanks for following me and my family on our little journey.

Textile design showcase

sharkies sting ray master yellow unicorn duvetSaurus Saurus Saurus Roarus white

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