Fastenings: Plain flat half-inch buttons are best to use for fastening. Avoid nylon and metal fastenings, as they get very hot under the incubator heaters. Do not use Velcro as a fastening, it is very scratchy on the hook side and also damages knitted garments when they are laundered. Ease of dressing is vital for preemies and as a general rule it is best not to use ribbon as a fastening as ribbon can often be fussy to tie on a garment so small.
Knitting items for premature babies can be very worthwhile and rewarding. It is definitely appreciated by the charities and the families who receive them. If you are excited by the prospect of getting your knitting needles working for charity and want to explore charity knitting for other organisations here are some other ideas to help your search.
Bonnie Babies: This charity sends premature baby outfits and blankets to special care baby units around the UK and to parents who need support. A mother who needed a way to deal with the loss of her premature child founded Bonnie Babies six years ago. Bonnie Babies makes premature clothing, blankets, and burial outfits for U.K. Special Baby Care Units and families. Their aim is to show each mother and family that there are people thinking of them and caring for them.
Bonnie Babies mainly makes blankets for premature babies. They provide patterns for toys, hats, and sweaters (including a ”5 Hour Baby Sweater!”), but blankets are quick, simple to make, and guaranteed to fit. Families can then continue to treasure them long after the child is grown.
Size: Don’t put too much importance on trying to perfect the size of a preemie item of clothing. There is a great difference between premature baby sizes and so an item of any size should be suitable for at least one baby. As a general guide premature babies head circumference is roughly the same as their chest circumference. The average premature babies chest measurements are 8”-14”. However clothes of all sizes are needed for preemies, so no matter how big or small your item is it will most likely fit at least one baby.