Sunday, April 26, 2009

Springtime Sewing

It's hot; I have tons of plants to put in the garden; my house is a disaster; my clothesline is full of things waiting to be, naturally, I spent the afternoon sewing (some might call it procrastinating).

First, an Itty Bitty Baby Dress for an itty bitty baby. A friend of a friend has had a very difficult pregnancy--10 weeks on bed rest--and just gave birth to a 4-pound girl 8 weeks early. Mom will be out of the hospital on Tuesday. I remember how touched we were by all the lovely handmade gifts we recieved for Lucy, and how excited we were when we actually found teeny-enough clothes to put on her when she first came home. So I thought another Itty Bitty Baby Dress was in order. This one is made from several different thrift-store treasures--a tablecloth, a sheet, and some rickrack. I hope she likes it.

Edited to add: she wore it home from the hospital! Yay!

Next, I decided it was time to finally finish Lucy's Kimono I started from "Weekend Sewing." I'd started it a while ago and was really unhappy with how it was coming out--unfinished seams inside and puckery armpits showed just what an amateur sewer I am. I'd gotten some advice on Flickr (duh! clip the seam allowances! Why didn't I think of that? Thank goodness for helpful Flickr viewers!) Finished up, I think it looks pretty cute. I haven't tried it on her yet. We'll see. I'm worried it'll look like scrubs (it's a bit stiff, like them, I think).

Last, I tried an experiment. I wondered if I could use the Ruby's Bloomers pattern from "Weekend Sewing" to make a wool diaper cover. I used more of the felted cashmere sweater I'd used for the Easter bunnies. I had to piece it together to get a large enough piece for the pattern (because I'd already tried to refashion it into a cardigan, but gave up). I wasn't sure if I'd be able to steam-iron the elastic to shrink it up in that cool way it does, but it worked fine. The bloomers are thin and lightweight, which I thought would be perfect for summer--she can wear them over a diaper with a sundress on top. We'll see if they'll be absorbent enough to work.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

One more finished...

Went to the sewing machine to enlarge the waistband on Lucy's longies, got sucked in, and couldn't stop until I'd finished another quilt block. Getting there, slowly but surely!

Friday, April 17, 2009

52 to go

On the twin bed in Lucy's room, we have a beautiful vintage quilt that I found at a thrift shop for only $2. It's what inspired the turquoise and red color scheme, and looks gorgeous on the bed. Unfortunately, every time someone sits on it, it tears a bit more, and several of the patches are simply disintigrating: not the best choice for a baby's room! Before she was born, I'd been collecting fabrics to make her a crib-sized quilt, but after 2 baby showers and many visitors, she'd received so many blankets and afghans and quilts, it was clear she had no need of more. So my little crib quilt project turned into a much bigger replace-the-twin-bed-quilt project.

So slowly, slowly, I've been piecing together blocks in a crazy log-cabin style. I have four now--only 52 more to go!

Clearly, I'm still learning. Sometimes the pieces end up too wide; other times too narrow. But overall, I'm pleased with it so far.

The fabrics are mostly a random collection of things I picked up used: sheets, shirts, dish cloths, etc. There are a few bits of new things I picked up at Jo-Ann's to round it out. Then there are two really special fabrics. Sweet Dreams, which I bought from Reprodepot because I just couldn't resist its adorableness (perfect for a household with chickens), and a beautiful yellow fabric with gnomes, which is just the softest, loveliest cotton, given to us as gift wrap on a shower gift (edit: I see now it's from Heather Ross' "lightning bugs and other mysteries" line).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

In the works...

quilt block 1
Originally uploaded by mcghol
I'm working on a quilt for Lucy's room, 1 block at a time. Here's a preview... Will post the others I've done as soon as I have a few spare minutes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Small projects=instant gratification

Sometimes, you just need a little instant gratification.  When I've had a moment to slip away this week, I've squeezed in some little projects for that quick satisfaction of something--anything!--completed.

My latest favorite quick project is these 10-minute headbands:

I made these using vintage sheets (recognize the bottom one, which matches Lucy's dress?).  The pattern is from a tutorial at Blue Bird Studio, and it really does only take 10 minutes.  I love them--they're comfy, and stay pretty well in my fine-as-a-toddler's hair.  A scrap of fabric, a few minutes, and a hair elastic, and I've got a springy new accessory.  Next time, I'm going to try two layers of fabric--suede on the bottom to give it better grip in my hair, and a printed fabric on top.

An even easier project, but one that gave me great satisfaction, was adding the ribbons to these washcloths and hand towels:
We don't use many disposables in this house, so in the early-childhood program I run from my home, all the children have a washcloth for each day and a hand towel for the week, marked with their own color of ribbon.  I made this new batch for our daughter, Lucy, who's now officially one of the group.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Refashioning for a cloth-diapered bottom

Our newborn baby, Lucy, has an amazing wardrobe full of tons of wonderful hand-me-downs and gifts.  At first, I thought it was far more clothes than one baby could ever use.  But then I discovered something--cloth diapering requires a completely different type of clothing than disposables.  We're using cloth diapers and wool diaper covers.  From the beginning, we struggled with wet clothing.  It seemed like every time we changed her diaper, we had to change her whole outfit.  It was exhausting, for us and for her.

Over time, we've figured some things out.  For example, if the clothing is tight against the diaper cover, it's more likely to get wet.  This--plus the fact that we wanted to use the wool longies I've been making as diaper covers--made her drawers-full of onesies nearly useless.  We found that we were always digging through the drawers trying to find long-sleeved shirts that didn't snap, so we could pair them with her longies or another wool cover and not have it get wet.  We also found that many of the snap- or zipper-legged outfits we'd been given just didn't fit over that big cloth-diapered bottom.   We wanted long tops or wide dresses.

As nice as her clothing was, it was going to be wasted sitting in the drawer.  I finally decided that I'd try to refashion some of them to suit her diaper needs.  It was scary cutting into perfectly good clothing!  But I worked up the nerve, said a silent apology to the person who'd given her this lovely outfit, pulled out my rotary cutter, and sliced away.  I added some rick-rac to finish it off, and voila!  A long top to cover her belly without interfering with her diaper cover!  Can't wait to try the next one...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Here comes Peter Cottontail...

My mom is coming up for Easter, and we'll spend the day with my sister's family. When I saw Betz White's cashmere bunnies, I knew they were just the thing for the girls' Easter baskets. I love the idea of all three girls getting something the same, but different. Today I made these two for Grace and Katherine; Lucy's will come later. These are made from the softest, loveliest purple cashmere sweater--they feel wonderful!