Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sewing for your Baby!

A friend recently asked me for a list of all the things I made for Vivi....and I thought some of you might enjoy some of the project ideas, as well. I think this is a fairly complete list, though I'm also seeing something new which I absolutely must try. :-) I know I've been a bit negligent here- I've been using my computer time to set up a Babywearing Library- but I have some posts ready or almost ready, so will hopefully get back into a normal posting schedule!



Maternity and Baby Patterns

MATERNITY:

-I took the Simplicity 4881 pattern, with the 8-gored skirt. I made it just as the directions say to, except I cut the front four pieces 7-8” shorter, and attached a piece of matching knit fabric (stretchiest going side-to-side), the same width and height as the original skirt would’ve been, after the four panels are sewn together. Follow all the remaining directions.

-For the elastic in skirts I created or altered, I started threading it through at the side instead of in the back. I sewed down one end, and the other end I threaded through an opening (when sewing side seams, just tack down the top, then leave about 1” open, and sew the rest of the skirt seam). I sewed a button next to it, and cut button holes in the elastic. This way, the skirt could grow with me during pregnancy, and shrink during post partum. It worked really well!

-I wanted some more “chic” skirts, without paying major money for them, so I designed my own pattern. Someday, I hope to translate it into a variety of sizes; maybe even sell it. In the meanwhile, I don’t even have it, a friend does. Basically, though, you can create or alter any kind of skirt to make it maternity- just add a stretchy panel as described above, and optionally, the buttonhole elastic. If it’s a zipper skirt, you can leave the back straight, and just do elastic in the front- and forgo the zipper. (yay!, right?)

-That’s pretty much all I made maternity wise. There’s this bella-band pattern I plan on trying next time around: (http://smashedpeasandcarrots.blogspot.com/2010/02/stretch-knit-pregnancy-band-tutorial.html), and I’ll probably design some more summery skirts. I attempted making one shirt, but I wasn’t really happy with it- I prefer to buy my shirts, and found pretty good prices on Black Friday. Some at Goodwill, too, but that’s hit and miss, depending on your size and what you want. This is getting off target, but anymore, I think you can get better sale/clearance prices at Kohl’s and JC Penny than thrift stores, which shouldn’t be! :-)

BABY DIAPERS:

There are lots of patterns out there, but the one I used was Darling Diaper- www.darlingdiaper.com The directions are very thorough, and have directions for every variety of diaper you might want to make. I also downloaded the free Quick Snap Flap Wrap: http://clothbaby.blogspot.com/2009/07/quick-snap-flap-pattern-update.html Everyone has to find what they like best for themselves, but for what I did, exactly:

Viviana is a very heavy wetter (I use more inserts and she still leaks more often than others (my baby sister and friends’ babies) who use these very same diapers that I made. So- she’s been a bit of a challenge!

For nighttime, we’ve found we like fitted diapers best. These are basically a non-waterproof diaper inside a cover. Kind of like the old fashioned ones, except much more convenient. For the inside, I often use the QSFW pattern (above) and do 1 layer of

bamboo velour and 1 layer of hemp French terry. (Folded up, it’s 3 layers of each). That’s generally enough for most babies, but for Vivi, I also lay in a 3-layer hemp French terry soaker or two. The cover is just the Darling Diaper pattern- 1 layer of PUL, with fold-over elastic around the edges. I use plastic snaps, but you can use hook and loop (Velcro) as well.

For our day time diapers, I use the DD pattern cut out on the widest option (with the color strips) for the PUL, and one layer of bamboo velour on the inside, cut out on the narrower option. I do snaps on these as well. I leave the top open (the fabrics don’t fray, so I don’t even have to serge or hem it!) for stuffing extra layers in- cheater’s way of making a pocket diaper. Some of my diapers I just leave as this, and stuff inserts in, some I sew a quick-dry flap into the top of the diaper- kind of like an all-in-one, except it’s on the outside and loose, so it dries fast. When I do this, I do one layer of bamboo velour (next to baby’s skin) and two of hemp French terry. I lay extra soakers under it, or stuff them in the diaper.

All my extra soakers I make out of 3 layers of hemp French terry. I’ve cut them both on the inside line and the outside, all sizes seem to work well. I just serge mine, without taking off a seam allowance, but you can also turn and topstitch. I have to use a total of 3 soakers (and try to change every pee), but most people I know only use 1 or 2.

Now, for where I get my supplies. I purchase all my fabrics from www.kidsinthegarden.com I really love working with the lady who owns the store; she’s so friendly and personable! She also seems to have the best prices. I belong to her yahoo group (search for kids in the garden on yahoo groups), where she offers special deals- I think she pretty much always has a 10% off coupon, plus you automatically get 10% off for belonging to the yahoo group. Occasionally, she does co-ops where you can buy PUL at phenomenal prices. She does these once or twice a year; I buy a bunch of PUL during one of these so I don’t have to pay full price. She hasn’t done one in quite a few months, though. She also had available through the yahoo group once several rolls of bamboo velour. I was able to purchase a 50-yard roll for $7.15 a yard, a great price for bamboo velour! I’ve since sold off everything I didn’t need, and am currently keeping my eyes open for another bolt. My hemp French terry I just buy from the Kids in the Garden store; I get 10 yards at a time so I can get the additional discount. I get fold-over elastic from her as well.

I purchase snaps through a yahoo group called notion supply. This is also where I bought my hand-held snap press. The snaps look just like those you find on commercial diapers! She also has a regular website set up, now, which is so nice.

I usually just get my ¼” elastic from Joanns, with a ½ off coupon.

Some of those prices seem kind of expensive, but I think I only pay between $4-6 per diaper including soakers. Probably less, I usually try and do generous estimates.

Another trick for saving fabric and money- once I have a collection of PUL scraps going, I start cutting the diapers without the back tabs, and cut those separately out of coordinating scraps. Then I just zig-zag them on. You’d be surprised at how much fabric you save! A friend recently told me she’s just been using cotton for the tabs, and hasn’t had any leaking issues. Currently, though, I’m also enjoying my scraps for making mama cloth.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, but I know it’s a huge world, and it’s hard to remember everything to explain in an e-mail! So, let me know if you have questions!

BABY ACCESSORIES:

-Diaper bag- but I don’t have/remember off hand the pattern number. I don’t particularly like the pattern, anyway, though I like how it turns out. :-) I appliqué or embroider stuff on the front to make it cuter.

-I made my own receiving blankets- just take a yard of flannel and serge around the edges. I love them, because they’re so much bigger (and softer) than store bought ones. And, you have hundreds of fabrics to choose from, instead of just a few. I stock up on flannel on black Friday every year, making these affordable.

-Burp cloths- Take ½ yard flannel, fold it in half, wrong sides together, and serge the edges. Or, if you don’t have a serger, fold right sides together, stitch, leaving opening for turning, turn and topstitch.

-Baby quilts! Much fun….and lots of patterns everywhere!

-I am so going to make these baby rings, but haven’t yet. I also plan on having the last one close with a snap (or you could do Velcro) so I can hook it to baby carriers, car seat, etc. http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2009/03/cloth-baby-rings.html

-This nursing cover would be easy to do. Someone gave me one, so I didn’t have to make one, but I was planning on replicating for gifts- mine looks really similar to this pattern. http://www.makeit-loveit.com/2008/12/nursing-cover.html

-And baby shoes. These are definitely love. What’s awesome, is that although they’re tiny and adorable, they’re easy and non-detailed. http://stardustshoes.blogspot.com/2006/10/cloth-shoe-pattern.html I change the directions somewhat, but that’s the general gist of it. These don’t fit together perfectly, so you really can’t mess them up. I’ve made the pattern bigger, and you don’t have to worry about the pattern pieces all fitting together- they will. Make note that you don’t have to increase width as much as length, since baby’s feet mostly grow longer. Also, make the back higher. I could just make these all day, for the fun of it….

BABY CARRIERS:

I’m always on the look out for new ones to try, but here’s what I’ve made so far:

-Maya Wrap (https://www.mayawrap.com/n_sewsling.php) This is a ring sling, which I really love- it’s definitely the best ring sling I’ve seen out there. The company has chosen to make their pattern available for free to others. I’ve made quite a few of these. Mom’s been wearing them for over 8 years. I can typically find fabric (that’s printed on both sides), 100% cotton, in the red tag clearance at Joanns. (For Kirstie, definitely get more fabric and do it longer than they say to, since she’s so tall- I can’t remember how long I did Mom’s, maybe 1 ¾ yard) They have written directions and videos on their site for using it. You can read more about my opinion on the Maya Wrap here: http://babywearinglibrary.blogspot.com/2011/01/ring-slings.html

-Moby Wrap style….just buy 6 yards of knit (I’ve just used jersey knit so far, but everyone does theirs different- from not very stretchy to rather stretchy, all cotton to otherwise), and cut down the center to make it narrower (if it’s 45” wide fabric, you’ll have two 22 ½” wide wraps, or if it’s 60”, cut it into three (20”) pieces). There’s lots of online tutorials, including the directions at Moby Wrap’s site (http://www.mobywrap.com/InstructionSample.pdf), for how to use it. You can read more of my opinion on the stretchy wraps here: http://babywearinglibrary.blogspot.com/2011/01/stretchy-wraps.html

-Mei Tai…..this is my latest experiment! I used a combination of these instructions: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/FrankenKozy.htm and http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/asian.html There are a lot of patterns available for doing your own mei tais, so you can browse around the internet if you want. I did the wide/pleated shoulder straps, which I think I’m really going to love. I only just made mine, so I don’t have a firm opinion yet, but I think I’m going to love it. Especially with an older baby, like Vivi. Here’s some links to good directions for using it: http://babywearinglibrary.blogspot.com/2011/01/ergos-mei-tais-and-other-soft.html

4 comments:

  1. Are you on the Diaper Sewing Divas board? Because I've used *all* the same patterns and online stores that you have, and I was wondering if you were finding your sources from the same board ;-). Too funny. I love my snap press too! SO worth the money and I've used it for so many other things :-). I love the DDU pattern best of a sized option, but my absolute favorite pattern is the Little One Size. I'm trying to move away from sized diapers, for ease of storage and to cut down on the endless always-sewing-the-next-size-barely-in-time cycle ;-). I love the LOS. It's the trimmest one-size diaper I've used, and it fits my baby and my 2 1/2 year old both very well.

    I made a mei tai when pregnant with Gretchen and love it! I used the Scandi Mei Tai tutorial and was very pleased with the result. The padded straps had me frightened, but they actually turned out great.

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  2. Susan, how funny! No, I'm not a part of that board... But I gathered all my info from local friends- perhaps one/some of them are part of the board. :-) I've never heard of the LOS- it sounds nice, though! I've thus far avoided one size because of not wanting the bulk- I can relate to the storage space issue, though, especially as storage is something our home rather lacks in! I'll have to take a look at it.... A friend created her one one-size diaper, but I haven't tried it yet. She mostly uses individual sizes for her kids, still, and just uses that for selling.

    I'll have to try the tutorial you mentioned. I did one with wide, sling-like straps. I think I could really like that, but I don't think I like mine- I'm not sure what it is. Maybe that my fabric's too thin? I used denim, but it's a light weight denim.

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  3. And I have to say, the baby diapers you made me (the newborn ones with the umbilical snap) are still my faves...I wish he could still fit them! lol Next baby, I am going to have to pay you for the fabric and time for you to make me a few more!

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  4. I'm glad you liked them so much, Holly! I've been very happy with my dipes, if I do say so myself... :-)

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