Maternity and Baby Patterns
-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! :-)
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!
-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….
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