Monday, August 31, 2015

Maxaloones

I made these Maxaloones last night because I am cheating on my other sewing project.  You know, the one you leave out and intend to get to the moment you are free, but then you just don't get to it or don't feel up to whipping up, and then it just sits there until it becomes this monster, this HUGE unfinished project!


But these maxaloones looked like some whimsical sewing fun, something I could make in a couple of hours.  Except it takes longer than that because I must squeeze the pattern pieces onto the fabric in the most efficient way possible! (Even though after I realize it's stupid because I'm using remnants anyway.)  But seriously, these took hardly any fabric at all!

I purchased the Maxaloones pattern, by Max and Meena, on Etsy.  First, I made 'squishiloones', which fits newborn to around 3-6 months.


They are perfect for cloth diapered bums!  We find it difficult to squeeze store bought leggings over this fluff butt so I'm glad to have a pattern that addresses this issue.

I like that I can fold them down to keep baby Jane's feet warm.  



She is nearing 3 months old but has been in 3 month clothes for a while.  I don't think this size will fit her much longer but these maxaloones are very cute!


I used Riley Blake jersey dots print in pink and gray and some white jersey from my stash (from my fabric haul in the LA fabric district).

Then, I made 'miniloones', which fit 3-12 months.

These pictures aren't the greatest...rainy day+wiggly baby= pictures that are just okay



I used a navy Art Gallery knit and a very stretchy knit from Joann's, April Johnston's Greenwhich Dot rayon/spandex.  I bought it a few years ago with the hopes of making a surplice top but it ended in disaster so it got thrown in the scrap pile.

It's so nice to see it in a finished project!  I love those dots!  


These maxaloones were so fun to whip up!  Have you tried this pattern yet?  I'd love to see your makes.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Nursing Pads

I have been wanting to sew something all week and today I got my chance!

I made something for me, (I know, I am always sewing for me...it's the best!) four of these reusable nursing pads.  They have one layer of zorb II with a PUL backing, serged together at the edges.  The dart makes them lay much flatter against my skin.


Just for the record, serging around the edge of a small circle is anything but easy!  


Nursing pads are a must for this momma with oversupply.  Sorry, these pictures didn't turn out great...but I'm tired, so they will have to do.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Self-Drafted Nursing Shirt

I am finally back to sewing after recovering from a C-section!  I have wanted to sew something for weeks.  With my mom's help, I did manage to make a pair of yoga pants to get me through the weeks following childbirth when nothing fits. We love Baby Jane and she is such a good little sleeper,  I can fit some sewing in here and there!  I am 7 weeks postpartum and adjusting to a new body with some tummy squish but without small bust adjustments.  


I loved the fit of Simplicity 1469 so much, I used it as a starting point for this nursing shirt.  I used the under bodice, the back and the sleeve pieces to form my pattern into a wearable shirt.  The biggest change I made was the undershirt piece with elastic I can pull down for nursing access.  Baby Jane is such a messy eater I found myself still getting soaked every time I fed her in my nursing dress.  I wanted to be able to pull the fabric completely down, out of the way.  I much prefer this to the nursing holes in Simplicity 1469.


This is another Art Gallery print, 'Paparounes in Crimson', and I am totally obsessed with it!  I decided it was a little loud, so I paired it with an Art Gallery knit solid.  I think it balances the print out nicely, especially the contrasting neckband.  After seeing the way my nursing dress has stood up to laundering, I don't want to buy any other knit fabric for my projects.


I would love to say there will be many more of these shirts, but my meticulous nature really slows me down.  I sewed this shirt start to finish (including threading the coverstitch and serger) in 4.5 hours.  This time, I wrote down the instructions in order so I don't have to do the guesswork again.  I would love to make a nightgown in this pattern.  I've given up wearing nightgowns when company is over because mine are impossible to nurse in.  (And thankfully, we've had a lot of company and help over the last couple of months.)

Oh, and I'd like to note that I made this shirt completely on my serger/coverstitch machine!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

DIY No-Sew Dog Toy

When we brought our bulldog home last winter, we expected her to want to sink her jaws into hard core chew toys.  We bought her a few toys for super chewers that she hardly touched.  This month, she picked out a stuffed softie at the pet store and demolished it within 48 hours.  We learned that she loves to rip soft toys to shreds.  Since I can't drop $5 every time Dede needs to chew, I made this dog toy for her.


I have lots and lots of knit fabric scraps.  If you've followed my blog for a while, you may notice polka dot swimsuit fabric, aqua and white striped t-shirt fabric, and some scraps cut off a pair of sweats that were too long.  I cut strips 8-12" long (not caring if they were uniform in the slightest) and knotted them together.  I wanted it to make a sort of ball shape but now that she's had it for a couple weeks it's more of a long strand of knots.  


Dede loves to sit and gnaw on her toy, and occasionally my husband will throw it across the room and she'll fetch it and bring it back to her pillow.  (Yes, she has a pillow instead of a dog bed because last week she opened the zipper on her dog bed and unstuffed the fluff.  Naughty dog!)



As you can see, this toy is great for dogs who love to TEAR things to shreds.  I can always tie the strands back together that she's pulled loose.  She doesn't break the strands off because they are knit and they stretch.


This is the perfect toy for my dog!  I'm confident I have a large enough collection of fabric scraps to keep her busy for a long time.

Monday, May 25, 2015

DIY Cloth Diaper Inserts [Using Zorb]


My husband and I have decided to cloth diaper baby S as soon as she is born.  My newborn diaper stash consists of pockets, all-in-ones and prefolds.   Many people love Little Joey's and THX newborn AIOs but others complain that their babies outgrown the absorbency quickly.  Some of our THX all-in-one diapers have a pocket to add an insert for extra absorbency.  Making your own inserts can be cheaper than buying pre-made ones.  It also allows you to customize your inserts with different fabrics and make them to your size specifications. Today I will show you how to make your own cloth diaper inserts.

There are many different fabrics you can use for inserts.  Some of the most popular include microfiber, cotton, bamboo and hemp.  Each has pros and cons.  Some people choose to make inserts out of fabric they already have lying around, or out of old clothing.  I wanted something super absorbent and super trim.  After doing some research, I discovered a new textile called Zorb via Wazoodle Fabrics.  Regular Zorb is used as a lining between two pieces of fabric (it cannot be used alone).  I chose to spend a little more per yard to purchase Zorb II - Dimples, which has a bamboo/cotton face on both sides and doesn't need an outerlining.  

I started with my newborn diaper:


Isn't it adorable?  "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!"


I measured the size of the pocket and made a pattern for an insert a little smaller so I can stuff it easily.


Zorb fabrics must be sewn before washing.  I calculated for 10% shrinkage (specifications state when washed hot it can shrink up to 12%).  I blew my pattern up 10% using a copier, then added a 1/8" seam allowance.  If you are using a different kind of fabric, prewash it, then cut out your pattern with seam allowances.



I cut two layers for my insert and put one on top of the other.  Before I serged the edges together, I used the sewing machine to stitch a line down the center.  I'm hoping this will keep the two layers from bunching after I wash them.  It also makes the pieces less likely to slip around when I serge them together.



Use a 4 thread overlock stitch to serge the two pieces together.  When sewing bulky fabrics, it's extra important to use sharp needles and a sharp serger knife.   You will also want to decrease the tension on the lower loopers slightly.  Do a test strip before you begin to make sure the stitch looks the way you want it to.



....And that's it!  Super easy!  If you use Zorb fabric, you'll need to wash it in hot water and dry it before using.  I was curious to see how much this insert would shrink.


I put the before and after images together so you can see how much the insert shrunk in the wash.  It was about the same as I had accounted for, except that in this picture it appears that the insert shrunk more lengthwise than widthwise.  The insert barely fits inside the diaper.  I think I will make the insert a little narrower next time because it's really difficult to fit my hand inside the tiny diaper to stuff!


The insert did fluff up some in the wash, as you can see by the fluffy-looking edge.  I can see why this would be more difficult to sew with after washing.

I'm really excited to see how this Zorb insert performs in a wet diaper!

If any of you make your own diaper inserts, I would love to hear your take on Zorb, as well as any tips or tricks you'd like to share.






Sunday, May 10, 2015

Simplicity 1469 - Maternity/Nursing Dress 2.0


I loved my first make of this dress so much I made a second one.  The fabric I used was a Kaufman Laguna Cotton Jersey.  I absolutely love this fabric!  It has 50% four-way stretch, is lightweight enough for tees and dresses without being see-through, and is very soft.  At about $8/yard, it was also less than 1/3 of the price of the Art Gallery knit print I got for the first dress.  I spent about $20 to make it.

Changes made to the pattern included shortening the sleeves by 1/2" and the bodice length by 1/2".  Pretty darn simple!



The first time I made this dress, I had problems making the waistband seam line up at the side seams because I used the serger.  Also, my serger doesn't have well-defined lines for a 5/8" seam.  I kind of winged the seam depth when sewing the waistband to the bodice and waistband to the skirt and it didn't look completely even.  I wanted the dress to look more RTW, so I basted with the sewing machine first, just to get everything in place.  I went over it again with a 4-thread overlock.   The side seams match up almost perfectly and the waistband is the same width all the way around.



Once again, I used the coverstitch to finish the hems and the serger for all of the seams.

I love how easily this dress comes together and how accurate the sizing is.  I think it's a bit weird that I can see the nursing access through the first layer of the bodice but since hardly anybody knows what that is, it probably doesn't matter.


I am T-minus 4 weeks so I doubt I'll be making this pattern again.  About a month ago, I had this really strong urge to do a ton of selfish sewing, and then realized that my body was about to change drastically.  I really want to sew some summer knits and a few t-shirts, but I don't know which size I'm going to end up in.  Guess I'll wait and see what happens.

I no longer feel like a cute, little pregnant lady like I did when I made the previous dress at 26 weeks.   At 36 weeks pregnant, I have quite a bit of swelling in my feet, legs, hands and face.  It is painful and inconvenient, but it's temporary.  It's getting hard to move around and baby S reminds me to sit up straight with strong kicks to the ribs.  Get her out of me!!!  I mean...we can't wait to meet her!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Quilt for Baby S



I made Made by Rae's Storytime Squares Quilt for baby S.  It was really hard to choose a pattern for a baby quilt.  I'm not really a quilter.  I dislike tiny pieces and shy away from triangles and appliques.  I tend to gravitate towards simple, more modern quilt designs.  Sometimes I wonder why we take perfectly good fabric, cut it up into shreds and spend hours stitching it back together.  If I pick an easy pattern and fabric I love, it doesn't seem like that.

I absolutely love florals and leaves, so yeah, this quilt is very reflective of my personal taste!  The nice thing about having a little one is they are too small to have an opinion so they wear whatever you fancy!

I chose an Art Gallery fabric as my 'mommy fabric' from which I coordinated the other fabrics.  


I snatched up this new pink Joel Dewberry print.  Love!



This orange leafy print from Cloud 9 is one of my favorites:



I cut approximately 6 squares each of 8 different fabrics.  The quilt pattern calls for 54" fabric for the backing.  It's much easier for me to use a standard 42-44" quilting cotton, so I scaled down the pattern so I did not have to piece the backing together.  I cut 5" squares instead of 5.5" squares.

The piecing was pretty easy, especially because I'm used to making larger quilts.  The batting I used is a low-loft cotton blend from Joann's.  I used my fabric weights to lay out the three layers, then basted it together using some quilting safety pins.



I've tied quilts many times, but this is the first time I quilted on my sewing machine.  I didn't free motion quilt - I simply used my walking foot and a straight stitch to quilt the layers together.  I was surprised how easy it was!

Then came the machine stitched binding.  I first trimmed the edges of the quilt using a 4-thread overlock stitch on my serger:



This tutorial, explaining how to do a machine binding, was really helpful.  I followed it with one exception: I like joining binding pieces diagonally because there is less bulk when you are sewing the binding to the quilt.

This is a view of the BACK of the quilt...the messy side of the stitching and it looks pretty good!



If this girl doesn't end up being a flower and leaf lover like her mom, grandma and great-grandma, I shall be very put out!