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.

Tuesday, May 26, 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!