Since I am going to have another baby in a month and a half, I have to get some baby supplies together. Most of my old stuff is still perfectly good, but I need more burp cloths! I decided to sew myself a little stash of soft, absorbent burp cloths for the new baby. This turned out to be a quick and easy sewing project for a baby! Plus it is very cost effective considering the cost of burp cloths from a store.
I used the burp cloth tutorial from Dana Made It.
I used flannel fabric for the backing and chenille fabric for the absorbent layer of fabric. Of course the minor problems I ran into were related to the burp cloth fabrics. The flannel shrunk and the edges shredded when I pre-washed it more than I expected. The soft chenille stretched a lot when I was sewing it AND it made an unholy fluffly mess all over when I cut into it.
As a result the sizes of my burp cloths are a little inconsistent. In the end I decided that the burp cloths might not be perfect, but they are good enough to be puked on.
My latest sewing project is the “Exposed Zipper Bag” from the Craftsy Online Beginner Serging Class. So far I love this class. It is appropriate for the serger novice like me. The Exposed Zipper Bag is fully-lined squared off small pouch with pull tabs at each end of the zipper. It would be a perfect pencil case or makeup bag for a quick sewing project. Um, my bag is missing the pull tabs. I am going to call this a design element rather than a mistake.
Even though my serging is still totally sloppy and uneven it is miles better than it was before I started this class. I couldn’t thread my serger, so it sat in my closet untouched. Now I am wondering if I will need a better serger someday (hmm a Babylock with auto tension?). FYI, if you are buying a sewing machine or serger it is important to look up the sewing machine review and the price that others pay for their machines first on Pattern Review, and to also post the price that you paid. The retail price is apparently kept secret by the manufacturers and customers have to negotiate price with dealers. Lame.
The Exposed Zipper Bag is the first project in the Craftsy class for serging. I haven’t done the other projects (a multi-ruffled apron and a scarf) yet. The instructor of the class does a great job, so I think I will complete these classes too. Plus the Craftsy website is actually very user friendly. The instructional videos are easy for a student to use because they let you replay a part of the video over and over automatically so you can understand that tough new technique. The videos integrate student questions and so far the instructors seem very responsive to questions.
I needed a lot of help start serging at all. I found a few websites that helped me develop some remedial serger skills. The post on Fiberosity (Serger 101) helped with basic information and balancing tensions. The post on Make it Handmade (Perfecting Serger/Overlocker tension) was particurally helpful with threading advice and stitch length and stitch width information.
This was a fun project that didn’t take long. I plan on making more of these, perhaps in some sort of waterproof fabric. I hope everyone like their Christmas presents!
The Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide with 25 Fabulous Original Designs, Including 10 Patterns by Diana Rupp has many cute and fun beginner sewing projects. The projects have helpful detailed directions along with the sewing patterns so a begginner can learn how to sew with some great guidance. One of the cutest sewing projects in the book is the Unforgettable Elephant.
I made the body of the Unforgettable Elephant about… oh, a year ago? Baby M is not a big fan of me getting personal time, so I never finished this project for him. The ears remained unsewn because you need to hand sew them to the body of the elephant. You also need to hand sew a portion of the body of the elephant shut once you have stuffed it with the Polyester Fiberfill. So the Unforgettable Elephant project remained unfinished because ugh hand sewing is the worst!
There are some cute Unforgettable elephant out there! One elephant I liked was the one by School of Moxie This blog has some helpful pictures if anyone is struggling on a step of this sewing project. Of course if anyone has problems on a part of this project just let me know and I would be happy to help!
Another cute elephant can be found on E Made This. This blog has both the Baby Elephant and the Mama Elephant and they both look great.
If you want to make a stuffed elephant toy but don’t have the Sew Everything Workshop book, try the free elephant toy pattern and tutorial on Riley Blake Designs. Looks like a fun project and I would love to make this sometime!
Well Baby M is 10 months old, and my furniture is suffering at his sticky little hands. Ever try telling a baby not to drool all over the couch? It does no good. Since the fabric bench in his little play area was rapidly getting covered in slobber and banana mush, I decided I had to act fast and get a slipcover to protect it. I could not find a ready made slipcover to fit the bench, so I wanted to sew a slipcover to cover it. I went to the local Crate and Barrel Outlet to get affordable Marimekko fabric. At four dollars a yard, the outlet Marimekko fabric is affordable. The selection is not fantastic, as there are no smaller-scale and multi-colored prints available. I settled on a lime green on lime green circle print, Marimekko “kivet” fabric, to sew my custom slipcover.
The process of sewing my custom couch slipcover went well, considering that I have no real idea how to sew a slipcover. My slipcover design is meant to just drape over the couch and come off very easily for frequent washing (remember I am dealing with a messy baby here).
I followed the basic slipcover tutorial instructions on honeybearlane: drape your fabric pieces on the couch inside-out and pin in place to get the right shape and fit. I didn’t sew any cushion covers or anything complicated like that: its just some Marimekko fabric in the shape of a couch. Next time I make a slipcover, I may use this helpful slipcover tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.
I did not sew down the top of the main couch cushion, so the slipcover has more than enough give to easily come on and off. After staring at my lime green fabric for a while I got sick of looking at it and began to hate it. I sewed the slipcover wrong side out, for a muted lime green pastel effect. To counter the baby drool problem, I added a layer of waterproof PUL fabric behind the slip cover.
To complete the slipcover project, I made matching bolster pillow covers. I used the bolster pillow tutorial on Pretty Prudent, minus the piping detail. Also, I improvised an envelope pillow opening since there is no way I am going to hand sew the cover on. My first pillow is pretty sloppy to be honest. But I learned from my mistakes and the second pillow turned out better. Next time I make a bolster pillow I will probably shorten the length of the main pillow fabric to make a tighter fitting envelope pillow cover.
My latest project is a baby bassinet mobile. My friend and I made some black and white sheep out of felt to hang over the bassinet. I got the idea after looking at black and white mobiles on etsy. Those crib mobiles are super cute but also seriously expensive. The sheep mobile will replace the owls that came with the mobile on my pack n play playard bassinet.
I choose black and white sheep because apparently young babies cannot visually process low contrast colors. So all those cute pastel colors and toys probably look like boring blobs to newborns. High contrast black and white (with some saturated red thrown in for good measure if you want) is easier for babies to see and may aid in infant brain development. As babies get older the ability to distinguish more subtle colors improves (duh). Small for Big notes that black and white baby mobiles might not be the best choice for a crib, because they are stimulating and not relaxing (i.e., sleep inducing).
Of course, it doesn’t make sense to me that babies absolutely need special black and white accessories to improve vision and/or cognition. I bet babies have got along just fine for hundreds of thousands of years without black and white mobiles.
I decided to keep this craft project simple. If you are feeling more ambitious, Life Sprinkled with Glitter has some cute ideas for baby mobiles that you can make yourself. To make my simple sheep mobile, my friend and I made sheep shapes and cut out the piece from some cheap felt. We sewed the layers together, then stuffed the sheep with cheap polyester fiberfill. The whole thing can cost just a few dollars if you can keep your fiberfill cost down. But keep in mind that this cost is simply for the sheep, not a mobile frame to hang them from.