Sunday, August 29, 2010

Boutique Burp Cloths--Who Knew Burping Could Be So Stylish?!?

I've been sewing up some cute burp cloths for baby gifts. Some were to coordinate with the blanket and taggie that I made for Miss Leah.

I was kind of "winging it" when it came to putting these together so there aren't concrete directions--rather suggestions of ways to get started making your own.
This one used a yellow diaper from Gerber. They're a little extra in price, but make a cute burp cloth.

First you start with a regular, pre-folded, cloth diaper. I like the larger size, just because they're easier to fold and protect more shirt in the shoulder area. HOWEVER...I recently discovered something that LOOKS like prefolded diapers, it even SAYS it's diapers.....BUT it's in the auto department near the car wax!

Yep! It's diapers for detailing your car!

I found these at Target for just over $7 for 6 of them.That was less than the comparable baby diaper. When I pre-washed them, they shrank less and stayed more square--less wonky out of the dryer. I like that!

So, get a diaper, or get something to detail your car, but decide on what you want to use for your "base". You can even use flannel or any other soft fabric. I like the diapers because they are absorbant--that's what they're made for!

So, measure the the thicker area of the diaper--the part where it has the most layers. Mine was about 5x14". Cut a piece of your center fabric (I like to use thinner, soft towels; microfiber towels; flannel; or minky) about one inch larger, so 6x15" in my case. Turn under about 1/2" on the long side and give it a quick press. Center it over the thick part of the diaper and stitch it down. Use a straight stitch. Use a zig-zag. Use whatever you like. It will be fine. Trust me on this!

Now you have about 1/2" overhang at the top and to bottom. At the top, cut your center fabric even with the diaper and just give it a quick zig-zag to attach it.

At the bottom I like to add a little extra detail, just to make it all so special.

Cut a piece of coordinating cotton that's 1" longer than the width of your diaper by about 6". In my case, the diaper was 14" wide, so my fabric was 6x15".

Also cut a piece of an accent fabric that's the same width (15" for me) by about 2". This will be the little strip at the top of the big strip. Are you with me so far? (Sorry I don't have a photo of each step!)

(On a separate note, I like to make strips of various lengths and widths just to keep on hand. Some I run through the ruffler, and some I just fold in half and press. I hang them all over a hanger and keep nearby so I'm not constantly stopping to cut and/or ruffle pieces for accents.)

So, center the long side of the fabric over the bottom of the diaper with the wrong sides together. Sew about 1/2" from the edge, across the bottom.

Flip the fabric to the right side. Now your right sides should both be facing out!


Sewing the accent fabric to the main fabric at the bottom.

Line up the accent strip with the coordinating strip.
Using 1/4" seam allowance, attach the accent strip. Turn the seam allowance to the wrong side and press.

Now you have a nice little edging at the bottom of the burp cloth, but you need to sew it down!

Press the strips up towards the center fabric on the front.

On the left and the right edges, turn under 1/4" and sew close to the edge, tacking it down. Do the same across the accent fabrics. You can stitch them both down, or just one. Stitch in the ditch, or do a topstitch.

The choice is up to you!

Sewing down the sides, before going across the top of the accent fabrics.


Ta-Da! This one is finished!


Next up: Baby burp cloth with a minky center!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Oh, the Expo!

I spent today at the American Sewing Guild Expo that was held in Indianapolis! What a great, informatinve time!

First of all, I got to see the Babylock Enterprise in action. Wow! I think it was the highlight of my day! The MSRP on this 10-needle machine is $15,000.00. Yep, you read that right! HOWEVER, it IS on sale for $12,999.00. That's $13,000 in my book. A very cool embroidery machine nonetheless. Hope to try one out soon!

I'd love to buy each and every embroidery CD from Kathy Harrison at Custom Keepsakes! She does Victoran lace and embroidery, along with in-the-hoop clothing patterns for dolls and children. All of her work is exquisite! I can see me working on something like this every single day. The heirloom baby christening/dedication gowns are stunning! The photos do not do them justice.

I already have pattern drafting software from Wild Ginger. However, it's great to have a fact to put with a product. Mariette is a joy to talk with and really knows her stuff. I can forsee working with her Users Groups and really using this software to it's potential!

The class called "Running with Scissors" by Pam Damour was very informative, yet entertaining! She knows so much about the home decor business that she's written a book and has pattented several templates and rulers. I should have bought her book while I was there. Guess I'll have to order it online! I'd never even heard of buttonhole scissors, not to mention that I'd never tried them out! She's a wealth of information that isn't to be missed.

I met many interesting people, learned many new techniques, and saw many interesting new products. If they have this again next year, I'm definitely going! Save me a spot! 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Super Soft Minky Baby Blanket--With a Suprise!


I made this super-soft minky blanket with an elephant applique for Miss Leah. It matches the Crinkle Toy I posted about here.

Here's how to make your own!

Cut two pieces of your blanket fabric that are the same size. Mine was 40x45".

For the applique I cut a cute elephant from the minky scraps. The piece was 3.5x5" when it was all trimmed up.
I wanted to add the ruffle since Leah is a girl and the blanket isn't very feminine. I tried just pinning the ruffle to the minky, but the minky was way too soft and stretchy. I solved that problem by zig-zagging it to a piece of woven cotton to stabilize it.


There isn't a picture for the next part. I get so excited that I forget to take pictures!

Cut a piece of coordinating cotton fabric 4x45". Fold it in half lengthwise and iron it well. I used my ruffler foot to make pleats in the fabric, but you could use a long stitch length and gather it along the cut edge.



Pin the ruffle, starting at the bottom center, to the outside edge of the applique. Fold the beginning and ending ends down, tapering them, and rounding at the corners. Stitch along the gathering lines to baste the ruffle to the applique.



Trim away your stabilizing fabric. Turn your ruffle to the outside, turning the seam allowance under at the same time.

Once again, I forgot to take a picture!

Pick the spot for the applique. I put mine near the bottom right corner. Pin it in place with he seam allowance tucked under. Topstitch about 1/8" from the edge of the minky,catching the ruffle's seam allowance on the backside.

All that's left is to assemble your blanket!

Put the blanket's right sides together. Using 1/2" seam allowance, sew all the way around, leaving about 5" on one side to turn.

Clip the corners and turn the blanket right side out.

Turn the edges of the opening under and pin it closed. Beginning in one corner, topstitch 1/4" all the way around, catching the fabric at the opening so it's sewn closed. This is a great time to experiment with the decorative stitches on your machine! I used a scallop stitch on this blanket.

Admire your work!

Front

Back

Minky can be tricky to work with because it's slippery and can "walk" when you try to sew it. PIN, PIN, PIN!  Although I've not tried it, a walking foot may help if this is a problem for you.

Even though it's tricky, it can be forgiving also. If you get a little tuck here and there it won't show in the finished blanket. Little things like that are hidden by the pile of the fabric.

Minky isn't the only fabric that's great for a blanket like this! Try combinations of fleece, satin, and flannel.

For an extra-girly blanket, put a large ruffle around the outside edge! Use the same coordinating fabric as you used for the applique to tie it all in together. Satin also makes a great ruffle or you can purchase pre-ruffled satins at fabric stores.

I'd love to see a picture if you make one of your own!


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Beyond The Picket Fence

Crinkly, Taggie Baby Toy Tutorial--Great for Baby Showers!

I made a cute little crinkly toy for Miss Leah.
Here's how to make one for your special little person!


I started with a piece of orange minky and had my friend Jan embroider Leah's name on it. (I can do the embroidery, but Jan is so good at it!)

Cut the minky into a square that's about 7x7", centering the name, if you're using embroidery. Cut a square the same size out of a coordinating fabric for the back.



I'm using three different ribbons: One is grosgrain, one is satin, and one is jumbo ric-rac. Cut 4 pieces of each that are 4" long. Or, you can use 12 different ribbons....or 2 each of 6 different ribbons..... The choice is up to you! I'd advise you to use what you have though, and think about textures. I like to make these toys with tags that have different "feels" to them.



Starting on any one side, begin stitching about 1/4" from the edge. About 1/3 of the way down, pick up your first ribbon and fold it in half. Put the cut edges even with the cut fabric edge and stitch over it. Stitch a little further and pick up your next ribbon, folding it and tacking it in place the same way. Do the same with your third ribbon and stitch to the end of the fabric.

I don't really try to space the ribbons out perfectly, but they always seem to come out fairly even. If they don't, it's still ok! Babies don't mind at all!

Also, be sure to start stitching at the end of the fabric and go all the way to the other end, don't just stitch where the ribbons are. The extra stitching keeps the minky from stretching out too much. Believe me, you'll appreciate this when we go to the next step!


This is what it should look like after all of your ribbons are sewn down.

Somehow I didn't get a photo of this next step.

Put the backing on top of the top, right sides together. With your ribboned minky on top, sew all the way around the toy, just INSIDE the stitching line for the ribbon, leaving an opening of about 2" on one side.

Turn it all right side out!



What do these have to do with a Crinkly, Taggie, Baby Toy Tutorial you might ask?
Well, from these little bins that were purchased at Harbor Freight, I got


this pile of very crinkly plastic!

(I've also heard of using the plastic wipe packages that most moms seem to have on hand. I also have found crinkly plastic on protein bars, chip packages, packages of pencils, and many other places. Once you start looking for it, you'll find it everywhere! I keep a bag with washed crinkly plastic in my sewing room now!)

Stuff that stuff inside! No, really....wad it up and stuff it in! You'll probably have to squeeze it and shift it around to get it evenly distributed.

Turn under 1/4" at the opening and pin it closed.

Topstitch about 1/8" from the edge, all the way around, catching the opening and closing it up.



Now you're done!
I added a yellow "C" ring to one loop so it can be attached to things like strollers and car seats.


(This is the back.)

Some things to keep in mind: 

  • Depending on what plastic you used, I'd wash it in the machine, then dry on low, or even hang it to dry. 

  • Make several of these to keep on hand for baby showers, or for birthday or Christmas gifts.  

  • If you don't have access to machine embroidery, or just want to make one that's not for any particular baby, then just skip it!  

  • Make one side pieced, like a quilt, out of 4 squares that are about 4x4". Your finished square will be 7.5x7.5", but you can always trim it to "square it up" if you'd like. Make your squares larger or smaller, depending on the fabric, ribbon, and crinkly plastic you have on hand. 

  • For extra texture, make one side of the toy out of a washcloth, flannel, satin, or fleece. 

  • Use recyclable fabric! Denim from old jeans, sweaters with stains (don't use the stained part!), and sheets with interesting patterns all make great fabric for this project, just to name a few.

  • You don't have to be square! Make a circle. Make a triangle. Make a quadrilateral. Well, I'd have to skip that one, or go back to geometry class.
Just have fun with it! It's certain that the babies will!
 
Miss Leah with her momma, MaryJane







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Monday, August 16, 2010

She's Been At It Again!





It's a hot, lazy Sunday afternoon and Brandie wants to "make something". I know that creative itch.

A coloring book and crayons just aren't making it.

I had a fleece remnant, so we made two babydoll blankets out of it: One for her, and one for Haleigh.
Haleigh wanted her's left fringed, but Brandie did knots on the one for her dolly.


I was really proud of her! Once she started doing the ties, I thought she'd get bored and not want to finish. But, finish she did--in about 15 minutes!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Whole Lotta Sewin' Goin' On!


I've been spending quality time with my sewing machine these past few weeks. This picture is just a little taste of that's been happening in my sewing room!

Stay tuned because pictures (of a beautiful baby!), and probably a tutorial or two, are soon to follow!

Monday, August 2, 2010

She Gets It From Me

My wonderfully creative daughter, Brandie, took some toilet paper rolls, scissors, scraps of fabric, some masking tape and made napkin rings!



Is this one my favorite???

....Or is this one my favorite???
I can't decide!

Not bad for a 6-year-old with only her imagination to guide her, eh?