Category Archives: Baby

12 Quilts – Number 2

Second quilt for the year is a quick little baby quilt for some good friends. Pretty basic, and very straightforward to piece and quilt, but I’m happy with it all the same. Hopefully it will be well used. This one I did actually start and finish entirely this year. All in about three evenings actually. You’d think that will nine months to prepare I’d have managed to get the quilt done more than a week before the baby was due, but no, apparently not.

Basic blocks and cross-hatch quilting

Basic blocks and cross-hatch quilting

The quilt is made entirely with stash fabric (and really, it’s prettier in person than the photograph). Mostly the fabric is leftover bits and pieces from other baby quilts. It was actually quite satisfying to pull the whole thing together from stash fabric.

Pieced block

Pieced block

My standard formula for quick baby quilts is to use 5 to 6 inch square blocks and lay them out in a simple grid such that the finished quilt is about a yard square. In this case, I added a few pieced blocks (just two rectangles put together to form a square) to make the most of the fabric scraps I had.

Back

Back

The backing fabric was just a little bit too small, thus the pink strip at the bottom. It’s hard to see in the photographs, but the binding is also pieced together from the scraps. Let’s just say there’s not much of this fabric left.

Not much else to say about this one. Quick and easy. Which is good, since the recipient arrived early! I’m not the only one who waits until the last minute to make baby quilts, right?

 

Quick Baby Quilt

I had plans to make a baby quilt for some friends who were expecting their second daughter mid-February. As it turns out, she arrived a few weeks early (healthy and happy thankfully). Since I hadn’t actually started the quilt yet, I needed to get busy! They told me the colors for her nursery are purples and whites, both of which I have a decent amount of in my quilt stash. I made a quilt for their first daughter in purples and green, and since I had some of the fabric leftover I used some of that purple in this quilt.

I cut 5.5″ blocks from all the fabrics I gathered up and decided I’d figure out the pattern based on how many blocks I had of each color. I knew I had an 8 by 8 grid to work with, since I wanted the finished quilt to be about 40″ square (no borders). After piling up all my cut blocks I discovered I really didn’t have enough of any of the colors to do any kind of pattern I could think of. My husband suggested I just do a random layout. Even though I’m not generally a fan of just laying blocks out randomly, it worked out nicely in this case. Good thing too, since it was really my only option for using the fabric I had on hand.

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Randomly laid out blocks

Apologies for the lousy photos. The light in my studio at night is sufficient for sewing, but not really for taking photographs.

The whole thing went together really quickly. I had the blocks laid out on the floor, in the random arrangement I settled on the night before, and I just picked up a row of blocks at a time and started sewing. I think I managed to piece the whole thing during one of my son’s naps and quilt it later that evening.

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Pinned and ready to quilt!

The backing is a single piece of a cute bear print (also from the stash). That’s one of the nice things about baby quilts – usually they’re small enough that the backing doesn’t have to be pieced. I machine quilted the whole thing with a basic cross-hatch design. It’s what I use for most of the baby quilts I make. I love that it’s easy, looks good, and can be done as continuous line quilting (less thread trimming for me!).

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Cross-hatch quilting

After quilting it, I serged around the edges before binding. It’s a trick I learned from a long-arm quilter a while ago. Serging the edges just helps hold everything in place and makes it easier to bind the quilt.

Quilted, but not serged yet

Quilted, but not serged yet

The binding strips were cut 2.5″ wide and folded in half before attaching. I’ve always bound my quilts this way, since I figure the two layers of binding will wear better than just one.

And then it was done. Finished in record time. Now we just need to deliver it…

All done!

All done!

Here are some finished shots taken in daylight. The colors show much better with decent lighting!

Up close...

Up close…

Bears on the back

Bears on the back

On to the next project…

Let me sum up

Well, since the last time I posted in, ahem, October, I’ve been a little busy. The fall was particularly chaotic for me and I felt like I could eek out enough time to sew or blog, but not both. Guess which one I chose.

But since the whole point of starting this blog was to keep track of all my projects, I thought I should at least run around and try to get photos of everything I’ve made since last posting. In the process of doing that I realized just how much sewing I actually got done! So, yea, maybe I could have found time for a post or two. Things to improve on in the new year.

Anyway, since I did get a fair number of things accomplished, I’m pretty much just going to post photos. There’s nothing too spectacular to show, but I’m still pretty pleased with everything I got done. So this isn’t a year in review post or anything like that, just a summary of this past fall.

Here goes…

My baby bear! I know, this is a Halloween costume and it’s now January. But it’s one of the things I’m most pleased with, so there’s no way I was going to leave it out. I figure I only have so many years of getting to pick my son’s costume for him, so I’ve got to make the most of it.

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Let’s see…I made a few more Renfrew tops…

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This last one is made out of a heavier sweater knit that I didn’t have quite enough of for both cowl pieces. So I ended up using a lighter weight gray jersey for the underside of the cowl. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and I think it drapes better that it would have with two layers of the heavier fabric.

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Underside of cowl

The background for these photos, by the way, is the quilt on my bed. I made the quilt a few years ago and a friend did the quilting on her long-arm machine. I love the fabric, and the quilting really makes the whole thing pop.

Next, I sewed some bags…

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IMG_3267The last bag was a gift for my husband. We’ve been trading cars more lately, as kiddo’s car seat only fits in one car, so whoever has kiddo for the day gets that car. The bag is for the few odds and ends that my husband used to keep in his car. Now that we’re switching cars so often, it’s nice for him to be able to just grab the bag when using the other car, instead of digging around for loose items.

I should also mention, none of these pictures are in order. With the exception of the bear costume, I can’t really recall which projects came when. So I’m just grouping things in a sort-of logical order.

That said, here are some short sleeved shirts. I made two of these late enough in the year that it’s been too cold to actually wear them yet. Oh well. I’ll have some new clothes to wear in the spring.

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IMG_3311All of them are from a basic kimono sleeve self-drafted pattern that I’ve been using for a while.

Next up, stuff for the kiddo! First, we have toddler pants.

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IMG_3316Kiddo was “helping” with the photos.

Here’s a bean bag set, with carrying bag I made for him. They’re surprisingly fun to play with and toss around. I find myself practicing juggling more these days.

IMG_3283IMG_3284The bag and bean bags were made with some very bright (these photos do not do it justice) double sided-fabric. Stripes on one side and palm trees on the other.

And then came the Christmas sewing. First off, a new shirt for my son’s teddy bear, Bernard. I’m not sure kiddo really noticed, but Bernard certainly looks pleased.

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IMG_3307I just roughly traced a pattern off the (rather sad looking) t-shirt the bear originally came in. It was an absurdly quick and easy sewing job. I foresee more bear clothing in the future.

Then there were Christmas pot-holders. I’m not sure what came over me. I’ve never made potholders before. But I had a bunch of holiday fabric scraps, and some of that heat-proof batting and suddenly potholders sounded like a genius idea. They were kind of fun to make though. And two of them were promptly given away as gifts.

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IMG_3298Next, I finally made a Christmas tree skirt. Well, mostly anyway. Technically I didn’t finish the tree skirt until after Christmas, but I did have it done enough to use for Christmas.

IMG_3280IMG_3282The quilting and binding were all I had left to do. So as a temporary finish, I just serged the edges until I had time to do the binding.

Next, I finally finished the quilting on a wall hanging that I started right after the holidays, at the beginning of 2012. I had the wall hanging nearly finished, but decided it needed some more quilting. Somehow, that turned into a monstrous task (much like this post), that didn’t get finished until nearly a year later.

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Almost there. I hemmed a couple of towels that I wove earlier in the fall. Weaving is another hobby that periodically eats into my sewing time.

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And lastly, I made a pillow cover. I know, boring. But it was a good use of some stash scrap fabric and a horrid peach invisible zipper that I didn’t see ever using for anything else.

IMG_3285IMG_3286IMG_3287For reasons I can’t recall, I have more than a few pillow forms in my stash. I finally decided that instead of saving them for the perfect project, I’d just whip up some quick covers and “store” them on my couch until I could remember whatever the perfect project was supposed to be. Much better. My couch has pillows, and my studio is ever so slightly less full. I say “pillows” because I’ve actually knocked out two more covers since taking these pictures. And used two more random zippers from my stash! Really, where do these things come from? A peach zipper?

Anyway, that about wraps up the last 4 months. On to the new year.

Unfinished

Well, I’ve really fallen off the blogging bandwagon, haven’t I? Not much sewing going on around these parts lately, save for some mending. But hey, I did get through nearly my whole mending pile. It’s not like I have any shortage of other things to sew, either. I’ve somehow amassed a pile of unfinished projects. And at this point, I need to start finishing some of them in order to unearth my cutting table.

First off, we have the dress shirt that’s been languishing in my studio for at least three weeks at this point. All it needs is sleeves, a little top-stitching and buttons. I think I stalled originally on the hand-stitching at the collar. But that’s finally done, so really, I have no excuse for not just finishing the thing.

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Next up is the cut-out-but-not-sewn-at-all baby romper. If I don’t sew this up soon, it may be too late, given how fast kiddo seems to be growing. I cut this out from the romper pattern in Sewing For Boys. Then, before I got around to glancing at the sewing instructions, I had to return the book to the library. So, the romper has been waiting for the book to come available again for check out.

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Then there’s these two t-shirts. Because I didn’t haven enough on my plate already, I used up valuable nap time to cut out two more t-shirts. And now they’re both in half-finished states, waiting for another nap time sewing stint.

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I think maybe I’d better try to finish up all of these projects (and the rest of the mending) before I cut anything else out. Although, I’d really like to make a pair of Thurlow shorts…

Not Dead, Just Gardening

My garden has been taking up nearly all my spare time lately, so not much sewing has been going on. However my garden apron has been getting daily use! More use than anything else I’ve sewn lately.

In my small bits of extra time I decided it’s high time to start making some clothes for my son. While he’s still very little, he’s past the point where making clothes for him feels like sewing doll clothes. I recently got a copy of Sewing For Boys from the library. I’ve seen it mentioned on a few other blogs (most recently on Blogless Anna, where she made a very cute boys hat) and thought it was worth checking out. Many of the patterns are for older boys, but there are a handful with sizing for those under 1 year old.

I decided to try out the Mr. Two-Face pants pattern. Pants are quick and easy, and kiddo is pretty hard on the pants he’s got, now that he’s crawling everywhere. Also, I thought it would be nice to finally have pants that fit him well. He’s pretty long compared to his weight, so most pants are too short. Plus, I’ve got him in cloth diapers which are a good bit bulkier than the disposables, so there needs to be a little extra room in the seat to accommodate the diaper bubble butt.

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That said, I figured I’d just make the pants up straight off the pattern for the first go round. Kiddo is solidly in 12 month size commercial clothing (despite not being 12 months yet), so I cut out the 12 month size pattern. That was a mistake. Apparently the sizing in this book is much more accurate than commercial clothing. Really, I should have known that. I don’t think I’ve ever been then same pattern size as commercial clothing size. The pants are definitely too big for him right now. Conveniently, babies grow. So at some point (probably around 12 months) these should fit him fine.

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“Hey Mom, these are kinda big, don’t you think?”

The pattern actually calls for making each leg in a different color, and adding a pocket to the back. I didn’t bother with any of that as I wanted to see how the pants fit first. I used some scraps of an old piece of cotton interlock to make this pair. That’s a definite perk of baby and kid sewing by the way – using up those pieces of fabric that are too big to get rid of, but too small to make any kind of adult garment out of. This particular scrap had some faded fold lines that were right in the middle of the piece. Since there wasn’t enough fabric to cut around them, I decided to make them a design element. I laid out the pieces so the fade lines were (almost) centered on the front of the legs. Then before putting the pants together, I ran some decorative stitching down the fade lines to help disguise them. I used the same stitch for the hem. I think it looks okay, better than the fade lines at least. And hey, kiddo can’t even talk yet, so it’s not like he’s going to protest.

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Another added bonus of this project is that it used up a chunk (albeit a small one) of stash fabric! Next up, I’m planning on trying out the romper pattern from Sewing For Boys. Since it’s supposed to be in the 90’s (and therefore too hot to garden) for the next week or so, I might actually get some sewing done.

Me-Made-May …the rest of the month

Hey look, it’s June. Perhaps I should post the rest of my Me-Made-May updates. I’ve read other bloggers mention that they get burned out taking a photo everyday during May. I can certainly understand that having now (tried) to do that myself. I also got tired of writing the updates, but that might be because I had so many repeats, or just that I wear jeans and a t-shirt most of the time and it’s not very exciting to write about. Regardless, here’s the rest of the month.

May 15-threeDay 15 Me-Mades: Another raglan t-shirt

This is another old shirt from the depths of my closet. It’s a little short for my current tastes and feels  a bit blah, so it doesn’t get worn much. The fabric is some sort of squishy stretchy polyester, and it was a bear to sew. Those three buttons there aren’t functional at all, I just needed something to cover up the ripples in that seam. And of course, one button was lost in the laundry the last time I washed this. So now it’s really not going to get much wear, at least not until I find some new buttons.

IMG_1862Day 16 Me-Mades: Stripey Renfrew

Yup, still loving this shirt.

IMG_1873Day 17 Me-Mades: Knockoff GAP t-shirt

Another repeat, but hey, it’s a really comfortable t-shirt.

Day 18 Me-Mades: Knockoff GAP t-shirt

I totally didn’t get a picture today. But the shirt I wore is exactly the same pattern as yesterday, just in plain gray fabric.

IMG_1899Day 19 Me-Mades: Twisty Dress

New dress! New dress! Finished at the last minute the night before, no less.

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Day 20 Me-Mades: Drapey cowl shirt

Somewhere in the depths of my studio is the pattern for this shirt. But I don’t care if I ever find it, because I’m not making another one of these. I realized, when I put this shirt on, why it’s languished in the back of my dresser drawer for so long. I hate the way it looks on me. It’s not terribly comfortable, and I feel like it makes my shoulders look really broad. Plus, it’s too short, so I spent the whole day tugging at the hem. The only thing that made it at all wearable was the jacket I wore over it. Yup, this one’s gotta go.

Day 21 Me-Mades: Er, no picture again. I got busy. Same t-shirt as day 6.

IMG_1985Day 22 Me-Mades: New shirt! Not blogged about yet.

Day 23 Me-Mades: Um, day 23 appears to have fallen into a black hole. Can’t find the picture I took, and can’t remember what I wore. Oops.

IMG_1998Day 24 Me-Mades: Raglan t-shirt

Nothing very exciting, just another raglan t-shirt. Really, I had no idea how many shirts I’d made off this pattern until doing this challenge. In the interest of variety I think I need to try some new patterns.

Day 25 Me-Mades: This is the last day with no picture, I promise. I just wore a gray t-shirt again, off my Knockoff GAP T-shirt pattern. I think I wore that shirt 3 or 4 times this months and never managed to photograph it. That’s okay though, it’s pretty uninspiring. Just your basic gray t-shirt.

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Day 26 Me-Mades: Cotton gauze button-up shirt.

This is one of those nearly finished projects that I find buried in my studio and can’t for the life of me figure out why I never finished it. This shirt was completely done except for buttons and buttonholes. Needless to say, that was a quick fix. I plan on making another one shortly and will blog about both then.

IMG_2006Day 27 Me-Mades: Throwback sleeveless blouse

My husband told me I looked like a throwback to the 80’s in this, and it would be a good gardening shirt. That’s his way of saying he doesn’t want to have to be seen in public with me when I’m wearing this. Really, it doesn’t fit well enough for me to wear it out anyway. The armholes are way too loose. But still, I didn’t think the fabric was that bad. Oh well. It’s comfortable and breezy, so it actually does make a good gardening shirt.

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Day 28 Me-Mades: Geometric Twisty top

This is the first top I made off one of my favorite Butterick patterns. I’ve since tweaked it and made it up as a dress. I still like the original top, though it is a bit short these days.

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Day 29 Me-Mades: Another new, unblogged about shirt!

Well I guess this means I have something else to write about now that May is over.

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Day 30 Me-Mades: Ariadne tunic, and white cardighan, modified nursing cami

The cardighan is pretty old (at least 10 years), and made from a Lose Hinse pattern. It’s pretty basic, but I like it. I opted to just put two buttons near the neck for closure, instead of all down the button band. And while I didn’t make kiddo’s outfit, it is from the thrift store. Seriously, that’s the best place for buying baby clothes without going broke.

IMG_2118Day 31 Me-Mades: Long sleeved raglan t-shirt for me, and mama-made pants for the boy, along with a grandma-modified onesie!

Last day!! My top is completely boring, but I made up for it with kiddo’s clothes. I made the pants, and my mom added the matching long sleeves to his onesie. And she embroidered  the ducky on the front.

Phew! I survived, but I’m glad May is over. The challenge was great for making me think about what I wear, and for getting me to clean out my closet a bit. I dug out some tops that I haven’t worn in years, and for good reason mostly. This also helped me narrow down some areas for future sewing. There was something really satisfying about knowing I had on at least one thing I’d made myself every single day last month. This has really re-charged my desire to sew more of my own clothes. So here’s a big thank you to Zoe for hosting Me-Made-May 2013!

And now I feel the overwhelming desire to sew something that will require no pictures of me…

Pirate Quilts, Ahoy!

And the pirate baby quilts are finished! Just in time too, as the twins arrived early, last week.

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Rewinding a little, I’ve been working on two baby quilts for the now newly arrived twin boys of a good friend. She was planning a pirate theme for the nursery, so of course I needed pirate fabric. Tiny little problem – pirates don’t seem to be in this year. I couldn’t actually find any pirate fabric in the store. So the quilts are made entirely from stash fabric (mostly my stash, with a few pieces liberated from my mom’s stash). I’m going to ignore what that probably says about the size of my fabric stash.* Some of the fabric, specifically the center squares and the orange strip with the skull and crossbones is actually leftover from the baby quilt I made for my friend’s first son.

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Center block and strip with skull & crossbones are both leftover from an earlier baby quilt

Really glad I saved the leftover pieces. The corner squares (the lighter blue pirate fabric) and the quilt backing are both cut from thrift store sheets.

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Quilt back

I might have never thought to look at thrifted sheets as a fabric source, had it not been for finding Cation Designs. She does some pretty amazing things with sheets. Anyway, I had found the pirate sheets a while ago and just hadn’t decided what to make with them yet. It’s a good thing I still had them on hand, given the shortage of pirate fabric otherwise. Both sheets are 100% cotton, and close enough weight to work well in the quilts. The sheet I used for the backing is actually flannel, which I think is nice for a baby quilt.

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As for the pattern, I wanted the quilts to be similar, but not identical. I thought altering the pieced squares would be enough to get the effect I wanted.

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So that’s why one quilt has 4-patch squares, and the other has strips. The quilts are free-motion quilted with a large stipple pattern in a variegated blue thread .

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And had it not been for some machine issues, they would have been quilted in about a quarter of the time it ended up taking. I do my free-motion quilting on my old Viking 1+ machine, which usually quilts beautifully. For some reason (possibly because I haven’t had my machine serviced in I don’t know how long), the thread kept shredding every few inches of stitching. It was maddening. I tried everything I could think of – re-threading, new needle, different needle type, fiddling with the tension, different spool position for the thread – nothing worked. I fought with it through the first third of the quilting, cursing the whole way, before I finally gave up. Thankfully, my mom has a Pfaff Grand Quilter that I was able to borrow to finish the quilting on. And boy is that a nice machine. I may start cheating on my Viking and using the Pfaff to do all my quilting. We’ll see.

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Mega quilt! Prior to quilting or cutting

Here’s the fun thing about these quilts – they fit together like puzzle pieces! It was actually my husband’s idea, I love it. To get the best fit, I decided to make the quilts as one, and then cut them apart at the end just before adding the binding.

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Quilted and cut in half

To accommodate the curves on the cut edge I used bias binding to finish that edge. Generally I just do straight of grain binding when finishing quilts. But generally, I don’t have curved edges. Only the side with the curves has bias binding, the other three sides have straight binding. That’s mostly due to fabric limitations, not any particular design reasoning.

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Finished!

I’m thrilled with the way the quilts came out. Hopefully they’ll be well received. Not that the twins will care – they’ll be too busy spitting up on the them. Which is exactly what baby quilts are for. Now I’ve just got to get these in the mail!

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Side by side finished quilts

* I’m going to count this project as using two pieces of stash fabric. Just about the entire flannel sheet was used for the backing, and the rest of the pieces were really too small to count individually. So, two pieces it is.