Archive for the 'sewing' Category

More Handmade Burp Cloths

Finally finished these burp cloths today. Actually, it took me several days over the course of two weeks just to make three. I did each step a bit at a time, whenever there was a spare moment between caring for baby and everything else. Most new mothers would have probably made these types of things while they were pregnant. However, I didn’t want to do too much, for fear I might jinx myself. From this nice tutorial.

P.S. I hate to say this, but don’t buy the organic Gerber diapers to make these burp cloths. They wash up really wrinkled and feel more like gauze than sturdy cotton fabric. Plus they’re more expensive.

My First Softie

Here is the softie for the swap I mentioned earlier. The pattern is from the book Sew Pretty Christmas Homestyle. It turned out pretty good for a first attempt. Sewing such small, rounded corners was quite a challenge. The fabric is the same dot print used on the art cards that are also part of the swap package, and I used non-toxic fabric paint for the eyes and nose. The set is going to my partner’s new nephew, whose room is done in baby blue and brown, and she is a big fan of polka dots. Hope they like it!

Butterfly Craft Punch

It has taken me a while to write and send out thank you cards for the shower gifts we’ve received. To me, writing a thank you card is serious business. I really want each one to be heart felt, and to let the giver know how meaningful their gift truly is to me. Each card has unique thoughts, and because of this I usually only complete 2 or 3 once I finally sit down to write.

Originally, I bought baby specific cards, but they’re almost all gone. Plus, it is more interesting for me to use different cards, instead of the same ones each time (even though I know they are going out to different people). That is where my new Martha Stewart butterfly craft punch comes in (on sale at Michaels a few weeks ago). We’ve had these cheap, generic thank you cards hanging around for a while. All it took was a few pieces of scrap paper and voila! a new look to otherwise plain cards. I’ve done both glued and sewn versions, as shown above. Also, if you haven’t already seen them, butterfly collages are a really fun way to use this punch, too.

Sewing Baby’s Blanket


Here’s a peek at our new Ikea dresser and bookcase. Holding up the lamp
and shade is Louis the lion, one of our many wonderful shower gifts.

I finally sat down to sew baby’s blanket. The print side is leftover Alexander Henry Kleo fabric from the lovely crib skirt my mother-in-law made, and the back is pink dot minky. At the baby shower, we received two pink and white minky quilts, so I was able to return one and buy a yard of plain pink minky fabric instead.

I noticed the price of minky varies widely at our local shops. I first saw it for $20/yard where we purchased the Kleo fabric. Then I bought it elsewhere for $15, and used a coupon. Later I found it at Joann’s for $12.99/yard, but their pink wasn’t the right match.

The other thing about Minky is that it is a little hard to work with, as my mother-in-law warned me. Plus I’m a newbie sewer and had never made anything with stretchy material before. Knowing this, I tried to put in a little more effort – smoothing out the material, pinning it more often to keep creeping to a minimum, using a longer stitch length to keep the edges from buckling, decreasing the tension, and sewing it with the minky side down.

I started by cutting out matching rectangles from both fabrics. With the right sides facing, I stitched the perimeter with rounded corners, leaving a small open section at one end to turn it right side out. I trimmed and graded the raw edges, turned it right side out, and then top stitched it about a half inch from the edge. The finished size is about 30″ x 40″. I think it looks pretty good, considering.

Now, onto other baby projects…

Amy Butler’s Little Stitches

I just happened to be perusing craft books on Amazon the other day and was excited to see that Amy Butler has a new book out called Little Stitches for Little Ones. Such perfect timing!

Here’s the description from her site:

In my new lavishly illustrated sewing projects book, you’ll find all new charming and contemporary projects for the nursery, baby wear, soft toys, and many more surprises! The projects are designed for babies 0-12 months and their mothers, featuring beautiful photos of the finished designs by our friend Colin McGuire. It was fun to produce these little treasures, and I think you’ll find many projects in here for all the wee ones in your world. 176 pages, 7 pattern sheets, wire binding (same format as In Stitches). Retail $24.95

Making Appliqued Onesies

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Handmade Baby Boy Booties


My first attempt at baby boy booties

Introducing little Lorenzo. Isn’t he a cutie!?

I finally got around to making these felt little boy booties for Marcy & Alex’s adorable son Lorenzo. I’ve posted about handmade baby girl shoes before here and here (with tutorial links), but mary jane’s just don’t work for little boys. The template for the pair above are based on one from B is for Baby: 26 Projects from A to Z by Suzonne Stirling. A really nice book with lots of fun projects. Also, did you know that Joann’s now carries ecospun felt, made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles? Nice.

Burp Cloths

I recently made these burp cloths using this handy tutorial. I wanted to add a handmade element to some of the other items I bought from Marcy’s registry for her baby shower. I made half with dog park blue (which seemed very appropriate considering our dogs are best friends) and half with full moon polka dots.

Only a few more weeks until we all get to meet their new baby boy. Very exciting!

Making Totes

David and I have been making totes lately. That’s right, David is sewing now, too! We were at New Seasons and saw a batch of simple, unlined totes for sale made from Ikea fabric and David asked me to teach him how to make them.

For his first two totes, he decided to recycle an old Pottery Barn curtain panel from our fabric stash. I walked him through cutting for size and inseam, and a few other basics like threading the bobbin, back-stitching, squaring the bottom and making french seams to keep the inside neat-looking and strong. Actually, David kind of knew how to sew long before me, because I remember him making large curtains for one of our first apartments back in the mid 1990s. However, this was a machine he hadn’t used before. He was a fast learner, and doesn’t get hung up and fussy about details like I do.

After making the bags, he then screen-printed one with an image of a bird. Didn’t it turn out great? I’m so proud!

And not to be completely outdone by my talented husband, here is a tote that I finished as well. I kind of made it up as I went along, which was not a good thing, in this case, because I think I would have made a couple different choices had I thought it through from the beginning. The outside is Ikea fabric (from the frederika collection) and the inside is Essex white linen cotton blend from Sew Mama Sew.

Crafting in Miniature


Matchbox Dresser Drawers 2.25 x 1.5 x 2 inches (shown with mini pink post-it notes)

I have been so bad lately about making things for swaps and not photographing them. I get all wrapped up in sending them out and don’t think about it until too late. This little chest of drawers is the only thing remaining from craft time this week. It’s made up of 6 matchboxes, based upon this matchbox dresser tutorial. I used paper instead of paint, brads for the drawer pulls, and felt rounds for the feet. Each drawer contains little surprises. Tomorrow it is on its way to Sweden.


Bottlecap Pincushion 1.125 x 1.75 inches

I also made two bottlecap pincushions, which I forgot to photograph. Here, however, is one that was sent to me. Isn’t it darling? There is a little yellow bird with a beaded eye on both sides, so it’s uber cute in every direction. Thanks Crystal!

Teapot Button

I picked up this button the last time I was at Mill End. I’ve never really been a button person A) because they usually look too old-fashioned, or ornate to me and B) because I don’t know how to sew a button-hole yet. But I browsed the racks on my way out and came across this elegant little teapot novelty button by the German manufacturer Dill Buttons. I actually walked away, twice, but I knew I’d regret it if I came back and it wasn’t there.

The thing is, what am I going to do with it? Where could I put it and make it look like it belongs? Probably not a large project, which would just swallow it (it’s not quite an inch tall). Maybe something asian? And smallish? A clutch, maybe? Or does the teapot shape look too food-y to be put on an accessory? Not to mention I could never carry a clutch. I would put it down and loose it in a heartbeat. So… anyone willing to share some ideas?

Hobo Slouch Bag

This is the bag that I mentioned was giving me such trouble. I call it my hobo slouch bag, modeled after one I saw at Target recently. It kills me to think that this bag was selling for only $9.99, and that it cost me more to make (not to mention the time!), except that I didn’t like any of the prints it came in. What I did like was it’s size and super long strap that could be worn across the body or tied in a knot to shorten. My version is very soft and lightweight, almost like a pillowcase, but sturdier. There is a lined magazine size pocket on the outside and smaller pockets inside for my phone and camera.

Besides drafting the pattern and the actual sewing, the hardest part was finding the solid grey fabric to match the side print I wanted to use. Greys are so tricky! They tend to be either too blue or too brown. In the end, the fabric for this bag came from 3 different fabric stores. Not very fuel efficient, I admit, but hopefully useful and re-usable in the long run.



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