Completed: A sleeping bag for stuffed animals

200520_3After we finished my daughter’s pyjamas we searched for another project to take on together and decided on a sleeping bag for her stuffed animals. Mainly because I really didn’t feel like making them pyjamas too…

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We took some small improv pieces I had made earlier this year and sewed those together to create two larger pieces. I didn’t take any measurements, just sort of guessed what size would be large enough for the toys she would most likely want to put inside.

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The back, which is the inside of the finished sleeping bag, is an unpieced piece of cotton. Batting is Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool. From my selection of quilting threads she picked a pink variegated one. The quilting is a simple straight line wonky grid that I think matches with the improv nature of the pieces.

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I lucked out with the binding because I had a piece left over from a quilt that was large enough. I really don’t want to use my iron when my daughter is in the room and I feared that the fold in the binding would not turn out so great without using an iron .

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Normally I am all for the clean look of a hand sewn binding, but someone was a little bit impatient to get this sleeping bag finished so I decided to do a machine sewn binding instead. It’s probably sturdier too which is great for a toy. I used two decorative stitches and realised that the stitch in the ditch foot that I can attach to my walking foot could be really useful to get the stitches on the front evenly distributed on the edge of the binding. Turning was a bit fiddly, but it did work. The back is a bit less neat, but I am not too bothered by that.

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Her toys had a really good night’s sleep.

Completed: A pair of toddler pyjamas

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I made some garments! Admittedly, quite simple ones, but I did try some new patterns which was fun. Ever since my daughter spotted a fabric that I had used to make a pair of pyjama pants for myself she has been bugging me to make her a pair too. With the weather warming up she has recently transitioned from sleeping in an insulated onesie to real pyjamas so she could actually use another pair.

There wasn’t enough left of that particular fabric though, so I had a look in my stash for something else that she liked. I still had plenty left of a Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey with an Ann Kelle print. It might look familiar to some of you because I also used it for one of the maternity t-shirts that I wore during both my pregnancies. It feels very soft so I think it will make a comfortable pair of pyjamas too.

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No, I did not even attempt to do any pattern matching here.

I chose the sleeping johns pattern from Meg McElwee’s book “Growing up sew liberated” and decided to just try making them with my daughter present in the room. While tracing the pattern I warned her that if she made the tracing paper shift she’d get wonky leggings and she understood that this was something that we wanted to avoid. It is a very simple and quick pattern to make with only one pattern piece. We actually managed to pick a pattern and fabric, trace the pattern, cut the fabric, adjust my overlocker (someone had put several of the tension dials to 1 so I was extremely glad I had done a practice swatch before starting on the real thing!) and assemble the leggings except for hemming during a single nap of my youngest daughter.

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She also found this owl ribbon I had used previously in a pair of trousers I had made her and wanted me to use it for this pair as well.

 

I made the leggings as instructed except for how the elastic was put in. The instructions tell you to fold the waistband down to create a casing and then to put the elastic in between the fold. The elastic and casing are then topstitched at the same time. I prefer to first overlock the elastic to the top edge of the legging and then folding the whole thing to the inside to stitch in place. I think my method is easier to get right because the elastic is already tamed.

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The book suggests combining the sleeping johns with the crossover tee to create a set and since I still had more than enough fabric left I decided to do just that. I even found a good matching ribbing in my stash and now sort of wish I had finished the hem of the pants with ribbing as well to get an even more matching look. The t-shirt is also easy to assemble although I did scratch my head a bit at the edgestitching of the neckline ribbing until I realized that the overlap is actually stitched closed during this step. I also first sewed both sideseams and then attached the ribbing to the bottom instead of sewing one side seam and then attaching the ribbing before sewing the other side seam.

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The size chart in the book put my daughter in 3T, the garments turned out a bit larger than the Dutch size 104 my daughter now wears. I don’t have any size 110 yet to compare it to but I think the 3T is closer to that than to 104. She’ll be able to use this set for a good while.

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And if you thought that just because I had made sure the overlock stitches looked good before starting on the legging I could simply start sewing the t-shirt a couple of days later, think again. This time someone had found the differential feed and stitch length dials. And no, I did not even attempt to unpick those teeny tiny stitches. After all, if you touch something, things may get wonky…

 

 

Completed: fabric bunting

200505_2Like many other parents right now I am often struggling to find indoor activities that are fun to do for my daughter and that I also enjoy doing. My daughter usually likes drawing and I wanted to make some bunting to use for birthday celebrations. Several weeks ago I thought I’d combine the two.

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Flag decoration in progress. I cut some cardboard to put inside the flags to prevent the ink from the markers seeping through to the other side.

I prepared some white flags from old sheets, covered the table, put my daughter in some protective clothing and handed her my fabric markers. Was she excited to be allowed to use real markers instead of pencils or crayons? You bet.

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We decorated them together and it was quite fun to do. I had only sewn 6 of the white flags to decorate, which wasn’t really enough for proper bunting so I created some more from a fun IKEA fabric that also has a white background.

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I then may have gotten distracted by a certain tree project, but eventually I created binding using a 25 mm bias tape maker, glued the flags to the binding at regular intervals with Prym wonder tape and sewed it all together.

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Just in time for my youngest daughter’s first birthday.

Completed: The red quilt

I made this quilt in 2016 but thought I had lost the pictures, I found them though so to keep a more complete record of all the quilts I made I am showing it today.

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When I started designing this quilt I wanted to make a red quilt so I started playing with lots and lots of red fabrics. Apparently I am not so keen on that much red because in the end all that was left was one red square, a red binding and some red quilting thread. It was an interesting experiment but for me red just works so much better as an accent colour.

If I remember correctly the grey fabric was a Kona cotton layer cake called Silent Film. I am not sure whether I used all the shades that were in it.

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For the backing I used a print from the Blueberry Park collection by Karen Lewis for Robert Kaufman. I’ve used it before for a backing and I am a little sad that most of this fabric is gone now. I did buy another print from this collection when I was in New York last year and am now regretting not getting more of it. Somehow it blends really well with a lot of other prints. The design on the back was kept simple with the child’s initial and two floating squares. I am pleased with how this turned out.

For the quilting I created a straight line quilting grid but used 4 different Gutermann Sulky thread colours that were matched to the fabrics in the quilt. The red thread crosses through the red square and then I worked from dark to light grey to the outside in each column and row. It is difficult to see in these pictures but I thought it added a bit more interest.

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I am now wondering whether I used so much more of the light grey in this quilt or whether I used it for another quilt as well. I guess it is probably the latter…

This was not a very complicated quilt to make but I do love the graphic effect with the different shades of grey and that pop of red.

Completed: A birthday backpack

200128_backpack1My daughter turned 3 years old and I wanted to give her a backpack designed and made by me. It was ages ago since I made a proper bag and I loved (almost) every minute of making it.

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I designed a simple bag with a main compartment with an O-type zipper (this was really hard to find so I am happy I found one in a somewhat matching colour) and two outside pockets. One that closes with a zipper and one that is a bit more open that closes with a flap with a snap. I really had to restrain myself from adding more pockets and fancy features. The bag is not very large since the intended recipient is still less than 1 meter tall so there is not really a lot of room to add extra stuff. A 3 year old also doesn’t need all those bells and whistles and they would have added extra weight which is not ideal when you want your child to carry her own bag.

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Years ago I read a blog post in which cork fabric was used to make a bag and I have ever since wanted to try that stuff. It sounded like a strong and durable material which is great for anything made for a toddler. It is also available with silver stuff in it which is great when your toddler likes anything with glitter.

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Not too shabby pattern matching on the top. I love the O-type zipper with 2 zipper pulls.

I paired it with a green Art Gallery fabric with yellow and white flowers, yellow quilting fabric for some accents, a yellow zipper, green and yellow webbing for the straps and some adjustable sliders. The print fabric was also used for the lining. On the outside the print fabric was interfaced with fusible Decovil 1 light which gives it a bit of a leathery stiffness. The front and back cork fabric were interfaced with fusible vlieseline/vilene S320, but that may not have been absolutely necessary because the fabric itself is already quite firm. Anyway, I hoped the bag would stand up by itself and it does.

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back before assembly

I sewed the outer and inner pattern pieces at the same time and finished the seam allowances on the inside with bias binding. On the front and back this turned out to be much easier than I expected. On the bottom this was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever sewn. I was super glad that I now have a Janome Horizon MC9400 because I am not sure the 3160 would have been able to handle all the bulk in the corners. In the end I managed to get it done with a lot of patience and I am happy this binding is located in a place that nobody will ever take a closer look at. If I ever make another backpack I think I’ll have to create a different type of bottom to make the assembly a bit easier.

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Attaching the binding to the front piece and attaching the bottom to the main bag. I am not sure why I ever thought 10 wonder clips would be sufficient for this project…

My daughter loves her new backpack and I hope she will be able to use it for years to come.

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And now I really want to make another bag for myself…

Completed: Sun cover for the Urban Arrow cargo bike

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I had a second daughter and with her impending arrival came the question of how to safely transport not one, but two of those cute little things. For many people this probably means getting a second car seat, but we no longer own a car and even if we did it would be pretty useless to me since I don’t have a driver’s license. I prefer to use a bike or public transport and on the rare occasion that we really do need a car to go somewhere, we rent one.

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For my oldest daughter I used a bike trailer, but the one we have only fits one child and a larger one that could accommodate two children doesn’t fit through our backyard gate or in our shed. With my growing belly I also started to struggle facing headwinds while cycling home from work.

The solution to both problems was to get the Urban Arrow electric cargo bike. The baby can sit in her maxi cosi car seat that fits in a specific adaptor for this bike and her sister can sit on the bench strapped in a seat belt. I now laugh at headwinds and am still amazed at how much quicker you get somewhere when you cycle 20-25 kph instead of 15.

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Yes, I did take pictures for a sun cover on a rainy day…

You can get a very nice rain cover for this bike, but with the great summer weather we had last summer I worried that my tiny baby would be a bit too much exposed to the sun in her maxi cosi. So, solving the first two problems created a new one. Not being easily deterred by such problems I quickly started brainstorming ways to create a sun cover.

The requirements

  1. Good protection from the sun
  2. Easy to install and remove, if it takes 10 minutes each time it won’t be used
  3. Easy to take the maxi cosi out of the bike as I will often have to take it with me when I reach my destination
  4. The cover should not make it more difficult to seat the toddler on the bench
  5. There should still be a clear view on the baby when I am cycling so I can keep an eye on her
  6. The baby should still get enough fresh air, I could just throw a big blanket over the entire maxi cosi to cover everything but children really need air to breath…

How it was made

I had a stretch fabric blanket with UPF 50 rating that seemed like a good starting point and from there I sort of made this cover up as I went along using stuff that we already had on hand.

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Sun cover attached to maxi cosi handles using velcro straps. Sun cover is folded to the back which is how I carry it without removing the cover.

I added some Velcro straps to attach one side of the blanket to the maxi cosi handle. While the maxi cosi was placed inside the bike I determined where to make two button holes in each of the corners on the opposite site to attach the blanket to the bars located inside the rain cover. To attach the blanket to the bars I used some linky toys. To create a bit more coverage on the sides I measured how much fabric I needed to add and attached a double layer of jersey. It being a sun cover I thought the ice cream print was very appropriate. I could have added a longer piece to get even more coverage, but the baby’s older sister does enjoy looking around while we are cycling and I didn’t want to limit her view too much.

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sun cover anatomy

So, does it work? Yes, I’ve been very pleased with how this turned out. The baby stayed mostly out of the sun while we were cycling. Only when the sun came from very specific angles it reached her, but her face was always in the shadow.

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Linky toy hooped through two buttonholes and around pole inside rain cover. Most creative use of this toy yet?

Now that it is winter the sun cover is not really necessary anymore but I am certainly going to use it again when spring arrives.

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Completed: Baby Bandana Bib

Recently one of my daughter’s daycare teachers went on maternity leave. The daycare asked all parents if they wanted to give her a small gift so they could surprise her on her last day. My husband immediately suggested washing detergent to get rid of those inevitable yellow poop stains. I thought that as a day care teacher she is already well aware of this less pleasant part of parenthood and something a bit cuter would probably be more appreciated.

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It doesn’t actually close around my dress form’s neck.

My sewing time is limited at the moment and I have a lot of larger projects going on so progress feels really slow. Sometimes it is nice to make something that only takes a small amount of time to create to experience that “I made something!” rush. I decided to combine the urge to finish something with the need for a small gift and made a bib to catch that endless stream of drool a young baby is bound to produce at some point.

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The pattern is the Bandana Bib pattern from simplysmallwonders.com (the account now appears to have been suspended, so I seem to have downloaded the pattern just in time…). It can be made from woven and knit fabrics, I chose knits because I think knits probably feel nicer against baby’s skin. The tutorial suggested adding an extra layer of woven fabric in between the two knit layers and I think this worked out really well. To make the bib somewhat adjustable I added two snaps on one side and one on the other.

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I made size 0-6 months, but when I compared it to some bibs I used for my own daughter I think they’ll fit for longer. Or the printer didn’t print it exactly to size which I can’t check because the pattern didn’t come with a box to check the pattern printed correctly. For an item like this I don’t think it’s much of an issue though if it turns out slightly larger than intended.

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I am very pleased with how this bib turned out and will probably use this pattern more often for quick baby gifts.