Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sheepie Sweater

I knit this sweater for my baby last Spring - I had it all finished except the button plackets before he was born, and I finished the plackets and sewed the buttons on sometime in June.  (It was pretty much the only knitting I did between when the baby was born and the end of the Fall semester.)
I used Melissa Kemmerer's Sheepish Little Sweater Light pattern and Cascade Heritage sock yarn that my mom had leftover after knitting me a pair of sheepie socks for my birthday.  The only major change I made to the pattern was to add a button placket along one of the raglan lines - I got the idea from some sweaters that the Yarn Harlot had knitted for her nephew many years ago, and I'm really glad I did because otherwise the neckhole would have been way too small to get over the baby's head. I think I did make some modifications to the pattern having to do with gauge and size, but I can't remember what they were at this point.  I think I tried to aim for finished measurements in the 12 month size, and that worked out pretty well.  The sweater has fitted him this fall and winter, although the sleeves are still too long.
I'm really proud of this sweater, and I had planned to enter it in the state fair at the end of the summer, but in my sleep-deprived haze I missed the drop-off day for fair entries.  I was really disappointed, but I'll have to knit something else equally awesome to enter next year instead.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Changing pad liners

When my husband and I were putting together our baby registry, one thing we added (and then received) was a set of changing pad liners, with the idea that when the baby pees during a diaper change, you only have to wash the liner and not the whole changing pad cover. It's a great idea, but we found that the commercial liners didn't wash well at all.
I replaced them with a set of 5 homemade liners.  They have PUL backing (the same material that cloth diaper covers/exteriors are made from) and a cotton flannel face.  I cut the two layers into 12.5"x26" rectangles (this makes them a little bigger than the commercial ones, which is nice), and then traced around a small plate to round the corners.  I used wonder clips to clip the two layers together, right sides out, and serged around the edge. 

I made two sets of 5 liners: one set for us, and another set for some friends who have a baby the same age.  The white PUL that JoAnn sells is 64" wide, so a yard and a half of it was enough for both sets.  The ones pictured here are made with flannel I had in my stash, and I bought some more flannel to complete our set. 

These were quick and easy, and we use them a ton!  I'm getting ready to make two more sets for two families in our friend-circles who are expecting babies this month.  I think 1.5 yards of extra-wide PUL and 2.75 yards of 44" wide flannel is the right amount to buy to make two sets of 5 changing pad liners.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Dinosaur baby quilt with scientific integrity

One of my best friends from college has a baby exactly 12 weeks older than mine.  While we were pregnant, I offered to make a quilt for her baby, and asked if she and her husband had any theme or color requests.  They asked for a dinosaur quilt with blues, greens, and yellows, but no purple. 
I immediately started searching the internet, and found these amazing paper-pieced dinosaur blocks.  Robert helped me choose three of the blocks, and I just bought those three patterns individually rather than the whole bundle.  All three of these dinosaurs - the pteranodon, velociraptor, and triceratops - are from the cretaceous era.  Since my friend is a scientist, we didn't want to send her baby a quilt that mixed dinosaurs from different eras (hence the scientific integrity).
I used some scraps from my stash and supplemented with some fabric from my local quilt shop.  It turns out the owner of the shop really likes dinosaur novelty fabric, so she had a great selection for me to choose from, and was very excited to hear about the dinosaur baby quilt!
The quilt is large for a baby quilt - if I'm remembering right, it finished at about 42" x 52".  The patchwork squares are 3" finished, and I had half a yard of the dino fossil fabric in the horizontal stripes.  I quilted a diagonal grid in the patchwork and dinosaur sections and parallel horizontal lines in the fossil stripes.  By the time I was done with the piecing, I wanted to quilt in a way that would be relatively easy and not detract from the dinos. 

I'm thrilled with how this quilt turned out, and my friend and her husband were, too! 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Nursing Washi Dress

My Me-Made-May challenge this year was to sew for myself every day until my baby was born, and when the baby was born I was just waiting for hot pink snaps to arrive in the mail to finish this nursing Washi dress.  Once the snaps arrived, setting five of them into the placket only took a few minutes - this has been finished for almost three months now.

I made the size medium, which is the same size I made my first Washi dress in.  (I tried that one on near the end of my pregnancy, to make sure the bodice still fit, and it did - then.  Now the bodice is *very* snug, but it works.)  I made it sleeveless, and trimmed a bit off the straps.  I more or less followed this tutorial for a button-front Washi (the blog seems to no longer be on the internet, but the text at least is still available on the web archive).  It is lined in the bodice only, and I made three parallel casings for narrow elastic at the back bodice, instead of shirring.  The dress is a lovely soft Alison Glass double gauze, and the lining is the same blue voile I used to line my first Washi.  I decided on a whim to topstitch with hot pink thread.  The topstitching isn't super visible in the pictures, or from far away, but up close the pink topstitching in combination with the pink Kam snaps really make the dress.

If I were to make another nursing Washi, I think I would size up in the bodice and raise the neckline a little bit, since nursing bras tend to have full coverage and sometimes I worry about the edge of my bra peeking out from the neckline.  But on the whole, this has been a perfect dress to wear to church or just out of the house this summer, and I think with a cardigan, wool tights, and a slip it will be cozy for fall and winter, too! 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Maternity Sewing

At the beginning of my pregnancy (and before I got pregnant) I had grand visions of all of the maternity clothes I was going to sew for myself - Megan Nielsen's maternity patterns, clothes from the DIY Maternity blog, and other things I'd seen on the internet.  In the end, even though my pregnancy was for the most part easy and super-smooth, I was really tired and I didn't have the energy or the time to sew much of anything.

I ended up sewing one thing from scratch (the Cordelia maternity camisole from So, Zo) and re-making one thing (a pair of black maternity slacks from a pair of regular non-maternity pants).  These pictures were taken at about 34 or 35 weeks of pregnancy.
For the pants, I referred to a few tutorials on the internet, but mostly modeled them off of a pair of maternity jeans I bought at Goodwill.  The jeans had a wide elastic waistband in a knit casing that felt like cotton spandex.  I used about a yard of 2-inch elastic that I already had on hand and some black 90% cotton/10% spandex knit that I got at JoAnn.  I bought a pair of Banana Republic stretch wool pants from ThredUp (the same brand and a similar style to the three pairs of pants I've been wearing to work for the past few years) two sizes larger than I usually wear.

I picked out the zipper and removed the waistband of the pants, and then I marked out and stitched along a curve in front that would fit under my belly.  I topstitched down what remained of the fly.  Then I cut a piece of jersey about 9 inches long and the width of the new waist opening of the pants and serged it into a tube.  I checked the length of the elastic around my belly and sewed the ends together (overlapping them about an inch).  Then I folded the new waistband in half, right sides out, and slipped in the elastic, then zig-zagged along the lower edge of the elastic, through all 3 layers, to hold it in place and keep it from twisting later.  I serged the new waistband to the pants opening, pressed the seam allowance toward the pants, and finished by topstitching to stabilize the pants and hold the seam allowance in place.

Then I wore the pants two or three times a week until the end of the semester.  For most of my pregnancy, wide elastic waistbands like the one on these pants were more comfortable for me than the full belly panels.  But for the last few weeks, my belly was big enough that it was pushing these waistbands down, and I found the full panels more comfortable.  Luckily, that change happened right about at the end of the semester, at the same time that a church friend who had her baby lent me several pairs of full panel jeans, so because I no longer needed to dress up to teach, I could just wear those most of the time.

The camisole was another piece that I wore all the time - I had a few sweaters that I wore with this underneath.  I made a straight size 14, and the construction was pretty quick and straightforward.  I was a little nervous about the foldover elastic, but this tutorial was helpful, and in the end it wasn't too bad.  I used cheap foldover elastic from JoAnn, and it hasn't washed and worn as well as you'd hope.  Next time, I would order higher quality elastic online. 

I really like this pattern.  The camisole was really comfortable - I like the wide bottom hem band, and there was plenty of room for my belly to be comfortable until the very end of my pregnancy. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Me-Made-May 2018

My Me-Made May pledge this year was to sew for myself every day until the baby was born - and I succeeded! (Technically, I didn't sew the day before he was born, but I was admitted to the hospital that afternoon, so I'm giving myself a pass.)  The baby was born closer to mid-May than late May, and most days I sewed for less than an hour, but I still got a fair amount done.  I started with this Washi dress.  I lined the bodice and made it snap up the front so it's breast-feeding friendly.  I almost finished it - at the end of my challenge I was just waiting for the hot pink snaps I ordered to arrive in the mail.

Next, I moved on to a knit dress.  I cut out all of the pieces for a Turn About the Room dress from the DIY Maternity blog.  I made the front skirt panels a bit narrower than the pattern specifies, because I intend it to be a nursing dress, not a maternity dress - I think it will be great with a nursing camisole under it.  It should be pretty quick to sew up on the serger once I get around to it.
And last but not least, the best thing I made this May:
(This will be the only baby photo I post on this blog - we have a no photos on social media or the public internet policy.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Two Newborn Sweaters

When I made last year's Christmas sweaters for my niece and nephew, I bought three balls of worsted weight yarn for each of them, and each sweater used two full balls plus just a bit of the third.  When I finished, I had a good brainstorm about what would be a good use for about 200 yards of superwash worsted weight yarn in each of pink and yellow, and I hit on newborn sweaters!  I picked out a free pattern on Ravelry that would be good for any gender - Olive You Too.
I made two almost exactly the same, and finished them in February.  The pink one is for a friend's daughter and I made it exactly as written in the pattern. 
The yellow one is for my baby (who is expected to be a boy), and the only thing I changed was the buttonhole placement and number of buttons - I thought the buttons grouped at the top were a little bit on the girly side.  If you're paying attention to the photos, you'll notice that I also crossed the cables the other way on the yellow one - that started out as an accident, and when I noticed half-way through the sweater I decided to make it a design feature rather than ripping out to start over.

This project was very successful!  It used almost all of the leftover yarn (and the buttons were from my button jar), and my friend's daughter looks adorable in her sweater.  I'm excited for my baby to wear his!

Pattern:  Olive You Too by Taiga Hilliard Designs
Size: 0-3 months
Yarn: Yalley Yarns Superwash Worsted, about 200 yards per sweater
Needles: 4mm
Started/Completed: January 2018/February 2018
Modifications: None for the pink sweater.  For the yellow sweater, I crossed all of the cables the other way and made five buttonholes evenly spaced along the button band instead of four buttons all near the top.