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.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Me-Made-May 2018

I, Katherine of, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '18. I endeavour to work on sewing garments for myself every day until my baby is born.

Last year, I wore lots of me-made clothing for Me-Made-May.  This year, I have a grand total of four non-underwear me-made (or altered) items that fit my current shape, so wearing me-mades every day or even most days isn't an option.  Instead, I want to focus on sewing some nice summer dresses that will work for nursing.  I'm planning a Washi dress with a button placket (made of lovely soft double gauze) and this knit dress, which is designed for maternity but I think will work well for nursing this summer.  I also bought supplies to make myself a nursing cover, and I'm going to count that as sewing for myself rather than for the baby.

I have a lot of sewing goals between now and when the baby is born:  not only the dresses and nursing cover for myself, but also three baby quilts - one is for a college friend's baby (born at the end of February), and it's getting close to done.  I just need to finish the second half of the machine quilting and then bind and label it.  The next one is for our baby, and the third one is for some friends who are expecting.  Their baby is due in August, but it is unfortunately looking like he may be quite premature, so I'd like to have his quilt ready for him before my baby is born.  Those two quilts are still in the planning stages.  I'd also like to make my baby an Oliver + S bucket hat for the summer and some bibs and burp cloths, and I have fabric sitting in my sewing room to make two new tablecloths for our kitchen table.   I'm sure not all of this is going to get done, so it will be nice to have time set aside for high-priority projects!  When I have a lot I want to sew and not a ton of time to do it, I tend to get paralyzed by indecision and not sew at all, so hopefully my Me-Made-May challenge will help with that!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Maternity Sweater

My big winter knitting project is done!  After multiple years of infertility, we are expecting a baby at the end of May, and one of the first things I did after my first ultrasound in October was to buy yarn to knit myself a maternity sweater.  It took me a while to get started, because I was worried about how my pregnancy might turn out, and then I got distracted by Christmas projects, but I finally finished the sweater a few weeks ago.  In these pictures, I'm 34 weeks pregnant.
The sweater has button plackets on the sides and sleeve cuffs.  I added a fifth button to each side, because odd numbers are more visually pleasing, and I was worried that the button plackets wouldn't come up high enough on my belly for them to really be functional - they're designed to be worn open at the end of pregnancy, to create more room for the belly.
At least so far, I prefer the sweater buttoned all the way down.  And, I really like the buttons I found.  It wasn't easy to find 16 matching buttons!  I think the brass-colored roses give it a nice, slightly dressier touch, and they're really cute.
The sweater is knit in 2x2 rib, and it's super stretchy.  It's really warm and comfortable!

Luckily (I guess?) we've been having a late, cold spring this year, so even though it took me so long to finish my heavy wool sweater, I can still wear it a bunch before the baby is born.

Pattern:  Mommy Snug by Kate Gilbert
Size: 20.5" bust circumference, to fit 39.5" bust
Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers, color 8011 (an oatmeal grey), 6.5 skeins
Needles: 4mm
Started/Completed: October 2017/April 2018
Modifications: I added a 5th button to each of the side plackets, which made the plackets taller (but I kept the number of rows in the sweater below the short-row belly shaping the same as called for in the pattern).  I worked a second set of belly short rows - in hindsight, this really wasn't necessary and the short rows are a little high on my anyway, but the sweater fits fine and is comfortable.  I knitted the sleeves in the round (from the end of the button plackets) and lengthened them significantly.  Instead of working a hemmed neck edging, I followed a project I saw on Ravelry and worked an i-cord neck edging.