Tuesday, July 28, 2009

notes from a dirty lay about

Okay, the list of things I'm too tired to do apparently now includes taking out my damn camera.  I have a pile of projects that I recently completed in a frenzy of obsessive baby-related crafting.  All I need to do is take some stinking pictures.  It does not help that we're averaging about three minutes a day of sunlight in my living room due to rain storms.

For the record, here are other items on my list of things I'm too tired to do:
  • brush my hair
  • pick magazine subscription cards off the floor
  • answer the door bell
Actually, I don't even have the energy to finish the list.  Pretty much all I can do is knit and eat.  And complain.  Let's not forget the complaining.  Making babies is hard work, damn it.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

more dresses (imagine that)

One jumper made from red corduroy and another made of the same mystery fabric I used earlier this year to make myself a skirt.

Pockets can be excellent opportunities to use bias tape.

Amazing how linty everything appears after I've uploaded the pictures.

All the dresses I've posted so far have been--I hope--sized for a 0-3 month old.  We'll see.  They really look a bit big to me.  One of the pitfalls of making stuff in advance of the babies' arrival is that I do not have a model.  The next batch will be sized 3-6 months and will be more summery, which means that all the random quilting cottons and floral prints in my stash are going to be put to a good use, finally.

Friday, July 17, 2009

traveling with toddlers (and untreated anxiety disorder), a cautionary tale

After spending a week visiting my parents in New Jersey, Joseph and I are now home.  I will spare you the details of the return flight; suffice it to say that as we were disembarking, a woman put her hand on my shoulder and said "Oh dear, and you're expecting too--God bless you." 

We were those people. 

I have sworn a blood oath to never attempt traveling with a toddler without an ample supply of Xanax or some other fast acting sedative (for me).

Joseph loved his vacation--small wonder since my parents treat him like the baby Jesus and shower him with presents and adoration.  Me, I managed to escape without any major illnesses (unless you count a mysterious rash on my arm), which puts this trip head and shoulders above the previous five or six times I've been away from home.  I am not a good traveler.  I assume most people can take it in stride when they encounter all the usual traveling stresses:  flight delays, power-mad airport security, inscrutable showers, unfamiliar and unidentifiable noises in their temporary bedrooms, etc.  These things disorient me to the point where I have embarrassingly transparent nightmares (e.g., being carried away by hot air balloons) and get confused about where I really live (when I go home will I be returning to Florida or Phoenix? what side of the bed do I usually sleep on?).

I am not being facetious when I say that I am so very relieved that having three young children will provide years worth of excuses for not traveling. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

blue dresses for the baby girl

This might be my favorite thing that I've made for the new babies so far:

And it's reversible (mainly because I wasn't sure how the center pleat concept would hold up in the wash):

The idea is that she will be able to wear blue dresses over the eleven million handed-down blue onesies emblazoned with trucks, footballs and other manly motifs, and yet still look like a girl, which seems to be important to some people.  I'm really trying not to buy anything for these babies. First of all, we don't have room to store any more clothing. We have enough onesies to outfit quadruplets and exactly four drawers to store them in, so nothing is getting added.  Except handmade goodness, of course.

This linty little number is just a plain navy blue corduroy jumper.  It's lined with the same light blue cotton I used for the other dress, mainly because lining seems to me the sanest way of finishing winter clothing.  It closes with a loop and button, as does the pale blue dress, because I am not messing around with zippers or buttonholes unless I absolutely must.

close up of lining & button loop

Both dresses are from patterns I drafted.  I seriously hope they actually fit.

Monday, July 13, 2009

crayon wallet

The little pockets are for stickers and tiny bits of paper to draw on.

This was, I think, a decent idea which I executed badly by not using interfacing.  That is a recurring theme on this blog, ruining things by not using interfacing.  I used cotton batting in between the layers but it's still a bit too floppy and not sturdy enough.  I initially had sewn on little handles, but this made it too purse-like and only exacerbated the floppiness situation.  Anyway, floppy or not it's coming on the plane with us when we visit my parents in New Jersey this week.

This is a more typical marker roll, which happily does not require interfacing of any kind.

Note how the markers don't comprise a complete set.  Wonder how that happened.  These marker/crayon/pencil rolls are quickly becoming my standard present for youngsters.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

smocky looking dress

..featuring linen bias tape.  It's my pattern, based on some patterns I own.

Even with a sweater, it's probably a bit summery for a fall/winter baby but I wanted to try out the concept of linen bias tape before committing to in on a grander scale.  I also wanted to try out bias tape binding for the arm & neck holes.  I've really struck out in the past with using bias tape facing or binding on neck holes--it seems to roll in too much.  I realized that the trick is DO NOT PULL THE BIAS TAPE WHILE SEWING IT ON.  For me, this means I sometimes need to pin it in place so I don't accidentally tug it while sewing.

After I finished it I realized that I had made a house coat for a three month old baby.  Or perhaps a house dress?  If you don't know what I mean it's because you did not have aunts or grandmothers who wore these things around the house.  Now I'm wondering how widespread these things were.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

kimono rainbow

Well, it's a rainbow if you don't mind that it only includes about three colors.  I got on a roll making these and have no intention of stopping anytime soon.  I just cut them out assembly-line style and went to town.

The idea is that the girl child will be able to sleep in these.  The boy child already has Joseph's ridiculously gender-specific hand-me-downs, so I'm limiting my craftiness to the girl, hence all the pink and flowers.

I used 1/4 inch double fold bias tape because it's so tiny it seemed to be on the right scale for newborn clothing. 

inspiring close up of teeny tiny bias tape

It was in the midst of making these that I had the aforementioned bias tape epiphany/accident.  Attaching seven miles of bias tape will do that to you.  Both the fabric and the bias tape are essentially bits and oddments of fabric I had lying about because these kimonos take so little to make.  I think all the random fat quarters in my stash desperately wish to become bias tape, and I'm here to help them fulfill that goal.

Next time on Karen Hearts Bias Tape, some dresses.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

pajama top for the girl child

This is from the Lucy's Kimono pattern in Weekend Sewing.  
What I liked about this pattern:
  • It's sized for babies 0-3 months and therefore uses essentially no fabric. The pattern calls for half a yard but I doubt that much is really needed.
  • The kimono style is especially useful for little babies because you don't have to tug anything over the head. And it's loose so you don't have to worry about the umbilical stump (such a lovely phrase).
  • It uses a woven instead of a knit--so much baby clothing uses knit fabric and I hate hate hate sewing knits with all my being.
The only problem I had with this pattern is the puckering under the arms, which has been noted elsewhere on the internet.  I played around with ways to avoid this but each effort resulted in a problem worse than the pucker--like a little hole under the arm or a weird poky bulge in the armpit.  Not OK.  So I just made peace with the pucker.  Words to live by.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

a bias tape epiphany

I've been doing a ton of anxiety-related sewing for the new babies.  I will post pictures as soon as I manage to take some, but in the midst of my sewing frenzy I stumbled on the world's best way to attach bias tape. In my opinion.  I'm talking about projects like this.

Here goes:

Sew it to the wrong side first.  

Basically, you're following this tutorial, but instead of sewing the tape to the right side in the first step, sew it to the wrong side.  Then, flip the item over, arrange the bias tape the way you want it to look on the right side, and sew it in place from the right side.

This solves the problem of accidentally not catching the entire tape on the wrong side (which means you have to either unpick the entire stupid thing or sew another line over the missed part, which winds up looking like crap).  My wrong-side-first method solves that problem and the garment winds up looking better on the right side and the wrong side. 

The other method probably works just fine when you have pre-packaged bias tape (as opposed to the sloppy stuff I make myself), really even seam allowances, or more attention to detail than I can personally muster up.

I should probably have posted pictures because I realize that out of context this probably sounds like the ravings of a bias-tape obsessed lunatic.  Which I am.