Monday, July 16, 2007

A really cool baby carrier!

I should start this off by saying that I've never been one to do "babywearing." I never could figure out how to use a sling - though I may try again! - and I didn't like either of the two front carriers I was given before Thing 1 was born. I used one of them sporadically in Thing 2's earlier days, just because he was a more clingy baby, but it wasn't terribly comfortable. However, when Angela of Blessed Designs asked for pattern testers for a carrier pattern she'd designed, I jumped at the opportunity. She said that the carrier would work up to about 35 lbs or 3 years, so I figured, what have I got to lose? :) There are numerous babies due in the next six months in my church, so if I didn't like the carrier, it could always become a baby shower gift for someone.

Here is the finished carrier, shown on a chair to give an idea of how it sits when in use. The pattern is based on the idea of an Mei Tai/Asian baby carrier, but it is different in that the straps are adjustable and use buckles. I do not need any more bulk on my rear end or anywhere near my waist, so I like the buckles much better! This pattern also has options for making a sleeping hood, to shield a sleeping baby from the sun or light, and a pillow insert, to make it more of a sling style for a young baby. I made the hood but haven't yet made the pillow insert (Thing 2 is too big to use it).

So maybe this one wasn't going to end up as a baby shower gift, after all! Not sure to whom I'd give a Star Wars baby carrier, except my brother, who has no children, either here on the ground or expected. :) But I had the fabric in stash and hadn't used it yet, so I figured it would work for a little boy's carrier. (I am a Star Wars fan, too.) And I love the final product! In fact, I've been using it a lot! The weight is pretty well distributed between your shoulders and your waist - actually, the weight is mostly on your waist/hips, and the shoulders/back are more for stabilization - and it is very comfortable to use. Thing 2 seems to be a fan, as well. He snuggles right up when I start to put him in it. (Pictures of the carrier in use can be seen at Blessed Designs - just look under "Other patterns.")

Oh, yeah, and this only uses 1 yard of 60-inch wide twill or denim for the outer fabric and 1 yard of 45-inch wide cotton for the lining. How cool is that? I definitely see more of these in my future, especially since I was able to sew it up in 4-5 hours. And who knows? Some might actually become baby shower gifts! :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

No sewing lately....

I haven't sewn anything since the backpack was finished, partly because we had company for the last couple of days. I have been thinking about it, though! I have the lining fabric for an Amy Butler swing bag (breast cancer ribbons and pink teddies - my friend's mom was just diagnosed), and I think I have denim for the outer fabric. So I need to cut that out tonight or tomorrow and try to get it sewn up before I start work next week.

I have several pairs of pants and shorts for Thing 1 cut out - mostly in greens, so I should be able to sew them up in an assembly line. (I've been promising him stuff from a shark print, so I really should follow through!) And I've been thinking about how to make some lunch bags out of old jeans. I want to make one for Thing 2 for his food for daycare (I make homemade baby food for him, so I have more to take in than most parents do), but since daycare is only 2 miles away, I might not insulate it. That'll mean less bulk taking up room in their small fridge there, too. But the one for me to use at work will definitely need to be insulated. I was inspired by the lunchbag Annie at Bramblestitches made for her DH. I had two old pairs of jeans lying around to use for "something," so I spent my time at the park wisely by ripping them apart while the Things played! I am now ready to cut out whatever exactly I decide to do for the lunch bags. Hopefully I'll have something to show later this week.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Backpack done!

I finished it last night! And I left it hanging from the hall closet doorknob for Thing 1 to find this morning. He was heading for the bathroom, saw the backpack, stopped and put his clothes down long enough to put the backpack on, picked up his clothes again, and marched the rest of the way to the bathroom (picture a 4-year-old wearing a pull-up, socks, and a backpack - that's it!). What a goof! At any rate, he is thrilled. And I am happy enough with my work. :)

I made some changes to the pattern - mostly minor. The most major change was to eliminate the need for bias binding on the outside and to make the lining separate. You can find a detailed review here. This is a perfect size for a young child, and the adjustable straps will make it useful for a lot longer. I think that if I make this again, I will probably change the straps to use webbing and parachute buckles, instead of D-rings. I think that would look a little more professional, and it would probably be easier for a child to learn to work themselves. But the current straps and D-rings are fine, so I'm not going to change anything on this one.

Now to go clean the bathroom and vacuum before cutting out my next project, an Amy Butler Swing Bag for a friend!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

One week to go....

...until I go back to "Work," that is. (I'm calling it "Work" because, as a fellow stay-at-home mom pointed out, all moms work - some get paychecks, some don't.) So anyway, one more week to be home with all the endless possibilities of stuff to do. I'm currently working on the backpack for Thing 1, from Butterick 6735. I am changing it so that there is a separate lining and so that there is no bias trim on the outside (mainly because I haven't yet tested my bias binder foot, I want this to be done tomorrow, and historically I'm not satisfied with both sides of my bias binding). I'm halfway through assembling both backpack and lining, so hopefully I'll have pictures to post tomorrow. I think it'll be a good size for Thing 1. Then it's off to see what will be next up in the queue!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

New feet!

For my sewing machine, that is. :) I have a Singer school-model sewing machine, and I discovered about a year and a half ago that I can find a wide selection of presser feet (and pretty good prices!) for it at Nancy's Notions (NAYY). I already have a walking foot, roller foot, edgestitching foot, and darning foot (I think that was all), and I just got a bias binder foot and Teflon foot in the mail today. Yippee! There are a few more that I want, but I'll restrain myself for now. :)

In the meantime, I should get back to the dinosaur blanket I'm making for Thing 1. It has large dinosaurs that I'm free-motion stitching around, using the darning foot - a first! This will be a general purposes blanket for home, and I think I bought enough of the dinosaur fabric to make a matching pillowcase - just need to find something for a trim band.

Monday, July 2, 2007

"School" stuff done!

Things 1&2 started daycare this morning. Thing 1 was so excited - he woke me up at 6 am, saying, "Mama, I'm ready to eat breakfast and go to school now." Argh! I wasn't ready to wake up yet - oh, well! But I am really glad that he was excited and enjoyed it. Better that than the alternative, right?

I mentioned the pillowcase I made for him last month. Last night (very late, I might add!), I finished the matching blanket. This is a simple blanket - one piece of fabric for each side, a layer of batting sandwiched in between, diagonal quilting lines to hold it all together, and a fleece binding to finish it off. But it will work, it is done, and he loves it! So it's perfect. :)

I also found out that the kids get to play in the sprinkler a few days a week, so Thing 1 needs to have a towel at daycare. I wanted him to have one that is fairly easily recognizable, but I didn't want to pay a lot for something with a licensed design. Instead, I bought a plain white bath towel and proceeded to make it different. Using leftovers from the blanket, I cut out individual motifs and fused them to the ends of the towel, then satin-stitched around the edges. Now his towel has a train on each end!