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Archive for the ‘things you can use your sewing machine for’ Category

Such a simple and satisfying little project.  I love soft blocks.  I get to use up lots of little odds and ends of favorite fabric and make a pretty and practical little toy at the same time.   This batch of blocks was for baby Fiona (recipient of the Sweater Slippers) but since I know first hand how awesome they are to have kickin’ around, I feel extra good about this little gift.

I made soft blocks for Soren way back when (isn’t it amazing how 18 months feels like it stretches back to forever ago?).  Full of fluff and some little jingly bells to boot, these blocks worked well for all ages of babyhood.  Now, when my active toddler wants to play catch with his bro, or you know, just chuck something across the room, it’s nice that that something doesn’t leave a dent in the wall (or someone’s head for that matter).  It’s also nice that it jingles while it pops his brother in the face.  Soft blocks span the ages, see?

I hope Fiona agrees that they’re as good for chomping on at 3 months as they are for clobbering your brother with at 18 months.  Oh Fiona, there is so much fun in store for you….

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While at 18 months old, my own baby is hardly a baby anymore, I am comforted by the fact that others keep reproducing.  There is no shortage of babies to love.  And maybe just as importantly, there is no shortage of babies to make for.

Baby Fiona is the newest and cutest little muse of mine.  As the new baby of a close friend, I have been itching to shower her with some handmade baby love.

Anna Maria Horner’s Cute-as-a-Button Booties from Handmade Beginnings seemed the best way to utilize the scraps of an accidentally, ahem, felted sweater.    My hope is that next year when she’s scooting around, this winter baby will have some warm and woolly goodness to protect those sweet little toes.

I couldn’t make sweater slippers for just anyone.  Some I know might find it a little, gross maybe?, that the fabric of these small shoes is used.  But I love the idea of upcycling.  I love that I can take something that I wore and loved and make it freshly into something that my newest little friend will wear (and hopefully love).  It’s giving something another go-around.  A sweater gets a brand new life as a pair of baby booties.  That’s reincarnation at it’s best, I think.

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I am a total force to be reckoned with in the arena of baby pants making.  I’ve been over the moon for Anna Maria Horner’s Quick Change Trousers from her Handmade Beginnings for some time now.  The pants fit really well and are so comfortable (well okay, they look comfortable on my baby, but as they don’t fit me I really can’t know this for sure) and so amazingly adorable.  But the very best part is that I get to use up to four different fabrics per pair of pants if I want to!  For a fabric addict, this is very, very good news.  Reversible pants have made many a gift so far and there are more in the making.  My own Soren has already outgrown the tiniest pants I made him, but this only gives mama more fabrics to pick out and more pants to sew.  Yay!  The reversible thing has really been working for me.  I can sew three pairs of pants and get six pairs out of it!  Win-Win!

So while on this reversible baby pants kick, I was looking to make a nice gift for some friends to go with some jars of homemade jam.  Hence, a set of reversible napkins made out of some gorgeous linen fabric by Echino with Modern Meadow by Joel Dewberry on the reverse.  Now our friends can flip their dinner napkins around to suit their fancy, match their meal (unlikely, but funny) or to just display the least grungy side outwards (less funny, but a lot more likely).

Really, this kick has got me thinking that most things could be made more fun, more lovely and more practical by being reversible.  And maybe we could all do a whole lot less laundry….

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I bought this lovely fabric last summer.  It was a 1 1/2 yard remnant and I had no idea what I was going to do with it.  Maybe make a dress for my niece.  Maybe make a skirt for myself.  Who knew?  I just knew that I wanted those colors and that pattern.  I can’t remember who manufactures the fabric, but you’ll forgive me as I still have baby brain.  Soren isn’t quite 3 months old yet.

Anywho.  As you can see, the fabric wound up giving our bedroom a nice little pick-me-up.  It is so amazing how such a small amount of fabric can change everything!  For the north facing window,  I cut up the bland old white curtain that had been hanging there lifelessly for five years.   A snip-snip of my scissors and a little whirrr of my sewing machine and that dull curtain became a jazzy little valance.  Next the south facing windows got some little fabric embellishments of their own.  It was just enough to make them look fresh and add a pop of color, but not so much that it was a pain-in-the-butt to do.  Au contraire.  This was such a quick and easy little bedroom makeover.

After the perky curtains came, what else?  Pillows.  Using the old clipped up curtain, the remaining fabric scraps and some pink lining left over from quilt-making, I happily arrived at 3 new pillows.  The pillows are great for all the usual things a pillow is good for:   the lounging and the leg support and the cushy-factor, but Soren especially likes them for tummy time.

It’s always so refreshing when a thrifty little venture yields such satisfying results!

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There have been a lot of baby booties passing through this way.  I’ve been continually inspired by Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings book, but I think it is her Cute-as-a-Button Booties that has been the most loved pattern so far.  It’s such a thrifty thrill to be able to use up those little scraps of fabric left over from larger projects and watch them add up to a marvelous little set of baby footwear all ready for gifting.  Some have been given away and some will remain for my own little-one-to-be.  Regardless of whose tiny feet they adorn, these booties are sweet and practical and sure to be cherished long after those little toes have grown.

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It’s probably no surprise that I couldn’t stop once I got on a roll with my sister’s shower presents.  Yep, I went right on ahead and made a whole bunch of cuteness for my own little one (due in just 3 weeks!).

I’ve had this fabulous Kashmir by Amy Butler fabric kicking around for maybe 2 years.  It’s apparently out of print now, so lucky that I nabbed 3 yards of it way back when.  So much for whatever I had planned to make for myself with it.  It’s a sure bet though, that this handy little diaper bag set (again, most patterns are from Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Baby excepting the little travel wipes container that was a mostly-successful  improvisation) will get way more use than whatever skirt or shirt this lovely fabric was originally intended for.

It isn’t super-clear in the photographs, but there is a collection of little velcro pouches to fill with whatever little baby doodads are needed at the moment and slip into the diaper bag.

When I was proudly showing off my collection of home-sewn goods to my husband, the question arose,  “Why do you need all of these little bags?”

“For putting various baby things in.”

“Isn’t that what the diaper bag is for?”

Sigh.  The concept of organization is completely lost on my husband who would gladly throw the bare baby essentials in a ziplock bag, toss it in the car and call it a day.  Regardless of the necessity of my various organizational compartments however, I’m thrilled to have my own happy little bag to tote my baby boy’s things around.

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In keeping with the woodland theme of my sister’s shower, I was delighted to find this fabulous fabric at a discount fabric store.  It happily turned into a diaper bag (à la Lotta Jansdotter in Simple Sewing for Baby– an already much-used resource around here).  A little pocket friend (pattern also from Lotta’s Simple Sewing) is snuggled into the front pocket and attached with a ribbon.  That way baby can play with little blue stuffie during a diaper change, but stuffie has less of a chance of getting left behind at the park.I always liked to have my “fancy” burp cloths handy when Eli was just a little pup (who spit up all the time…) and I was out and about.  They were a cinch to make with some scraps of fabric and a stack of diaper prefolds.  What’s better than practical and pretty?A diaper bag needs a changing pad, obviously.  To have it be a matchy one out of the same snail & mushroom fabric is a nice bonus in my opinion.Lotta’s bib pattern in Simple Sewing is for a single-sided bib made out of oil cloth.  I decided to stick with cotton fabric for these.  You can’t wipe them down in the same easy way, but you can throw them into the wash.  The bibs are reversible (bonus!) and lightly quilted.
By now it is painfully obvious what a dork I am about matching, but in my defense, it is so much fun to see how much baby gear you can make out of 2 yards of fabric.  Still going strong with the snail fabric, I used a baby pants patten from Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings (love that book!).  Tiny.  Matchy.  Cute.And some appliqued onesies round out Erica’s matchy little baby collection.  I fell deeply and totally in love with the Spotted Owl fabric by Alexander Henry.   Jeff commented that my beloved owls looked a little angry for baby gear.  But honestly, I think that’s what I love so much about the fabric.  It has happy owls and studious owls and goofy owls and grumpy owls.  It’s just so refreshing to me that they’re not all just happily having tea with butterflies or something.  Or maybe it’s just that this mama has some reserved compassion for grumpy owls….

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