Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

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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I’ll confess that I’ve exhausted myself (at least temporarily) of the whole reversible baby pants marathon.  So with a friend’s new baby requiring a little handmade love from me, I felt it what high time to change things up.  With my own littlest one now 6 months old (!) and busybusybusy with anything that he can get his sweet little paws on, soft baby toys have been a much-loved blessing.  Before Soren was even outside the womb, I was whipping up a whole stack of soft blocks.  Mostly, I was just crazy-nesting and needing to sew, sew, sew.  But also, I was having fun using up all those fabric scraps left over from all those, ahem, baby pants.

I’ve been loving those squishy blocks these days almost as much as little Soren.  For one, they don’t hurt when they come flying at your head.  For two, it seems really satisfying to my babe to be able to squish them so completely between his hands.  And for three, they make a mighty nice teething toy.  They’re quiet.  They’re pretty.  They’re fun to toss.

So.  I thought it would be fun to share our findings with the newest baby on the block.  I’ve spent the past couple of days cutting and sewing little scraps of fabric into soft fish toys.  They go nicely into a bucket.   (They’re as fun to chuck around the room as they are to pile back into the bucket!  We like that in a toy!)  And Ta-Da!  A bucket of fish.  And also some personalized fishy note cards for all that baby correspondence of his.   Babies have a lot of friends, you know.

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My little niece just had a big birthday.  One of those fancy ones where the numbers line up.  Her 7th birthday on the 7th of March.  Having fully experienced the rambunctious joy of a 7th on the 7th back in August with my Eli, I knew it was time to pull out all the stops.   This little girl was going to get 7 presents!

I knew I wanted to get her a book on sewing and Emma Hardy’s Sewing for Children looked like just the thing.  It’s full of plenty of projects at various levels of difficulty for her to sink her little needle and thread into.  I decided to pick a few different projects from the book and supply her with all the materials needed for her to dive right in.  In addition, I provided the budding seamstress with a set of needles, pins, homemade pin cushion and a handful of colorful embroidery floss.

The fun part was wrapping it all up.  I ordered her 7 gifts so that needles would be opened first and the book would be opened last.  Everything in between added to the unfolding puzzle of what to do with all this weird stuff from Aunt Heather.  Inspired by the Alexander Henry fabric, Farmdale Crossing Chickens, used in her pin cushion (and also provided for her tote bag project) and equally infatuated with my happy new chicken notecards, chickens became a sort of packaging theme.   She got tags, a birthday card and a mailing label to boot.  All plucky and clucky for the birthday girl’s big 7.  She also has, Eli and I had to note, SEVEN letters in her name.  Wow.  Fancy birthay times 7.

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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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I do so love Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing for Baby.  It’s so nice to sit down for an easy little sewing project (one that I am unlikely to botch) and be rewarded so quickly with cuteness.  These little giraffe rattles were the perfect project for me and a little helper (okay fine, Eli stuffed for about five minutes before getting bored with it.  But those five minutes were still really nice).

These are going to make the sweetest little baby gifts.  Our two-year-old  friend Sam already came and left exuberantly with one.  And there are plenty more babes on the way from both family and friends (and my own round belly, of course).  I’m ready with the rattles.  Bring on the babies!

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One New Look pattern for baby plus one pocket and one pocket friend from Lotta Jansdotter’s  Simple Sewing for Baby and what do you get?  The daisy dresses!I’m calling them the daisy dresses because they are just so darn bright and cheery.  Plus daisies are my favorite, you know.I went a little fabric-happy with a combination of prints from Amy Butler, Michael Miller and Westminster Fibers.  They were all so delicious that I just had to include as many of them as I could.  Hence the contrast facings, pockets and bands.  If I could eat these dresses, I would.  So Lotta’s book, that I was lucky enough to get for my birthday, is as simple and wonderful as you would expect.  The book includes a very simple dress pattern with this little pocket and pocket friend.  The dress was a little too simple for me.  At least for these birthday present dresses.  But the pocket with pocket friend was  so unbelievably cute, I knew I had to stick them on something straight away.Pocket friend is tacked into the pocket via some 1/4 inch satin ribbon.  Lotta had suggested this as a way to always have the pocket friend close at hand.  Surely pocket friend may avoid an untimely demise this way, but I’m wondering if this may prove to be slightly irritating for the moms who will wash the daisy dresses.  I did fill the pocket friends with polyester fill so as to allow realistic washing and drying, but I think I’ll also include a little disclaimer that pocket friends can be quickly untacked from their respective pockets if that makes life easier.  Either way, they are unbelievably cute.And what’s a cute little daisy dress to do without an equally cute pair of bloomers to go with it?The bloomers also come from Simple Sewing.  I added a little contrast binding for the elastic because I just couldn’t resist more patterns.  More patterns!Cute. Cute. Cute.

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It’s been a busy flurry of handmade activity over in these parts.  A lot of it is holiday card orders, but plenty of it is making the gifts and treats and decorations that are so much a part of our holiday traditions.  This year, Eli and I started a new tradition:  advent birds.  We cut, sewed and stuffed these little fabric cheepies,  numbered them (little squares of muslin cut with pinking shears and stamped with a number) and attached a little bit of ribbon.  Now Eli gets the thrill of adding a new bird to the tree every day.

To continue to implement this tradition of course means that every year from now on we’re going to have to have our tree by December 1st.  But that’s really such a good thing, since we’ll get that much longer to enjoy it.

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