Tag Archive | infant

New Sewing Tools – Part 2 – In The Pink

DSCN4050The sewing process for the sweater started with the plan to use my second new sewing tool, a new pair of pinking sheers. When reading about sewing fleece, one of the suggestions for finishing the seams of fleece was to just pink the seam allowances with a pair of pinking shears. I used to have a pair of pinking shears many years ago. I loaned them to a friend and I never saw them again. I haven’t really missed owning a pair until recently though, so I decided to reinvest in a new pair of pinking sheers.

DSCN3982When I looked into buying the pinking sheers, I found that I could spend a lot of money for nice pair or a much smaller amount of money for just a pair of the sheers that people had reviewed and said worked well for them. As you and I know, a good pair of scissors is a valuable sewing tool. So, when it comes to buying sewing scissors, I believe that you should spend the extra money for a nice pair of sew scissors. But is that true when it come to pinking sheers I wondered? I decided to go against the grain and buy the less expensive pinking shears for now. Later, if I found that I used the pinking sheer all the time, and I needed a nicer pair, I could then invest the money and buy the more expensive pair.

I sewed up the seams of the sweater, ironed the seams open and pinked the seam allowances. This was easy to do, but it was time consuming to line up the pinked edges. When the seams were done, the pinked seam allowances looked good and pinking was a fine way to finish the edges, but I still think that I like the look of a serged edge better. A serged edge to me is just a cleaner look.

DSCN3721In the end I was happy that I did not spend a lot on money on the more expensive pinking sheers. I just don’t think I will be pinking all that often, and the less expensive pair will be fine for me for how often I expect to use them. Although, if I was going to be using pinking sheers on the majority of my sewing projects, I would definitely invest in the nicer, more expensive pair of the pinking sheers since I know how much better a project goes with good scissors.

Sewing the bias tape on was next. I learned quickly not to let the fleece stretch too much as I sewed the bias tape on. My plan was to sew the bias tape on, fold the edges over and to stitch in the ditch on the front, catching the bias tape on the back. This did not work for me though. I remembered to not trim the bulk from the seam allowance of the bias tape but to leave the bulk to even out the fabric from the heavy fleece to the thin bias tape. I did trim a little of the bulk off the edge to smooth the edges, but not much.

DSCN3974The problem with leaving the bulk is that after going around the bulk with the bias tape, the bias tape was too short on the back side to be caught by the stitch in the ditch seam from the front side. Rather than arguing with the stitch in the ditch seam, I decided to sew on the edge of the bias tape on the front side. Now, there was no problem catching the bias tape on the back side. I was using nice matching thread so the sewing on the edge looks good, probably better than the stitched in the ditch seam would have looked.

DSCN3723The last step was to apply the velcro closures. As I cut four one inches squares of velcro to sew to the sweater, the husband shock his head no. He said he thought that buttons would look better. Since this sweater is not for an infant, there is no worry about a chocking hazard with buttons, so I decided that using buttons instead of velcro would be fine. I asked the husband what he thought about sewing the velcro on as the closure and the buttons on top of the velcro for decoration but he thought that the buttons as the closures was better. He did not like idea of the Velcro closures for a three year old.

DSCN4045Because the sweater is unlined with no facings or interfacing, I put a piece of tearaway stabilizer under the fleece to help keep the fleece from stretching as I sewed the buttonholes. This worked out great! The stabilizer held the fleece steady as the buttonholes sewed and gave the buttonholes themselves more durability. The extra stabilizer was torn away so you won’t even know I used it nor will it ruin the look of the buttonholes inside the sweater.

DSCN3976Soon the buttonholes and buttons were sewn and the sweater was all done!

I think that this sweater is just adorable! I had a lot of fun making it and I learned a few new sewing things and I got to use my new sewing tools as well. I will keep this sweater in mind for the next time I want to make a fun and simpler sewing project.

Until then, sew forth and pink on!

New Sewing Tools – Part 1 – Cutting The Curve

DSCN4045I love to go to craft shows, but I rarely buy anything. I am one of those people that professional crafters hate. I walk around and see what they have made, borrow their ideas, then I run home and make one for myself. That is what happened this time, with my latest fleece jacket/sweater project. The lady at the craft show had made a simple infant unlined fleece sweater, finished with bias tape edges and velcro closures. The sweaters were just adorable, simple and cute, and since I was in the mood for a light project, I decided to make one of these sweaters myself. Plus, I could practice making and sewing bias tape and use two new sewing tools that I had recently acquired.

I knew that I wanted to use this bear fleece that had been in the stash for many years. In fact, it was one of the first pieces of fleece that I ever purchased. Since it was never picked to be used for a blanket, it was time for it to be a sweater instead. I picked a brown cotton fabric for the bias tape, but when the husband saw the bear fleece he said to change to a red bias tape instead. It was no problem to pull some red cotton out of the stash to make the red bias tape with.

DSCN4052I cut 2 inch strips on the bias of the red cotton fabric to make 1 inch bias tape. The cutting and sewing of the strips went smoothly. I am getting better at this process each time I make bias tape. After a lot of ironing, I had a pile of red 1 inch bias tape made. I did not know exactly how much of the red bias tape I needed, so I just made a fair amount since I knew I could make more if needed. If I had extra, I would just save it for another project.

Now it was time to cut out the sweater. I was on my way to the pattern stash to find an infant jacket pattern to use when I spied my Simplicity 8902 pattern laying by the cutting table. Why not just use this pattern? It is a tried and true pattern for me, plus the size 3 was already traced and ready to use. I had envisioned this project for an infant but there was no reason that a 3 year could not wear a teddy bear fleece sweater as well so that is what I went with.

DSCN4046As I cut out the pattern pieces I added an extra inch to the fronts for the velcro overlap and I got the chance to use my first new sewing tool. I wanted to curve the tops and bottoms of the overlaps so I used my new french curve ruler I had picked up on clearance recently. Usually, I would have looked for a plate or bowl to cut the curves, but it was nice to use the curved ruler with the markings to make more accurate, even curves with. Plus, the rotary cutter cut much smoother around the edge of the ruler than it does around the edge of a bowl or plate. It did not take long to cut out the pieces for this sweater and to begin the sewing process.

Stay tuned next time for the sewing of the sweater.

Until then, sew forth and curve on!

Singularity

I am trying to coin a new phrase to describe some of the pieces of fabric I am finding in my stash.

.

The new phrase is singular or singularity. When I look at a piece of fabric and I see it made into only one specific item, that fabric has singularity, or is singular in function, as in it has only one purpose in my mind. When I look at a piece of fabric and I can see multiple items made from it, that piece does not have singularity. Now, this phrase is very user specific. What I see as a singular fabric, may not be a singular fabric to you and visa versa.  And, a piece of fabric may change its singularity status over time depending on how many times I run across it before making something with it.

While digging through the stash, along with finding the already cut out sleepers, I found a box marked “baby”. It contained baby printed knits that I have collected over the years to make sleepers with. Much like the already cut out sleepers, for whatever reason, these fabrics have just never made it to the cutting table and to the sewing machine. But it was now time for that to change. So I pulled out 4 pieces of fabric, and decided it was time for them to leave the stash and be made into sleepers.

 .

One of the hardest parts of sewing fabric that has been collecting in the stash, is determining if the piece of fabric I have selected is what I want to use to make the particular project I am working on. Or, would that fabric be better suited for some other item later on. As I looked at the first piece of fabric I had pulled from the stash, the Tweetie Bird print, I could only see a sleeper being made from this fabric. This piece had a singular purpose to me. It has singularity. Yes, it could make a tee shirt, or a onesie, but the feel of the fabric, the weight of the fabric and the amount of the fabric, to me, said it needed to be a sleeper. And nothing else would seem right to me.

 .

The next piece a fabric pulled from the stash is a baby fleece printed with animals in stocking caps and scarfs. It is probably not a singular piece of fabric to me, but it is close. It has been stored away for several years just waiting to be made into a sleeper, but it could make other items as well, like a baby fleece jogging suit or a toddlers fleece jacket or even a small baby bunting. Because of the small amount of fabric that I had left of this piece, it became a sleeper. As I sewed this sleeper together, I regretted my decision to make this fabric into a sleeper. It is a heavy piece of fabric which made a heavy sleeper. If the baby that ends up wearing this sleeper lives in a cold climate, they might need this sleeper, but even then it might be too warm. So, this fabric was not a singular piece but due to its size and print, it was limited in it function for me. The decision to make it into a sleeper was easier, but maybe not the best choice.

 .

The third piece of fabric that I pulled from the stash has even less singularity than the second piece, but it is still limited in its function to me. Again, it was originally purchased and stored to make baby sleepers, but as I looked at the little cars on the nice interlock knit and at the amount of fabric left in the piece, I could see other things made from this piece, like kids t-shirts, onesie’s, baby rompers and so on. Since the sleeper pattern was already out, and the print is not suitable for embroidering on, and it is what the piece was originally purchased for, this piece became sleeper’s too. I had enough fabric to make both the smaller size, 0-3 months, and the larger size, 3-6 months out of it. The singularity of this piece of fabric was not as defined, which made it harder to decide what I should make from it.

.

The last piece of fabric pulled from the stash has no singularity. It is about 3 yards long and the floral print could be worn at any age. Even though it too was purchased and stored to make baby sleepers with, it could make girl’s shirts of any size and style, many different baby items, and there is even enough fabric for me to make a shirt, if I would ever wear white with purple flowers. I doubt that I would make myself a shirt from it though, since those color’s are not what I usually choose to wear. As I laid the fabric on the cutting table, I could see many different things made from the fabric and several different designs embroidered on the fabric. So, I decided that it was not time for it to become sleepers quite yet. There may be another purpose for this fabric later on, and I wanted to give it some thought before I started cutting it up. I am not going to return it to the stash, but leave it in out so I will have to look at it often and decide what I want to make from it.

 .

So, ultimately, I hope that by defining the fabric in the stash based on its singularity, I can keep the stash better organized and keep the sewing going.

$0.25 A piece

It was time to make a couple of baby sleepers for gifts. As I dug through the stash for just the right piece of fabric for the sleepers, I came across a nice piece of gray velour. This piece was purchased from JoMar’s $0.50/yard table in Philadelphia. The edge was stained from the machine that rolled it on the bolt. When I saw and felt the piece I knew it would make beautiful sleepers. I was not really sure about the stain or just how much room I had in my suitcase to take home fabric for sleepers, so I only purchased 1 yard.

.

My first step was to wash the fabric. Before washing, I pretreated the stain just to see if it would come out. After pretreating, the stain still would not come out making my next step to cut off about 6 inches along the edge where the stain was. I knew there would still be enough fabric for at least one sleeper, so I started to cut. I cut out a size 0-3 month.

.

When I finished cutting the first sleeper, I noticed that I still had plenty of fabric remaining. As I laid out the pattern pieces to cut a second sleeper, I noticed that I would still have plenty of fabric left after cutting out that sleeper too! Wow, maybe this piece of fabric grew in the washer! Since I had enough fabric, I decided to make a size 3-6 month sleeper for the last one. This finally left me with just scraps.

.

The sleepers sewed up fairly easily. The zippers and the velour wanted to fight a little, so that required some patience and time to get right. I hate to unpick, but I did on part of one of the zippers to try and get a better look from it. The embroidery designs were easy to pick. The gray velour was perfect for a mostly white design, and that made it easy to pick white for the ribbing and zipper.

.

.

The polar bear design slipped a little while stitching it but a hot iron helped to fix that problem and it washed ok, but it still bugs me as a seamstress when I look at it since it isn’t perfect. I then used some of the web knit on the back of the designs so it was soft for the babies skin and it seemed to help the problem as well. It is just so vexing when your sewing projects don’t work just the way you envisioned them to.

.

.

Even though these are not my most favorite sleepers  that I have ever made, they sure are cute enough. Plus I think any baby would be happy to wear them and any parent happy to have their child wear them. What do you think of them?

.