Tag Archives: sewing

bean bags

14 Nov

One of our little favorites had a birthday party this afternoon. I wanted to make her something that would be useful for longer than most baby toys. Something that could grow with her, not be annoying or take up too much space. Somewhere, a long time ago, I ran across a blog post about making little bean bags, but I think the ones pictured were letters. 26 bags was a project too ambitious for me at the moment, and letter blocks are easy enough to come by, in any case. I decided to make, instead, a set of numbers, zero through nine. Good for tossing around now, practicing math later. I just hope my shoddy stitch-up job holds until she’s ready for addition and subtraction. I hate to sew “in the ditch” so they look very homemade.

Oh well; they are.

To make them, I used felt scraps and freehanded the numbers, used quilting cotton scraps in interesting or pretty patterns for the backs, and white fleece for the fronts. The synthetic fleece isn’t my ideal material, but I wanted something kind of tactile and substantial. Also, I had some lying around. The truth comes out!

I used cheap, nutritionally void white rice for the filling. Lentils would also be nice, or popcorn. They’re not all the same size and they’re admittedly a little wonky, but I think they’ll be fun to play with. Once George gets out of his mouthing phase, I’ll probably make him some, too. For this project, all I had to buy was the rice; if you’re a sewer, you can probably do the same, as these don’t necessitate any particular material other than hole-less (and if you’re mainly sewing with mesh, I’m gonna bet you don’t have children).

Happy birthday, little lady. I hope your bean bags bring you hours of happy play. And happy birthing day, mama. So far, so good.



28 Sep

In the past few weeks, the weather has taken the most wonderful Autumnal turn. I feel like this is possibly happening earlier than usual, and is the universe’s polite way of saying please, for the love of god, stop wearing those stretched out tank tops. George’s current legging collection can no longer contain his fat little thighs and all the pants I made him a couple of months ago are too tight around the bum. With a new crop of t-shirts recently acquired, all he really needed for Fall were some snuggly pants. My mom’s boyfriend gave me a very generous birthday gift of money to be spent at Joann, and with it I’ve gotten started on a few things that I hope will carry this little butterball through until December, when it’ll be time to bust out the fleece.

Exhibit A:

Some birch-printy, black flannel-lined pants that are notably less clownish than what he’s been sporting all summer.

Exhibit B:

Some navy flannel-lined overalls with wooden buttons, modeled after some that a dear friend and amazing seamstress made for George that he has, regrettably, worn twice and outgrown.
I didn’t use a pattern for either, having made so many things like this for him already, but I’m still always surprised when a project turns out so nicely.

last night a tutorial saved my life

12 Jul

Okay, so it was actually yesterday afternoon and “saved my life” might be hyperbolic. But this tutorial for making your own mei tai just gifted me (with some work on my part) my very most favorite thing I’ve ever made, ever in my whole long life of making things.
I love my Ergo. Previously, I may have said that it saved my life. And that would only be slightly hyperbolic, because when you have a baby like George, who wants you to hold him every second of every minute of every day, you find that occasionally you need your hands no matter how pleasant holding you baby may be. That Ergo has allowed me to pee, to check Facebook when George was, in the beginning, what we lovingly refer to as a blob, and most importantly, it sometimes puts him to sleep. We use it multiple times a day for walks and picking up around the house and giving a nap the old college try. I’m not giving up on my Ergo. But it’s just so…black. And Beige. With giant clips and padding and that swirly logo that treads dangerously close to hippy territory. I wanted something jazzier. Yellow. Flowers? YES! I am not a flowers type of gal (gal — check), but this fabric seemed right to me. So, with $16, two Joann coupons, a bit of brown minkee fabric I had lying around the sewing room and about 3 hours, I have this little number.


25 Jun

Okay, I am officially obsessed with this pants pattern.

They are perfect for sitting around,

for lounging on mama,

for “tummy time” (oh how I hate that phrase please oh please someone give me an alternative), and, of course,

for modeling. I just made ANOTHER pair, but I will spare you the photos. Probably.

quick change trousers

24 Jun

George’s six month well child check is today, replete with shots. I figured nothing softens the blow of unexpected pain and the corresponding confusion like a new outfit, right?! So, last night, I tried another pattern from Anna Maria Horner’s book Handmade Beginnings. Like the other two projects I’ve made from this book, the quick change trousers turned out super cute and made up quickly. They’re fully reversible which I could not love more and the back yoke detail is simple but adds a lot of interest to what would otherwise be really plain pants.
(In the morning light George is so pale he looks like he’s glowing. Wonder where he gets that.)
They are undeniably hippy pants, but I love all the fabrics I used and I know I’ll be sad when I have to pack them away for the next baby.

Now we just need to hop the ferry to Orcas for a little hippy vacation.

chubby girls (and boys)

12 Jun

I am always on the hunt for 60s and 70s kids’ clothes patterns at thrift stores. When made correctly (which I sometimes fail at), they fit the way I think clothes should. I have the hardest time buying new clothes for George because I find most of what’s in stores so incredibly tacky, stereotypically gendered, poorly made and bearing the stupidest sayings (“Mommy loves me” — no shit; I hope so!). There aren’t too many good old patterns out there for boys. Most of the ones I fall in love with are for jumpers or dresses, or my recent favorite: a bikini. So I was super stoked to find this one at Value Village the other day:

I got it home and looked it over again and couldn’t believe I’d missed something right on the front of the pattern sleeve.

See it? “Not suitable for chubby girls.” Or, I should say, “NOT SUITABLE FOR CHUBBY GIRLS.” Like, sewers for chubby girls: don’t you even THINK about it.
It brought to mind a few questions. Were there patterns, specifically a different version of this one in particular, that WERE suitable for chubby girls? What is “chubby” according to McCall’s? And how many little girls sat with their mothers at the fabric store pattern book table, like I did with my mum so many times, and fell in love with this pattern only to have their mother point out that it wasn’t made for them?
Children of seamstresses are (sometimes painfully) aware of their measurements. I have always known what pattern size I was, and I knew when I had grown disproportionately because of my mother’s tongue click and slight grimace in recognition of the extra work she’d have to do folding here, adding on there. And this was before she started calling me fat, outright.
Now, I will never be 5 feet, 10 inches tall and I will almost certainly never weigh less than 120 lbs, which is about what my mother weighs and always has. I will never consider myself thin, and considering myself normal is a daily struggle. Just today, a friend referred to her own body as such and I had to check the part of me that judged her COMPLETELY valid self-assessment as boastful (totally messed up, right?). I can never imagine anything less than genuine, serious health-related concern forcing me to even broach the subject of weight with George. And never in a million years would I, even then, call him fat (okay, I call him fat all the time. I mean later). But what I DO do is call myself fat. And I need to knock it off, as soon as I say this one thing:
This chubby girl is making the effing pants and peter pan collar jacket.

baby in the hood

8 Jun

I had been waiting, breath bated for Anna Maria Horner’s new book, Handmade Beginnings to come out. I’d seen a few of the patterns and thought the mariposa nursing tunic looked, well, LESS like a maternity shirt than all the other nursing clothes I’ve seen. So I bought the book on sale and was so pleasantly surprised to find lots of other projects that actually align with my aesthetic pretty well. This is rare in the sewing world, unfortunately. Though I’ve been sewing for like 20 years, primarily with patterns, I very rarely find something just like what I was wishing for. I got the book in the mail and promptly made two (different!!) nursing tops — photos maybe later, if I am looking cute — and the “baby in the hood” jacket for George. It is precious, made up in about 2 hours with some pattern alterations (I didn’t fully line it, summertime coming and all), and fits him with a little room to grow in the 9 month size. My little butterball.

I’m so glad to be using up some of my fabric stash and I’m totally validated in my habit of keeping weird little scraps because I lined the sleeves with one scrap and made the hood stripe and button placket with another.

I am already having anxiety about George’s upcoming phase of hating mama-made stuff. I went through one, albeit a brief one where I eventually just learned to sew, and I’m sure my mum was bummed.