Wednesday, November 11, 2015

November Giveaway!

Hi all! I am still alive and have sewn a few things- just need to make time to post about them! Max is eight months old now (wow) and I am teaching special education full time, so I don't have as much time to sew as I used to...

Leave a comment to enter the giveaway by Friday at midnight. The winner gets all four patterns and I will ship internationally if needed. All patterns are vintage and for a 34 bust. I have not checked if they are complete or not.

Simplicity 4260 is a button down shirtwaist dress with an interesting triangular neckline, or simple collar variation. Probably early 50s. Simplicity 2195 is for a monogrammed blouse with three sleeve lengths. Probably late 50s or early 60s.

Simplicity 1672 is a 1940s pattern for a shirtwaist dress. A button down bodice with a tie or button waist, with an option for scalloped sleeves and neckline. Butterick 3034 is a 60s wardrobe pattern that makes a skirt, blouse that can also become a dress and a casual, boxy jacket.
 Leave a comment by friday if you would like these cool patterns! 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Breastfeeding Wardrobe: Advice Plz!

Since having Max three (!) months ago, I am mostly back to normal physically. I am only ten pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight, so that's good! I have started going to yoga again and working on toning up.

Being slightly larger than before and also breastfeeding is making me reevaluate my wardrobe. I bought some new jeans since my old ones don't fit anymore, which was great. That made it so I had more than just leggings to wear and made me feel more like a human again! I got rid of a garbage bag full of clothes that are either too small or won't work with breastfeeding. Now I need a summer wardrobe that will work.

Mostly everything I have seen online is nursing tank tops with the hooks, button downs, and wrap tops or dresses. I am just wondering if you ladies have any tips for nursing through the summer months? What are some essential pieces that I should buy? Summer is so short here, I think I could easily get by with less than ten "outfits".

I also want to try to sew a few items (maybe three?) as well. I think the Camas blouse by Thread Theory with either short or no sleeves would work very well. I saw a cute button down sleeveless dress on Instagram, I know it was an indie pattern, but I forgot the name... Any other recommendations for patterns that would work and be quick and easy to sew?

And to leave on a funny note, I saw Gertie released a new pattern:
Link here
All I could think was "You could turn view A into a nursing top if you cut two holes under the ties" How funny would that be? :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Vintage Clothes Shopping

I spend a lot of time on my phone, like when the baby is nursing. I have been wasting a lot of time on Instagram lately (@mollysews but it is mostly baby pictures at this point).

There are a few vintage clothes sellers that I follow on Instagram. I (and lots of you) love vintage clothes and I use them for sewing inspiration since they are often horrifically expensive and usually not anywhere close to fitting me.

Two points for discussion:

1. I really really enjoy looking at the clothes, which are often very simple 50s dresses, and then looking at how much they cost. They are often well over $100 and so simple that you could buy a similar modern pattern on sale for 99 cents and then make a replica for less than $30. That is really why I got into sewing; I am so cheap at heart and love to gloat about how much money I saved (which only makes sense when you either talk about vintage or designer, not regular everyday stuff). Do any of you like copying expensive stuff and the feeling super proud? Mmmm, my favorite!

2. I see them tagging and labeling so MANY dresses as 40s and 50s and they are often very clearly not. Frankly, the 40s were 75 years ago and there really cannot be that many pristine and intact pieces to sell. I think lots of times they are similar styles from the 70s and it's just wishful thinking. I see the same thing with 80s dresses that were inspired by the 50s. Sometimes they tag it as "inspired" but not always. Granted, I can't see the labels and that would help determine if they are or aren't. I know a lot of the styles and features that date an outfit to a time period from sewing from vintage patterns for so long, but I am sure lots of their buyers have no clue. But then again, they may not care. Do you think there can really be THAT many pieces (shoes and dresses) from the 40s or 50s?

Either way, I love looking at the pictures and thinking about how I could and would sew that myself!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

SHB Sewalong: Cloth Diaper Covers and Fun with Snaps!

I used the Green Pepper Patterns 554 to make these cloth diaper covers. I bought two beforehand to investigate, but as purchasing each one can be 10-15 dollars, I knew I would make my own. 

I combined the pattern design with a blog tutorial I read. The outside is flannel and the inside is the PUL fabric that feels like plastic and keeps the baby's clothes dry. The cloth diaper is inside of that, so you only need to change the cover if it gets totally soaked or there is a poopsplosion.

I cut out three at once in size small after Maxwell was born. The pattern is really easy and you can make each diaper in less than 30 minutes once you know the drill.

Version 1:
The front is a little short, so the diaper tries to poke out the top. This leads to wet belly and too many changes of clothes. 

(These pictures are from about 3 weeks ago and he is so much bigger now!!)

Tummy Time!
 Version 2:

I tried to add elastic to the front to tighten it up more, but failed to realize that topstitching the gap closed would make the elastic not gather. Duh. I added a seventh snap in the center so it could be snapped tighter.

His favorite toy: Crinkle Penguin!
 Version 3:

This time I successfully added elastic to the front, which gives a better fit. I kept the seven snaps idea from version 2.

Next time I make them, I am going to make the next size up, of course. I think I will make the front a bit longer so it will go up higher and prevent the diaper poking out. It's a good pattern and I totally recommend it! I knew nothing about diaper covers and it was really helpful.


PUL is cheaper at and a yard will make at least 3-4 of these.

You do not need a zigzag, I did it all with a straight stitch since I have a vintage machine.

My diaper service gave us an info sheet and it said that if it gets stained, you can lay the PUL in the sun and it will bleach itself- true and works!

Use poly thread not cotton: I used cotton and now it is stained orange from baby breastmilk poops.

Plastic snaps are so much better than metal ones!! If I stamp it crooked, I can just snip the pin part with scissors and fix it! I'm never going back to metal!! I bought the Babyville snaps at JoAnn, but the bought the KAM pliers and more snaps based on online reviews.


I will be making more baby stuff, but technically the SHB Sewalong is over. I didn't get too much done in April, but at least it motivated me to post about stuff. It made me feel somewhat productive!

SHB Sewalong: Cloth Diaper Diaper Bag

My friend Ahnna got us the cloth diaper bag on the right. We are using cloth diapers and it did not cross my mind that hmmm maybe you need something to hold dirty diapers when you are out, since you can't just throw them away!

I thought it might be good to make a second, in case one is drying. For days in future when Max and I actually go places.... :)

 Super easy to make:

Traced the original, installed a zipper on the top (a 12" white one), sewed up the side seams.

For the inside I used some of the PUL (I think its polyurethane laminate?) fabric that is used for the cloth diaper liners as well. I bought it from in white so I could use it for a bunch of projects. JoAnn has some, but it was 15 bucks a yard and only in goofy prints.
 I made a second pouch for the inside and topstitched to attach it to the zipper tape.
The proof is in the pudding: it worked perfectly fine on our 2 month pediatrician appt!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

SHB Sewalong: Boppy Pillow Cover

Ok, some of these things for the sewalong were definitely not made in April. However, it is motivating me to blog about them, so that has to count for something!

I bought some cute Mink style fabric from after being disappointed at the selection at JoAnn (shocking, right?) I used the green forest creature print for the Boppy cover.
 My aunt gave me her old pillow when we were in Oregon for Xmas and it came with a blue cover. I thought it would be smart to have a backup, which was smart as it has been covered in an assortment of baby fluids.

T-Rex has been the pillow's #1 fan since we brought it home in January. He was able spend two delightful months sleeping on it before the baby came.

 More snuggles...

 Uh oh, Molly took it away! It was really great for nursing after the cesarean, protecting my stitches from the baby and from the dog who was always trying to stand on my lap. Now I just use it to prop up my elbow as I nurse on the sofa during the endless Netflix marathons...
at the hospital

As for the sewing:

 I used a pattern, Simplicity 4225, which I bought for a dollar on sale. It mostly fit the Boppy pillow, but I had to shorten the ends of the U and round them a little more to get a better fit. I just used it for the shape- they want you to use velcro to close it. The real cover has a zipper on the outside, so I just copied that. I had a vintage zipper that matched the green fairly well.

It was really easy to make and probably took less than an hour to make.

Next up: cloth diaper covers!

Monday, April 13, 2015

SHB Sewalong: Adventures in Babywearing

Installment 2 of my Small Human Being Sewalong:

I knew we would want some kind of baby carrier for babywearing, aka having hands that are free!! In week two of Andrew's paternity leave, he held the baby and kept me company while I whipped this together. 

Previously, I did a bit of research as I had absolutely no plans to pay upwards of $50 for a Moby wrap or a Boba wrap or whatever. Essentially, it is a very long rectangle of knit fabric. It should be about two or three yards of 60" wide knit, and then you cut it into three strips of about 20" wide. Sew them together and wham-bam-babywrap. 
Cradle Hold
 I bought this fabric on Goldhawk Road when Andrew and I were in London in (gasp) 2013. It really puts my fabric hoarding into perspective when I can look back on my blog and see how long ago I bought it. I really love it!

At first I was reluctant to use it, but if I made it into a dress I would only wear it sometimes, and then for only a season or two. Making it into the baby wrap means that I will use it every day- all the time since my little spider monkey only wants to sleep on my chest. Plus, since the fabric is almost intact, I can always make it into clothes later if I want to.
Ta Daaaaaaaaaa!
 Anyways, I made the wrap and then Andrew tried it out. I was still recovering from my stitches and was no shape to spend much time standing, much less wearing the baby. There are two holds for newborns, cradle hold (like how you hold them in your arms) and newborn hold (chest to chest with the baby's legs tucked in). We tried both, but they were not all that successful. He would enjoy it for less than 30 minutes maximum and then flip out.
Selfie with the baby

newborn hold
 Finally, I searched online for other holds and discovered kangaroo hold. It is like the newborn hold, so it is still chest to chest, but the baby's legs hang out the bottom. You put him in the pouch, cross the X over your back, and then loop each half under the baby and between his legs so he is super secure.

Max loves this one!! He loves to kick his legs wildly, so when his legs were tucked in he was very cramped and mad. This one allows him to move his arms and legs, and he is super happy. Usually he falls asleep in less than five minutes.

 Then, you just tuck his head in one of the sides and you're good to go!!
Success: Kangaroo Hold!!
I am going to count this as a sewing project because I am totally sleep deprived and adjusting to being a mom. I sewed one seam to hold two strips of fabric together and then did not finish the edges because it's a knit. Still counts!!!

So congratulate me on my sewing success (haha) and reassure me that the sleeps-only-on-my-chest phase will not last until I am sending him off to college...right? right? guys?