So this is it. Come Thursday (if not before….Lord how I wish it would be before) I will be holding my brand new baby girl. It has been a long road coming and I will not lie, I am really glad t is about to be over. With The Elder A I never made it this far in the pregnancy, I was induced at 35 weeks due to preeclampsia so this gigantic, miserably uncomfortable stage it new to me…..and not at all fun I must say. But the end result will be worth it when I get to see this face in person.
One of the last things I have made for A² is a prop for some of her newborn pictures(that we are doing ourselves, Heaven help us). I have seen these little cocoon type things all over Etsy and fancy shmancy baby boutiques ranging from $30-75 to which I say “Oh nay nay, I can make this.” So here is how I used the fabulousness that is Ruffle Fabric and made my own version of an infant cocoon.
I started with one of those little swaddle wraps to get the general dimensions. I basically traced around it on freezer paper and used that as my pattern. It ended up being about 20 1/4″ long and 10″ wide, at the widest part, ie the bottom. Easy enough.
Next I took my Ruffle Fabric, you prob need no more than 1/2 yard and cut out the shape from my pattern. Now here comes the hard part….turn the 2 pieces right sides together and sew them up around the sides and bottom. I know….mind blowingly complex but just breathe and you can work through it. Then I turned the top under to make it nice and neat and sewed a tiny topstitch around the top. And that’s it.
As you can see this is clearly not A². I tested it out with one of The Elder A’s baby dolls to see what it might look like. Pretty cute I think. Just imagine a pudgy little newborn face tucked down inside all those ruffle with a sweet little flower in her hair. Can’t wait (so why don’t you come on out now sweet girl and we can play…..eeemmmK)
The great thing about this Ruffle Fabric is that if this cocoon ends up a little long all you have to do is fold it under some more and the edge is still nice and finished, even without sewing. I will say this, be sure as you sew it that all the ruffles are laying flat, in the same direction. Otherwise you will sew some up and some down and they will not look good.
I will be sure to post the results of out photo session with this. I am going to make The Elder A a dress out of the rest of the fabric…..someday. Keep me in your thoughts and prayers come Thursday and if you feel so inclined send me any “baby having vibes” you can muster between now and then. Take care all and I will be back soon. Keep it stitchin’
I could not be more thrilled to have Katy from no big dill here today to wrap up our week-long celebration of sisters. I hope you have enjoyed this week, I certainly have. Sometime in our crazy lives we forget how important family and loved ones are. I think the bond of sisters is one that cannot be compared to any other friendship/relationship. I can’t wait for my 2 girls to grow up together, love each other, protect each other and share what my sister and I have. That unspoken, unbreakable bond only your sister can understand. So thank you for sharing this week with me and stay tuned for news about A² arrival.
So, when I had my second daughter, you’d think I would be well aware of the possibility that my two girls would not be clones. My naivete would soon burst as I discovered that every single addition of our girls would give a new spin on our growing family. They all had different personalities! Imagine that.
We deal with frustrations every single day, but I am trying (oh, how I’m trying!) to appreciate that each of these souls comes as unique as the varieties of flowers on the earth. They are all beautiful, each adds a pop of color that is sometimes complimented by another and sometimes clashes. I love it when Clover (the youngest) will say to me, Let’s go pick up my sisters! I have learned that they each need something different from me. One just needs me to show excitement about her adventures of the day, another needs me to cuddle with her, and yet another just needs me to involve her in my projects and interests.
It’s all a delicate balancing act that I fail at frequently, but in showing them that I respect them, they in turn show respect to each other. I ask for forgiveness every single day and pray and hope (and pray some more) that they will turn out to be loving and caring toward each other despite my clumsiness at navigating motherhood. Some days I see glimpses of the great women they will be, and it gives me hope and appreciation for them.
As far as dressing them? When I sew for them I don’t like the matchy-matchy dress look, or sewing up the same thing times 5. I like to choose a few colors and coordinate those instead of using the exact same fabric and pattern for all of them. For a casual look, I don’t mind them dressing the same. In fact I think it’s rather endearing when they all emerge from the bedroom in their jeans and matching t-shirts, proud of themselves for some semblance of cooperation among the ranks. (Plus, it allows their different personalities to shine.)
So today we talk a little more about sewing. When we found out we were having another girl I was shocked to say the least. This pregnancy has been nothing like my first, from day one. This time I was tremendously sick, craved all kinds of weird, very unhealthy things and just felt quite different. However, having another will have its upside in that I can reuse all the fun things I have made The Elder A over the years and I have all the more reason to expand my sewing skills since they will be well used on 2 girls.
There is one problem though having them this far apart, 3 ½ years, not many patterns stretch from Newborn to 3T. Most only go from Newborn to 2T and then others start at 3 and go to 7 or 8. So making all those adorable matching outfits has been a challenge. I did find one pattern from oliver + s that I love. Yes I had to buy 2 separate patterns but it was too cute to pass up.
So in wracking my brain to figure out what to make I thought…duh preggers….pillowcase dresses. There is no size limit on those and they will be perfect for this ruthless Alabama heat. So I set out to make matching dresses and here is how I did it. It isn’t very scientific or very precise, I just kind of took measurements from The Elder A and quesstimated (that’s a technical term) what A² might be so fingers crossed hers fits.
Sew Sisterly Pillowcase Dress
A couple of yards matching fabric for the main piece, depending on your chosen sizes.
A yard or 2 of a coordinating fabric if you chose to do a bottom band, as I did.
Bias tape, if you do not want to make your own
A sleeveless dress that fits well for the armhole cut outs
Ribbon for the ties unless you chose to make them out of one of your fabrics
So here we go.
Take some basic measurements, if you can, of the child the dress will be for. For The Elder A I measured from her high shoulder down to where the dress should end. I will say for her I did a pillowcase top rather than dress because she has TONS of dresses, but anywho. Then if you are doing a main piece and bottom band decide how wide you want the bottom band, subtract that from the total length and there you have your 2 pieces. The great thing about this type dress is you don’t have to be 100% precise. On my dresses I had my bottom band be folded over on itself so my measurement for it was doubled but you don’t have to do that if you want it as a single layer.
Don’t forget to factor in seam allowance (I used ½”) and enough to fold over the top of the dress to form a casing for the ribbon ties (I used 1”).
Then cut your pieces ON THE FOLD. Doing this makes you have only one side seam, so so easy. I made mine about 16” wide by the length I figured for each girl (so basically 10 ¾”x 16” for A² as an example) The wider it is the fuller it will be so again that is all in personal preference. After trying hers on The Elder A needed to be taken in on the sides a bit, since it was more of a top so it could have been more like 13” wide, it was just too full for a top at 16”.
Now take your main dress piece and with right sides together sew up the one side seam and finish the edge. If you have serger it makes quick work of this.
Now take your bottom band, if you chose to use one, and with right sides together sew it into a circle at the short ends. Press that seam open and then fold it in half, WRONG sides together, and press again.
Then line up the raw edges to the main dress piece, right sides to together, matching side seams and sew and finish that edge. Now you have the workings of a full dress, turn it right sides out.
Now the toughest part, which isn’t hard at all….cutting the arm holes. Take a sleeveless top or dress, that fits well, and fold it in half at the arm hole. Lay that arm hole opening over the dress square at the top edge. Using a fabric pen draw the cutout of the arm hole onto the dress and cut. It is basically a curve that is wider at the top than bottom. There are several places online you can find to download armhole patterns but they never seemed to fit The Elder A right, they were always too large. The general rule I have found is 1.5 inches to 2 inches measured in from each side, and 3 inches to 4 inches curved down.
Now be careful here if you used a serger because you just cut into your serged seam and if you pull too much it might start to come unraveled. I go back and do a small straight stitch at the top of each armhole just to reinforce it.
Now take either your purchased bias or bias you made had cover the raw edges of the arm hole. Making bias is super easy. The hardest part is cutting on the bias if you ask me, that and not burning your fingers when you iron it. The Prudent Baby has a great tutorial on it, as does Dana from made. Check them out if you want to learn to make your own. Be careful here not to stretch the bias tape or the dress out of shape as you sew the bias on. I have made many a whanky armhole by pulling in the dress while I sewed the tape down (bad Donya, I know).
Now that you have the dress cut, sewn and armholes bound time to make a casing. Again if you have a serger with a coverstitch, use it to make an appropriate size casing. (I swear that one stitch on my serger was worth every penny) otherwise just finish the raw edge at the top of the dress, fold down enough room for your chosen ties and sew.
Last thing, run the ribbon, rick rack, fabric ties whatever you chose through the casing and gather the dress to the needed size. Again if you have the child you are making this for around put it on them and fit it to them BUT if they are being stubborn and refuse to be born, just estimate it. Here is something I have found is a MUST do. Once you know how much to gather the dress, pin the ties to the dress and SEW THEM DOWN. This saves two things, one being the ties will not get lost in the washer….never to be seen again and two you little one can’t pull a Houdini and undress herself by simply pulling a tie loose and out of its casing.
For the ties I like to have an older girl with a tie on each shoulder, meaning I need 2 ties of equal length that will meet on the shoulders. For babies and younger girls I just do one long tie and run it though both front and back sides of the dress and tie on one side. I have found younger ones, mine at least, rarely stay still long enough to tie one, much less 2 ties.
And there you have it, matching pillowcase dresses. So simple right?!?! I can’t wait for A² to get here so I can try it on her and they can be all matchy sisterly cute. I will post pics of them wearing these as soon as this immovable child decides she wants to meet the world. Seriously send me baby having vibes….please…I’m so hot and whale like.
So tomorrow I have an awesome Mom who knows all about having little girls because she has 5 OF THEM….yes 5. Katy from no big dill is going to guest blog for me to end Sewing for Sisters week. I am so pumped!!! She is such an inspiration and her daughters have the coolest names. I can’t wait for everyone to read her post so come back tomorrow for our last day of the series. Thanks everyone and Keep it Stitchin’
A break from sewing……
Sibling Photo Inspiration
So today let’s take a step back from the needle and talk about some ideas and inspiration to photograph all these awesome projects we all work so hard on. As you can tell from this post, I like to pretend I know how to use my camera shooting in manual mode. I took a class from my fabulous friend of Click Workshops and she taught me the basics so now I just try not to mess up her fine education.
With A² due any day now I have been
wasting hours of time scouring obsessed with Pinterest and finding inspiration for newborn and sibling photo session ideas. Whatever evil genius came up with Pinterest needs to report to my house to tackle the mounds of dirty dishes and laundry piling up due to neglect. The site is so so addicting….worse than Facebook, and that’s saying something people. If you want to follow my boards my Pinterest name is donyarumore (much like my actual name) I would love to follow you in return.
So this is what I have come up with so far for the sibling poses. I don’t want the same ones you see all the time with big sister kissing the baby or holding the baby….blah blah.
I ADORE what Adele Enerson of Mila’s Daydreams has done with these pictures of her sleeping baby girl. She would design these amazing scenes around her sleeping baby, snap some pictures and in the process made newborn photo history. I think I might take inspiration from this photo and have A² sleeping and The Elder A pretending to style her hair. This would be the most ambitious photo but if we could pull it off it would be really memorable.
This one I just love. It literally melts my heart. I love the angle, how the older child isn’t really looking at the baby or the camera. It is just a spit second moment of pure love caught on film. You can almost see the older child promising to love and protect her baby sister without the kissy kissy mush in so many new baby photos. This is real people.
Ok so I know this wouldn’t be for many years to come but can we just stop and admire this for a moment……..
The Elder A has an obsession with having long hair (thanks Disney) so I imagine she will never want to cut it and since little sisters often want nothing more than to be like big sister I will probably have to very long haired little girls. Lucky for me this just might be possible in a few years.
I am totally infatuated with the idea of a newborn in a doll bed, and come one……what Mom of little girls doesn’t love an over abundance of ruffles every now and then? I would change this up to have The Elder A maybe reading a book to her baby sister or doing the “shush” finger on lips pose over the baby. Plus since I need another reason to order enormous amounts of Ruffle Fabric, this will fit the bill nicely.
So what do you think bloggy buddies? Do you have any inspiration you want to share? I would love to hear ideas, comments, anything.
We will be taking these photos ourselves (pray for me now) since my above mentioned fab friend is also with child and will just not be able to do it. (sad face) So now if this baby would, in the words of The Elder A “get here already” we can put some of these ideas to use.
I will post our results, hopefully good ones when we get them edited and prettified. Tomorrow I will show off matching dresses and has anyone guessed my special Friday blogger?!?! It is going to be a not to miss for sure!! Thanks everyone and Happy Stitching.
Today’s project is for sisters young and old. Be forewarned, this is so easy you might just be overwhelmed with a desire to make dozens of these and get lost in terry cloth and beach towels.
The Beach Blanket Bingo Towel
This project was inspired by my baby sister and her love/hate relationship with…..a beach towel. You see my sister and me too for that matter, LOVE to lounge by the pool or the ocean whenever possible. It is one of the few ways to stay cool here in Alabama.
But what always happens? You get to the pool, scope out the perfect chair, lay your towel on it and less than 10 seconds later it is blowing away, falling off the back or simply wadded up into a terry cloth ball in the seat of the lounge chair.
You have all seen the solution. These towels with the flap/pocket on the back that range on the World Wide Web from $20-70 dollars. Sorry my friends but I refuse to spend that much money on something that literally cost pennies to make. So make one I did….with pockets. So take that Land’s End.
This project is so simple and fast it took me all of 20 minutes and less than $5. That’s right…..5 BUCKS. I waited until my local fabric store had the terry cloth on sale and all you need is ½ yard for a regular size beach towel.
So here goes.
First lay out your non-pocketed beach towel and measure its width. Then decided how deep you want you pocket to be. Most of the ones I found online were between 10” and 20” so I chose the happy medium of 15”. So for me my new pocket was 30×16, because I added the extra inch to turn the bottom hem up.
First turn the bottom edge to up ½” and then over again ½”. You can use a serger here for a rolled hem, or just turn it over once. I chose to do the double fold to add some weight to the bottom edge so as not to “snag” it on the back of any chair that might have sharp corners or rough edges. Hew the bottom edge for a nice finished look.
Then it is as simple as putting right sides together and sewing along the side, across the top and down the other side. Obviously you wont sew the bottom because that is what becomes your pocket. Clip the corners and turn it out and there you have a pocket back beach towel.
But why stop there? You will likely have enough terry cloth left to make a side pocket to hold sunscreen, phones…whatever. Here is how I did mine. I literally took the leftover terry cloth, cut one about 1” shorter than the other and did the same hem technique on the shorter piece only this time it was the top side. I then placed right sides together and sewed up the 2 sides. Now I am left with one huge pocket. I then got some things I usually have with me by the pool, sunscreen (a must people, every time you go in the sun. Skin cancer is no joke) my cell phone and a bottled water. I laid them on the new pocket and roughly drew some lines to create 3 smaller pockets. Sew a straight stitch along these lines and viola, you have a 3 opening side pocket for your towel. Now all you need to is sew it, right sides together to the towel and presto…a neat place to keep your most used pool items. (Be sure to sew the pocket onto the towel so the openings are facing up, don’t laugh I might have learned this one the hard way)
Now you can be the envy of the pool and know that you paid less than the price of your fancy umbrella drink for it. I hope my sister enjoys her new towel….if she ever gets it….I might keep it for myself. But hey these are so easy to make everyone in the family can have one. Come back tomorrow when we take a step away from the sewing machine to look at some sister photo inspirations and delve into my Pinterest obsession. (It is really bad folks, hours have been lost to that evil genius of a website). Hope you enjoyed this super fast and easy summer tutorial. Happy Sewing and see you tomorrow.
Sorry for the lack of pictures of the finished towel. My camera has gone a bit nuts and needs to be looked at…hopefully it is just overworked and needs a nap. Also I found then using a “stronger” needle on this project works better….meaning I used a 90/14 sharp instead of my usual 75/11 ballpoint. All those layers of terry cloth need a more substantial needle to get through them.