Monday, August 1, 2011

Nappy covers

This is a start on some nappy covers. I'm not a big FOE fan, but thought it would make the whole process faster. It has, but figuring out the pattern is another matter! I wanted to add gussets (the traditional half-moon style), since I think they make for a better fit while still providing good coverage for the nappy underneath.

The greencover was my first try, intended to be newborn size. I based it on a small La Di Da, thinking it would then fit over some of the larger newborn nappies, such as the orange edge DDNB. I don't like the bulk of the FOE on the crotch area (non-gusset part); perhaps I should have stretched here as well as on the gusset? I think the gusset also looks a bit too deep. In any case, it turned out looking useable but too large, so I labelled it a small and tried again.

The fingers belong to my 'helper'.

The lavendar cover is based on the larger DDNB. Even though I scooped out the front and back a bit and angled the wings up (made it look a bit like a LDD), because it is FOE-bound with no seam allowance removed, it actually still fits over a large DDNB.
I added gussets again, but instead of using FOE to join them to the body, sewed the PUL pieces together and the microfleece (lining fabric) pieces together, topstitched the PUL seam, nested the layers together and bound the whole cover in FOE. The FOE is only on the edge this way, which eliminates some bulk - much nicer result IMO.
I think if the same pattern was turned and topstitched, it would be about the right size to go over smaller newborn fitteds. It would need seam allowance added to the outside edge of the gusset.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jump Rope Dress

This is my first Jump Rope Dress, and my first try sewing an Oliver +S pattern. Helen was pretty excited about modelling for me!

 The fabric was more difficult to work with than I expected - a loose weave that kept wanting to fray and twist off grain. Got there in the end, but the plaid isn't matched well in several places.

Going by the pattern sizing, Helen measured as a size 4 with a size 5 waist. I wanted a bit of growing room (we're barely past the middle of winter, after all), and I had also read in reviews that the fit can be a bit slim. So I cut out a size 5 top, tapering the body to size 6 at the waist. The end result has plenty of room - I probably didn't need to make the waist larger, but it's not ridiculously enormous.

Helen wanted the view B pockets.

I can see why some people rave about O+S patterns. It was nicely presented and the instructions were clear. I did feel like the pattern was simplified to suit less experienced sewists, which kind of clashed with my impulse to try patterns and techniques that are too advanced for me. However, simplified means easier to finish when sewing time is limited, so that's probably a good thing.

The pattern sheet was enormous which made it harder not to get marks, folds or tears during tracing. It would be nice if it was split over two sheets, but I guess that would increase production costs.

The collar is a bit uneven, but seems to sit ok when worn. I rushed the placket a bit and the overlap isn't in quite the right spot at the top, but again it's not glaringly obvious. The placket instructions were pretty clear, but I still found it hard to fully enclose the bottom of the cut edge and I think it might fray out over time. I have found a tutorial for another technique to try next time, which looks like it should work better.

I had read that the belt loops were on the long side, so I made the sash before attaching them, and cut them to suit the width of the sash.

Plenty of room for spinning and moving!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Louise to the rescue!

Not long after my recent post about wanting the out of print O+S Jump Rope Dress pattern for Helen's school photo dress, I bumped into Louise, who last year lent me some patterns to use in the EB kids' clothing swap. It turns out that she owns a copy of the JRD pattern in the size range I need and was happy to lend it to me. Thank you Louise!
I have started on a tester dress already; the fabric isn't Helen's favourite and I'll make another if I get time (ha!), but being soft, light cotton it should still get some good use over summer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Some progresss on the newborn stash

While there is still quite a bit to do, I am pleased to have these fifteen newborn fitteds completed. (There are also some other newborn nappies lurking in my sewing desk and in storage, but only a few).

I had/have plans to make mostly snail shell nappies, but found myself paralysed with indecision about the details, so decided to make some little fitteds, something I'm more familiar with. It means there is a good chunk of the stash completed, even if they're not exactly what I originally had in mind.

The ladybird fabric is from a flannelette sheet set that I bought on sale at Target. I used Target flannelette sheets for some of Heather's stash too, and they held up really well, so I hope this new set proves reasonably durable too.

Some of these are a bit wonky, but they should all work for the first little while. All the nappies have two body layers of flannelette and a layer of bamboo fleece in the bum zone, (as newborns, H & H's nappies got very wet at the rear because they spent a lot of time on their backs). There are two lay-in inserts/soakers per nappy, each has two layers of bamboo fleece and one layer of flannelette.

Seven DDNB (red/smaller pattern). I overlocked the first few but it was hard to do curves neatly with the flannelette, so the rest are turned and topstitched.
Opened up, showing the gusset with inserts in place. the gusset is a strip of microfleece sewn around the insert area, with fold over elastic sewn on the free edge. While the FOE is fast to apply, I found it difficult to get the amount of stretch correct. Most of them are too loose (I hope they tighten up with washing - I didn't pre-shrink the FOE). Sewing a casing is more fiddly but more adjustable.
Opened up, showing the two inserts to the side. You can see I've sewn some satin stitching with purple thread - this is to help match up inserts and nappies, since the inserts from different patterns I used look very similar at first glance.

Eight La Di Da. These are bit neater, being sewn after I ironed out the kinks with the DDNB above.
Opened up with inserts tucked in. Rather than a full gusset, I just did a small one under the back edge, to catch those poos that shoot up the back.

Close up of gusset and green colour-coding satin stitching.
Opened up with the inserts to the side.
Cute tags, from a co-op on Diaper Sewing Divas. Possibly overkill for newborn nappies that might be outgrown very quickly, but I think they give a nice finish to the nappies. I already had the size tags.

You can see I chose to use hook and loop rather than snap closures. The intention is to make the nappies easier to use (bleary-eyed night time changes, anyone?) and more intuitive for others, who may not be used to cloth (e.g. midwives, relatives). I hope it works, because the hook tape is a pain to sew!

It's a gamble making smaller newborn nappies (LDD runs smallish), but this baby will be born about three weeks earlier than the last two, so there's a reasonable chance they'll fit her for a few weeks. The next batch, though, will be smalls that adjust down to newborn size, which will definitely fit for longer.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Another project...

I just realised today that school photos will probably be in September, right when I'll be having/busy with a newborn. I would love to make Helen a new dress like I did last year, but I would need to start pretty soon and have it finished well ahead of time. Not sure whether to attempt it or not! I love the look of the Oliver & S jump rope pattern, but it is out of print. I could borrow or buy second hand, or pick something else from my Ottobre collection.

In the time since my last post I haven't done a great deal of sewing. There is a batch of seven flannelette DDNB fitteds (red/smaller pattern) completed, and I'm about half way through eight LaDiDa newborn fitteds, also flannelette. I don't know whether to expect a small, average or large newborn, since she will be born around 39 weeks - much earlier than my last two. If she's large then these fitteds won't last long, but will be nice to have while they fit.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sewing desk cover

My sewing desk is in a nook near our front door. The entry area and adjacent stairs are tiled, the walls are rendered brick and there is little in the way of soft furnishings, which means there's not much to absorb machine noise. To reduce noise, I have been using a towel under my machines, but it's annoying, catches lint/thread etc and is ugly.

(The rest of the area doesn't look too hot either)

So for a while now I've been wanting to make a padded cover for the desktop. Yesterday I decided that I was unlikely to actually make the cover if it required buying the padding/quilted fabric, ordering nice quilting fabric for the top, preparing it, etc.. So I pulled out some calico I had lurking in a box, cut it to size, overlocked the edge, sewed a casing around the edge and threaded through some thin elastic. Done.

Since it's just a single layer of calico I still needed to put a towel underneath, but it's functional and even though it's plain it does look neater.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I'm itching to get sewing for the baby. I think a stash of AI2 snail shell nappies would be a great start. To make them last longer, I'm considering making the size adjustable from newborn to small - hopefully then bub will be able to wear them for a few months rather than a few weeks. This would mean getting some button hole elastic, which I think I'd prefer for leg fit (vs. traditional snap-down rise).

I'm a bit nervous about the snail shells possibly not working, so my plan is to make them in such a way that they'll be easily converted to fitteds if required.

Last night I went ahead and ordered supplies for making snail shell nappies:
11m hook tape
50m loop tape
22m FOE
200 sets size 14 snaps.
Can't wait for the stuff to arrive!

Also, another Aussie member on Diaper Sewing Divas is very kindly sending me some FOE to try. Check out her website!