Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bibs Again: Bigger than Ever

So the child is growing and the bibs are staying the same size. With the mess level at meals staying pretty much the same (we did Baby-Led Weaning , so we pretty much sit him down and let him have at it~ still), we needed a better solution to the shrinking bibs.

To make bigger bibs, I took View A of the New Conceptions Pattern that I liked so much originally and printed it at 110% and added two inches to the length. I also made the pockets taller and made a couple of them at an angle for no other reason than style~ I think they look a little Art Deco.

I made eight for our rotation this time, and used my snap press for the closure. I made them all using PUL with FOE.

After using them, I think the length could have been kept at 110% of the pattern, or maybe only one inch longer, but maybe they will be better as he keeps getting bigger. I still think the pocket on the bib is essential for keeping the mess slightly contained.
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Pattern Review: Habitual Kimono

What a fabulous kimono pattern and great instructions! Actually, it is all instructions and you have to take the instructions and draft your own pattern from them but it is so well-explained that it is as if there is a pattern there. Really.

I found a few kimono patterns online. The one from Martha Stewart turned out so badly that it's not worth my time to review it-- that's how much I hated it and found it confusing and illogical and badly marked and won't try any of her other sewing tutorials.

This one is from Habitual and can be found here. It is sized from newborn to 8 years old. This is done with a chart and drawing that is very clear. It gives the suggestion to make the pattern out of muslin instead of paper, which is clever (I, of course, opted for paper anyway). If I would cut the pattern again, I would have only drawn and cut half of the back and made a note to place it on the fold, instead of just folding the paper and cutting the cloth on the fold.

When making the kimono, the directions are straightforward and clear. The only one I struggled with was the interior tie on my first pass at the kimono. I didn't realize that this was a two-tie shirt, with one tie visible and the other on the inside. When the directions said to put a piece of the tie on the inside seam allowance, it took me a bit of thinking to figure out that they meant for me to put it in the seam allowance and face the tie inwards.

I made this pattern twice before it occurred to me that my toddler is a bit old for a kimono, and he looks fine in a t-shirt or vest and is okay with things being pulled over his head.

The first one I made using some fleece I don't love (I bought it in the remnant bin and didn't see the whole pattern). I was so scarred from the Martha Stewart kimono experience that I didn't want to waste any good fleece. I made it out of fleece because I was hoping to be able to use it at night if the little guy has a big miss and his shirt is wet and I need to take it off. I thought it would be a good idea to minimize pulling things over his head when he is sleeping. He has since not had a big miss, and it has been too cold to sleep him in anything short-sleeved. I have used it a few times as a vest and it is ok. The fit is nice, but I am not sure if the style is what I am looking for. Also, I thought tying the inner bow was awkward, so I moved it to the other side in my next attempt at the pattern. Also, I used FOE instead of making binding, and the tie is elastic, of course, so it doesn't hold great.

The second time I made this kimono, I made it out of a hard cotton weave with terry on the inside. I actually made the binding for this one, and also used a cotton woven for the binding. I was lazy and did not iron the binding, and it would have been a bit thinner and tidier had I followed that direction. I changed the side of the tie on this one, and it is better. I thought it would made a fun bathrobe and may use it after swim class in the winter between class and the locker room, or after bath. The problem with using it after bath is that you need to change the baby twice instead of just once (and who wants to do that with an active toddler??). I had considered making it reversible, and hiding the inner seams, but decided against that because I think you'd always want the terry against the skin if you were using this one. I also modified the pattern to make it long-sleeved. On the arms, I cut the terry pieces an inch longer than the cotton pieces so they could be seen when hemmed.

So, in conclusion, the Habitual Kimono Tutorial is a great find. I think it would be more useful with a girl child than a boy child, or in the newborn times when you don't want to put anything over the baby's head. I am happy to have a bathrobe for this winter for swim class, too.
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EC in the time of Renoir

I ran across these paintings from Renoir in the Yahoo! EC Group files.

I love how they are doing just what we do!
...supervising baby touching the kitty gently without pants on...
...nursing while holding baby on a cloth...
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pattern Review: Hobo Bag

I finally found a bag pattern that I really like and feel like I can improve to make the elusive "perfect" bag (for me).

This is the Hobo Bag from jcarolinecreative's online tutorial. It ends up a really nice size and weight, and I learned two things while following her tutorial. The first thing I learned was a clever way to add form to the bottom of a bag. The other was a clever way to install a zipper pocket on the side.

The tone of the tutorial was nice and funny while being easy enough to follow. I wish the first photo of hers would have shown all of the pieces that she cut, because it was a little bit hard to figure out how many of each piece to cut. Had she had the different pieces connect with different markings than all circles the same size, it would have also made it easier. It took me a little bit of figuring to sort out which piece was for the bottom and which was for the side and how many of each to cut (the shorter one is the bottom, and you need one of those and two of the longer ones, which are for the side-- in both the interior and exterior fabric, if you are curious). She could have labeled the pattern pieces with the part, too, to make it easier to follow.

While making this, I was quite impressed with her description of how to enclose closed-cell foam and make it attach to the bottom of the bag. She didn't have a photo, but her explanation was quite clever. I didn't have any of said foam, and used a double-layer of Zorb, and it worked nicely.

I was also really impressed at her step-by-step explanation of a side zipper pocket and like how my first attempt turned out. Next time, I will turn under my cut edges slightly more so that it would hide my initial seams more fully.

Another modification I made was to use a snap instead of a magnetic closure and I think it works okay here (I have lots of snaps and no magnetic closures, plus she says you should use a product to keep it from fraying, and I would like to stay away from making things that will make my items fray in the first place).

I think the strap is really cute, with the rings and the square knot. I didn't have any rings, so I used some plastic d-rings from an old pair of gloves. They made the fabric squish up a bit, since they were quite a bit smaller than the size rings she calls for, but I like upcycling and am happy enough with them. Next time, I am going to cut both exterior side pieces about two inches longer to make it easier to work around rings of some sort, as mine ended up a little closer to the bag than hers did in her pictures, and they seem a bit squished.

I am curious how structurally sound the straps will be, since there are four seams and a knot holding the strap on to the bag. On her cutting directions, I was confused about the straps and initially only cut the longer strap. Perhaps a list of pieces needing to be cut would be helpful. Also, with the strap, I am not sure it is long enough. This may be one of the modifications I will make next time (lengthening the strap).

Also, I skipped the interfacing completely. I was happy that it used less than a yard of the exterior fabric, and the interior is an old sheet. I have been having bad luck with interfacing lately, and thought the weight of the flannel would make up for the lack of interfacing. You can see through the light interior fabric slightly, which would have been avoided had I used interfacing or a darker interior fabric.

I am really excited about this bag. In addition to making the straps a bit longer next time, I may add a pouch pocket on the side opposite to the zipper pocket. But maybe that would make it less simple and detract from the bag overall?
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