Friday, July 31, 2009

Working on the diaper stash

Since the baby just won't stop growing, I'm spending a lot of time on diaper sewing at the moment. With a little luck, these will last through potty training. Hopefully.

I'm moving over to using all in two diapers (AI2s) because they are way easier to get on a wriggly baby than most other things. I use snaps because they don't get all tangly in the wash like hook and loop tape will. I always use two rows of snaps because that lets you adjust the fit of the waist and the thigh seperately.

The insides use snap-in soakers. This makes them dry faster than an all-in-one diapers, where the absorbent part is inside the diaper.

The soakers are actually split in two as well, again to improve dry time. Because they contain six layers of flannel and 3 layers of zorb, if they were all one they'd take forever to dry.

So here you can see them laid out. These will dry nice and fast! And so far they've been absolutely bulletproof, no leaks at all. Plus if I find I need more absorbency, I can make bigger soakers but use the same shells.

The baby doesn't need to be changed so often anymore, so 15 or so of these should be plenty. Got a few more to go. They are going to look so pretty when they're all done!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sleep masks

I think have a pattern! This test run turned out well, although I didn't pad it because I'm still working out what I want to put inside. Probably a layer of fleece, I'm thinking. And the round elastic is a royally huge pain in the ass to sew. But I think I'm getting close to a successful finished product on this one!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tutorial: Piecing PUL

I am not very good at planning, especially when it comes to fabric layouts. I tend to try and think through the best, most economical layouts, then say to hell with it, and just start cutting.

This leads to a lot of waste. And especially with something like PUL, I hate to have all these large but not quite large enough fabric scraps going to waste. So sometimes I piece the PUL together to get a piece larger enough to make a diaper. Here's how I do it.

Stuff you need.

Your pattern, a ruler, a washable marker (I'm using black so it will show up in the pictures; normally I'd go with something closer to the colour of the fabric), and your PUL.

This particular piece of PUL is wide enough for a newborn or small diaper, but not wide enough for what I need, which is a large diaper.

I start by laying the pattern on the fabric. In this case I am going to piece the wings, so I'm placing it as close to the edge as I can while still leaving a seam allowance (you can see I forgot the seam allowance and started to trace, then changed my mind and moved the piece over a half an inch or so).

Here I am using the ruler to figure out where to cut off the wings on this side - I don't actually need to piece this wing, but I like the final result to be symmetrical. Normally I am working with fabric pieces that are a lot narrower than this one, too. I place the ruler about a half inch out from the edge of the narrower part of the diaper and mark this line both on the pattern piece and on the fabric.

Here is the traced pattern piece. I've marked both the seamline and added a half inch seam allowance, as well as transferring all pattern markings (snap and elastic placement).

The pattern piece cut out, with bonus small child elbow.

Here you can see the PUL piece laid over the pattern, with the seamline marked on both.

Another shot showing the seamline on the other side. Now that I have these marked on the pattern piece I can get out more scrap pieces and trace out more diapers whenever I need to. I like to label it 'seam' so that I'm perfectly clear that that's the actual seam, not the seam allowance.

OK, set aside that piece of PUL. Now we need to cut out the wings.

Lay the pattern piece onto a scrap of PUL and trace around the wing, marking the seamline and anything else important, like the elastic placement mark.

Use the ruler to draw on the seamline. Remember, this is the seamline, so when you cut the piece out make sure to leave a seam allowance.

Repeat for the other side - make sure to use the other side of the pattern! Ask me how often I wind up with two identical pieces for the right wing and no piece at all for the left wing. Let's just say it happens a lot.

Next I like to lay the pieces out to make sure everything is right. Looks good!

Put the PUL right sides (dull sides) together, matching up the seam lines, and sew using polyester thread. Now, my machine HATES sewing shiny PUL, so I actually have to add a layer of tissue paper on top of this so it'll feed through the machine. A walking foot or a teflon foot are supposed to be helpful, but I don't have either of those. So tissue paper it is! Sometimes a coffee filter if I can't find tissue paper. Hey, whatever works.

Sew both wings in place, then check your work.

I have had bad experiences ironing PUL in the past, so a lot of the time I don't bother. Or I'll put the iron on the lowest setting and only iron on the dull side, never on the laminated shiney side. Although that doesn't seem to actually flatten out the seam at all. So mostly I just skip ironing. I only make pieced diapers for my own baby, and she doesn't seem to mind the lack of ironing. Although who knows, perhaps her first words will be 'yo, mom, you too damn lazy to iron? what's up with that?'.

I mean, it's either going to be that or 'cat', I suspect.


The final piece, ready to be turned into a diaper:

Now, I have terrible luck with PUL leaking at seams, although theoretically a run through a hot dryer should seal the holes. So I like to add a sort of facing to the back of the piece to cover up the seams and keep moisture from getting anywhere near them. This is what I mean:

Basically I cut out another piece of PUL so that it will cover the seams and baste it into place (shiny side facing up), then make the diaper. The PUL used for this bit doesn't even have to match, since it'll be hidden inside the diaper. Other people online claim they never have leak problems with seamed PUL, so this is optional. I have lots of scrap PUL to use up, so it works for me!

I haven't actually put together the diaper yet, but I'll add a pic of the finished one when I get to it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

What's going on

The to do list is ever growing:

1) Finish the bib pattern
2) Make sleep masks
3) Make Mei Tai for L
4) Work on patterns for sleep masks and Angela bags
5) Write tutorial for sewing over thick seams, since I finally came up with a solution to that problem that is both free, easy, and works astonishingly well
6) Make doll carrier for K and a bunch for the store. Probably will patternize this one, too, with the CPSIA thing in the States a lot of sellers are closing up shop and there's probably a market for a pattern

Oh, and start getting ready to go back to teaching in the fall! Hahahahahaha! No, I'm not busy at all!

Naturally, the baby has selected RIGHT NOW to outgrow her medium diapers. I can probably keep squeezing her into them for a while longer, but at the moment I mostly have fitteds and covers, and let me tell you, getting essentially two diapers fastened on a baby who is very, very determined to crawl off the edge of the changing table and do a beautiful swan dive onto the floor is just SUPER fun. And if I change her on the floor she wriggles away and goes after specks of dust and electrical cords and basically anything she can spot that isn't baby safe. So I need more all-in-one diapers to make the changing thing go faster.

A while ago I bought a bunch of PUL (used on the outside of AIOs so they will be waterproof), and kind of miscalculated exactly how much PUL we were talking about.

So I wound up with I believe the technical term would be 'a metric buttload' of PUL:

Pretty pastels.

BRIGHTS. and I can't find the BRIGHT orange one, which can probably be seen from space. Which makes it especially puzzling that I managed to misplace it. Judging by the orange glow coming out of the basement, it's down there somewhere.

So if I make one AIO from each colour I'll have plenty to do wash every other day or even every third day, depending (especially since I do have a few I already made in plain white PUL). And then I'll have the metric buttload left over that I'll need to figure out what the hell to do with it. Sell it off in diaper cuts, probably. Anyone in Milton need PUL? Or need some diapers made out of PUL? I might make up some diapers to sell, but I find the amount of time a diaper takes me to sew doesn't really work with the price I'd be able to charge, so it's largely not worth it unless I'm doing a custom order for someone local.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

now if only we could get some sun...

We've had plenty of rain, so things are growing nicely! But without sun, the tomatoes just aren't ripening. And there's a ton of them hidden inside the tomato jungle, all still tantalizingly green.

So many Sweet 100s. I am drooling with anticipation!

Some lovely little heirloom tomatoes. I can't remember if these ones will stay green or turn red or orange or what. The only thing I know for sure is that they aren't ripe yet!

The yellow zucchini is setting fruit:

Cauliflower! It's about ready to harvest, I think we might have it with cheese sauce for dinner tomorrow.

Now, where is that sun?

Angela and Angela: Funkified!

Excuse the lack of posting, I'm in one of those moods lately where I flit from project to project and never manage to actually finish anything. Well, except for these.

Another Angela bag, by request.

Yep, that's an Angela bag, made with, what else, but IKEA fabric. Of course.

Because it's not much more work to make two, I made a second one - this one with the print on the outside of the flap, because not everyone wants a plain black bag.

But where this particular version of Angela gets really down and funky is here:

It's completely reversible! Other than the slider on the strap. If I'd thought it through I would have used a slider on each side. Next one.

HELLO! This way the pockets are all hidden behind the flap on the outside of the bag, but I think it works. I didn't do a zippered pocket on this one because I didn't feel up to struggling with another zipper (I HATE zippers). Got ideas for a few more of these bags.

Now, to wrap up some of the other 50,000 projects I have on the go - and resist the urge to start another project!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

If you were my camera...

...where would you be?


Edit: The answer is 'in the four year old's purse'. Yeah. Really need to get that kid her own camera!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Works In Progress

Bunch of stuff on the go right now. On the right is an almost complete bag, it just needs a strap added. Black outside, funky print inside. I'm very pleased with it. In the middle is the flap for a similar bag; I have to construct the interior. And to the left is a pile of funky fabric also being turned into a bag.

A better look at this nifty IKEA fabric:

The piece on the top will be the front flap of the bag. not to everyone's taste, I'm sure, but somewhere out there I'm sure someone will love it!

I'm working on taking my bristol board pattern pieces for that style of bag and converting them into a PDF file. This serves two purposes: I can print more copies for myself whenever I need to, and I can eventually turn it into a pattern for sale.

This is attempt number 1:

Laid out nicely:

Taped together and ready for testing.

Comparing these to the originals, I didn't get the sizes quite right, but I'm close. Flap piece needs to be longer and both pieces need to be wider. So I'll tweak the vector graphic orginal, convert to a PDF, and reprint. Once the sizes look right, I'll make a quick test bag, exterior only, out of muslin to make sure it's correct. Then it's on to creating the rest of the patern pieces (for things like the interior cell phone pocket and pen pocket) and making a complete bag from scratch so I can photograph all the steps. Finally, write the actual pattern and get a tester or two to sew it up. And then, after all that, PROFIT!

Pattern writing something of this scale is going to take a while. My previous patterns have been much simpler! And there's that damn baby bib pattern I still need to complete, too. Augh.

Other stuff on the go includes sewing a Mei Tai for a friend (I need to figure out what I did with my Fabricland discount card so I can buy the strap fabric!), making up some more doll diapers and doll Mei Tais, maybe doing a pattern for the doll Mei Tais, and some sleep masks a friend has requested. Oh, and spending some time with my family. Should probably work that in there somewhere too.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Doll diapers and bibs

Easing back into the sewing, I made these up. Simple and fast. They are available in the store.

Going to be working on a couple of bags for the next day or two - I have a custom order for another Angela bag, and I've found making two bags isn't that much more work than making one, so I'm doing a second one for the store at the same time. It'll be pretty funky, I can't wait to get started!

Yes more vegetables.

Blah blah blah garden blah blah blah stuff growing blah blah blah. Hey, I find it fascinating!

Purple basil. This stuff smells incredible. I'm also growing some of the more usual basil; hopefully by the end of summer I'll have enough to make some pesto for the freezer.

Yes, MORE zucchini! And two of the plants haven't even set fruit yet. It's crazy how fast these grow - Friday these two were maybe the length of my hand and skinny, and in 48 hours they'd doubled in length and thickness. One we ate for lunch yesterday, the other is sitting on the counter awaiting its fate.

So many little green tomatoes. RIPEN, DAMN IT.

Cucumber! I've got one to pick today, I think, and plenty more coming. The first one we picked was consumed on the spot, in its entirety, by the four year old. Apparently the secret to getting kids to eat vegetables is to grow your own. She even tried the zucchini yesterday! And she's very fond of nibbling on the lettuce.

Cauliflower! I have four of these. We'll see if the kiddo is willing to try them once they are ready for harvest.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I will sew again, I promise

A while ago someone asked how I have the time for the sewing, what with a preschooler and a baby and all.

Part of it is that the baby is pretty easy - sleeps well, eats well, not fussy, and so forth. And the four year old is relatively independent.

But the real secret is that I'll go weeks at a time without sleeping that much, five or six hours a night. So after the kids go to bed I'll spend a few hours sewing. But once a month or so it catches up to me and I find myself crashed out at 8 pm for a day or two days or three days, and the last couple of days have been like that. So, no sewing, which is a bit of a problem since I have a couple of custom orders I need to get started on! Today, the fabric store to pick up some materials. Tonight, SEWING!

Anyway, in the absence of crafty stuff, isn't my zucchini pretty? We picked that out of the garden yesterday, cut it into spears, coated it in olive oil and garlic, stuck it under the broiler for 5 minutes and then sprinkled it with parmesan. YUM.

And there's plenty more where that came. We are going to be SO sick of zucchini in a few weeks, I have a feeling...