Thursday, February 28, 2013

Cozy Baby Hats

Today's baby boy project is a simple and fast one! I couldn't believe how quickly I was able to sew these cozy baby hats up. I used this  tutorial and free pattern from Zaaberry. Her instructions indicate to use a serger, but you don't have to use one. I don't have a serger so I just used my regular sewing machine and a small zigzag stitch.
The pattern uses hardly any fabric, so this project would be perfect for using up any knit scraps you may have been saving. The yellow and white striped fabric is a rayon blend jersey knit (sooo soft!)
This jade and ivory french terry knit you may recognize from lbg studio's polka dots and stripes project run and play outfit  I may have bought a yard of it immediately after seeing lgb's look so I could recreate my own!
 Because I have been talking about details, let's talk about the knot on the top of this hat! Isn't it adorable? My favorite.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fabric for Boys

On Monday I said one of the keys I try to keep in mind for boy sewing is choosing the right fabric.
Where do you shop for fabric?
I don't have too many local fabric store options. I like to shop for fabric at JoAnn's and Hobby Lobby. They don't offer much in selection, but I can SEE and TOUCH the fabric before I buy it. Plus they always have sales and 40% off coupons. The designer prints I usually buy online from,, and etsy. Often times has  promo codes to get an extra 20% off and free shipping for purchases over $35.  The downside is you can't tell exactly what color the fabric is until it arrives on your doorstep, and if you are buying something you aren't familiar with like "onion skin knit" you could be sadly disappointed to learn that onion skin knit is thin, has a rough texture, and VERY sheer.
photo from hawthorne threads
How do I find the good stuff?
I enjoy following the fabric trends by subscribing to hawthorne threads' newsletter (I'm sure other fabric shops do the same thing). They send me an email every week featuring new fabric lines that are out (to convince you to buy them of course- I'm sure my hubby wishes I didn't subscribe to fabric advertisements).  I also like to do a general search- using terms for pattern styles such as "herringbone" "stripes" "chevron" "hexagon" "faux bois""geo" or animals like "owl" "fox" "woodland" "giraffe" etc.
photo from hawthorne threads
Types of Fabric?
You can use more than just quilter's 100% cotton. For boy projects you can try other fabrics like corduroy, wool and wool blends, flannel, fleece, suiting, and linen. These have great texture that can add that "cuteness factor" to an outfit. In my opinion texture is to boys' clothing, as ruffles is to girls' clothing.

I am not the first person to talk about boy fabrics, read more about choosing boy fabrics from Dana, Rae, and Kate

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Baby boy pants: It's all about the details

Yesterday I said the two things to keep in mind when sewing for boys are fabric and details. So let me tell you a little about those two in this project.

These are little newborn-sized pants made from Rae's free Basic Newborn Pants Pattern (it's a great pattern with really clear instructions, and best of all they sew up REALLY fast!)

For the black and white checked pants fabric I used a wool blend (50% wool, 50% polyester) from that was on clearance for $4 a yard- I ordered half a yard. The half yard was enough to make this pair of newborn sized pants and another pair in size 6 months (more details on those pants coming later). Add another 20 cents for the elastic and the pants cost $1.20 in materials. nice!

The fabric for the brown corduroy pants was re-purposed from a pair of my own pants. They were my "fat pants" that I stored with my maternity clothes that I wore in my pre-maternity pants stage and post-baby stage. When I pulled out my maternity clothes this round of pregancy and tried on these pants I felt funny in them because they were a wide legged-pant and I wear mostly skinny jeans. I knew I wouldn't wear them. So into the re-purposing pile they went. I love corduroy for boys pants because it can go casual or dressy. 

Now the truth is, I sewed up the pants all plain and boring, and I was disappointed.  They needed something more. Then I was looking at a pair of pants I had recently bought from target, and I noticed that those pockets were NOT pockets, they were JUST STITCHING. brilliant!
Lesson learned: to make my pants really cute (boy cute) I needed little details like:

As you can see, I added some real pockets onto the corduroy pants, and I love them! I used the pocket shape from Running With Scissor's free pants pattern. (I could have just drawn out a simple pocket shape, but I already had the pattern printed and cut out so why not save time and use what I already had?) Her pants are size 18 month, so you can make the pocket smaller if you want, but I thought it worked great for these newborn pants without any alterations.
Now I have two pairs of adorable baby pants ready to wear to a trip to the park or to church paired with a Bow-tie onesie!

I am sharing this with the Celebrate the Boy Flickr Group check it out for more amazing boy projects.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Celebrate the Boy 2013

When I found out I was having a boy I was shocked because I was sure I was having a girl. When I went home and started processing the idea of having a boy, I realized I wasn't going to get to do the crafting I had already started planning! I was planning a big online order of fold over elastic and stretch lace to make hair bows galore. Then I was going to make some ruffle diaper covers, and about a million other frilly, ruffly, flowered-covered things. Girl sewing is so much fun, and I already know girl sewing- actually, it's the only sewing I know. 

The time has come to learn boy sewing. I started by creating a boy sewing pinterest board then I went over to Dana and Rae's Celebrate the Boy archives. Seriously, it's amazing! and full of inspiration, ideas, and tutorials. So when I heard that Dana and Rae were celebrating the boy for the next two weeks, I thought what better time to debut myself as a boy sewist?

In the next two weeks I am going to celebrate the BOY with Dana and Rae (and the rest of blog land), sharing all my boy projects I am sewing up for my new arrival.

I'm definitely a big-time beginner boy sewist, but so far I have learned a couple key things to keep in mind when sewing for boys.

First: it's all about the fabric
Second: details, details, details

I hope to explore those two keys during my upcoming posts.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Baby Sewing: Giraffe Minky Blanket

I bought this adorable giraffe print when I thought I was having a girl. Good thing it's a pretty gender neutral print. I bought some yellow minky for the back along with some blue poly-satin for the binding and turned it into an adorable baby blanket. 
The binding is a little weird, I know, thick on one side thin on the other. I was experimenting. I sort of wish I had kept it simple and followed this tutorial for making a minky blanket from the Crafting Chicks. But I like it, and I know little baby will love this soft cuddly blanket to snuggle with.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Baby Gift: Diaper Strap and Crochet Baby Hats

Whenever I am invited to a baby shower I like to give handmade gifts. This diaper strap is one of my go-to gifts. This project uses hardly any fabric, can be sewn in just a few minutes, and is incredibly useful (well, I think it's useful).
Whenever I gift it, I am sure to strap it to a pack of travel wipes and a few diapers so the mom can see how it is supposed to be used. The brilliant design is by Calico, and her tutorial is available on her blog here
This gift was for a set a twin girls so I crocheted these two little hats. I am in love with this pattern. This is the  "Soild Shells Earflap Hat" by Posh Patterns. The pattern is one of my favorites and I crocheted myself a pink one when I found out I was pregnant. I was soooo sure I was going to have another girl. I will just have to gift it to someone else.
I added the hats and diaper strap all on top of a big box of Diapers and wrapped it all up. I gave diapers because this was a diaper shower (the mom already has two girls so she has plenty of clothes and things) but I couldn't just give diapers and wipes! so boring. I was very happy when the mom delightedly said at the shower "I didn't realize I was going to get fun stuff too!" (I wasn't the only person who disregarded the 'only diapers' rule). Lesson learned: when going to a diaper shower always throw in a fun gift too!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Baby Swaddle Blankets with Crochet Edging

I am a big fan of swaddling babies. My first baby LOVED to be swaddled. The problem is having the right blanket. I live in Texas so they need to be light-weight. I know a lot of people love Aden + Anais Blankets but I prefer a cheaper option. Made has a tutorial for making blankets from gauze fabric, but personally I don't like gauze. I think it has a coarse, scratchy texture. My favorite blankets to use for swaddling are simply made from a single layer of flannel. 
 I bought this flannel fabric from Jo-Ann's a few weeks ago when the flannel was on sale 60% off

To make one yourself all you need is 1 and 1/4 yard of flannel. Then trim the selvages and finish the edges. There are several options for finishing the edges. If you are lucky enough to own a serger, you can simply serge the edges (very quick too!) or if you're like me and don't have that option you can simply fold over the edges and sew along the edges. (Dana's gauze blanket tutorial shows how to do that)

But if you want a fancier finish and know how to crochet, this tutorial is for you.

You will need
  • 1 and 1/4 yard of flannel fabric (about a 45" x 45" square)
  • Crochet thread. You can find this at most craft stores that sell yarn. I have had the best luck finding the most colors at Hobby Lobby.
  • A teeny tiny crochet hook. I used a size 7 (1.65mm) hook.
There are two options for getting holes into your fabric. The first is to use your crochet hook to poke a hole through. Those tiny crochet hooks are sharp enough to do this and flannel has a generally loose weave that it is easy enough. You simply poke holes as you single crochet along the fabric eye-balling the distance.
The second way is to use a big sharp needle with a large enough eye to run the crochet thread through (like a tapestry needle or doll needle) and blanket stitch around the entire blanket. Then you crochet in the blanket stitches.
Row 1: Single crochet around the blanket (either directly in the blanket by poking holes as described above or work 3 single crochets in each blanket stitch, and 5 in the corners). Slip stitch to join.
Row 2: chain 4, skip 2 stitches, single crochet in the next stitch, repeat. Slip stitch to join. Finish off.
Row 1: Single crochet around the blanket (either directly in the blanket by poking holes as described above or work 3 single crochets in each blanket stitch, and 5 in the corners). Slip stitch to join.
Row 2: Half Double Crochet around entire blanket. Slip stitch to join. Finish off.
If you are making a blanket for a baby girl, here is a pattern that is more feminine. I made this pink blanket before I found out I was having a boy. It is now the baby doll's blanket.
Row 1: Single crochet around the blanket (either directly in the blanket by poking holes as described above or work 3 single crochets in each blanket stitch, and 5 in the corners). Slip stitch to join.
Row 2: single crochet, skip 2, 5 double crochet in the same stitch, skip 2 repeat around blanket. Slip stitch to join. Finish off.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Bunting Quilt

 During the month of January I started Project Get Organized. My little family and I are going to be moving in a few months and I wanted to go through our stuff and donate or trash the stuff that wasn't worth moving before my 2nd trimester energy disappeared. (If you were curious, I'm in my third trimester now and the energy is gone, but Project Get Organized was a success!)  When I got to my crafting corner I realized I had a LOT of unfinished projects. So I made a list of projects that I had to finish up before I could start any new baby sewing projects.

First up was this bunting quilt. I saw this Rainbow Bunting Quilt by A Pretty Cool Life on Luvinthemommyhood's Baby Bonanza 2 years ago. I bought a charm pack of adorable vintage style fabric at the International Quilt Festival for the project and the charm pack sat in my fabric trunk for several months.

Then after my successful chevron quilt last summer, I decided to start the bunting quilt. I bought some white muslin, cut out the triangles and a cute little bird silhouette, and ironed wonder-under to all the triangles and bird. Everything was placed in a ziplock bag ready to be assembled, but then the pregnancy nausea began, and the project was tucked away for another several months.
Once I sat down to work on the quilt it came together VERY quickly.
I felt like the quilt needed a little something more, so I added a bird that I cut out on my silhouette.
For the back of the quilt I used "Pinwheels" from Sarah Jane's Children at Play collection. For the binding I used an orange polka dot fabric I bought from JoAnn's on clearance for $1 a yard (how could I pass up buying a yard of it and sticking it in my stash??)
After I quilted the bunting, I thought the quilt needed a little more stitching in between the buntings so I free-handed some clouds. I love how subtle they are (unfortunately I had a really hard time photographing them, and they are hard to see in the picture)

I love this quilt so much! I think I might hang it up on the wall in my daughter's room when we move into our new home.

Hooray for finishing up projects!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Shorts from Winter Wonderings Wanderings & Whatnots

I was so excited this morning to see a note in my inbox from Suzanne from Winter Wanderings Wonderings & Whatnots telling me that she used my Box Pleat Shorts tutorial in her Project Run and Play look for this week's challenge! She of course put her own twist to it adding adorable pockets!

I love the plaid flannel she chose, and they look fabulous with her men's shirt turned toddler tunic (this week's challenge is a men's shirt refashion). Go over to Project Run and Play to vote for her!