To date, I’m at 14. 14 sun hats. All the same Peek-A-Boo pattern I used here. You can get it for yourself. I think making 14 is quite the endorsement. It’s $5. It takes less than 2 hours your first hat….I’m down to about an hour now. Cuz. You know. 14.
I made sooo many, that I couldn’t take an outdoor shot with them all….a tomato branch broke (insert sad face) and one of the clips shot off, hit me square in the nose, before diving the 3+ stories off the back deck.
I’m ok. Thanks for asking.
I did them in batches. Big, quasi-organized batches.
Emphasis on quasi….
I’m organizing…wait…I’m quasi-organizing a post on the construction of these hats. Not a tutorial, but more…..YOU MUST DO THIS and eh, you can mickey-mouse this part post. It is a great pattern though…easy, minimal fuss, and an instant crowd pleaser.
I refer to my mom a lot on here. I know I’m lucky that I have such an amazing mother. She has always been there for me, at my best and at my worst and every point in between. My mom will tell me she’s proud of me, just because she feels like saying so and she always says, “I love you more.” All children who have become parents themselves know you can’t argue with that one. And, when things are bad, my mom doesn’t sugar coat things for me; she’s the first one to tell me to pull myself up by my bootstraps, but she’ll do it while hugging me and handing me a hot cup of coffee.
One of my favorite things, though? I can always go home. And by I, I mean my entire family can always go out to Boring, Oregon and just…be. There will be beds, food, hugs, and hot coffee.
I wanted to share a few photos of what that’s like. This isn’t the house I grew up in. This house is about 3/4 mile from the house I grew up in and it’s much larger, but it feels the same. It still feels like home…if maybe just slightly more Bed and Breakfast now too!
There’s a million ways to skin a….I love cats….um, a million ways to pet a cat! Whatever. This is my way to take care of weaving in that serger thread tail.
I shot these myself in the middle of making the remnant baby dress, so bear with me and my single-handed-camera-focusing and neutral color thread.
OK, for *me,* I weave in the end of the serger tail if I’m not going to sew back over it. So…if it’s getting sewing back over in a hem, or will be in another seam, there’s no reason to go through this….just sew it up again, and cut the tail after it’s tacked down by whatever stitching is going over it.
I will go so far as to rethink how I’m sewing something together so that I can have as few tails as possible.
BUT there will be tails, so I keep a darning needle in my main pin cushion. A darning needle is short, has a large eye and a VERY dull tip – it doesn’t even poke into my pin cushion..I have to slide it under a seam because the tip is so rounded and dull!
Why a darning needle? Well, I’m going to weave the tail into the seam, NOT the fabric. I do not want to puncture the fabric or snag the seam….and I’ll be working in a small area so I don’t want a long needle. The large eye is necessary to get all 4 threads through as such:
Step 1: Wrap your threads tightly around the tapered end of the needle. This is just like threading embroidery floss if you’ve done that.
Step 2: Wrap it tightly, but keep it flexible enough to slide if off and get a flat loop.
Step 3: Roll the eye of the needle over your finger towards the flat threads so they slip through the eye of the needle. Rolling ever so slightly is easier than trying to smash through what is now 8 threads…this photo is taking slightly after that and I pulled them through a bit to get a photo as I have yet to sprout a 3rd hand. I’m working on that.
Step 4: Pull your threads through so that you’re working with a single layer…trim off any excess more than 4 inches or so, or single stragglers.
Step 5: weave under back through your stitching … if near an exposed area like this, at the top of a dress, or even more important, if at the cuff where it gets rubbed a lot, go in at least an inch if you can to be safe.
Step 6: I now will wrap it back on itself and thread it back through to form a flat, small knot. Again, this is especially important on cuffs and places that rub. I’ve had threads pop back out with just weaving, so this is my way. Your mileage may vary.
Ok, that’s what *I* do. I find it durable and, frankly, we’re hard on clothes in this house and I need things to be durable!
Zoe needed a sunhat (can that be one word?) for summer and I really didn’t want to do the Target thing. I love Target, they have cute stuff, but they already get enough of my money and this is something I can do, dang it!
However, after the bonnet fiasco, I wasn’t feeling super confident. It’s one of those things where I wondered if it was me screwing up the pattern or maybe it wasn’t such a hot pattern, so I didn’t take photos of making this sun bonnet in fear that it was the pattern. Well, I don’t know about the bonnet, but the Peek-A-Boo Sun Hat pattern is freakin’ awesome. Like, put this together in NO TIME. I will make more and show you the magic. Until then, have some cute.
After the super involved baby layette series, I needed something quick and easy to change the pace.
Enter another contestant from The Remnant Bin.
That’s right. That little number that looks like a summer wedding cake is all of $1.50 and took more time to photograph than it took to make.
This time of year, people are getting by-the-yard material that is pre-smocked with elastic thread to make quick dresses out of….at about $12 a yard. I found a 1/3 yard in the remnant bin in a length that would be appropriate for a 5 year old – but that certainly isn’t enough fabric to wrap around a 5 year old…but it was perfect for a 15 month old!
To cut the gathered fabric that isn’t exactly going to lay flat for scissors or a rotary, I snipped it at the length I wanted to cut off, and pulled the fabric so that it ripped along the length. Then I serged the bottom skirt, and split the removed strip into a ruffle size a strap size. In other words, I cut about 6 inches off the bottom, split that into a 4 inch ruffle and 2 inches to be folded into straps.
So far, all of this has been simple straight-line sewing. When sewing the ruffle to the top, just under the last line of smocking, I pulled the smocking tight and straight so that it would ruffle back up and keep its stretch.
Simple 1/4 inch serging and 1/4 inch turns for hems and serged it up the back – this will hold down the ruffle enough without having to top-stitch it down.
Robert had me stop and giggle…..
Baby was napping while I made this, so I pulled out a dress in a similar length to guess about where the straps should go and their length.
So, check those remnant bins! Rethink how things are supposed to be used. People are doing it all the time…Aesthetic Nest has a quilted skirt made out of ironing board fabric and Becky at Adafruit is making wearable LED clothing like this skirt and omg, this FLORA Angler Fish embroidery I’m geeking out over. I figure if they can do that, I can rethink something simple like pre-smocked fabric!
To top it all off (sorry), baby Vivian needs a bonnet. I mean, it’s Texas, there’s this thing I’ve heard of, called The Sun and it shows up there more than a couple months a year, so she needs a bonnet!
The mom’s request that started this off was actually a hat to wear home…I thought it shouldn’t be a knit – that’s possibly too warm for middle of summer in Texas. And it can’t be a sun hat – it’s hard enough to fit a tiny new baby in a carseat and in your arms without a hat with a full brim…so, bonnet it had to be.
But to find a bonnet that wasn’t Holly Hobby Hell took some doing. I bought 3 patterns, and it came down to actually making the Storybook Woods pattern from PDX local Alicia Paulson or the pattern that won out, Peak-A-Boo Reversible Sun Bonnet pattern:
It’s perfect – modern, simple, clean with a not-too-large brim.
Now, remember when I said I couldn’t possibly ask Alma to hold that baby in longer? Well, I don’t know it was that, or just plain me being sloppy, but the final product I churned out just isn’t up to my standards.
I had a problem getting the brim length the same 3/4 circumference as the back…and when I sewed it all together….I somehow did this…
Yeah. I don’t know. So, I ripped it apart, thinking I’ll just top stitch it closed since I can do that and I chose to top stitch the brim…and found I somehow did this…
Yeah. <Insert enough swearing to make a sailor blush.>
So…I’m thinking at this point that I just need to get this thing done because I don’t have time to make a whole new one. I had some more of the pink heart fabric already made into bias tape from the blanket, so thought I’d just edge the whole thing.
Not my best work. Somewhere in that whole-bias-tape-fix, the elastic in the back must have come undone or something, but it’s not there anymore…
But it sure looks cute on a geranium!
I fubared putting the ribbon in the seams, so it had to be stitched on top. Eh.
So, like I said, it’s not quite up to my standards, but it will have to do.
I can’t wait until my tomato plants get bigger…..then I can really hide a lot of sewn objects in there…
I have 4 kids and a really great group of friends with families too. My unscientific study shows that most parents, especially those of newborns, would like to very much avoid putting garments over-the-head….at least until about 3 months of age. You really want the kimono-wrap style as often as you can get it.
Now, finding the right wrap-style pattern which I found infuriating. I know I’ve had Tea and Zutano baby clothes over the years that were exactly what I was envisioning but the only place I could find the exact styles I wanted were in Ottobre and since I didn’t have the back issue from 3/2011 I wanted, I decided to tell Alma to just hold the baby in for longer so I can get the issue shipped to me.
Can you imagine telling a pregnant Texan to hold a baby in longer? In summer?? HAHAHAHA, that cracks me up.
Anywho, Ottobre is so awesome. I got it just in time – here’s the awesomeness:
It’s perfect. Separate snap crotch is essential, no actual real ties because when they’re screaming and you’re trying to get them dressed, crying over cute little ribbon bow ties is HELL. This is snaps all around, a cute wrap skirt so that in the heat of summer, little baby Vivian can just wear this and look completely dressed. Yes. Perfect.
Ottobre patterns are the bazillion color-coded-on-one piece-of-paper kind that include detailed tailor mark, so you have to trace them thoroughly. This little section is the instructions, so you really rely a LOT on those trace marks:
While this pattern isn’t complicated, you do need to know basic garment construction to feel at ease with Ottobre.
I emphasize transferring the pattern markings again; you will rely on those the most.
And you have to add seam allowance anywhere that is being joined, but not having binding…I marked that on the pattern as I traced the paper, then when I cut the pattern, I used a guide to help me. I’m a die-hard rotary cutter user…
I read the instructions a few times, and then even at some point just put them together on my own. Yes, them.
I made one for Vivian
and one for Zoe.
Zoe measured out to the 80cm size, and I made the 86cm size, thinking ‘room to grow’ which I certainly got. I made the 56cm size for Vivian…it seems a bit big. My babies have all been over 22 inches long at birth, which is 56cm, but I’m 5’9″ and tend to make big 8-9 pound babies; Alma may not necessarily do the same. We shall see.
I used simple snaps for the crotch area – pearl snaps in the crotch seemed a bit chunky.
Here’s Zoe in action, ‘gardening’ in her kimono-wrap, skirted onesie:
We need to re-pot the oregano mom…
The bottom definitely got saggy as she played in the water more. In addition to being a bit big, the thicker, soft knit weighed down as it got wet.
You can see here how soft and thick the knit is in baby hands…even though it’s from Joann’s and I’m really, really not liking Joann’s right now, it turned out great.
Baby elbow dimple!!!
Overall, it’s a win. I’m very happy with the Ottobre subscription and patterns. They’re worth every cent.
The customer seems satisfied…
This was also my first use of a double needle for top-stitching the knit binding. OMG. I am in love. I had to use the 4mm needle; the smaller one did not jive with Ms. Viking, but it is a dream. If you haven’t used one, it does those two parallel top stitches you see at the same time while it hits the bobbin underneath and creates a zig-zag on the bottom. So nice. I’m a convert. It will stay my overlock wanting for awhile.
So, as info, between using the serger on the seams, and the double needle on the binding, they came together pretty quickly. I hand-basted the gathers for the skirt and sleeves – it was just faster than swapping out the double needle for such tiny amounts of basting stitch. I did two in a few days – that included tracing the two patterns for the first time. I imagine future Zoe outfits will be much faster.
You can go online to the Ottobre site, and there’s a page of each issue that shows the patterns and sizes included. You can buy just one if you want, or do a full one year subscription. They also have an Etsy site for one-off purchases, fabric and a few freebies for print. I highly recommend. My friend Rena did the Ottobre free underwear pattern (PDF dropbox link here) and it turned out adorable.
In the middle of this Baby Layette Series, I thought it best to give a more thorough run down on why I whine so much about making chenille blankets.
First, they are SO comfy and wonderful and beautiful. About a month later, the pain is almost forgettable. haha. Really, they’re so lovely and I would LOVE a king sized version for my own bed but…
They are TEDIOUS and full of disasters waiting to happen. They take the effort of quilting as you must quilt down the 5 layers (4 cotton flannel, 1 quilting cotton) together in about 3/4-1 inch intervals. Then you slice them each apart…the only part about quilting that is missing is the piecing, so when I say it’s harder than a jelly roll racer (link to the Jenny Doan YouTube for Jelly Roll Racer), I’m not exaggerating.
The pitfalls deal mostly with the ‘slash’ part of the process.
This seems like a great idea. Like it will work like a rotary cutter.
Lies. It’s all lies.
First of all, it takes special Clover blades. Your little Olfa blades will not fit it. Ka-ching.
Second, it doesn’t work anything like a rotary cutter. The blade doesn’t roll, it smooshes against 4 layers of flannel to cut them like you’d run your scissors along Christmas paper…except if Christmas paper was cardboard. It’s that tough.
Sometimes it will glide smoothly for about 8 inches, then it gets clogged…
Now, it’s one thing to catch this clog and pull it out, and clean the clog, and rotate the blade and reset it and start again….
But when you don’t and it snags the fabric then does this sudden jolt forward and you go careening into stitches…
Now, that ALL said, those can all be fixed. I sewed that slice back up and while it doesn’t make for perfect, even rows, and it makes it a bit thready on the top side, it’s not the end of the world.
I alternated with using scissors to carefully slide the scissor knife edge under the flannel without stabbing through the quilting cotton.
The cutting is about the same in length of time and but is more controlled. However, it is not as ‘ergonomic’ I guess, and repairing a hole on the other side would make me cry. THAT is worse than repairing some flannel in this situation. Luckily, I was paranoid enough I didn’t stab through, but I was scared the entire time. Towards the center I sat in a chair, switched to my 5″ Ginghers with the rounded tip down, and just slowly snipped to the center.
So, in short, I don’t have an answer for which one is the better in the Slash Vs. Slice category. When I forget the pain of doing a chenille blanket and decide to do it again, I’ll probably go for just using the scissors next time….
Ah, the faux chenille baby blanket part of this series. Do you remember a year or two ago, you couldn’t get on the blog-o-sphere without seeing another chenille blanket….and now, nothing. You know why?
Because they’re a pain in the ass.
Seriously. Work and labor-wise…they’re more work than a jelly roll racer quilt….they’re more work than most ‘cheater’ charm pack quilts…but they don’t look like they’re that much work…so, you’re all, “here you go!” and people think you handed them rags sewn together. Sigh.
They’re worth it for someone you love, but if someone random person asked for one, I’d have to say, “sure, for $200.” Yeah. And maybe not even then.
I haven’t seen a circle pattern chenille and I thought it would look really cool. I pulled 4 layers of flannel I had: 2 pastel layers are from the Jennifer gift stash, the pink gift pattern is from my mom, and the floral for on top I had leftover from this past winter.
And, of course, the decorator fabric, or the whole side, matches the layette jumper.
I pinned it all together and started in the center…
I used a walking foot – I really didn’t want to draw the circle out and try to trace it with a free motion quilting foot, mostly because I value my sanity. The walking foot keeps things together for the most part and gives an easy guide measurement to just loosely pace the concentric spiral. I was not going for exact symmetry, more going for pretty and fun.
I did make the mistake of quilting with the flannel side up, which made for some pinching on the fabric side. That is bad. I had to rip it out.
I just ripped out the parts where it pinched, drew where I needed to resew and pushed the fabric out while I sewed so as to not resew a wrinkle.
I flipped the quilt at this point and sewed with the fabric side up. Pinching the fabric a bit or warping a bit overall isn’t a big deal as you will see later…when it gets slashed, it will loosen all back up and look fine.
Here it is all sewn together pre-binding and slashing. As you can see, there’s some warping going on. It’s totally ok.
Then you slash the whole thing in between the quilted lines. I used a combination of scissors and a slash tool, which I will explain more in the next post. The slashing process is tedious and prone to many possible disasters. If you’re using scissors, you risk puncturing the top/whole decorator fabric, if you use a slash tool, you’re pushing a tool with a blade through layers of fabric and that may go smoothly one second, and clog and release right into your quilted stitches the next second…yeah. More on that later.
Here it is slashed and bound with Kona hot pink with a little bit of pink with white hearts ala Oh, Fransson! style…however, I think I should have put another section of pink heart fabric because it kinda looks like I just ran out of hot pink Kona. Sigh. Oh well.
Point is, now you can see why the warping isn’t worth fretting over…
Once you cut the flannel side, the quilting integrity is compromised and, essentially, your binding now is keeping the structure. Cool, huh?
It’s sorta hard to imagine what the final outcome will really be like, so here’s the brand new slashed flannel, against a previous chenille blanket that has been washed a dozen times or so:
It become so soft, and squishy and wonderful. Sigh. It’s almost worth it.
After one wash (in cold water) and a tumble in the dryer (just regular medium heat setting), it’s already fluffing up nicely.
And here it is, just casually clipped up on some tomato cages, 3 1/2 stories off the ground. What? The rustic barn scene is played out. HAHAHA.
Hope you enjoyed this episode of Crazy Lady Does Chenille Baby Blanket and I hope to see you next time!
Oh, I’ve been a bit quiet on here but not for lack of material (heh heh). I thought it best to organize the entire Baby Girl Layette Series into something more organized looking which required me to finish the dang thing. Alma, a darling lady in Texas, is having her first baby, Vivian, sometime in the next month so I had to hustle. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do everything I wanted, but Ottobre FTW! Man, I put in an order for a 1 year subscription plus a few extra back issues and BAM! They shipped fast! Mad love, Ottobre. You are my new favorite.
BUT since I didn’t think I’d get it in time, I started/finished the jumper and ordered the pearl snaps…I really wanted pearl snaps for everything because, hello, Texas! It may be my Pacific NW humor, but I really needed to use pearl snaps.
I had a snap punch and thank GOD I practiced first!
No matter how gently I tried to set the snap, it cracked the pearly plastic. Argh.
Not to mention totally smashed the ‘male’ side too…
So, I broke down and got one of those snap plier things that I’ve heard nothing but suckage about, but my friend Rena totally loves them, so I went for it. I’m not in love, but it worked.
AND OMG, I love the snaps. They’re perfect. The jumper turned out exactly how I envisioned it. It’s modern cutesy. That’s a genre, right?
I used a Kona in hot pink instead of the lace in the book, and French seamed the whole thing. I *forgot* to French seam the inside sides of the skirt or even zig-zag/serge the edges so I’m going to have to put some anti-fray crap on them. Argh. Oh well. It’s not exactly newborn size; in fact I think the pattern says 3 months, but it’s just too cute and it matches the rest of the set.
Overall, the pattern wasn’t too brutal. It’s not for super beginners as it takes some leaps. At one point, I just put the book down and assembled it how I saw it going together…which usually works out for me….until I forget to finish the seams under the skirt, ha!
This post is a bit short as it’s late, I’m zzzzzzz, and the next few are much more involved, like another faux chenille blanket! I obviously lost my mind!