July 25, 2015

not in love, but...

Wow, how has it already been a month since Hobbit was born? It's been both rewarding and challenging. On the one hand, aside from some occasional crankiness, I'm surprised at how well I've been able to function while averaging 4-5 hours of often-interrupted sleep every night. And Hobbit does nap well...the challenge is more that it's mostly while he's being held, and it was just last week that I managed to successfully get him to take some naps while I wasn't holding him and could actually get some stuff done--namely, making the project that is the subject of this post! (Also, he eats SO much. Hobbit was a very appropriate nickname!)

(And thanks for all of the kind comments! We think he's pretty adorable, but we may be a little biased.)

The other challenge has been getting dressed. I knew that my figure wasn't going to immediately go back to what it was pre-pregnancy, but I was honestly surprised at how very, very few of my clothes actually do fit right now! Including some things that I thought would fit decently enough, like my Tiramisu dresses. It's been very strange for me, since I was fortunate enough to have a pretty steady weight/measurements for most of my adult life, and now all of my shirts are extra-tight and I literally only have about 5 things that I can get over my hips, all elastic-waist. Needless to say, I'm having a bit of a wardrobe crisis. (I'm especially a little freaked out at the thought of cooler weather hitting and having literally no pants or jeans.) So as soon as I could find some spare time without a napping baby on my lap, I made a thing!

Adelaide frontThis is the Adelaide dress from Seamwork magazine, chosen both for its supposedly fast sewing time and for how forgiving it looked like it would be for my post-partum figure. That, and it looked very nursing-friendly, which is going to have to be the theme of everything I make for my upper half for awhile, I think.  I wasn't 100% sure about the fit, since I was never completely satisfied with the Sorbetto on me, so I opted for the wearable muslin route. The fabric is a mystery woven, probably a poly-cotton blend, that was given to me for free when someone else destashed it to my mom--when this happens, she passes on whatever isn't good for quilts to me.

While I like the color well enough, I thought I'd get bored with a solid dress. Also, I don't have the right kind of set-in snaps on hand. So in the interest of stashbusting, I decided to swap those out for these sparkly red buttons that I originally got with a Beignet skirt in mind, before deciding that a red skirt wasn't something that my closet needed after all and giving away the fabric in a swap. I kept the buttons, though, because sparkly, so I'm glad I finally found something to do with them! To tie those in better, I topstitched the placket, neckline and armholes in red. But I stuck with the blue for the belt and belt loops, because I don't want to draw that much attention to my waist while I'm (hopefully) losing the extra weight.

Adelaide backI'll be honest--I don't love this dress. It does serve its intended purpose, and it did knock an entire piece of yardage out of my stash--2 3/5 yards, for the record. I guess I just don't feel like it's entirely me. I'm not sure how much of that feeling is a commentary on the solids, or that my body is a stranger that I'm having to get to know all over again.  It might be worth giving the pattern another shot sometime, because I do feel that it's more of a fabric issue than a stylistic one. I wonder if I'd feel better about it if it was in a print, or a fabric that draped a little better so I wouldn't have that bit of gaping in the neckline. Or maybe just a different shade of blue?

But at this point, I'm also feeling like this beggar can't be too choosy. And there are plusses to the utilitarian stashbusting--I don't really have to iron this one after washing, and I don't particularly care if he spits up on it.

 I do have a couple of other projects in mind that will hopefully carry me through the warmer portion of the fall. And once I get cleared to be more active again, hopefully in 2 weeks, I figure I can start taking Hobbit for walks. Maybe, if all goes well, I'll at least be able to fit into my collection of Thurlow pants again by the time it gets cold. After all, they worked until the end of my first trimester, where all of my other pants failed, so a girl can hope. Right?

Have you ever had to rebuild your wardrobe almost from scratch? How did you deal with it? Or, for those of you who have had kids, how long did you hold on to your old clothes (especially me-mades) to see if they would fit again or not?

July 2, 2015

9 months in the making

Believe it or not, I can actually do a small June round-up. Although I haven't had a chance to take pictures yet, for the most part.

So this month, I...
  • Finished all of the hand-sewing on the second quiet book, thanks to a week where I literally had nothing left to do except hang out at my parents' while Doug was at work and wait to see if I'd go into labor. All that needs to be done is to sew the finished pages back-to-back with the machine, and assemble the book. 
  • Finished knitting a scarf from a Craftsy class that I started last year sometime. And I have quite a bit of the second ball of yarn left, but I do have an idea for a project to use it on. Just need the time.
  • Did not use up any of my fabric stash. But I did order 7 yards, because Fabric.com suckered me in with geeky novelty prints. 
  • Got the scrapbook that I've been working on almost completely done, minus a few pictures that just got ordered. (Since I got married, I've been doing one per year, running from June to May in order to coincide with our anniversary. I seriously love the pocket-style scrapbooking, it makes it so much easier to keep up!) I even managed to finish up some older unfinished album pages, too! 
Oh yeah...and I finished this project.
He was born on June 22 (a week and a day past his due date), 20 3/4" long and 8 pounds 10 ounces. He's 10 days old now, and though it's been pretty exhausting, it's been fun getting to know this little guy, too. He's usually pretty happy, except when he has to get a bath or I take too long in getting ready to feed him.

Of course, when I do feed him, then he looks more like this:

Speaking of feeding, he's ready for that again. Hobbit was a very accurate nickname.

Back later...

June 4, 2015

pinned there, done that (the May wrap-up)

The latest two sewing projects--both things for the baby--were ideas that I found on Pinterest, and they (mostly) worked out. So I figured I'd just show them both at the same time. You're getting all phone photos/previously taken Instagrams today, since the DSLR is packed with the hospital bag now. It's also been rather dreary weather here all week, so I apologize in advance for the not-so-great lighting on the first item in particular. I just wanted to get this post done before I'm a little...distracted. Ahem.

Thing 1:
2015-06-04_08-16-37Not the most exciting make ever, but it was necessary. The co-hosts of the Small Human Being Sewalong put together a lovely Pinterest board that had all sorts of useful items on it. Among them was this baby changing mat pattern/tutorial. Which I basically just used to get the curve of the top, and then completely winged it instead, haha. I basically just wanted something I could throw into the diaper bag that I could use when I'm having to change him at other people's houses/those public restroom changing tables, fold up to contain potential messes, and then throw in the wash. I also thought that using up a little more of the leftover fabric from the bag would be nice! Though, sadly, I didn't manage to finish the suedecloth off.  The snap setter I bought for the diapers came in handy for coming up with a hidden closure, though.

20150604_081414I decided to make the dimensions wider/longer than the original, and leave off the two pocket wings on the side. I didn't think they'd be very useful with the extra bulk of cloth diapers, especially once he's in the larger sizes. It's not like I won't have the bag with me at these times anyway. The inside is a double layer of polyurethane laminate, since I'd had to buy an extra piece at Joann's to finish off the diapers and had leftovers, and I know it's washable. Even though it makes the inside look a little more boring than vinyl-covered cotton prints would have been, which is what the original pattern called for.

I'm glad that I had to get a little distance on this one to get the full shot--the binding really isn't all that great, because I forgot how to do the corners. But this one's more of a function over form project, anyway. At least, that's how I'm justifying my less-than-stellar work to myself.

Thing 2:

I've been racking my brains for months, trying to figure out what to do with these adorable felt ornaments that my mom made:
https://igcdn-photos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/t51.2885-15/10948310_878792565512422_1328010152_n.jpgShe made a whole bunch of these as favors for my baby shower, which had a children's book theme. That's also mostly what I Doug and I decided to go with for the nursery. So we have representatives from all sorts of picture books: a Fox in Socks, a moose (for If You Give A Moose a Muffin), the owls are from a book called Who's Hiding--which is what gave her the idea to make these in the first place, the frog and bear come from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See, the rabbit is for the Beatrix Potter stories (after Peter Rabbit loses his coat and shoes), and the penguin is for a book called How Do Penguins Play? (And also for my mother-in-law, who is completely obsessed with all things penguin.)

As for the dogs...they're little felt versions of our Malkin and Crosby!

Anyway, I was originally thinking of making a mobile, but was having trouble figuring out how best to make them to accommodate the ribbon loops, and not create a potential safety hazard on the crib. Then I saw this Pinterest tutorial for a homemade play gym that's lightweight, easy to deconstruct for storage, and had felt ornaments. And I knew it would be super-cheap, because I already had everything to make it except for hula hoops! I wasn't originally planning on having a play gym, since they're so overpriced, but it was too cute of an idea to pass up. Hopefully the dogs won't be all over the baby with this...

Instead of a quilt, I opted to make a solid fabric mat, because I had yards of this swirly green quilt cotton that I can't remember what on earth I bought it for in the first place. (That, and quilts take longer.) I also had some solid green leftovers from my last round of geeky bibs, and more of those snaps. I managed to use up about half of each piece, so once again, I need to figure out what to do with leftovers. Oh well.

I had to kind of wing it on the tabs--I did manage to sew them into the hula hoop cover tubes, but then discovered that the original length would leave the ornaments hanging way too low. So I wrapped them around the tubes a couple of times and hand-tacked them down, then added the snaps in the appropriate places. Overall, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, though!

 The dogs were less impressed.

Aside from following a Pinterest tutorial for making a couple of old camisoles a little more nursing layering-friendly, hacking the Ikea curtains and the blackout curtains that we got for the nursery together, and starting work on another felt quiet book (Doctor Who this time), these two things are pretty much all I have to show for the month. Which leaves my stashbusting total at somewhere around 3 yards. Not my best month, but I didn't buy any fabric, so that has to count for something!

Aside from that, Doug and I have been working hard on finishing up this project:

We both did the wall decals, but he pretty much took care of the extra bathroom otherwise. And he helped with organizing the closet, but I took care of dealing with the rest of the laundry and hanging things up otherwise. (And that laundry was not an easy task, because we had the baby shower on Saturday. Between a giant clothesline full of baby clothes that Doug's mom/sister/aunt put together, outfits that other people bought us, and some extras we hadn't had before like hooded towels and crib sheets, I seriously had a pile as big as our larger dog!)

Now that that's all taken care of, and my music teaching work is more or less wrapped up for the next couple of months, I just need to figure out how to occupy myself for the next week and a half or so while I wait for the kiddo to make his debut. I do still have hand-sewing, but finding comfortable places to sit long enough to get anything done on that, or read, is a bit of a challenge right now! I may spend some time playing with my scrapbooks again, though, since the chair at that workstation seems to work better for me for some reason.

So I guess this is my last post for a little while, until I am physically able to/can start sneaking in some time to make things again! In the meantime, wishing you all lots of summer sewing fun!

May 27, 2015

summer sewing daydreams

Well, here we are...about 2 1/2 weeks before my due date. Sadly, I've reached the point where it's just too physically difficult for me to start any new sewing projects, other than the hand-stitching I've been doing on a second quiet book. (Thanks for all the kind words on the last one, by the way! It was fun.) Between my back refusing to let me sit comfortably anywhere for longer than 5 minutes, and my belly getting in the way of both the sewing machine table and my ability to get the leverage needed to work the foot pedal, I've just had to accept that I'm just going to have to wait and see what sort of time I can carve out to delve back into this with a newborn. I have managed to finish a couple of things this month, which I'll show soon. But I'm coping in the meantime by playing around with pairing patterns and fabrics in my stash to figure out some potential projects that will be forgiving of the changes in my figure that will still be happening/easy to adapt to my new lifestyle of mostly stay-at-home mom. I do plan on picking up the music/sewing lessons I teach again, hopefully around mid-to-late August. So teaching-friendly clothes are ok, and I don't have to do all yoga pants. I don't even own a pattern for yoga pants, anyway. So there's good incentive to not even go there!

(Honestly, I've managed to stay within the recommended range for pregnancy weight gain, even though it sounds like Hobbit is going to be a bigger baby than I'd expected--not a 9-10 pounder, thank God, but still bigger than either of us or our siblings. I guess all that nausea has been good for something after all! So I'm hoping that means that maybe all of those Thurlow pants will fit again this fall, since I didn't have to give them up until almost the second trimester. That would help sooo much.)

Anyway, here's some of the potential ideas I've been bouncing around:

IMG_25131. Megan Nielsen Darling Ranges dress. This one is at the top of the list, honestly. I've had this pattern/fabric combo bagged up with notions for about 2 years now, with the intention of sewing it for the summer-to-fall transition. But other projects kept getting in the way. I still really like this rayon challis print, though, and I'd like to see it become something. The bonus is that there's so many colors to pick from in the print that it'll be easy to adapt to fall layering with boots and leggings. Plus, it'll go great with the next cardigan I plan to make for myself, whenever I finish the quiet book and can get back to knitting instead of hand-stitching! The gathered/tie back waist should make it forgiving for whatever's going on with my waistline, and the button front means it'll be great for nursing.  I am thinking that maybe I should wearable-muslin this first, since I do have some bedsheets in the muslin bin with a similar drape to this fabric, and my bust measurement is already a whopping 5" bigger than it used to be! (Good thing I hadn't traced this one out yet, right?)

IMG_25062. Sewaholic Rae skirt. I bought this one kind of on a whim during one of her past sales, since it looked like it would be a more flattering fast skirt to sew than some of the older patterns that I had. I've never made it, but elastic waists are sounding pretty good right now, since they'll be a little more adjustable as I lose some of these pounds I've put on. Also, I could use some bottomwear, since I have basically zero shorts that will fit me this summer, other than a couple of elastic-waisted pairs I picked up at the thrift store recently that I'm just hoping will fit--not like I could try them on to see. I'm also not sure how many of my skirts I'll be able to squeeze into, or how quickly. That's what I get for generally preferring the fitted waist aesthetic, right? I probably won't do quite this many, but here's a couple of things I found in the stash that might work. (If I combine the black linen-looking stuff and the camel linen, at least-- I don't really have enough of either to make anything, since they're both leftover pieces, but have been thinking for awhile that they might pair nicely.)

IMG_25123. Seamwork Adelaide dress. I was really excited to see this one in the current issue, because it looks like it'll be a really forgiving make as far as sizing goes, though still a little more flattering because of the belt. And, again, it's a really nursing-friendly option. I do have a pattern subscription at the moment, so the pattern is safely downloaded and awaiting printing. I'm thinking maybe this twill for it--it was given to me for free and I have quite a bit of it, so it's not a huge loss if the pattern doesn't work for me. My one debate is whether to hunt down those snaps, or to just use buttons, since I do have a lot of buttons. Particularly, I have these sparkly red ones that I got to make a Beignet skirt that never happened--I later ended up deciding that a red skirt isn't really something I'd use much, and swapped the fabric--and I think that and maybe some red topstitching could provide some much-needed interest to this otherwise rather boring fabric. Thoughts?

IMG_25074. Grainline Archer blouse. I've had this pattern, and this Japanese linen fabric that I specifically bought for it, for about a year and a half now. And since this is a looser shirt by nature, I probably won't have to size it up quite as much as I would other patterns. Which will make it more forgiving for (hopeful) weight loss, too! The pattern is printed, but I do need to assemble it.

IMG_25115. Colette Mabel skirt. Another pattern I own/have printed, but haven't tried yet. It's not like I haven't gotten plenty of practice sewing knits lately, but I do have a couple of interlock jerseys from Joann's that are a little on the thick side for tops (I know, because I've used them for a couple of tops), so this could be a good candidate for fast, easy bottomwear. This color is the only one I have that's large enough by itself, but I do have some brown as well that might work if I pair it with something else. Or just buy a little more fabric. I bet Joann's still has it.

6. A nursing top or two. I think I could make one pretty quickly from Simplicity 1469, since I've already used that one and I have some knits that would work well together for a sleeveless version. (I just might want to reduce the width of the back a little, since I won't have to make it quite so maternity.) I've been advised by a couple of helpful sewcialists that the smaller nursing openings will probably work better than I thought, so thank you for that tip! Another option is to play around with altering one of my more basic knit top patterns. I'm thinking maybe the Deer & Doe Plantain to start, since I won't have to worry about the waist sizing, given that it fit me as it was until probably month 6! Also, Heather was kind enough to pull out some of her old nursing tops awhile back and Instagram a few pictures for me so I could get some ideas, and the Plantain looked like a very good candidate for some similar hacking. (Thanks, Heather!)

IMG_2514Other possibilities already in my stash for maybe a little more down the road, when I have a better idea of sizing...Some, but not all, pictured here: a nursing-hacked Renfrew, the Granville blouse, the Yaletown blouse, the Maria Denmark Edith dress/blouse, the Espresso leggings (because I've decided I like leggings for layering under skirts, and definitely not because I've decided I like leggings as pants!), this random Simplicity shirtdress that I forgot I had, Butterick 5084 looks like it would be fairly easy to hack for nursing based on tutorials I've seen, and I could possibly adapt Butterick 5206 to be a real wrap top instead of a faux wrap top. I've been wanting to revisit that pattern for awhile anyway, and I think one of my Paris fabrics could be perfect for it!

I'm trying to look at this as more of a list of ideas, and not an actual project list. After all, I'm not sure how quickly I'll be able to sew anything, especially if I can only grab 10-15 minutes here and there. It's hard to predict, without knowing how well this baby will nap and things like that. I know I'm prone to overly ambitious lists of what I think I can get done in any given season, and I don't want to put myself in a position where I'm frustrated about how little I'm finishing when I'm already going to be sleep-deprived and trying to learn a whole new skill set to enable tiny human survival. At the same time, Future Zombie Me will probably benefit from having a more narrowed-down list of possibilities for when I do have some time here and there to work on something. It's going to be hard for me to not have a concrete list of plans, but hopefully I'll be able to adapt and go with the flow a little more for now.

Have you ever had a season where you knew sewing time was going to be a rare commodity, or you were going to have some serious measurement changes? How did you deal?

May 12, 2015

The Quiet Book and The Ring

I'll be honest-- I was not expecting this project to take so long. I thought I could easily finish both this and the second felt quiet book that I cut out shortly after Christmas before my due date. With only 4 1/2 weeks to go, I don't think that's going to happen now. But I'm proud of how this turned out. I just really hope that Hobbit will enjoy playing with it, when he's a little older!

So, without further ado, I present the Lord of the Rings quiet book, in all of its thick glory. (Seriously, this thing measures over 3" thick! Though I'm sure it would compact if I put something on top of it.) And I cannot take credit for the design, it's a pattern from the juliebell shop on Etsy. (With a few minor modifications on my part here and there.) One picture-heavy post, coming up!

Cover pagePage 1: The front cover. In the original pattern, it called for a brown cover, but I used maroon instead-- I'm justifying it by saying it ties in with the Red Book of Westmarch, from the books. But really, it's that I'm cheap. I couldn't quite find that "copper canyon brown" and I had a bunch of the maroon that I was able to get from my mom for free. (All of the felt in this book was either specially purchased for this project, or mooched off my mom, who wanted to get rid of it anyway in preparation for moving. All of the threads, embroidery floss, and miscellaneous notions, however, were part of my stash.)

ShirePage 2: The Shire, with some panels you can lift and peek under. I'll admit I thought long and hard about adding the pipe, because I don't want to encourage smoking, especially given that the smell really makes me sick even when I'm not pregnant (and far, far worse when I am, apparently. Truthfully, frequent exposure to that was one of my major incentives to not go back to my old retail job this spring.). But in both the books and the movies, it's kind of unavoidable that there is pipe smoking, especially in hobbit culture, and I couldn't think of anything else to go there. So I left it.

Rivendell pagePage 3: Rivendell, with one of my favorite--and bulkiest--features of the book...the Fellowship of the Finger Puppets! Seriously, how cute is that? I did change up some of the suggested colors for things to coincide a little more closely with the movie costumes, since a lot of the styling seemed to be based on the films anyway.

Gollum PagePage 4: Help Gollum find the Precious. He really is a friendly-looking Gollum here...but hey, this is basically baby's first introduction to my #1 fandom, so why scare him right off? I did end up tweaking the face a bit, because my embroidery floss was so close to the color of the felt that he just looked weird with no nose. All three of the pieces under the water snap on and off, but I only took off the one hiding the Ring for this photo.

Try on the RingPage 5: Try on the Ring. This was the one I changed up the most. The original page had just an embroidered Ring, and I wasn't sure what the action was here. Lay your hand over it and watch the Ring disappear? If I can't figure it out, there's no way a toddler could. So I used some wired gold ribbon in my stash to make a Ring that you can slip your fingers under. (The hand was also originally facing the other way, but that was just me making a mistake and not wanting to unpick the embroidery.)

EaglesPage 6: Help Gandalf escape. Technically, this should probably come before the Rivendell page, but this is the order the instructions had it in. And the bulk of the pages meant the eyelets I'd originally planned to use didn't work, and I ended up basically just punching holes with an awl and threading the binder rings through, so they're not the easiest to rearrange. It's just an eagle on elastic, so he can get some distance between him and Orthanc. I also made sure to machine-sew both ends down as securely as possible, in hopes that the boy won't be able to yank it off first try!
MordorPage 7: Help Frodo and Sam through Mordor. Again, a somewhat less bleak and dreary Mordor, given that there's trees and a pond. (I'm guessing this path leads through Ithilien first.) I'm especially proud of the Eye on here--maybe I spent a little more time embroidering on it than necessary, but it didn't look as fiery and evil as I wanted it to after adding the initial embroidery. So I added more color, and I think it helped.

Mt DoomPage 8: Destroy the Ring in Mt. Doom. Again, I was having a little fun with the embroidery on the lava, mostly to make sure the orange showed up well. As for the Ring itself, it actually is a replica of the One Ring-- it fell off of a bookmark I had gotten back when the movies were first out, and I had left it sitting with my jewelry supplies for years. Fortunately, I actually remembered that I had this now that I had the perfect excuse to finally use it--crafty pack rat tendencies for the win! (Again, this is machine stitched on as securely as I possibly could, to try to avoid any choking hazards.)

AragornPage 9: Help Aragorn become King. I was working on this one while having a craft day/My Little Pony marathon with some friends recently, and we all had a good laugh over Aragorn in his undies! Again, I slightly altered the embroidery to do a white tree instead of dots on the king outfit, because Gondor demanded it. I know it's hard to see in this picture, but it's there.

The EndPage 10: The End. Pretty self-explanatory. I wish that E was straighter, but the glue-tacking didn't work so well and it was already falling off by the time I got through sewing on the first two letters. It probably would have worked better if I'd been sewing on a flat surface, but I wasn't, and I was just trying to get it done by this point.

This was definitely a labor of love, and I'm completely amused by it, at least. And even though it took a lot longer this way, I'm not sorry that I took the time to sew everything instead of glue it, because I think it will be much more durable--especially given that on the occasions I did tack things down with glue, it was often peeling off before I even finished sewing the pieces! Even so, I'm thinking I might rely a little more on glue-tacking and especially machine sewing where I can for the Doctor Who one I have cut out next. After all, I'd like to start knitting again sometime this year!

May 2, 2015

Evaluating the mini-wardrobe

Now that I'm getting close to the end of my pregnancy, and in lieu of my participating in Me-Made-May this year, I thought it might be useful to take a look back at how I did with sewing for  myself in this transitional period. After all, I'd decided to make this more fun/interesting for myself by treating it as a capsule wardrobe, a la Wardrobe Architect. And I did learn some things about what worked/didn't work for me. Also, in case a second baby comes along down the road, it'll help me to have a reference of what I might want to consider adding!

Things I think went well:
  • Overall, I'm quite pleased with how well various alterations I made to several non-maternity patterns worked. Especially since pattern hacking is not my strongest skill, and one I'd like to keep working to improve. I would further tweak my Renfrew hack, but the dresses and maxi-skirt went quite well. As did the actual maternity alteration to the Manila leggings, even if the rest of it was a fail. So maybe there's hope for me yet!
  • I also think I did pretty well at sticking with a cohesive color palette. 
  • I was able to surprise myself with occasionally being able to pull out non-maternity clothes to fill in some gaps. Namely my Plantain top and a couple of buttondowns worn over tank tops.
  • Also, aside from the first trimester, I think I did a pretty good job of sucking it up and plowing through sewing to fulfill needs that I had, even though I've still been nauseous at some point(s) every single day of this pregnancy. So go me.
Things I wish I'd done differently:
  • More vivid colors! Even though I did stick with the palette pretty well, I felt like things ended up being a lot heavier on the neutrals--the black, navy and grey in particular, just due to what I was able to find in thrift stores or what I had on hand that was working. By the time winter was wrapping up, I was sooooooo bored and wishing for cheerier, brighter things. (Ok, so I do that every year. But it was definitely worse with the much more limited choices I had.)
  • More prints! Especially tops. Because even with the things I found/made that were in brighter colors, I just haven't felt quite like myself while wearing so many outfits that were just solids. I've tried livening it up with accessories, but a necklace can only take you so far on that, and I was honestly afraid to wear scarves for the first half of the pregnancy because of all the sickness. (Plus, having things close around my neck during the worst of that was really, really uncomfortable for me.) The couple of print things that I've made near the end are helping. A lot of this was really just me trying to work mostly with the stash that I had, but I think that, once I make some space on the shelves/if I need maternity wear again, I may specifically treat myself to some new fabric to expand this wardrobe.
Things I'll need if this ever happens again:
  • More bottomwear. Especially of the pants variety. I refashioned 3 pairs of pants, outgrew one of them by about mid-March (which had been a little small around the waist/hips to begin with anyway, so I could only make it expand so much), and had to pretty much give up wearing the other two by mid-April because they were corduroy and therefore getting uncomfortably hot when spring weather actually arrived. Which has left me with only 2 pairs of jeans to get through the last 2 months, and I will admit that I do feel a little unprofessional when doing music lessons in jeans. I wouldn't mind another knit maxi-skirt or two either, because the tie-dye one is sooooo comfortable. (I've tried wearing some of my older elastic-waist ones over the bump here and there, and they kind of dig into my ribs and gather weirdly under my tops. So it hasn't been helpful.)
  • Pajamas. I got through the latter part of the winter with an older pair of PJ pants and an oversized thrifted top--but those got worn so much that the top has several holes in it now. Once things started warming up is when things got really tough--I had to resort to buying a shorts and tank set from Target, because I didn't have anything that fit. (Note to self: Tofino pants do not make good maternity pants. Though I love them as a non-maternity PJs pattern.) 
  • Another pair of leggings or two wouldn't hurt, if I have another cold-weather pregnancy. Or at least some more stylish knit pants (and casual tops) to wear around the house that aren't fleece sweatpants that I used to wear under other clothes to keep warm on backpacking trips. That's what I ended up resorting to on Saturdays/weekdays when I didn't have to go out to save my jeans for nicer wear, and I felt so frumpy. Which is not the feeling you want when you're already feeling like a nauseated whale.
Biggest hits: 
Honestly, aside from the refashioned corduroys (so useful) I feel like the best things I made were the ones that I'm hoping to continue wearing after this is over-- particularly the black maxi-dress and the tie-dyed skirt. I may need to do a follow-up post later this summer on how well they actually work for post-pregnancy/nursing.
Maternity maxi-dress
skirt full panel

Biggest misses: 
Not my best project ever.1. The Manila leggings. Though I'm still hopeful that I can successfully revisit this pattern, now that I know that I really need to check the stretch before diving in. And probably add at least 4" to the legs. But I really just didn't feel comfortable wearing them very often--the color meant it didn't work as a tights layer under the two shorter skirts I had (one black and one denim), and I really only wore them twice. One of those was to keep warm under the black dress for a cooler-day music performance at church, and the other was just around the house. And I have to confess that I threw the denim skirt on over it anyway, because even when alone in the house, I just didn't feel fully clothed when wearing leggings as pants! I'll probably keep these as a layering piece, but definitely not as a stand-alone.

(I still have to try out my Cake Espresso pattern sometime, too. If that one works out better, I might just transfer the belly alterations to that pattern if I ever need to sew maternity leggings again.)

Ariel-inspired outfit
2. The Ariel skirt. I actually only wore this one once, aside from the photos--I didn't want to wear it over the winter because of the cold, and when I finally pulled it out in the spring, it just didn't work well. I had to tie the drawstrings under the bust, which made the length kind of strange, and left a lot of weird wrinkles under the belly of the maternity top that I paired it with. Fortunately, it didn't take me that long to cut and sew. And since it's essentially two big rectangles and I still have almost 3 yards of the fabric left, I think this will be a good candidate for a refashion. Or at least a wearable muslin of some other pattern.

On the other hand, I did wear the top quite a bit. Though, as I stated before, I think the pattern hacks would need some tweaking for this to work well in later pregnancy. It fit fine for well over the first half, though.

Other things I won't be keeping/need to rework: 
1. This isn't one I made, but I bought this cream-colored maternity sweater at Target. I'm blaming this on poor fabric choice on their part--the structure itself is fine, but before the winter even ended, the color of the sweater just looked dingy and sad. I may just try to overdye it to extend the life.
2.This top. Though it wasn't a maternity top, it actually worked well to get me through the winter, since it was roomier in the waist than a lot of my usual tops. And it's not a complaint about the pattern, since I used the same one to make my sparkly knit top from earlier this year. It's just that since this one was already several years old, the fabric was starting to pill to begin with. And with all the extra wears and washes it got this winter, given that I was pulling it out at least once a week (if not more), it's just unsalvageable now. I do hate to just throw clothes away, even the worn-out ones, so I'm thinking I might just cut this one up and use it to stuff a toy or something. Stuffing is expensive, anyway.

So, that's my little wrap up of how my me-mades have been working for me during a period of major physical changes. I already have a mental list of patterns I want to tackle once this baby comes! Now if only I could figure out a way to predict my bust size so I could start tracing or cutting...

April 29, 2015

April month-in-review

This really does look like a super-productive month, since I tend to count stash on the months I finish the project vs. when I cut it! So let's just jump right to the fun stuff, shall we?

Projects Finished This Month: 
8 total. Unless I count the diapers individually. Then it's closer to 80. But that's cheating, isn't it? First up, the unblogged things.
https://igcdn-photos-g-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t51.2885-15/10513794_843631739037678_835703916_n.jpgAs seen on Instagram: I did take another cute-but-stained PJ set that I was given for free, plus a boring snap-front newborn tee, and did this. The applique was hand-stitched on, just like the frog one I did last month, and as a bonus, this reads completely gender-neutral to me. Which means it's definitely something I can recycle for any future siblings. I also had a decent-sized piece of unstained fabric, so I used this tutorial/pattern to whip out a quick hat. I did have to cut one piece with a seam in the back,  but it still worked up really fast. (The snail was the other part of the original applique. It was there, so why not use it?)

Next up: Several weeks back, I was looking for maternity/baby clothes at the thrift store, and stumbled across a bin of K'Nex for a really great price. Since then, Doug and I have gotten in the habit of checking every few weekends for any more good toy finds. One week, I found a bag of wooden blocks, which just seems like one of those staple toys that every kid should have. But they needed containment. So I took a piece of stash cotton and made a bag for them. I think this was one of my mom's dyeing-for-quilts experiments that she wasn't totally happy with, and I just wanted to use a piece that I didn't really care what I used it for. Honestly, I made this more complicated than I needed to--I realized about halfway through inserting the drawstring that oh, wait, I have to think about choking hazards now! So then I had to completely wing it with a zipper in my stash that wasn't quite the right color, but oh well. I know this bag is kind of huge for the amount of blocks that we have, but I figured that it would make it easy to add any more that we might acquire. (I mean, I don't even have the whole alphabet here!)

nursing coverMy most recent sewing project was a nursing cover. Not to say that women shouldn't have the right to breastfeed when and where they need to or anything--I just know that I'll personally be more comfortable if I'm able to stay covered up when I have to feed him outside of the house. Besides, I've had this particular quilt cotton for years, and I'm happy that I finally found a way to use some of it. I actually had this in the stash and wanted to use it for the leaf quilt I made several years ago, but it was just a little too busy of a print to really work. I still have about half of the piece left, so I'll just need to figure out what to do with it. But this was a really fast/easy project to make-- just a rectangle with a casing for a piece of boning, another two rectangles for the strap, a couple d-rings, hemming, and done. Ideally, I would have used d-rings that were a little thinner/lighter, but this is what I had in the stash, so I went with it. If it really bugs me in the long run, I can always perform a little seam ripper magic later and replace them.

I also finished off a stack of cloth wipes to use with the diapers. But I can't really count that as stashbusting, since my mom cut up a bunch of flannel that she had and all I had to do was serge the edges. Honestly, this isn't even exciting enough to take a picture of, but at least it's done.

Stashbusting totals for the month:

Stash out, not counting the 3 reconstructed projects:
  • For the diapers: 31.25 yards total of PUL, athletic mesh, and cotton fleece (!)
  • Maternity/nursing maxi-dress: 3 yards of knit
  • Storage bag for blocks: .5 yard of hand-dyed cotton
  • Nursing cover: 1 yard of quilt cotton
Total:  35.75 yards out, plus a few scraps for the Star Wars shirt. Woohoo!
    Stash in:
    • 2 yards of an Aztec-print knit. I was out running errands with Doug one day, we stumbled across a sewing machine store, and he suggested we head in and see if we could find me some new fabric. Who am I to say no? The selection was pretty small, but since I've been burning through all of my print knits in making maternity clothes, I figured I could allow myself this little splurge.  
    • My parents moved into a new house this month, and my mom handed off a couple of pieces of fabric that she thought might be more useful for me in making future boy clothes than her for quilting. So I got a little over 1 yard of a reversible blue fleece (brighter blue on one side, more royal on the other), and 8 yards of a plain black twill (but only 19.5" wide!) that she had left over from a couple of non-quilt projects.  The twill will probably have to get used up for pants and shorts, but at least kid clothes are small and skinny. At least at first.
    Total: 11.25(ish) yards in, but that's still a total of 24.5 yards less than I started the month with.  For the year so far, my spreadsheet is saying that I have just over 336 yards, but I've used about 63 1/2 up. Which is really good for the first third of the year, especially since 3 yards is the most I can usually burn on one project!
      May Goals:
      I did touch on this in last month's review.  At this point, I've reviewed the list, and pared it down based on what I didn't get done this month and think is most important. So here's what I'm hoping to do:
      • I'd still like to make that changing mat. I think that will be the next project.
      • I found instructions for how to make a baby gym on Pinterest. This wasn't something I was originally planning on for baby gear, because those things are ridiculously expensive and bulky. But since this one snaps apart and would be really easy to set up/store, I have a large piece of a certain quilt cotton that would be perfect for this, and I have a ready supply of adorable felt things that would be perfect to hang from it (extras from some shower favors that my mom made--all animals to go along with various books), I'd like to give this one a shot.
      • I have curtains for the nursery, but I need to sew the blackout layer into the colored layer, because they're way too sheer to keep light out for when he's napping. The curtains need to be shortened anyway. So this should be a quick project, it's just a case of doing it.
      • And I still need to do a lot more cooking. Though I've actually made a pretty good dent on recipes I'd planned for dinners--I think I have 3 more recipes to make for that, and then what I'd planned for lunches. And breakfast, if there's still room in the freezer.

      Finally, a quick little update on how those sewing lessons are going! The girl is doing very well. We took a little bit of a break around Easter due to her family going on vacation, but since then, she's finished up the Delphine skirt from Love at First Stitch. We spent most of that day's lesson working on invisible zipper insertion, and she did a very nice job for her first try! (Not perfect, and I did have to do a little unpicking for her at the bottom to fix where something got caught, but the end result doesn't have that annoying bubble that invisible zippers sometimes get at the bottom.) She finished the skirt on her own after her last lesson, and I'm not sure what she wants to work on next--I'm letting her pick the projects after the bag we made first, because of course it's more fun if you sew things you want to make. Guess I'll find out on Monday, so here's hoping I'm sufficiently prepared!

        April 27, 2015

        Sewing for boys: My Little Jedi

        I have a feeling this is going to be a sporadic, ongoing series, at least while Hobbit is in the age range that I can sew things for him without him protesting. Because one of the first things I've learned about being a (future) boy mom who sews is that it's a lot harder than it should be to find cute patterns/good fabric with boys in mind. I'm more hopeful about the patterns than I was initially, since recently finding an Ottobre magazine at the local Barnes & Noble/joining a Facebook group specifically focused on sewing for boys. But the fabric is still tough. Especially if I'm looking for anything that isn't quilt cotton or doesn't cost over $10 for just half a yard. (Which is all the fun prints I've found so far.)

        Yoda shirtAll that to say, I made a baby shirt. And it's geeky. Because that's how I roll. (Though, for the record, I think this totally counts as gender-neutral. After all, girls like Star Wars, too!)

        My fabric stash is going to be challenging to shop for boy clothes, because frankly, I don't have a lot of stuff that suits--if the color is right, the fabric is usually wrong (too delicate/drapey/etc) and so on. So I was quite pleased that I was able to construct this shirt completely from my scraps! The black is leftover bamboo-blend rayon pieces from the maxi-dress I recently made, and the cream is some leftover scraps from a knit top I made years ago. I guess I'd been thinking they were large enough scraps that I could use them to attempt to make undies or something, and that's why I still had them? But both pieces are very soft, which are perfect for baby wear. And since I used the same multi-piece pattern that I used for those hockey pants, this shirt was essentially free! I'm happy that I finished it within the SHB Sewalong timeframe, too.

        Stencil closeupAs for the stencil, I remembered that I have a scrapbook cutting tool that will use any True Type font that I have on my computer to cut shapes. (Why didn't I remember this when I was making those bibs last fall? Oh well...cutting those stencils was one of the only crafty things I was feeling up to at the time, anyway.) So I used that and some freezer paper to cut this Yoda quote out of a Star Wars-looking font. It worked pretty brilliantly, other than my evil, possessed ex-iron deciding to spew water all over the stencil when I ironed it on. The result was a little bleeding here and there where the fabric was still damp when I started working. It ended up being for the best, though-- I used some other paint in my stash to outline the letters in yellow to help cover the messy bits up, and ended up liking it so much better with the pop of color than I did when it was plain black! I can still sort of see the parts where it had bled, especially around that comma, but it looks a lot better than it did.

        Neckline detailThe one major change that I made to this pattern was the shoulder edging. The original instructions called for turning those little curved edges under and hemming them. That seemed rather fiddly to me, and like I'd just be setting myself up for rippling and frustration--especially given the state of my iron. So I cut an extra 1/4" off each edge instead, cut some bias strips out of the black knit, and treated it more like a binding. So much easier, even with trying to stitch in the ditch around tiny curves to get the underside to stay in place, and I like the contrast better than I think I would have liked the plain cream.

        I made this in the medium size, which looks like it corresponds roughly to somewhere in the 6-12 month range. Baby clothes sizing still baffles me, to be honest. I've actually resorted to hanging the onesies that I currently have in the closet by length, because they're all supposed to be the same size, but they don't look it at all! So I figured that if I go by length, I might be able to make faster guesses at what might fit him vs. not. Anyway, the point of all that is that I'm hoping this means he'll still fit into this shirt next May 4th. Yes, I already made him a shirt for his first Star Wars Day. I already have his first Halloween costume plotted out, too. What's your point?

        On a side note, I've also learned that it's almost impossible to find boy clothes with a sports theme that actually reference hockey. At least in the US--it's all baseball and football and occasionally basketball. Since Doug only cares about hockey and especially dislikes baseball, we've actually been passing the sportsy hand-me-down clothes we've been given to a good friend of mine who's due to have a boy about 6 weeks after me--clothes are all she's needed, since she already has a young daughter, and her husband is a lot more into sports in general. Also, now that Doug knows I have a machine that will let us make custom stencils, he requested that I help him decorate one of the plainer onesies that we've had passed on to us. The result?

        https://igcdn-photos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xfa1/t51.2885-15/11085068_1558879861044348_2079045648_n.jpgAccording to him, this font is one that gets used on some professional hockey gear. I did the machine set-up/ironing, he stenciled the black, and then I outlined it with the gold again so it would be closer to Pittsburgh Penguins colors. He had a lot of fun showing this one off to various local friends--we live in Flyers country, of course, and he likes trash-talking them--and I have a feeling he'll want me to make more hockey-themed clothes in the future!

        (Completely unrelated side note: Blogger is telling me this is my 900th post on here--crazy!)

        April 24, 2015

        dressed to the max(i)

        Maternity/nursing maxi-dressThat's right, I finished another maxi-dress! No camouflage baby bump for this one. It kind of looks like I just have no waist at all. (I guess I don't right now, really.) Honestly, I don't really feel like there's a whole lot to say about construction, since this is the third time I've used the Tiramisu bodice and the exact same skirt modification that I made on my last dress. And I already detailed the nursing-friendly alteration in my last post. Really, the biggest issue I had with putting this one together was my iron--it had been acting up for awhile, and I finally hit the last straw with it while trying to press the skirt seams the other day. After all, an iron that keeps turning off while you're actually pressing with it at the moment, and then taking forever to turn back on (and usually some unplugging and replugging--really annoying when the power strip is on the floor and you're 7 months pregnant!) So I ordered a new iron. Hopefully this one will hold up better, since the one I'd been using lasted me less than 2 years. It's supposed to arrive today, and none too soon, because it really shouldn't take me half an hour to press a hem because I have to keep waiting for the iron to turn on!

        side viewIsn't this print fun? It's one of the pieces I treated myself to when I visited Mood in NYC a little over a year ago. I'd gotten 3 yards with a maxi-dress vaguely in mind, though I certainly wasn't expecting that it would have to be a baby bump-friendly one at the time! But I do expect that I'll be wearing this one a lot over the coming summer. Even though the two patterns didn't quite come together as smoothly as I'd hoped. The back seems pretty loose to me in comparison with the black dress, and it is so tempting to try to take it in around the empire waist a little. Or fake in a back seam with the serger. Or something. I have to keep reminding myself that I still have the rest of this pregnancy/the belly only getting bigger to go, I have no idea what's going to be up with my bust size after that, and it would be better not to over-fit. I can always try to take it in a little later if needed, though it might be nice to have a looser dress when the Mid-Atlantic summer humidity kicks in. (I did tweak the sleeve/underarm area, though.)

        front viewThis will probably be the last garment that I make for myself until after Hobbit arrives, to be honest. I've got less than 8 weeks to go before my due date now (yiiiikes), so despite the fact that I have nearly no pants that both fit and are weather-appropriate, it seems a little pointless to take the time to sew any more maternity-type clothes. I am starting to think ahead to just straight-up nursing-friendly, or things that will work with another period of my figure changing around on me, and I do have some patterns in mind for when I'm feeling up to trying to sneak in sewing time post-baby. Is it weird that after so much time sewing knit garments over the last several months, I'm really starting to get the itch to dig into my wovens stash? But since that has to wait until I have a better idea of what size to sew, any projects that show up here over the next several weeks will probably just be a big babypalooza. I know that's not the most interesting thing for a lot of people, but honestly, this blog is pretty much just my personal craft journal anyway, and this is the stuff I need to be making right now. So, sorry not sorry, I guess?

        On a slightly related note, I've decided that I'm going to be sitting out of Me-Made-May this year, though I will happily follow along with what others are doing! Honestly, pretty much everything I've made that fits right now and works for the season has already been shown on here in the last couple of months, I really only have enough of that to do about one outfit a week, and there's other things I need to prioritize over stressing about outfits and taking pictures. Like continuing to stuff the freezer with as much pre-prepped food as possible, the mental list of baby sewing projects that I'd still like to finish in advance, and getting some music together for a couple of my flute students to work on while I'm out of commission for teaching. Not to mention that by the end of May, I'll be in the range of "could potentially pop any time". Hopefully I won't go that early, especially since a couple of my students are participating in a recital two weeks before my due date, and I'd like to be there to support them. Plus, the only date that worked for everyone involved in planning my baby shower is the last Saturday of the month, and I'd really like to not miss that due to being in labor!

        I also have to admit that I'm going to be a little sorry when the Small Human Being Sewalong wraps up at the end of this month. It's been fun getting to know a couple of new-to-me bloggers, and helpful to follow along with the discussions of what ends up being useful vs. not/how to find sewing time after baby, and so on. But I'm super-close to finishing another project for that, and may be able to knock out at least one more. In the meantime, I'll just enjoy this dress and all the pretty, swirly blues.

        April 17, 2015

        Tutorial: Nursing dress adaptation with an invisible zipper

        I was so pleased with how my last maternity/nursing maxi-dress turned out that I decided to make a second one. This time, I made a tutorial for how I did the zipper part, in case it helps any sewists who may be expecting in the future!

        SuppliesYou'll need:
        • A knit dress pattern with a seam under the bust. I'm also intending to wear this during the remainder of my third trimester, so I'm using the top of the Cake Tiramisu dress with the midriff band and skirt of the out-of-print Simplicity 3678, since I already adapted that skirt pattern both for extra belly room and a maxi length. But if you're making this just to wear for nursing and have an idea of what size to do the waistband, the Tiramisu or Red Velvet dress would be a great option as is.
        • An invisible zipper that's long enough to fit across your ribs from one side seam to the other. (A few extra inches probably won't hurt. Mine was a 22" length, and I ended up chopping off somewhere around 2" at the end.)
        • Clear elastic
        • I used both an invisible zipper foot and a regular zipper foot to do this portion of the construction. 
        Before beginning the zipper (these three steps were completed before I started taking pictures, and you can see the results in the first picture):

        1. Sew the bodice pieces, including side seams. Depending on the pattern you choose, you may need to alter the order of construction. (Normally, the sleeve and side seams of the Tiramisu are sewn all at once after the front and back of the dress are constructed flat, but I went ahead and finished the sleeves/sewed the side seams together before taking this picture, since constructing the side seams around the zipper would be much more difficult than the other way around. It may take a little more effort to get the side seams to match up between pieces this way. For my current fitting needs, the big advantage to this was that I was able to put on the mostly-finished bodice and adjust the gathering and the overlap of the neckline to the larger bust size that I'm currently working with.Which meant that I was able to use my already-sized pattern from before I was pregnant as-is.)

        2. Sew the midriff/waistband pieces together at the sides, or skirt pieces if your pattern does not have an extra band. Depending on the length of your dress, you might be able to do the waist and skirt pieces together. I'm only working with the midriff band for mine, since I'm doing a long skirt and don't want the weight of it to distort things as I sew. (Plus it's a lot easier to take pictures that way!)

        3. Finish the lower edge of the bodice and the top edge of the waistband/skirt. I know knits don't unravel, but it does add some stability to the edge. And since we're working with stretchy fabric and a non-stretchy zipper, that is never a bad thing.

        To add the zipper:

        Front bodice w/ zipper1. Sew one long side of the zipper across the bottom of the bodice, as you normally would for the right side of a vertically-inserted invisible zipper. I started the teeth at the side seam on the left side, because I'm right-handed, but you could easily flip this around if you're left-handed. I also brought some of the extra length past the right side seam and into the back, just to give myself a little more give for opening. I probably could have done this for the left seam as well to make the whole thing more centered, but I really don't want to have to be reaching behind me with one hand while trying to wrangle a squirming baby with the other! Better to leave the zipper pull where I can more easily see it.

        Front waistband w/ zipper2. Baste the other side of the zipper onto the waistband, being careful to align the top edge of the teeth with the correct side seam. Close the zipper, check to make sure both seams are lining up on either side of the zipper, and adjust if necessary. Once you're satisfied with how the sides are lining up, stitch over the basting line. When opened, the two pieces will look kind of like this.

        Back bodice/waistband3. Sew the back of the bodice and the back of the waistband together. I added clear elastic here, both to help support the weight of the maxi-skirt and to allow it to bounce back if I need to stretch the dress to get it on over my chest later. (I had to do two rows of stitching here--to get the seam closed as much as possible, I used my zipper foot on a longer stitch length. But my machine doesn't have a stretch stitch, and I can't zig-zag with my zipper foot, so I added a second row of a narrow zig-zag close by, just in case some of the straight stitches pop. I know it looks a little ripply when it's flat on the table, but the other dress is like that too, and it's not really noticeable when wearing.)

        4. Shorten zipper if necessary, and press back seams up towards bodice.

        5. Continue on with the dress from here-- I still need to add the skirt pieces and hem it, but that's it!

        Zipper when closedWhen the zipper is closed, it looks like a normal seam, except for that pull tab...

        Zipper when opened

        ...and then once you open it, easy breastfeeding access without having to stretch out your neckline!

        Hopefully that was clear enough--let me know if I need to clarify anything! And for those of you who are moms that sew, I'd love to hear if you have any other nursing hacks you like to add into your clothes.

        April 9, 2015

        They're finally done!!

        My biggest baby-sewing project, that is: the diapers. I really doubt this is the sort of thing most people reading this would be sewing, so feel free to skip this post if you think it'll bore you. But given that this was a 2-person, 4-month job, the end is definitely worth celebrating!

        Also, I'd like to give a shoutout to my mom--I know she reads this blog when she can, and I literally could not have done this and finished with this much time to spare without all of her help. My sanity would not be very intact either, for that matter. So thanks, Mom!!!

        All the diapers!!So...this is what 72 cloth diapers plus inserts look like, at least as far as I could fit them into the picture. There's 24 apiece of three different sizes: newborn, small and medium, because according to the pattern, these three sizes should fit him all the way from 8.5 to 35 pounds. Worst case scenario, if Hobbit is a fast grower, I may have to make a batch of larges sometime, but now that I know the process, hopefully one set would go fast. I also went for prints/colors that I considered to be fun-but-gender-neutral, since we started this process before I knew he's a boy, and ideally, these will hold up well enough that I can use them again for any sibling he might get down the road. But even if they don't, I think the money savings on using them with one child will make this effort worthwhile!

        The pattern we used is called Darling Diapers Unlimited. The nice thing about this pattern is that you can use it to make pretty much any type of fitted cloth diaper that you want. The not-so-nice thing about this pattern is that it makes the directions ridiculously confusing to follow. I ended up making two different styles, and literally went through the directions to re-write out a step-by-step guide for Mom and I to follow, only using the printed directions as a reference point after that.

        For all of the diapers, I used poly-urethane laminate for the outside, a softer athletic mesh for the inside layer, and cotton fleece for the "soaker" layers. I was able to get the mesh from Joann's, but I got everything else from Diaper Sewing Supplies. The quality of their snaps and elastic sounded a lot better than the Babyville Boutique stuff I could get at Joann's, and I liked that the company aims to supply quality American-made products in an eco-friendly manner (including their PUL manufacturing). Also, frankly, they have a much bigger variety of prints and they're way more fun!

        A little more detail on the two styles...

        Left side: Unfolded. Right side: Folded and velcroed closed.
        The newborns are basically what you'd consider an "all-in-one" diaper. I did have to wing it a bit on the padding, because I'd already cut everything as rectangles to fold into thirds before I realized that the stuff-the-pocket type wasn't even listed as an option for this size, due to how tiny they are. So I added a layer of the athletic mesh on one third of the soaker for softness, and then sewed them into the back. Since they're still mostly detached, I'm hoping this will help them dry faster. I also ended up stitching a little extra fleece underneath in the backside region--hopefully it's not too TMI to say that the soaker ended up being narrow enough that I was nervous about things being contained back there without a little extra width. Ahem. I used velcro for the closure, to make it easier to handle the diaper changes while we're first learning to do this, and did the scooped front option so that it wouldn't rub against his belly button while that's still healing over.

        Clockwise from top left: Unstuffed, the liner, and stuffed.
        For the small and medium sizes, I did more of a "pocket diaper" for ease of cleaning and especially speed of drying. So all of the soaker layers are the tri-fold rectangles, and can be pulled out for washing. I also decided to do snaps instead of velcro for these two sizes--I figured those would stay on a little better once he starts getting mobile, and also be less likely to pick up all of the dog hair that seems to accumulate around here. That, and since these heavy-duty plastic snaps don't separate quite as easily as the usual metal sewing ones I've used in the past, hopefully that will keep him from succeeding in taking them off himself! Here's hoping that I can keep the two sizes straight, since the solid blue/green and the TARDIS print were used for both of them, and I figured I was spending enough and therefore didn't get size labels.

        The stashbusting total: a whopping 31.25 yards! Granted, I did buy all of these fabrics specifically for this project. I did have to buy an extra yard of the athletic mesh, though that got used up. I bought a little extra plain PUL from Joann's to help reinforce snaps once I ran out of scraps, and still have maybe a yard of that left, but I purposely bought extra so I can make a changing pad for the diaper bag. (Hopefully that will happen soon.) And since the rectangular soakers took less fabric than I thought, I have nearly 2 yards of the cotton fleece left over. It's got a pretty rough texture on the outside, so I don't think it'll make a good sweatshirt or anything like that. But I have some ideas for non-clothes things I can use it for, if I don't end up needing to make a set of large-sized diapers.  

        And since the whole point of this undertaking was to save us money long-term, here's the breakdown: I ended up paying a total of around $350 for all of the supplies, which translates to less than $5 per diaper. It looks like the absolute best I can do buying the cloth ones new is around $6.67 apiece. I got this price off of a 6-pack on Amazon, and those are ones that have a bajillion snaps so you can try to make the same diaper fit the kid as he/she grows. Definitely cheaper, but I wasn't sure how well they'd hold up from all of the washing. If I was getting the more sized ones like I made, it would be at least around $18 apiece. Which means I would have only gotten about 19 diapers for the same cost.

        On the flip side, I did a little googling, and according to Mint.com, the average cost of 1 year of disposables is around $800. I know I'll have to occasionally use the disposables for instances like church nursery/if Doug's mom is babysitting for us, since I really can't see her wanting to deal with these. (My mom is totally on board, though.) Even so, aside from the cost of detergent and my time in carting the laundry around/getting loads started and put away, using these as my primary means of diapering should pay for itself in less than 6 months. Which means more money for fabric, right?