Saturday, February 18, 2012

Baby Bonnet Finished!

I really wanted to finish this baby bonnet, not only because it is promised to someone else and I hate to drag my feet on things like that, but because it is such an easy project that it is reliable gratification.  To recap, I offered to make a baby bonnet for a coworker who is expecting a new niece any day now.  I used a tutorial from Sew Mama Sew that I have used before with adorable results.

Since I've been on a re-use kick lately, I decided to reuse some fabric I had around.  A pair of sleep shorts with a cute butterfly and flower pattern was the lucky donor.  I'm glad I left the center serged seams in place because I would have needed to piece the fabric anyway.  I don't have a serger so I would have been duplicating work.  After carefully deconstructing the garment to save as much as I could, I got to work.  The bonnet has three layers.  The outer layer is the butterfly fabric.  There is a hidden inner layer of a thicker cotton weave to give the bonnet a bit of stability since the outer layer is a worn thinner cotton and the innermost layer is a white cotton t-shirt knit.  Also recycled, but with no body of its own.  I wanted something soft for against the baby's head.  The ties are also t-shirt fabric for this reason.

So without further ado, here are the last few stages in pictures.

This is with the pieces assembled and sewn on 3 sides.  Sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the pieces and intervening steps.  This stage caused me enough headache as I had accidentally piled the pieces out of order.  So when I flipped it to the right sides the interfacing fabric was showing instead of the butterflies.  I had to pick all the stitches out and reorder them to sew again.  Unfortunately I had already trimmed the seam allowances so I had to sew very carefully.

Once that was done (correctly) the next stage was trimming them front edge.  Last time I made this bonnet I was able to just use some wide lavender ribbon from my stash and call it a day.  Unfortunately that ribbon doesn't match this fabric.  The client wanted white trim anyway, but luckily I had some white bias tape in my stash as well.  Bring much narrower than the ribbon, I had to sew it on carefully in two steps.  I sewed it on one side to the inside of the bonnet, then folded it over the raw edge and sewed down through all the layers.

Here it is with the bias tape on.  I also folded over and sewed the bottom edge where the tie will go at the back of the baby's head.  Threading that was a pain.  Lacking also any spaghetti bias tape, which is what the tutorial calls for, I improvised by using more of my white bias tape folded over and sewn through to create a narrower width.  The channel had come out a bit narrower than intended, so there was some trouble getting the length through, but I managed.  I only had to unpick a small section at the end and re-sew it to make the channel a little wider.  Tied up, the bonnet is done done done!

Here it is with the brim forward:
And back:
I hope she likes it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Baby Bonnet ironing is a go!

Alright, so apparently you can iron on just a table top with a towel for padding.  Guess we're going to find out because I desperately need to iron this butterfly fabric before I can cut out the pattern pieces.  So with that dilemma solved, it will be onward as soon as I have some time to devote, hopefully later this evening.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Baby Bonnet Update with Pictures

So an update on the baby bonnet from sleep shorts project.  Let me tell you, it would have been way easier to just cut, but noooooo.  I wanted to make sure I had enough fabric so all those seams had to be taken out by hand.  Serged seams are doubly a pain.  Plus these babies had a covered elastic waist and trim on the bottom of each leg. 

Finally, though, all the seams are out except two.  I'm waiting on those until I measure to see if there is enough fabric to cut out the pattern sections without piecing fabric.  If I need to do piecing, I might as well keep the original serged seam in place and save some aggravation.  On the upside the fabric is cute, and is growing on me the more I work with it.  I'm hoping to re-use the trim for the ties.  With any luck I'll find another project to use the rest of the fabric.  Zero waste, or as close as I can get, is the goal.

So before decontruction:

And after:

Unfortunately I'm stymied until I find a way to iron the pieces out.  The bottom edge where the trim was attached and the top edge where the waistband were are not going to cooperate for pattern cutting until I can get the fabric to lay flat.  Of course I have an iron, but no ironing board.  Anyone know of a solution to this dilemma?  I'll have to google it at some point and see if I can find an easy way to MacGuyver an ironing board.

At least this is one more step down.  Onward!

Step 3: Iron

Step 4: Cut Pieces from fashion fabric, interfacing fabric, and lining fabric

Step 5: Pin

Step 6: Sew

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Baby Bonnet from sleep shorts

After seeing pictures and hearing about a coworker's new niece on the way, I spontaneously volunteered to make a baby bonnet for her.  This offer enthusiastically accepted, I was faced with the prospect of fulfilling this obligation.

Step 1: pattern
There is a great baby bonnet pattern from Sew Mama Sew that I've made before and I love and I totally intend to deploy it for this project as well.  I'll post the link in my followup post.

Step 2: fabric
Little girls need little girl fabric.  I have around 4-5 boxes of fabric under my bed right now and none of it was appropriate.  Then I'm walking past some bagged clothes intended for donation, and there on top is a pair of sleep shorts in a pretty lavender shade with butterflies and flowers all over it.  Perfect!  I'm currently unpicking all the seams to get a sense of how much fabric I have.  I will have to do some piecing to get the right size sections, but I think it'll work out.  I have plenty of white t-shirt fabric for lining and stiffer cotton woven fabric to use as a stiff inner layer.  Yay for recycled fabric.  And my coworker is excited about the eco-friendly use of fabric too, so win!

So I'm currently in Step 2, and since many of the seams were serged, it'll take a while to unpick them.  But I think it will be worth it to have every speck of fabric, even if it just allows for seam allowance.  Plus it allows me to save pieces I don't use for future projects.  Zero waste is the goal.  Re-using fabric is good for the environment and the wallet.

Pictures will follow.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's Spreading!

I am slowly corrupting my friends.  I was hanging out with some friends when one, S for this discussion, started talking about a pair of dress pants she had bought a year ago that didn't quite fit anymore.  I immediately jumped in with the tale of altering my own dress pants with not too much fuss.

Success!  She pulled them out, tried them on, and it turns out that all they need really is some taking in at the sides and hemming the legs.  No problemo!  So I'm now taking in the sides (by hand since my machine is still in box) and luckily they didn't need to come in too much.  With how heavy the fabric is, I don't think I am going to split the fabric to press the seam open.  It can probably be pressed to the side, not that there is much extra fabric in any case.  The top edge of the dart only came in 1/4" folded.  Her call really.

But I am totally excited that I am slowing spreading the idea of altering clothes to fit instead of buying new.  Quick fixes that I can do with a needle and thread save money and the eco-downside of more new clothes.  She has a sewing machine of her own, but she pretty much sews from scratch - not altering and mending existing clothing.  Hopefully if these pants come out well she'll be hooked.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


I'm thinking I might have to just get rid of some of my jeans.  They're too big around the waist now and unfortunately my sewing machine is not powerful enough to sew multiple layers of denim.  I'm not 100% sure it can handle one.  I could hand sew my dress pants, but I'm not sure that would work as well on denim.  The alternative is to set aside a day to go to Goodwill and look for smaller sized jeans and donate my larger sized ones.  The issue is setting aside a day to try on pants.  I'm not so patient with long bouts of trying things on, especially after you have to comb the racks for your size in the first place.

Maybe I need a thrifting buddy.  Someone to come with and help keep it fun.  Has anyone tried to hand sew denim alterations?  Is it hard?