Saturday, September 17, 2011

Infant Lap Tee Tutorial

I've been sewing a lot of things for our little boy that we're expecting in January. I am attempting to sew most of his wardrobe using my huge fabric stash. We're planning on using cloth diapers, which don't really work well with onesies. Too much bulk for a little body, and they don't work well with fitted diapers and wool covers. So long sleeve t-shirts were in order. I scoured the internet for a pattern or tutorial, but there were none to be found that were free and ready to go. I drafted a pattern for a newborn/0-3 months lap tee with some help from Dana's 90-minute shirt tutorial and I'm posting it up here for you all to use! I even included those little mitt pockets on the sleeve that can fold over to cover up their little fingers and sharp fingernails :)

Click here to access the PDF file. I am quite new to digitizing patterns, and did the best I could with those curves, I hope to learn the art of tutorial making soon. For now, you'll just have to bear with me :)

While decided what fabric to use for these shirts, I was thinking it would be really nice if I could get my hands on plain old t-shirt fabric. Then I remembered all of these t-shirt leftovers I had from making t-shirt quilts. They had been sitting in my upcycle pile for ages. The shirts were perfect for this project, and the bonus is that they already have a hem on the bottom. I hate hemming. I haven't figured out how to make a nice looking hem with a knit fabric sans coverstitch machine. *This pattern does not include a hem allowance, if you'd like to make your own hem, you can add to the bottom of the shirt pattern.*

First, cut out your pattern pieces. Note that the front and back pieces have a dotted line that should be placed on the fold of the fabric. Seam allowances have been included. Once I had cut out a shirt, I used those pieces to cut out more shirts. It was a lot faster than folding the fabric and using the paper template. I cut out the pieces using my rotary cutter.

Line the bottom of the template up with the hem of the shirt. You should be able to get both the front and back pieces on one half of the shirt you are upcycling.

You can cut the sleeves for the lap tee using the upper portion of the shirt. Fold the shirt in half as shown, then using the pattern, cut out both sleeves. It is important that if you cut out the pieces separately, that you make sure to flip the template upside down for one of the sleeves, or else you will have the mitt pockets facing opposite sides when you sew up your shirt. If you don't want to includ the mitt pockets then you can remove the square portion on the bottom of the sleeve.

The last step of cutting is the binding for the neck. I trimmed off the edge from cutting the sleeves. I use my rotary cutter and ruler to measure a strip that is 1.5" wide and runs the whole width of the shirt. Cut the strip in half.
And you've finished cutting all of your pieces!

The next step is to sew the binding on to the neckline. The length of the binding should be slightly shorter than the neckline, you want it to stretch as you're sewing it down. It gives the neckline the best shape in place of using a rib knit like the collars on t-shirts. Pin the binding to the neckline right sides together and sew down the edge using 1/4- 1/2" seam allowance. You can see phase 1 of attaching the binding completed in the bottom picture.

Phase 2 is pinning down the binding and topstitching. These directions are for my cheater version of binding. Turn the seam allowance towards the binding and fold the binding over the seam allowance. Pin in place. Turn of the shirt and topstitch on the right side of the shirt. This leaves a raw edge on the wrong side of the shirt. Trim it down and you're done with phase 2! If you want a clean finished edge on the inside, you can cut a 2" wide strip of binding and fold the unfinished edge in before topstitching. I personally feel like that is a very bulky neckline, and prefer to exclude the extra layer of the binding.

Attach the neckline for both the front and back pieces.

Now let's prep the mitts for the sleeves. Lay out the sleeve with the right side of the fabric facing up. Fold over the pocket portion of the pattern piece as shown. Using a satin stitch, sew down the edge of the pocket to the sleeve.

To sew a satin stitch, set your machine to a zig zag stitch, using a very wide stich width, and a very short stitch length.
Don't forget to change your settings back to normal after you finish both sleeves.

Now you're ready to put the shirt together!

1. Lay out the front piece in front of you.
2. Lay the back piece down next, facing away from you. The shoulders on the back piece should overlap the shoulders on the front piece as shown.
3. Lay down the sleeves, make sure that the mitt pocket side is toward the back piece.

Fold over the sleeve so that it matches the edge of the armscye on the back piece and pin it. Then math the other edge of the sleeve up with the armscye on the front piece and pin it. The shoulder pieces will overlap. Sew down that seam and trim it down. Repeat with the other sleeve.

Fold the shirt in half and pin down the sleeve and the side of the shirt. Sew down the sleeves and sides and you're finished!

Make many many more :) I think Baby has plenty of itty bitty tees now!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vacation Crafting

We just returned from a nice and relaxing week with our family and friend in Maine. We had no cell phone service or wireless internet where we were doing some glorified camping. We did have lots of fun spending time together on the farm playing funball, cooking mountains of food for the family and friends, traveling down Coos Canyon, and driving 40 minutes to the nearest wal-mart to replace my broken crochet hook :) I didn't spend much time behind the camera, but I did snap some pictures of Natalie riding a "pony" named Dragon.

She was in 7th heaven and has been jabbering away about him ever since. Her Aunt Bri stayed with her the entire pony ride to make sure she wouldn't fall off.

It was gorgeous, and worth the trip. But I was dreading the 9 hours in the car with a 2 year old. Since we were driving through the day and we don't have a portable DVD player, I wrapped up little dollar store "surprises" to keep Natalie occupied when she got cranky. The hit of the ride was a little bag of foam stickers. It kept her occupied for at least 2 hours, she even persisted and continued when it was dark and the road was bumpy. She peeled and stuck the entire bag of "over 100" stickers and placed them on the coloring book surprise that didn't get nearly as much love. This is the result of her efforts:

And, since I can be just as cranky as a 2 year when I'm in the car for 9 hours, I had to bring somthing to occupy myself as well. I settled on crocheting more amigurumi, since I couldn't bring my sewing machine to make diapers and sleepers.

Natalie loves them both, although she misheard me when she asked what the creature on the left was. I distinctly said "hamster" and she distinctly heard "monster." So here is Monster the hamster, and my funkalicious turtle. He turned out a little wonky, but 2 year olds don't really care about that, right?

Sigh, back to real life. I head back to work for the school year on Monday, and I'm trying my best to resist writing about how much I want to stay home with my big girl all year long.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Anniversary in DC

We went to Washington, DC yesterday to get in some good quality time and celebrate 3 years of marriage. We haven't gone since field trips in high school, so of course, Natalie had never been there either. We realized once again that we are not and will never be city slickers :) It is quite a nerve wracking adventure. I'd rather have my little home in the sticks of Northern Maryland than the big, flashy city any day of the week.

We had grand plans of doing a couple museums in the first part of the day and then maybe heading to the zoo for a few hours. It did not go as planned, does anything really go as planned anymore?
We started at the National Museum of American History. I didn't take any pictures inside because most of it was too dark for my flash-less camera. There were so many interesting exhibits! Robert spent forever in the Transportation exhibit and I was enthralled by the exhibit of the First Ladies and their fantastic dresses and accessories. We spent the entire morning and some of the afternoon there!

We spent the rest of the afternoon at the National Museum of Natural History. It was mind blowing and definitely Natalie's favorite part of the trip. She got to see a tank ful of fish from the coral reef (aka Nemo & Dory from her favorite movie), a large stuffed bison, and the huge elephant in the Rotunda. I was captivated by the gems and minerals exhibit. It is so amazing to see how gems are created and the subtle differences in the structure of their atoms that makes diamonds so much harder than quartz.

Bug's quite serious "ouch!" face :)

Unfortunately, it was the kind of day where once Bug caught sight of the camera she became uncooperative and unreasonably grouchy. We have exactly zero nice pictures of us together.

Yeah, it was that kind of day for the camera. However, it was a great, long, exciting day our family.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A project 13 weeks in the making...

I know it's been rather quiet here again lately, but I promise I have a good reason this time! I've been working on creating a little miracle! The side effects of this project include extreme fatigue, mood swings, and last but definitely not least, all day long nausea. We are expecting to add baby #2 to our family in January! We got to see our little peanut about 4 weeks ago, and I am thrilled to say that baby was doing well and had a nice strong heartbeat and little wiggling arm and leg buds!
I am more or less terrified of adding baby #2 to our family, but I am ready to take on the challenge!

We wanted to be a little bit sneaky about telling our families this time, since they've been pestering me about adding to our family quite a bit :) If we outright told them, all we would have gotten is "It's about time!" Ha ha.
So I embellished one of Natalie's shirts with "Big Sister" and made these printable magnets with the "Miracle in the Making" image above. I shamelessly stole my inspiration from these frames. We sneakily put them on the refrigerator to see how long it would take to get them to notice. We've been waiting for Bug to give us away for the last few weeks. She's grown fond of saying "There's a baby in my belly!"

They noticed her shirt right away, but the magnet took them a while to catch! They are so happy and excited for us. We just can't wait for January to arrive so we can hold our little bean!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sewing for ME!

I've been busy not feeling too hot for the last few weeks, and trying to get in some orders for my friends. Lots of reuseable snack bags, and a couple t-shirt quilts that will be graduation presents. In between all of that, I've managed to sew for myself!

I started with a pair of dress pants that I bought for work. They were ill-fitting, but inexpensive, and I bought them thinking that I would alter them. It didn't happen for a long time, and every now and then I'd have to pull out the ill fitting pants. Yesterday I got so fed up with them that I put them on inside out, pinned them up, and altered them before I went to work. It only took 20 minutes!! I can't believe I put it off for that long, I have a couple more pairs that I want to fix up now that I figured out exactly how easy it is! I looked and felt so much better that day :)

I also had a daughter and daddy free day on Sunday. My fabulous sister took Natalie for the day and the hubs had some side jobs planned. I hosted the first Sewing Group meeting for my mommies group. ( - for Haford and Cecil County, MD. There is most likely a chapter near you- you can check for locations near you at The Mommies Network home site) We had a blast sewing together! We decided to all do the same project this time- and started with an adorable Sash Bag made with a free pattern made by Aimee at Homespun Threads. She has a bunch of cute patterns, and they're all FREE!

Here is my bag! I used a home dec weight blue houndstooth for the outer, and an antique, french, sewing inspired print for the inside.

Also, Crafterhours started off their 2011 Skirt Week! I entered the Milkmaid Skirt I made for Natalie in August, and I'm planning to try and get some skirts for me in as well!


Monday, April 18, 2011


Yesterday we celebrated Bug's 2nd year of life :) I can't believe how much she's grown in the past year! We decided to have a frog theme for her party, because she has such a cute ribbit :D Here are some of the highlights of the decorations and things I made. I adore this little skirt. It's a simple circle skirt with ruffled tulle around the bottom edge. This fabric is fabulous- Girly Frogs!! A little clippie I shamelessly copied from a little hairbow shop. Hers is better, I couldn't quite figure out how she made his body.

Our little cake table, I highly recommend Touche Touchet if you're in the Maryland area. The bakery is in Columbia, and she has done my bridal shower, wedding cake and cupcakes, and this lily pad cake is PERFECT! My mom added the frog faces to the cupcakes with marshmellows and candy buttons.

This is one of those moments where I thought "to the CLOUD!" because in every single picture all 3 of us were looking different directions! It's sad that this one was the best!

We got some dress ups for my girl, she likes her Tinkerbell wings the best, she left a trail of glitter (and sticky handprints) as she fluttered dreamily through the house :)

Just a few pictures of the decorations. I see a photography class in my future this summer, so pardon the terrible photos until I learn what I'm doing.

There were two of these little guys hanging in the doorway, they were a definite hit!

Please pardon the deflated balloons, I didn't realize that I never snapped a picture of the scene in it's full glory!

I feel like I can finally breathe again! Hopefully I can get to some fun Easter activities with Bug this week!

Monday, April 11, 2011

sock monkey

I've been wanting to make a sock monkey for a while now- and when I saw some red heel socks at my new favorite store I just couldn't resist! It's probably a good thing that the nearest Hobby Lobby is still an hour away....

Here he is, with his little fez :) It makes me smile just to see him. Bug has hardly put him down since I finished him, she said "I lika my monkeeey" all day yesterday.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Baby Shower Gifts

This was a baby shower gift for one of my friends, if it wasn't pink, I don't think I would have been able to let it go! I definitly need to do a green one for Bug :) I followed Dana's fabulous Faux Chenille Blanket Tutorial. I love this shabby chic fabric with the ribbons, it matches my friend's style perfectly.

This dress was fun as well, I scaled up the Itty Bitty Baby Dress to a 3-6 month size and added a twirl skirt to the bottom- this baby is going to look ADORABLE this summer!

I think these shoes might be my favorite part! I used this Pleated Ballerina Slipper pattern.

I have some leftover fabric from the Jelly Roll I have of that collection featuring more blue and green- I'm still deciding what I might do with that

Saturday, March 5, 2011

i spy quilt

Natalie's other Christmas present was an I-Spy quilt. I made 3 of them all together, two for my nephews, I didn't get pictures of them with working last minute and all.... :) I used the Disappearing Nine Patch tutorial on Obsessively Stitching. I loved how quick and easy they were to put together!

The orange denim backing is one of my favorite parts :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Going Green is Saving Green!!

Since I had Bug, I really started searching for ways that we could save money. I've always been thrifty, using coupons, shopping clearance and sales, etc... But now we needed to save some serious cash. A few months after Bug arrived, I discovered cloth diapers. They were no longer the prefolds and pins and rubber pants image that I had stuck in my head. They were easy to use (no pins or plastic pants!!) and they were going to save us tons of money! In doing research, I also found that I could make them myself. I was doubly tempted. Saving money, and having a good excuse to slave away at the sewing machine and try something new, it was a no brainer!

Now, I'm not going to get up on a soapbox and tell you to save the Earth. I'm just going to tell you that I can make a reuseable cloth diaper for just about $5. The average box of bulk diapers bought at a wholesale store cost $30-$40, and got used up in about month. For the same price, I made eight diapers that will last us YEARS! It just makes sense.

The added bonus, is that cloth diapered bums are ADORABLE!

Hopefully this summer my little Bug will be a big girl with no more need for diapers, and these puppies will be cleaned thoroughly and put away for future use ;)

I have also discovered a few other things that have saved us money.

I made my own baby food, saves about 50% or more off the cost of buying jarred food.

I've ditched the ziplocs and started using reuseable snack bags/sandwich wraps.

I use "unpaper towels". (I made my own very easily, but you can buy them here )

I use a vinegar/water solution to clean most surfaces. No more harmful chemicals, same disinfecting power, and it's cheap! I've also made reuseable swiffer wet pad and duster pads.

Of course, now my dear husband complains that he misses throwing things away :) At least we're not throwing away our money!