Sunday, February 24, 2013

Anxiously Awaiting

I've had a lot of anxiety lately. As I'm sure every soon-to-be-new-mom has. We are so close to actually meeting this.... person that's been growing in utero these last eight months. So close.

I wonder about the physical.  What will she look like? Will she have J's eyes or mine?  Will she have dark hair like me? J was a blond as a babe.  Though truthfully, we all know brand new babies tend to look like little grandpas more than anyone else.

I wonder about her personality, too.  The longer I teach children, the more I realize that so much is biological- personality wise, that is.  Will she be like we were as kids?  I think we were both really laid back.  J is type A.  I'm type whatever.  She may be high maintenance.  You never know...

I wonder about her interests.  We both love art so much.  We giggle about how she'll probably want nothing to do with art when she gets older.  What will she be interested in? What will she want to be when she grows up?

I have this fear that I won't be able to take care of a baby.  Like basic needs.  I've had a recurring dream lately where my little calico cat packs up her bags and leaves because I forget to feed her.  Yes, it's actually a dream where a cat packs up a little hobo bag.  You know, a bandanna tied to a stick.  It sounds funny (it is), but I wake up really distressed.

I worry about being a good parent.  Teaching her to be a good person.  Teaching her right from wrong.  Teaching her to care for others.  Setting a good example.  Being patient and kind.  I especially worry about being patient after working a full day at an elementary school. 


Being a working mom weighs on my conscience, too.  But that's topic for another day.  Or not, I know it's a touchy subject.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself.  She'll be here before we know it.  Even with all my anxiety, I'm pretty confident we can cover her basic needs.  I mean, I think we can.  We should have no problem feeding her.  And sheltering her.   And God knows I can clothe her.  Hehehe...

That is the point of this post, in case you were wondering.  I sat down the other weekend and went a little nuts making some baby clothes.  With a little help from Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's Wear and Baby Wear and a few baby patterns I own,  I made a little bodice pattern.  It either snaps at the shoulders or ties.  All of these outfits are sized for around three months, though I suspect they will fit more around six months.  She should be able to wear them this summer.

This outfit is made from leftover fabric from previous projects.  How fun is it that baby things take so little fabric?  Glad I saved all my scraps.  The little pantaloons came from a McCall's pattern.

This dress is my favorite.  The striped fabric began life as a cowgirl shirt complete with purple pearl snaps.  I tried to salvage the snaps but couldn't.  The bloomers and lining came from a favorite linen skirt that I can no longer wear.  The linen is worn and soft and the most wonderful faded peach color.  It was serendipitous that it matched the shirt so well.  Does anyone else save old clothes because they love the fabric so much?  I have a bucket full of old things I can't bear to giveaway because I want to re-purpose the fabric.  It was fun to dig though my bucket and put some things to use.


Like this last little dress.  It was an embroidered airy tunic I never wore.  It looks better as a pretty little sundress anyway.  Sewing little bitty things is so satisfying.

  I'll continue to focus on the clothing part of taking care of a baby.  It seems to help the anxiety a bit.  We'll figure out the rest later....

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Mobile For Baby

Been working on nursery stuff.  Of course.  I can't believe how quickly time is passing during this pregnancy.  And at the same time, I can't believe how slow it's going either.  It's like some sort of bizarro time warp.

 I made a mobile to hang above baby Jane's crib.  I'm calling her baby Jane from now on.  No, that's not going to be her real name.  We actually don't have a name picked out yet.  We are so indecisive.  I think we are going to wait until we see her before we pick for real.  So baby Jane it is, for blog purposes and for the fact that she is still a no name baby.  I finished the crib skirt, too.

Anyway, the mobile.  So much fun to make.  So much fun.  I knew as soon as I was pregnant that I would make as many things in baby's nursery as possible.  I've done a few sets of baby bedding for friends and friends of friends in the past couple of years.  During my initial research on how to do it all, I realized that I was not too keen on all the bedding sets that were available at chain stores.  And I hated the plastic mobiles that attach to the side of the crib.   I especially dislike the fabric cover they put over the arm of the mobile.  Blech.  So I knew I wanted to make my own mobile.  Every nursery should have a cute mobile.  

I wanted silly animals.  Silly little animals are my favorite thing to draw.  I draw animals all the time at work.  I'll have to show you my crazy mixed up animal book some time.  If I have the time, I'm going to do some drawings to hang on the walls in the nursery, too.  I thought it would be great to have some funny looking fat cats hanging from a mobile.  Which made me think of my own two cats.

I did some internet research on making mobiles but was stumped on how to put it all together.  I've made mobiles before as art lessons.   Wire mobiles with hanging shapes.  Wooden mobiles with paper mache things dangling.   They are a pita to balance.  I had some elaborate Alexander Calder system in my head and no idea how to execute it.  And then Nancy over at Owen's Olivia posted an etsy feature about Pink Cheeks Studio.  And I was totally and completely smitten with the pigs in tutus.  The tutus. Ha!  All the work at Pink Cheeks Studio is whimsically amazing.  Is whimsically a word?  If not, it should be.

I needed a mobile with animals in tutus.  So I blatantly copied the tutus.  I think I even found some of the same trim, or close.   And I decided I needed a pig.  And pom poms.  The duck came after I thought about all the pink and yellow in the nursery.   All the animals are made out of fleece and felt.  I had to make a few prototypes before I came up with the right size and shape.  They are all sort of shaped like a cone.  With funny little arms, legs and ears sticking out of seams.  The two cats just make me giggle out loud every time I see them.  Did you notice that the calico cat has one orange leg?  She has a tiger leg in real life.  We call it her party leg.  Her other legs are all business.  Socks, unfortunately, is not amused.  He does not appreciate the tutu.

J helped make the actual hanging device.  It's an oval embroidery hoop cut in to two pieces.  He glued it together in the middle, painted it white and drilled holes in the end for hanging.  The string above the wooden hanger is actually what balances the mobile, fyi.  It's one continuous string from animal to ceiling.  There is a knot below the hole in the hanger.  After I strung on all the animals, I held up the mobile and adjusted the strings above the hanger to balance it all out before I tied the final knot at the top.  Then I begged J to install a hook in his beautifully painted ceiling.  He did so very reluctantly ;)

My favorite part: the butts floating in mid-air.  I hope this mobile makes baby Jane smile as much as it makes me smile.

So how are the cats doing with all the change going on 'round here?  Just fine.  They'll be fine.  The little calico one is learning where she is and is not allowed.  She is allowed on the ottoman.  Or the floor.  Not the glider or dresser, though.  And definitely not the crib.

Hanging a giant dangle-y cat toy above the crib sort of sends mixed signals though!  That's where the tin foil comes in.  Thanks so much to whoever suggested using foil.  She hates it.   I cackle evil-like when I think about how much she can't stand the foil.  Though it leaves something to be desired when it comes to the decor.

Baby Jane, we are (all) anxiously awaiting your arrival! :D 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Urge To Serge

 Hey online sewing community.  Y'all are awesome!  I was so encouraged by all the great information and links you passed along in the comments the other day.   I sat down the next night and sidled on up to Sergio.  He is quite the gentleman, by the way.  Not nearly as scary as I though he'd be. Thank you so much for all the great suggestions and advice.  I watched this awesome video and I have had no trouble threading.  I threaded it the first go no problem.  I'd say the 1034d is super user friendly.  I used a bunch of different partial spools of blue thread (not sure why I had so many) and I ended up re-threading the machine several times as a spool ran out.  I highly recommend doing the same at first because now I'm totally confident in my ability to thread my serger.  It really is not too difficult.

Yes, that's snow and no, I'm not cold.  My crazy pregnancy hormones keep me hot and flustered all the time now.  We had about a inch of wet snow yesterday.  The only snow of the season.  

I watched a few other videos as well.  The dvd's that came with the machine wouldn't play on our old Mac laptop.  Someone else complained of the same issue, just fyi.  Then I rummaged around in the stash and came up with this blue ponte knit.  I measured the widest part of my hips, divided in two and cut two rectangles using that measurement.   I didn't add any seam allowance.  I figured the stretch would take care of some of that.  I also wanted the skirt to be snug so I can wear it post baby.  Then I cut two more rectangles for the band.  They were each twenty inches high so I have a ten inch fold over band in case you are interested.  Very slapdash methods, I daresay.  I tested the tension on a few scraps ( I did need to adjust the upper looper) and I was off.  Three seams later, I had a maxi maternity skirt.  This has to be the fastest garment I've ever made.  My only regret is that I didn't give myself some sweep at the hem.  It's a straight up-and-down column.  Which is okay.  But if I make another I'll add some width to the hem to make it more a-line.  In some of these photos I'm wearing it folded up a second time.


I attempted to use the blind hem foot on some scraps but it was a disaster.  I'll need some more practice before I master that.  So I just serged the bottom edge of my skirt and left it.  If I'm ever feeling more proper, I'll flip it up once and stitch on my regular machine.  I made another maternity tee next.  I used the same Burda long sleeve tee pattern as before and a rayon knit from the stash.  I did have to up the differential feed for this knit to prevent wavy seams.  Always test on a scrap first!  This time I added a bit of width as well as length for ruching.  I didn't bother matching any plaids.  Hope you're not too horrifed.  Pretty much every seam is either ruched or eased in anyway (all the bands are a tiny bit shorter than the edge they are attached to), so I'm not sure how I could have matched anything anyway.

Not much else to say.  These are definitely not the best executed garments in the world, but they were both perfect for learning to use my new machine.  I wanted to flip the inside out and take another photo, but I was too lazy.  You'll just have to trust that all my seams are nicely serged!  I'm so excited about all the options I have now and all the useful techniques I get to learn.  Again, thanks so much for all the suggestions.  I think I'm definitely going to take that Craftsy class eventually to make sure I take advantage of all the different functions my serger has.


This is the bump at 33 weeks.  Let me just say, it is getting harder to post pictures of my giant self these days ;)  I did my best to look cute and pregnant.  But I'll be honest, I feel like a sack of potatoes.  All lumps and bumps and bosoms.  Hehehe.  It's all worth it.  It's hard to believe I'm still going to get bigger.  Craziness!  We can hardly wait for this last seven weeks to pass by. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oh Brother, Here Thou Art

Meet Sergio.  We are busy getting acquainted at the moment.  Actually, I've only admired him from the other side of the room so far.  We are still at the stage of exchanging furtive glances.  I haven't actually had the nerve to talk to him yet....  Those threading instructions are insane.

I honestly had no hope that I would own a serger in the near future.  With baby coming along soon, I was pretty sure it would be months and months before I had saved up enough.  But my wonderful husband decided I was worth it.  Must have something to do with carrying around this child for past eight months ;)  I may actually attempt to cook dinner tonight in appreciation rather than flopping on the couch and complaining about my giant belly.   I had a birthday last week, too.  Whatever the reason, thank you J.  You are the awesomest.  Love you.

What's the perfect project to get to know your serger, folks?  Maybe a simple skirt?  I've been longing for a maternity maxi skirt.  That may be just the ticket.  A couple of rectangles.  And how on earth do you decide if the tension is set correctly when you use a serger?  I swear all those little troubleshooting diagrams looked the same to me.  Any good serging tips or links?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Necessity is a Mother

Now is the time in pregnancy where I feel like it's important to have a sense of humor. 
 Otherwise I'd cry.

I feel like the Michelin man.  Or a stuffed sausage. Or Foghorn Leghorn (something about having all this weight up high on my body makes me feel like a rooster).  Baby went through a growth spurt last week, I believe.  The bump has all of a sudden expanded to basketball sized proportions.   It really is funny looking.  J and I giggle every night about this giant belly.  But we're so ready to meet the culprit.   I am 31 weeks now.  Only nine more weeks to go.  Holy cow.

Excuse the leaves in the photos.  Gutters were cleaned but I was too lazy to sweep aside the debris.  I'm back to feeling exhausted.  I think it's just from the physical side of carrying around so much extra weight.  I cut out fabric for the crib skirt yesterday, crawling around on my hands and knees on the hardwood floor and I felt the weight.  I had to put on some of J's knee pads.  

Anyway, I have run out of things to wear.  I don't have many things that fit anymore.  I have about five outfits that I can wear to work.  I just rotate the day I wear each item.  I've been looking longingly at the rest of my closet.  So I made a quick tee out of necessity.  I don't love it but it will have to do.  Pregnant girls can't be choosy.

I used my favorite Burda long sleeve tee pattern from the 2/2011 issue.  I decided to go slim fitting now that I have a big bump but I think it ended up a little too slim.  I cut my usual size and modified the front according to Zoe's maternity tutorial.  I didn't add any width, just length to ruche and I think that was a mistake.  That tutorial is a fantastic maternity tutorial for those lucky gals who only gain a bump and don't expand anywhere else.  I, on the other hand, have spread out all over.  I should have started with a size up.  If I make a maternity tee again (which I might soon) I'll add some width as well as length for the bump and I'll start my ruching down about an inch or so.

I did bands at all the hems to avoid battling the ripply hem.  I added a wide band at the neckline to look like a mock turtleneck.  I wanted a high neck to cover up my new bust line ;)   None of my stripes match because of the amount of fabric I had.  The stripe is really subtle on this knit so I think it's fine.

I can tell from wearing and from the photos that I need more width through the bust, shoulder and back.  My knit has super duper recovery, so a knit with less recovery may have fit better.  This knit has some spandex in it.  Anyway, it feels too slim for my tastes but that could also be personal preference.  It adds to my stuffed sausage feeling.  I'm wearing it anyway.  Like I said, it's a necessary tee.

We had our last ultrasound this past week.  We did one of those fun 3-d ultrasounds.  It was amazing.  We have confirmation that she is indeed a girl, so I can continue on with the pink.  And the ultrasound tech even spotted a little bit of hair on her head!  She kicks like crazy.   But then again, she hasn't stopped kicking like crazy since I first felt her.  It's a very surreal feeling.  I hope I don't sound too whiny when I talk about feeling super sized because I know how lucky I am to be able to experience this.  Every bit of it is worth it.  And it has all been fun- the good and the bad.   I can't wait to finally meet this little person who's been making such a fuss in my belly for last few months.