Thursday, July 28, 2016

Baby Clothes with a Baby in Them

No point trying to come up with a clever post title when I'm only sleeping for two hours at a time. I'm keeping it simple folks. I posted plenty of adorable baby clothes when I was still pregnant, but nothing quite compares to seeing those garments on an actual baby. Baby M is almost three weeks old, so I have some feedback on the garments I made, finally!

First thing you need to know is that she was born eight days past her due date, and she weighed a full pound more than my first two kids. I'm glad that I didn't spend much time on newborn size items, focusing instead on 0-3 months, which is the size of this Lullaby Line Lap Tee. The Birch Organics interlock is SO GOOD for baby clothes. Like, go buy some, now.

Second, I previously mentioned that we use cloth diapers with wool covers, so all the bottoms you see in these photos are super soft merino wool (made by a company called Sustainablebabyish if you're curious). The brand has quite the cult following (me included!) and it's part of the fun to find (or make, in my case) perfect matches, like above and below.

The onesies I hemmed and appliqued have been outgrown the fastest, as they aren't super stretchy. Gerber onesies tend to run small, these are 0-3 month. At least they were inexpensive to make.

I realize that M looks like a boy in most of these photos. I did make coordinating headbands in case we had another girl, but only one was big enough, and basically for only two days. Again, giant baby.

So far, my favorite items have been the Kimono Kid tops. At 10lbs+ they're starting to fit just right (0-3 month size) and since I don't have to pull them over her head, M likes them too. The only disappointing part is the internal metal snaps being kind of sucky (more info about that here in case you missed my review).

Along those same lines, I'm disappointed with my Brindlle & Twig coveralls. The neckline is weirdly high and I've had so much trouble with the snaps. Not fun at 3am when your baby is screaming and you HAVE to change her clothes because she spit up all over them. I don't have any photos of that, you'll have to use your imagination.

Thanks for taking a peek at my baby clothes "in action," I'm so glad I was able to make this adorable capsule wardrobe!

This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Refocusing and Planning for Fall

Did I really say FALL? Seems so far away when right now it's as hot as the surface of the sun. But when I look through my closet, I'm pretty much at critical mass when it comes to summer clothes. I've never shied away from whipping up tank tops. I'm also in that weird transitional phase of post-partum life where my regular clothes don't fit right, and my maternity clothes are both ill-fitting and hive-inducing (get them away from me! I'm not pregnant anymore!). Why not look forward to a time when these things won't be an issue?

I know I've complained about this a lot, but two babies in two years has put a serious dent in my sewing. I've been flipping through my Sewist's Notebook and looking at the projects I planned a year ago, two years ago, and you guessed it, nothing seems right anymore. I look at my fabric stash and wonder what I was thinking. Tastes change.

I have one goal for fall sewing: stashbusting. Making it work. Using up those fabrics that have been sitting for years as I figured out what I like to wear vs. what I like to buy (hint: boring old solids that are high quality get way more love around here). If I have a secondary goal, it's to make simple projects that can be completed quickly. Dolman tops, easy skirts, that kind of thing. I barely have time to drink a cup of coffee, much less sew a complicated garment.

The fabrics that have been hanging out the longest are either striped, or have some crazy print. The stripes will become dolman tops because it means I won't have to set in sleeves or do much besides match side seams. I have three on deck: New Look 6216 (made before here in an epic fail), Simplicity 1463 (one view made before here in an epic win) and a new pattern, Style Arc's Ginger top. Using patterns I've made before will save me time in assembly and alterations.

If you're interested in helping me stashbust, check out my second Instagram account with fabrics I'm looking to sell. These beauties need new homes since they're not getting much love around here.

Are you planning for fall yet? Make sure you don't lose track of your ideas, and snag yourself a Sewist's Notebook. This week, save 15% AND get free shipping! Use code SHIPSAVE16 at checkout.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Product Review: Snap Source metal snaps

It can be intimidating to order sewing supplies online from somewhere new, or to try a new-to-you sewing notion. I recently had that happen with a site called Snap Source, and since I had a mixed experience I thought I would share and hopefully help out some others. I was not paid or perked for this review and I spent my own dolla bills, so no conflicts here!

Some of the most useful sewing suppliers have the worst websites. Obviously, they're more interested in quality of items and service than making it pretty, which is fine, but it can make it harder for my tech-conscious generation. Don't let their homepage fool you, Snap Source has a great selection of snaps and the tools to help you use them properly.

I came to this site after making clothes for my newest baby, specifically the coveralls from Brindlle & Twig. I typically use plastic KAM snaps in size 20, but the B&T pattern recommends metal snaps in size 14. I considered using sew-on snaps, readily available at Jo-Ann's and in my stash, but after considering the labor, I decided to buy. Snap Source sells metal snaps of all sizes and also a specific tool for quickly installing them. I ordered the tool (without a hammer) and metal open ring snaps in size 14, various colors. The tool came prepackaged with practice snaps, which I wasn't expecting and was a nice bonus. There was also a full-color instruction sheet.

I really wanted to like these. It seemed simple. Using the SnapSetter tool, make a sandwich with the snap parts and fabric, bang away with a hammer and viola. Although that WAS the process, in practice it took too long (probably not much faster than sewing by hand) and the results weren't worth it half the time. I'll explain further.

The first part of the sandwich is the bottom of the SnapSetter tool. Next comes the prong, then the fabric, then the middle of the SnapSetter.

This only works if your fabric stays perfectly still, if the thickness is even, if the thickness of the fabric is correct, and if you pre-smoosh (technical term) the prong through the fabric. In the above photo with a single layer scrap, of course it looks easy. But the only way I could get my snap and fabric to stay still was to insert the tip of my tweezers through the second layer of the tool and hold the snap/fabric in place. It was super awkward and annoying, but if I didn't use the tweezers it would all slide off and I'd have to start over.

Here is reality, with a completed garment, with the snap on the leg opening of my coveralls. In this example, the lumps and bumps prevent the force from the hammer being distributed evenly. I seemed to have about a 50% success rate of getting the snaps installed correctly the first time. If you bang away at it and one prong gets bent too far out, you have to pop the whole thing apart and start over with a new prong. In other words: buy lots of extras.

I did eventually figure out that once I had the snap together the right way, even loosely, I could reinforce it with only the top part of the SnapSetter.

This method only required that I center the top part of the tool on the snap. I didn't have to keep everything even between all three parts. It wasn't ideal but it worked and kept me from tearing my hair out.

One other obvious note: setting these is loud. You're banging with a hammer. It's not something I could do during naptime, and ideally it needed to be done without kids around due to the small, sharp parts. If you're a stay at home mom like me, good luck finding a time that meets the above requirements.

I had approximately 4 kimono tops and 3 coveralls that needed between 2-5 snaps each. And of course, that was doubled when you take into account that you need two sides for each snap. I worked on this on and off for weeks and by the time I got down to the last coverall, I had had it. I didn't even bother to finish the last coverall, which probably was a good decision since the snaps I DID install have popped off a few times since baby M was born. I now have a box of snaps and a tool that I don't even want to touch. If I sew these patterns in the future I'll change the pattern to accommodate larger KAM snaps, which are much easier to apply.

This was just my personal experience, your mileage may vary. I know from the B&T Facebook group that plenty of people use these snaps, apparently without issue, but they're just not for me. If you've used them, and I'm doing something wrong, please inform me! I'm happy to learn if I'm making some sort of mistake.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Post-partum Review of Simplicity 1469

A few months ago I wrote a review of Simplicity 1469, which is a maternity/nursing pattern that is supposed to do double-duty. Ideally, it can be worn during pregnancy and also after baby arrives. Well, baby #3 is here (finally! a week late!) so I thought I'd give this top another try.

When I googled this pattern or looked at reviews, I didn't find a single photo of someone wearing it post-partum. My guess is that new moms are just too busy to blog about a garment after baby arrives, not that this pattern is particularly bad for after pregnancy. In fact, I'm quite pleased with how it looks compared to other stuff I have in my closet.

In these photos I'm five days post-partum, with the lovely no-longer-a-baby-bump and giant nursing boobs. Basically, a lumpy mountain range. I think the cut of this top, combined with a busy, colorful pattern, is doing a lot for me. In a solid color the lumps would be more obvious, but you can't help feeling cheery in this print. When I was pregnant I felt like this top was a bit tent-ish, but seeing it on the other side I'm so glad I made one. I wish I would have taken it to the hospital with me to wear home!

One downer: it was washed with a swimsuit and the dye bled, even though I had already prewashed the suit alone. So now it looks like I tried some stupid tie-dye effect on the blue part. Waaaaah. At the very least, I can wear this shirt around the house and feel more put-together than I would in sweats and a baggy tshirt.

Am I forgetting anything? Oh yes, baby spam! We ended up having another girl, which makes three. That means all my lovely girl clothes I've made over the years get to stay in rotation, yay! And here she is, Baby M.

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