Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baby Bonnets and To Lace, or Not To Lace?


Sometimes, getting a special request can lead to something better.

Like a simple request for a plain white bonnet. I had thrown the idea around before about doing baptism or christening bonnets, and like just about everything else on my 'dreamy ideas to sew' list...haven't got around to it. Yet. Now, I have. I have no idea whether the delightful Mum who ordered this bonnet wanted it for a special occasion, like a bapstism, but I offered to make the brim smaller than what usually goes onto these bonnets.  She 'yes please'd that idea and this is what I came up with for her 12 month old, who is going to South Africa to meet her grandparents.  

And you know what? I do kinda like it like that. For a smaller bub anyway. I ticked the winner box. For now you'll have to settle for a picture of it on Dolly's head (if you think Dolly should have a name other than Dolly, leave me a comment below!).

Since there is ALWAYS a pattern in things happening, here's what happened next... My mother-in-law asked me to make a bonnet for a little new baby, for a friend of hers. [There must be some thanks to her for this whole bonnet thing, as she gave me the original, vintage 1970s that her girls wore, for Miss A to use when she was smaller.] Fabric? I could choose, whatever took my fancy.

I did a bit of cleaning up, tidying last week. In the sewing studio, silly! As if I'd spend precious time cleaning my house! And I came across this long forgotten Cuddlepot and Snugglepie May Gibbs fabric. Perfect for a little baby girl.

I got straight to work, downsized the pattern, took a bit more off the brim and this incy wincy tiny sized sun bonnet is now on it's way to an tiny sized baby girl. Lets hope it's small enough!!

The best thing about these bonnets is that you only need a fat quater for each side. If you are really clever then you can squeeze it out of a bit less. I only had a smidge of this gumnut baby print and so the little gumnut babies at the back aren't perfectly centred.In fact, they barely made it onto the fabric. You know, when you've made your mind up about something, you do everything possible to make it happen. This was one of those times. I just wanted to use those gumnut babies!! I folded, turned, ironed, re-folded, turned again, checked, trimmed bits and I think it's just right! And that ribbon trim is supposed to be a bit crinkly ;)

Are you wondering what this has to do with lace? Well...that's the NEXT step. I just haven't stepped it. 
I'm thinking...should I add lace to my bonnets? This lace I found while hunting in fabric stores in Melbourne is devine. It actually came from a clothing outlet store (don't remember the name) on Brunswick St in Melbourne. I do remember the bar (where we had lunch, don't get too excited) down the road was the Black Cat Cafe. There was a whole heap of Alannah Hill and Princess Highway clearance stuff AND THEN upstairs was a small fabric clearance section. So I stuffed bundles of lace and zippers into bags and got them dirt cheap. That shopping without kids thing was slightly dangerous. I digress.

The lace...and I'm thinking...


The last of my bonnets for 2014 are available in my Etsy store. There are two sized 0-2 years and only one 2-4years (which I have just noticed I have never photographed...oops!).


I love the size of the brims on these bonnets because it DOES actually keep the sun off a tiny face. No sunburned cheeks or noses here. While there is a time and place for everything, I'm in a little quandry now. Do I keep making the regular bonnets with the brim I've always done, and do I go back to a smaller brim for smaller babies, which means making another size, perhaps 0-6 months. Do I add a lace or ribbon trim, to make it pop a bit more?

If you'd like a lovely parcel, like this one, to arrive on your doorstep, head over to my Etsy store to see what is left in stock before someone else snaps it up!

Pssst...You can keep an eye on my Facebook page or Etsy store for more fabulous bonnets in the new year and dont forget if you sign up for my newsletter (come on, so far I've only sent a welcome one! I'm hardly going to bother you too much!) I will make sure you are the first to hear when new bonnets are headed into the online stores.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

{Pattern Review} Baby Doll Basket

A playful feast for little eyes.
All it needs is a baby doll and any 2 year old girl is set for the day with her best friend in tow.

The doll basket pattern is by MADE (www.danamade.com) and is exceptionally well written. For an easy as pie, no fail doll basket pattern, look no further!

The bag was a special request addition from Edi's other Aunty M. It is super simple, whipped up with a couple of pairs of rectangles, a ruffle, some ribbon. A zip pouch on one side, made with a randomly found, perfectly coordinating zipper. I admit, I got a little over-excited about this colour matching. The little bag is even lined, with handles attached on each side at the top.  The handles are long enough to put over a shoulder, but not over the head, across the body. I had intended to make it like a cross-shoulder bag but the straps, they just didn't talk to me and remind me. Now it's a one shoulder bag, big enough for a couple of nappies, a bottle and maybe even a change of clothes. Or an apple. 

The doll nappies are lined with a layer of cosy flannelette, so soft for those dollies' bottoms, and have velcro to make changes super easy for 2 and 3 year olds.

Baby Doll Basket Pattern Review

Ease of sewing: adventurous beginner. It is pretty easy. The pattern outlines the order and direction for cutting out the pieces (best you follow it) and is very easy to follow to construct the basket.

Trickiest bits: sewing the bias tape to the two layers. Stitching the pillow case pieces together! I didn't catch the edges all the way round the first time, so had to

Problems I ran into: My batting was a little bit thick, but it seemed to sew up OK. It was a bit tricky to get the bias around the corners, so it's not perfect but it's pretty good. The pattern called for 1/2inch double fold bias tape - I really don't know why, it's not that hard but this always makes me stop and I have to figure out ... is it 1/2 inch before being folded, or is that the folded measurement (FIY: it is 1/2inch, once folded). I made my own as per Dana's tutorial (which I've mentioned before).

Fabrics I used:
Quilting cotton outer and inner fabrics.
A heavy weight iron on interfacing, nameless stuff from Spotlight to line both the outer and inner fabrics. The batting was thick stuff I aquired from my friend Helen, a Mum at our school. I didn't realise until after I'd sewn this baby up, that it was actully thicker than the recommended 1/2inch batting. No complaints really, but it was pretty chunky to sew with and meant that the curves around the hood of the doll basket were a teensy bit crinkly. Not like a 2yo is going to notice.

So there are a few things I'd do differently next time.
1. I think I would line it with chenille fabric, not plain old cotton. Or even flannelette like the pattern suggests. I just didn't have any flannelette in the colour scheme I was going for.
2. The lining seems a little big, but I do think the thickness of the batting meant my seam allowances on the outer part were a little too big. Take care to keep seam allowances to a minimum (or at least what the pattern asks for!).
2. Use thinner wadding or even try cotton quilt batting (perhaps two layers)

I did have one of those moments, you know where you wish you'd done a little bit more research before beginning. Don't get me wrong, the outcome here is great. But I do kinda like it when it is better than great.

Here is a little roundup of what some other crafty sewistas have made:

Top Katie on Flickr | Just Another Day in Paradise | Jenny on Flickr
Middle DanaMade |   I love buttons by Emma | {LBG Studio}
Bottom:  Aesthetic Nest | Delia Creates | gluesticks

Now off you go! Get sewing your own for what will be a well loved Christmas gift. I'd better get cracking on the next one!

In case you are wondering, I purchased this pattern myself and all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

{Better Blogging} watch this space

Holy moly...what have I got myself into?! A 30 day blogging challenge...PLUS 10 days to a better blog.

Watch this space... Just sayin'...

And because I'm sick of yelling at my kids because they keep interrupting MY agenda, this is all I've got time for today...back to the KIDS agenda for today.