Thursday, July 26, 2012

... Random Round-Up: Baby Edition (Pom-Pom Curtains, Crib Sheets, Baby Clothes)

So here's my reason for being so lazy lately: I have been gestating a baby! It's true. Not that this actively takes a lot of time, but it has made me fairly tired at different points and has certainly taken up a lot of mental energy as we try to get everything ready for our new tiny roommate. All this preparation has involved making things, of course. So what follows are a few baby-related projects I've been working on in the last few months. I have to warn you, the word "cute" figures heavily into this post.

Pom-Pom Curtains

Several of the projects have been for the nursery, which is still in-progress but happily getting closer to completion. One of the first things I made for the nursery was a set of pom-pom curtains for the room's lone window. I started with a pair of fairly sheer white voile tab-top panels that I picked up at IKEA for about $10. The window looks directly at the building next to ours, about five feet away - not the most attractive thing to look at - so I wanted something that would let in light while still screening the view. I decided I didn't like the look of the tab-tops (they were weirdly long, so the curtains hung low and exposed the top of the roller shade) so I cut them off and sewed in rod pockets instead (the curtains came unhemmed, so I had a lot of extra length to work with) and then hemmed the bottom.

Attaching the pom-pom trim was really easy - just a matter of pinning it down to the inside and bottom edges of each panel and stitching down the center of the trim.

I got the trim on Etsy for about $2.50/yd. I think I used about 8 yards (with some left over), so the curtains cost me about $26 all told. I think that's a pretty good price for something this cute!! 

(Oh yes, as you might have guessed from the pom-pom color, we're having a girl. Not that boys can't do pink - and the nursery has lots of bright colors, of which pink is just one. But I couldn't resist just a little pink. Moving on...)

Fitted Crib Sheets

We're planning on having the baby in our bedroom for the first few months, so we have a tiny little crib for that purpose. This tiny little crib has a tiny little mattress which is too small for most crib sheets, so I made some of my own. Each sheet took about a yard of 44" cotton, with some muslin strips sew to the short ends to make it long enough to wrap under the mattress.

Making the corners is very easy - I folded the two edges of a corner to make a triangle, then used a pencil and a straight edge to mark my sewing line perpendicular to the folded edges. This makes a nice square corner. After sewing each corner, I just had to sew a casing for the elastic and thread it through. Super easy!

I made a few sheets in different prints, just for fun. And also because I expect them to be peed on and then need to be changed.

Baby Clothes

OK, I held off on making baby clothes for a while, because I had other things going, I didn't know how big the baby would be, etc. etc. But now that I've started, I can't stop. I've said it before: making baby clothes is instant-gratification sewing - you can make a ton in just an afternoon. Plus, they take so little fabric - I'm using up loads of my scrap collection. It's awesome!

Because of my complete lack of personal knowledge about infants, I'm really clueless about sizing. So I started by sniffing around the internet for free infant dress patterns, of which there are quite a few. Behold, my growing obsession:

I made this dress from a tutorial on Sew Much Ado - a little peasant dress with a rick-rack hem. Come on, that's adorable.

This was based on a tutorial at Craftiness is not Optional, which has a ton of ideas for terminally cute kids' clothes. I'm not sure how old things have to be to be considered "vintage", but I'm going to go ahead and say that this fabric and button are vintage (they are at least from the early 80's - they come from my mum's stash. She thinks she probably got them while making baby clothes for me). 

This dress is so cute, I can barely stand it. I made it with a tutorial at Made by Rae. And then once I made the dress, I felt like it needed a little hat...

And then all the dresses obviously all needed matching diaper covers, which I made with a pattern from MADE... I know. It's becoming a problem. I'm trying to hold off for now, because I know that babies grow wicked fast, and they poop all over everything, and all that. But it's hard.

So that's what I've been up to lately, besides sitting around being as big as a killer whale, debating middle names, and being unable to pick up things from the ground (problematic when you drop things as much as I do). I'm still working on some projects for the baby's room - I just finished up a skirt for the crib - which I'm hoping to show when it's finished. I'm starting to think that the baby might beat the nursery into completion, though. Just a few weeks left! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

... reupholstered caned-back chair

I... I can hardly believe it. We finished reupholstering that chair!*

I feel like I've been looking at it in it's half-finished state forever. It feels so good to have it finally done! Not to mention it helps to have an extra seat in the living room. Here's the "before" shot and the whole story:

Sorry for the inexecusably awful pic. It's apparently the only one I took.
We got the chair at a yardsale a few years ago for about $20. The seat was really comfy and the caning was in remarkably good shape. We knew we'd eventually have to do something about the fabric on the seat, which was getting really threadbare. We used it as-was for a couple of years, until the fabric finally split and the front legs started to detach a bit from the rest of the frame. Rehab time!

We stripped off the fabric and the old foam underneath. Luckily for us, the cotton batting and coils were in decent shape so we didn't have to much about replacing those. George reattached the front legs and shored them up with some strategically placed wood screws. For the reupholstering, we followed the same basic steps we used when redoing the ottoman. Since we already had the coils, burlap and batting in place, the next step was attaching a new piece of 1" foam (George was on staple gun duty once again). Then the chair sat for literally months while I dithered about what fabric to use on the seat.

Finally I bit the bullet and ordered some velvety chenille (it was poly - all I could find - so really reasonable, about $12/yd) in an elephant-y gray. I think it makes a nice break from all the patterns in the living room - it's soothing (as far as chair fabric can be soothing). We stapled down a layer of batting before finally attaching the fabric. We chose to pull it all the way under the chair and staple to the underside, rather than to the front of the chair as the original fabric was attached. It was just a heck of a lot easier. Attaching the fabric was a little more complicated than in our ottoman job, because we needed to make release cuts around the arms and legs. They aren't perfect, but I was happy enough with them at the end of the day.

The last step was sewing a few lengths of double-welt cord and hot gluing it around the legs in the front, to cover the raw edge of the fabric and make it look purdy. Then... finally done!

Well, almost. We could still attach single welt cording around the entire bottom length of the chair for a really finished look - but I ran out of cotton cord. So until I get some more, this is finished enough for me. It looks puffier than the original, but I think it'll wear in over time. Plus it is just super-comfy to sit on. George has his favorite reading chair back, and the cats have another surface to completely coat in cat hair.

So what the heck else have I been doing for over a month since I posted anything? Lazy, lazy. I do have a few more projects to write about, one of which will explain my questionably legit excuse. More soon, but first let me bask in the glow of finally finishing* that damn chair!