Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sewing projects

As I mentioned in my "annual" letter (see previous post), my next sewing projects are baby-related items. Specifically, diaper-and-wipe bags (much less bulky than a regular diaper bag, to be used on-the-go) and bibs. With some money I got as a Christmas present, I went crazy at a fabric store yesterday and, since I already had a stock of fabric I'd bought for the projects, I am now nearly swimming in fabric choices. So exciting! In the last ~24 h, I have made 4 diaper-and-wipe bags and two bibs and I can't wait to show them off. 

First, the diaper-and-wipe bags. I must give credit to the website where I found the pattern. I did alter my bags a bit from the pattern: I put handles on, so adjusted everything a bit to accommodate that (and I plan more changes to get the handles to fit better in future renditions). Also, on my second set of bags, I added a front pocket. I'll probably put pockets on all future bags.

Here are the bags I made, which are already in the mail to my dad so he can take them to South Africa with him at the end of January to distribute to two friends there:

The blue ones are the first ones I made, without the front pocket. As you can see, the flap closes with velcro. The lining of the bags and the handles is in a complementary color and pattern.

The pocket on these black & red bags is edged with the red fabric, where the lower piece of velcro is, and goes all the way to the bottom of the bag. Black velcro would have looked better... I'll have to get some next time it is on sale.

And here are the bibs. I got the pattern for free at this website. I'm trying out different methods to see what I like best. The first one has ribbon folded in half for the trim, so is slightly bigger than the other one, since I didn't lose the seam allowance. I bought the ribbon a few weeks ago, but love how well it goes with the fabric I bought yesterday (I am particularly proud of this piece in general)! The illustration on the front is from a piece of fabric that has lots of blocks of images (the illustration on the blue bib is from the same stock).

Front of first bib. I think maybe I should put a plain piece of fabric behind the illustrated panel in future bibs, so the background pattern doesn't show through as much. (Aside: I plan on making a diaper-and-wipe bag with the pink & green striped fabric... that was actually what I had in mind when I bought it. I really like this fabric). I just noticed that I should aim to center the stripes when cutting the fabric. I think it would look even better then.

Back of first bib... it's a flannel, so nice and soft. The bibs also have velcro to close them. (Side note: my skin is particularly sensitive to labels in clothing, so I've cut most of the labels out of my clothing. Anyway, I took care to have the loop (soft) side of the velcro be the one pointing towards the skin, in case it brushes the baby's skin while the bib is being put on. I also rounded the corners of the velcro pieces so those wouldn't poke the baby... just trying to make it something that wouldn't irritate MY skin, were I a baby still).

Front of second bib. For this one, I tried iron-on vinyl (hence the reflection of my camera's flash). The advantages of that to the user is that it can be wiped clean... and the advantage of that to me is that I can put stuff on the front of the bib without sewing it on. Since the illustration panel I used on this bib didn't have a border I could fold under to sew, the vinyl came in handy. A disadvantage to the vinyl is that the whole bib can't just be thrown into the washer (btw, I've pre-washed all the fabrics in the hopes that most of the resulting items can be machine washed). The patterned blue fabric behind the illustrated block is the same as the lining for the blue diaper bags. I used it to make the illustration stand out a bit better.

This is the back of the vinyl-fronted bib. No vinyl on the back. Perhaps it's a bit odd to mix blue and pink on one bib, but I'm not a fan of having all pink stuff for girls and all blue stuff for boys. So there.

So, what do you think? If I have any readers out there (I'm a real optimist, can you tell?), and particularly if any of my readers happen to have kids, do you have any suggestions for improvements? How is the handle length on the diaper-and-wipe bags? Should I put snaps on the handle so that it can be looped around something (like a stroller) more easily? I'm going to try sew-on vinyl on a future bib... is vinyl a good idea, or is the ability to throw the whole thing in the washer more important?

It's a good thing that Jesse is out of town, because this is what my "sewing room" (i.e., our living room) looks like in one place. I'm going to clean up now.


gorchard said...

Hi Foof. Great job on this stuff! I especially like the bibs. No kids for me, but I like the one w/out vinyl better.

Kirsty said...

I think they are so groovy. I'm impressed at your sewing abilities!!

I love the black and red diaper and wipes bags. I wish I'd had one of those-so handy! Anything that can be attached to a stroller is a good thing. Snaps would be awesome. I like the idea of the vinyl but the look without it better. It's nice to just chuck them into to washer. Can you put the vinyl on just the back though, so that the food does not soak through the bib and get the little shirt underneath it wet? Those are my favourite bibs.
Looks like you are all set ;)

Samantha said...

Thank you for the feedback! I certainly hadn't thought about the issue of food soaking all the way through. That really gives me something to think about. Good thing I am still in the prototype stage. I had thought they were a bit thin perhaps, so maybe I can make a middle layer that would at least reduce the seepage. A layer of Gore-Tex would probably work really well--it's waterproof but more washable than the vinyl. But, probably a bit expensive. And, I'll definitely think about the bag straps more... I looked at various snaps and things last weekend when I was back at yet another fabric store (I can't resist). I want something that will be easy to undo/redo, but yet be strong enough to resist a bit of tugging. Thanks Kirsty.