Baby shower winner: Kimonos for Twins

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My friend J had a very tough 2009.  Good thing she’s a tough cookie herself.  But this year life for J did a complete backflip and she’s pregnant, with identical twin girls.  Life can be funny that way I guess.  Lucky for me, J’s baby shower coincided with my maternity leave and I had all this extra time on my hands to nest, organize, putter, shop, and sew sew sew.  My sewing machine received quite the workout this week, especially since I’ve been waking up nearly every morning at 4:30 a.m. with nothing but unchecked energy that I’ve channeled into sewing baby clothes.  It’s surprising how much sewing you can do before sunrise.

For the twinsies I turned once again to project book Weekend Sewing and selected one of the easier projects, a kimono wrap shirt for newborns.  This project takes less than 1/2 yard of fabric and I chose a sweet retro floral pattern from Amy Butler.  After cutting the pattern pieces I first sewed the front wrap pieces to the back.  Then I carefully pinned and sewed bias tape all around the collar, leaving extra tape to form the wrap ties.  Next I attached the sleeves, then sewed up the sides, attaching the remaining inside and outside ties.  Finally I hemmed the sleeves and bottom of the kimono. 

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Birthday PJ pants: Daniel’s 1st Birthday

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Hard to believe that my nephew turned one year old.  In this year he’s grown from a helpless infant to a happy, perceptive, stubborn, demanding, lovable, darling boy.  Gone is his newborn baby smell, replaced by dirty hands and an ever smudged mouth as he explores the world around him on all fours, grabbing and tasting whatever he finds in his path.  Any day now he’ll be walking on his own, when the challenge will really begin for my brother and sister-in-law.

Last weekend we attended Daniel’s birthday party.  Daniel was the life of the party, splashing in the pool, greeting what seemed like dozens of babies around him, and wearing his birthday boy hat proudly.  By the time it came to the traditional first birthday cake smashing, poor Daniel was so exhausted from all the excitement and attention that he cried after we sang him “happy birthday” and his parents tried to get him to enthusiastically nose dive into his cake.  The poor little guy was surrounded by 75 people all anxiously awaiting the performance.  Once he obliged, mommy put him down for a nap. 

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Adventures in Nesting: Baby Booties

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The urge to nest must be biological.  My body seems to be taken over by a compulsive all-consuming need to prepare for the arrival of my little Bambino by spending hours each day pouring over reviews of strollers and carseats, combing the websites for baby clothes sales when I should be working, updating my shower registry hourly, and buying several beginner project books to help me sew my own newborn creations.

My current favorite project book is Making Children’s Clothes by Emma Hardy.  Of course most of the books contain more projects for little girl babies, but this book has plenty of cute ideas for little boy babies.  The first project I tackled was baby booties.  From start to finish these booties took me about 5 hours, but the first attempt is always the hardest.  Once I get the hang of them I think I’ll be able to knock out a pair of booties in 3 hours.

For my booties I chose a cute green retro fabric from Amy Butler and decided to line them in soft flannel to keep my baby’s piddies warm and toasty.  I started by cutting out the pattern and the pieces from the fabric and ironing on the interfacing to the outer fabric to provide stability to the booties.  Next I pinned and basted the right sides of the outer and the lining together and sewed all around for both the upper and the sole of the booties.  Then I attached the strap, sewed the lining to the bootie, leaving a hole to turn inside out again and then sewed up the hole.  Finishing touches included adding a snap to the strap and a cute felt button for detailing.  booties-7-of-8 This project was great for a beginner and the instructions in the book are easy to follow, though it took me a few attempts to figure out how to position the strap so when I turned the bootie inside out again it was in the correct spot.  The biggest challenge was getting my sewing machine needle into those tiny crevices.

Obsessed with finishing this project in one night, I stayed up until 1:30 sewing the little buttons to the straps so I could admire my handy work.  And of course, they’re adorable.  These booties just might be what graces my son’s newborn feet when I bring him home for the first time (unless I become compelled to make another cuter pair, or 20). booties-2-of-1

Bibs and Bloomers

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bibs-2-of-3 My repertoire as a novice sewer is fairly limited.  I think every seamstress begins her career sewing aprons and those were fun for a while, but a girl can have only so many aprons.  I’ve since graduated from apron sewing to bibs and bloomers.  I’m still not advanced enough to follow a pattern, and at this point I haven’t the time to learn that handy skill, so instead I’ve been learning the basics from “project books.”  My favorite of these is Weekend Sewing, which has about 40 projects from women’s accessories, to house items, to baby clothes.  bibs-1-of-3 The instructions are clear and easy to follow.

Last week my colleagues and I threw a baby shower for an attorney and paralegal who are both due to give birth to girls in the next couple of months.  This was the perfect excuse to try the darling Ruby’s Bloomers project in Weekend Sewing.  Not having a baby of my own for which to nest, but obviously having babies on the brain (since turning 30, predictably), I was all too excited to make a matching bibs and bloomers set for each of my work mates.  I chose a few scraps of Amy Butler retro fabric, and away I went. bibs-3-of-3  

I made the bibs with terry cloth on the opposite side to wipe up baby’s dribble, added a simple snap, and my very own “sweet peas by tamara” label.  I think they were a hit.  N was so thrilled with her set that she actually rewrapped the gift, bow and all, just so she could take it home to her husband to open it with him again.  I was pleased!