Monday, April 13, 2015

SHB Sew-Along Inspiration: Sewing for Moms and Dads

I hope you checked out Mikhaela and Cindy's Small Human Being Inspiration posts. Since I'm an incredibly selfish sewist, it's fallen to me to do the inspiration post for sewing for the parents. Goody, goody! This is actually where most of my sewing efforts have gone for the last six months.

Babies outgrow things quickly, so if you want to sew things that you will use every day, best sew things for yourself is my motto. Here are a few ideas:

Diaper Bags (for yourself or a very very good friend)
If you have the time and energy for a big project, a diaper bag is a fantastic gift for yourself or the parent in your life (mom or dad).  I've actually sewn eight - yes, eight! - diaper bags over the years.

Seven of the eight I've sewn.

You can use a pattern that is specifically meant for a diaper bag , or just a pattern for a messenger or tote bag, like the one I used for Phin's diaper bag (Vogue 8990) and customize the pockets and extras. One of the great things about sewing a diaper bag is that you can really customize it for the recipient - the sky is the limit with fabric and hardware as long as they will withstand heavy use and be fairly easy to keep clean.

Diaper Clutch

If a bag is too much, how about sewing a fun and easy diaper clutch or a simple changing pad?

Phin's Diaper Bag and Changing Pad

There are plenty of free or low cost tutorials for diaper clutches, or you can just wing it, like I did.

For the Nursing Mom
Once baby arrives, most new moms have a big need for nursing-friendly clothing if they are breastfeeding. To do over, I would have spent more time sewing nursing friendly clothing before Taco's birth than I did.  I get a huge amount of use out of the two cardi-shrugs that I sewed in the last weeks of pregnancy.

Simplicity 2603

In addition, I've found that any lower cut top pattern can be appropriate for nursing when worn with a plain cami underneath. Knits have a more forgiving fit and, in general, are fairly easy to sew.

V1282 DKNY top; M6552 caftan

One project I want to tackle is a Watson Bra for sleep. I'm more comfortable with a light layer of support even at night. You can get nursing bra clips at Sew Sassy Fabrics, which you could also use to alter a regular bra for nursing. 

You'll notice that I haven't suggested a nursing cover. I've pinned several tutorials to our SHB Sew-Along Pinterest board. However, I believe that nursing is normal, natural and, quite frankly, a birthright. While I don't feel like I need to publicly expose myself to make a point, I also don't feel the need to hide under a tent, which ironically draws more attention to the act of breastfeeding. But that's just me; everyone is different. Anyway, if the nursing mom in your life doesn't know what her legal rights are with regard to public nursing, here is a website you can email to her.

For the Baby Wearers
Sometimes as a new mom you need your hands free and you need to hold your baby at the same time. Thank goodness there are so many options for wearing your baby, most of which you can sew yourself. The most comprehensive set of tutorials for making all sorts of carriers - ring slings, mei tais, wraps and more - is on Sleeping Baby. It's truly a treasure trove for the DIY parenting set! 

Maya Wrap (from the Maya Wrap website)

But there are also other tutorials out there, like the one Maya Wrap did, showing how to sew their ring sling (which retails for $80-$100). Both of these sources have ample guidance on choosing appropriate fabrics for safety and comfort. 

Mikhaela and I are going to be ring sling twinsies
I'm going to sew a ring sling for myself and have already received a request for one in a "manly" fabric for my brother-in-law. Oh, yeah, my younger sister is expecting her first baby in mid-August! So, Taco will have a cousin who is close in age. Hooray! Naturally, I will be sewing a diaper bag for her.

Anyway, at the end of 40 weeks, so much emphasis and so much shopping is for baby that it's nice to have something special for the parents every now and again. Plus mom and dad are less likely to outgrow whatever you sew than baby!

Reminder: If you are sewing along, post to our Flickr group and use our hashtag (#SHBsewalong) for other social media!


Clio said...

Great ideas! Although I won't participate because currently no one in my group of friends is pregnant or having a baby. But I'll keep them in mind when a SMB turns up around here!

Clio said...

I love the diaper bags, my favorite is the bright orange one you made for your husband and the matching changing pad. I'm excited to be ring sling twins, too--I'm going to wash my tablecloth half tonight and hopefully sew it this week.

Clio said...

P.S. Totally with you on the nursing cover thing... I do have one and use it occasionally but feel like in the effort to make sure you don't show the tiniest bit of skin, it actually is more attention-getting, not less. Mostly I just wear nursing friendly shirts or nurse in the ring sling or wrap. I actually got asked to cover up for the first time ever last week and was really upset — it was in the nursing home my grandmother lives in while visiting her with baby, so I didn't want to make a thing out of it, but it was totally illegal for the woman from the home to ask me (and NONE of the residents had complained, she was just worried they would somehow be offended! UGH).

Clio said...

i'm super curious about the diaper bags... it seems like a fun and challenging Project!! should i browse your archives to find each projects?

Clio said...

How upsetting! I find it so bizarre since nursing is actually what our bewbs were meant for and is the most wholesome and least sexual thing I've ever done with mine!

Clio said...

Sorry for the delay! It's hard too include links when responding on mobile devices rather than my laptop. I'd start here:

And here:

They both link to previous diaper bags. Happy sewing!