Friday, November 28, 2014

And "Hers" Diaper Bag!

It took a few days to photograph and post, but I did finish all but a little hand sewing on Monday, one day before my due date. Yeah, no Raspberry at due date +3, which is very normal for first babies. But we've now got two diaper bags. So, we're as ready as we'll ever be!

Love this!

I LOVE how this bag turned out. Before you say anything, yes, I recognize that it's white.  A white diaper bag is just asking for trouble.  But the faux leather/faux basket weave fabric that I used for the bottom and outside pockets is very easily cleanable with a damp sponge or wipe. So, I'm hoping that it will hold up fairly well.

This is my fourth version of Butterick  B5005 (last sewn here). The versions on the Butterick website are very sweet, but I think I've shown that this can be a really chic bag, whether made as a diaper bag or a weekender. This is the first time I've sewn it using two different outer fabrics, which saved me the effort of having to pattern match the pockets, which I did in previous versions.  The second outside fabric is a white and silver/grey home dec weight fabric. Both outer fabrics are from Mood. I used a red cotton twill from to line the bag.

Again, there is nothing about this pattern, aside from the optional accessories, that specifically makes it a diaper bag. And after four times sewing it, I've really tweaked it to my liking, using hardware and altering the pockets to suit my needs.  But even out of the envelope, this is a terrific bag pattern.

I've really developed an expensive hardware habit. For this bag and it's accessories, the Lampo zipper, feet, magnetic snaps, D-ring, lobster claw and webbing straps all came from Botani, which has significantly expanded it's offerings over the last 1-2 years.

After making a zippered welt pocket for the inside of Phin's bag, I decided that I needed one too.

I sewed the other side of the lining according to the pattern, with a nice sized divided pocket which is perfect for diapers, creams and wipes.


I also sewed some fun accessories for myself.

First, I made a great little fold over clutch like the one I made with the last version of this bag. This time I placed the magnetic snap closer to the top so the folded bag would be larger.

I also included a lanyard with a lobster claw on the inside of the bag so I can clip the clutch in by it's D-ring, like so...

Or closer up...

The second accessory I made was a diaper clutch - basically a changing pad with a pocket for diapers.

I looked at several diaper clutch or changing pad tutorials on-line, but there really weren't any that had all the elements I wanted. So, like with Phin's, I made this to the dimensions and with the methods I thought would work well for me.

Milkshake the Cow wanted to be in the picture "for scale".

The clutch folds in three and has a great little pocket for holding a few diapers and wipes for occasions when I want to just stick it into a different purse rather than carrying a diaper bag.  Like Phin's, I used a layer of batting for padding and iron-on vinyl to make the inside easy to wipe clean. The outer edges are bound in bias tape and I sewed a button and a small elastic loop on as a closure.

And that's it!

I have to confess that I'm pretty smitten with my bag.  I love the fabrics I used, crazy though white may be. I hadn't considered that Raspberry could be born in December, but with each passing day a white bag somehow seems more appropriate. 

And the bag and it's accessories are exactly what I wanted - lots of room and lots of options. It's not going to be entirely practical for every day use because of it's size. But when we go spend a day with grandma and anticipate needing things like extra clothing, bibs, burp cloths, toys and such, this will hold it all. And I think it's really beautiful.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Done, Diggedy Done! "His" Diaper Bag: V8990

Finally! Just 3 days short of my due date (um, one now), I managed to finish the first of the two diaper bags I've been working on.  This one is for Phineas.

The "Daddy Diaper Bag" is definitely a generational concept. It's really quite normal for current new parents. Just google "daddy diaper bag" to get a sense of what's out there. But I've been met with a variety of interesting responses from our parents' generation - laughter (like I had made a joke), surprise, raised eyebrows, questions - when I said I was making Phin a diaper bag. Did fathers really not take their children anywhere on their own before they were potty trained back in the day or did they carry their wife's bag? I'm really glad norms have changed and fathers are now much more active parents and partners. Anyway, since Phin is already talking about the many things that he and Raspberry will do together, he certainly deserves a fun bag that he is happy toting around. 

Sigh! Indoor photos stink!

Orange is Phin and my shared favorite color. So, I used a bright orange 9oz cotton canvas that he picked out  for the outside and a fun retro cotton print that has the sort of ads you would expect to see in  the back of a 1950's  comic book for the lining - x-ray glasses, toy rocket ships and spy gear. I think it's a fun combo.

Phin wanted a messenger/cross body bag and he also didn't want it to be too large, so I used Vogue 8990 view C. There is nothing about it that makes it a diaper bag, and I sewed it with just a few changes to adapt the bag to Phin's specific requests and needs. It's a great pattern - just the right size, well constructed and versatile.

I love using hardware in my bags. I think it gives a much more professional finish and makes for a sturdier bag. I understand why pattern companies don't  use more in their patterns - you can't find a lot of specialty hardware at the local fabic or craft store. But I wish they did give more options since most hardware (buckles, sliders, magnetic snaps, webbing) can be purchased on Amazon. That said, this pattern uses much more than most - a big step in the right direction.

Adjustable strap: webbing, bar and slider

For Phin's bag I used quick release buckles for the closures, I added a bar and slider to the webbing strap so the length would be adjustable, and I added feet to the bottom of the bag. I interfaced with fusible hair canvas and used artists plastic canvas to give the bottom of the bag support.

Quick release buckles

The view that I made of the pattern already comes with two terrific pockets under the flap, which will be useful for holding little toys or teething rings and other small things.

Teething banana in a pocket

In addition, I made a few design changes to the inside of the bag to make it more suitable as a diaper bag. Phin specifically asked for a zipper pocket so he would have somewhere for his phone and wallet where they couldn't fall out. I rely heavily on Kenneth King's Craftsy class whenever I sew a welt, which I blogged about back in January and there is a whole "chapter" on zippered welt pockets which I've been wanting to try.

Zipper welt pocket

I also sewed a big pocket with an elastic top for holding diapers, wipes and such.

Multi-use elastic pocket

Finally, though not a pocket, I added a lanyard with a D-ring for Phin to attach his keys since he carries them on a carabiner.


Changing Pad
The one (very needed) accessory that I made was a matching changing pad.

Changing pad folded in thirds

There are patterns and tutorials out there, but I used the finished  inside measurements of the bag to come up with an appropriate size mat (14.5" x 33") instead. I cut pieces in canvas, lining and batting, and then trimmed the corners into curves using a round coaster as a guide. I laminated the lining fabric with iron-on vinyl, which works surprisingly well. This way the changing pad can be easily wiped down. The whole thing is simply sewn together using bias tape around the perimeter.

Dragon the Hippo gets in on the act.
Easy peasy!

Mischief maker!

And that's it.  After so much simple sewing, it was really nice to sink my teeth into a more involved project. Bags aren't difficult at all, but they do require slow and precise sewing, good execution, and the thoughtful use of hardware and underpinnings for structural support. Really, they are a series of small tasks. What was nice about sewing this while I have been on maternity leave is that I could work in little bursts when I had good energy and attention, making one pocket or component at a time.

After making six diaper bags for others over the years, it's nice to have finally made one that is staying here. And I was happy when Phineas commented that the bag was comfy to wear.  I hope it gets lots of use.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Meet Hopscotch Bunny

Mischievous Dragon!  Ever since I knit a bunny for my nephew, he's been saying that there is no one in the herd with sufficient hopping skills. And now that there is a baby-to-be to knit for, he is getting his wish for a bouncy new herd member for Raspberry.

Hopscotch and DragonHippo

We're currently calling this little hopper Hopscotch. Raspberry may rename her some day and that's fine. The pattern is the floppy bunny from Itty-Bitty Toys by Susan B Anderson, which I've now knit 3 times. I love the long gangly legs and arms. 


And the pom pom tail.  Somehow it's totally appropriate for a bunny.

Dragon and Hopscotch both love Chinese take out

I made this bunny friend in black and white to go with our high contrast baby theme.  Also, for baby toys, I sew a beanbag out of heavy muslin for the polly pellets that give the stuffie some weight. Polly pellets are non-toxic, but they can be a choking hazzard for a tiny baby who might, um, chew on a cute stuffed friend. Thank goodness that Hopscotch is washable since I knit her in Cascade 220 Superwash.

I finished actually knitting this floppy friend over the summer, but left it sitting as a bag of body parts until last week. I've just been too tired in the evenings to do much crafting in front of the tv, which is when this sort of project would usually be finished. But one by one, I'm doing the finishing work on my knits. There is another new herd member that just needs to be sewn together. 

The Herd

 The herd has thoroughly embraced the newest member.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Finished: B&W Waterfall Shrug

Once I read that a baby's vision and brain is most stimulated by high contrast colors, especially black and white combinations, I started buying up black and white striped fabrics.

This is a best of both worlds project: Raspberry's need for visual stimulation plus my need for a nursing cover up. It also continues my stripe matching theme. Seriously, if I've learned one thing during Project Bump, it's how to match stripes! 

Really happy with my stripe matching!

Eventually, I'll figure out what I'm most comfortable nursing in, but for now I thought Simplicity 2603 would make a great layer that I could throw over a normal outfit. This pattern has been around and in my stash for years; judging by the number of reviews on PR, I must be the very last person to actually sew it.

I chose view B, which has the longest length waterfall front with shorter sleeves. I'm constantly scrunching up sleeves to my elbows, so why not start out that way?  Plus, I was a bit short on fabric.

I used an absolutely gorgeous rayon jersey knit that I bought at Paron Fabrics. I've been on a real rayon kick this year. I just find it so soft and breathable to wear, and it seems to hold up well through multiple washings. I was lucky that this fabric was unusually wide (almost 90" I think) since I bought the remainder and it was just enough to eke this pattern out. It's only because of the huge width that that I was able to cut it in a way to match the stripes at the side seams. I definitely didn't have enough to even try to match the sleeves to the body, but I'm fine with it anyway.

The only fitting change I made was to the armscye and sleeves. The top was a little tight under the arms and through the armpits. So, I let the sleeve out a bit from the bicep up, and I let out the side seam from a few inches below the armscye to the sleeve. It's still a bit high compared to other patterns, but I actually prefer a higher, tighter armscye for added ease of movement, especially in knits.

There's not much to say about construction, which was a cinch. I sewed the sleeves in flat rather than setting them in and did almost everything on the serger. I sewed the miles of hem with a twin needle. Actually, I have to confess that I wore this shrug a week ago to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner with my family before it was even hemmed. Naturally, I got cranberry sauce on it and had to wash it before hemming. So, yeah. It's a winner.

If I have any time after finishing diaper bag sewing before Raspberry's arrival there will be another version or two of this cardi-wrap. It's really just the most versatile and functional layer, and I've been wearing it for the last two days.

Yeah, some days it's yoga pants and sneakers...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Lazy Sunday Blog Hop Post

Recently, I had lunch with the lovely Pia of The Overflowing Stash  when she was in NY and asked if I'd do the blog hop.  Pia is one of those sewists who fits things impeccably, has great style and is a fun person on top of it. We've met up both in NY and London, which is one of the great things about getting to know people in the sewing blogosphere, don't you think?

Anyway, I've been procrastinating ever since. So, here goes.

1. Why do I write? 
I was going to say something like: I never meant to have a sewing blog, but it's a really good idea to have a place to keep track of projects, the tutorials and techniques I use, and share them, along with occasional baking, cooking and knitting projects. I actually do use my blog as my own personal reference tool.

But then I realized that "why do I write" is sort of the wrong question for me.  I don't think of myself as a writer - blogging is a bit of a different medium.

So, really, the answer is that I was feeling somewhat isolated when we moved to the suburbs and the blog became a way to reach out to others through my hobbies. It also gives me an outlet for my sense of humor (Exhibit A below) and to just be silly and laugh at myself when things go awry. Most things in life are "use it or lose it" including imagination and creativity. I try to let mine roam free here.

One of my favorite posts to write ever
The thing that I didn't expects when I started blogging was how many friends - both in real life and in the blogosphere - I'd make. Blogging really has been a portal into a wonderful community of sewy and crafty people of all different stripes.  We are a quirky and inspiring horde. Supporting and celebrating friends - and friendship - is a beautiful thing and for me that began here at Clio & Phineas.

2. How does my blog differ from others in its genre?
I have to admit I'm a bit stumped on this one. I'm not even sure what genre I would neatly fall into. 

While it's true that I don't usually sew popular patterns and am never the first to sew a new release, I'm not really sure that is what sets me apart. I sometimes feel a bit left-of-center to sewing blogosphere trends. 

But I do have a knit herd. I don't think there are any other blogs with their own Trample Herd.

Half of the Trample Herd
I hope that I have an interesting and sometimes funny voice. That's what I like in other blogs. But mostly I'm just me and I'm just as surprised when people turn up here now as I was in the beginning.

I don't know what else to say. Why do you keep turning up here in Clio-and-Phin-land?

3. How does my writing  process work?
In the most haphazzard and non-standardized way. Most of my posts that are simply about a current or recent project are written while I'm eating lunch at my desk and posted soon after. I usually post within the week I finish a project because I'm so excited about it. And since I actually do use my blog as a reference  it's important that I write it down all the tips and tutorials that I've used as well as the fitting tweaks while everything is fresh in my mind. 

But then the posts that I like the most - the occasional funny ones or ones that touch on my life outside sewing - usually get written and rewritten pretty carefully while they live in draft form. Some never get posted. About half originate with an idea from the blue that strikes me as funny or something that happens to me that cracks me up (did I mention that I like to laugh at myself?) The other half come from thoughts and ideas that grow in my mind over time and that I feel a need to express myself about.  

4. What am I working on?
Project Bump!  It's been a strange few months in the Craft Lounge.  Sewing a maternity wardrobe has really changed the way I sew and my goals - quick and easy knits have replaced complicated, fitted wovens. 

Right now, I'm in diaper bag building mode.  I decided to do "his and her's" bags, which means that I'm sewing with five different fabrics plus various interfacings and hardware. 


Hers - bottom right is the best representation of the color - white and grey.

Making bags is a very different discipline than garment sewing. It's slow and methodical, but you don't have to worry about fitting. It will be a few more days before I'm finished.

After that, I just plan on sewing more cosy things to wear post-partum for myself and more pj's for Phin until Raspberry's birth.

5. Nominations
Since my nomination came from London, I thought it would be fun to continue the multi-country hop and pass this on to two of my sewing friends in Canada - Vicki of Another Sewing Scientist and Kristin of K-line. Both inspire me with their sewing and lives and are just as awesome in person as on line. I'm so glad to know these gals in both the digital and real world!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

PJ's for the Dad to Be

One of the few not-for-me or Raspberry projects that I managed to get to in the last few weeks is a pair of PJ's for Phineas.

These are a knock off of Phins favorite pj's from years ago. I had disassembled the originals before they completely disintegrated and used them to create pattern pieces for new jammies that I made back in 2010. But at this point, even the replacements are showing signs of wear. So, new ones were in order.

The fabric is gorgeous cotton from Rosen & Chaddick that I splurged on for Phin's birthday. (Yes, it's true: I managed to parlay Phin's birthday into an occasion to splurge on fabric. LOL. ;-) Anyway, green is one of his favorite colors and one of my favorites on him.

I decided to go with the grain of the fabric, which meant horizontal stripes on these jammies.  I've done a ton of stripe matching recently, so this was no big deal to cut and sew, even considering that the outseams are flat felled. I did pretty good, if not 100% perfectly in a few spots.

Flat felled stripe matching

I did make a few changes to these pj's.  Phin asked for larger pockets - both a larger opening and a larger pocket bag, which was easy enough to do. I also added cuffed hems to this pair.  I kinda have a thing for cuffs and I just felt like sewing the hem that way with no real reason why.

Jointly, we decided that these didn't need a drawstring at the waist since he never used it anyway.  This was the only thing I think was a mistake. You see, as I've been growing through the belly, Phin has actually shrunk a little.  I think it's because, when running became uncomfortable for me about half way through this pregnancy, Phin was then free to set his own pace, while I walked at my own pace. So, quicker pace... more miles... you get the drift. So, despite my redoing the elastic at least once to make it tighter, these pj's are still a little loose through the waist.  I actually think the elastic may have loosened up as I sewed multiple rows of stitching to it. I'm hoping it will recover in the wash.

In the next version, I will probably make some fitting changes for Phin's smaller middle. However, these still fit in a way he likes and I'm sure will be plenty used and loved. The larger pocket passed the I-phone test and the fit passed the "lounging in the glider" test this morning.

Where the Wild Things Are - in the glider.

Phin seems happy with these, which is great since we are trying to stock up on sleep and relaxation these days.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Almost Time: The Herd Eagerly Awaits

It's officially week 38 today, which means that Raspberry could decide to be born any time in the next 2-4 weeks.

The Herd tests out our "bassinest"

Anticipation is running high around these parts and the herd is keeping me very busy with last minute preparations now that I'm on maternity leave. There are 2 new knit herd members nearly finished; baby gifts from the herd are being sewn, embroidered and knit; 2 diaper bags (his and hers) are underway; and finishing touches are being made to our baby/nursery set up.

Anyway, this is just a quick note to say that I'm still feeling good and full of energy, but at some point in the next few weeks things are going to get crazy around these parts. I plan to keep posting until then since I have lots of projects that are almost done and I want to share them.

But it's touch and go from here on as we wait for Raspberry...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Project Bump: Recap & Next Phase (B6065 Reveal)

Edited 11/10/14: Welcome to anyone who landed here from DIYMaternity, where I guest blogged today. You can find all of my other maternity posts under the label Project Bump. Happy sewing and healthy pregnancy!

A short while ago, Phin commented "Don't take this the wrong way, but it seems like you're getting a lot more done with your sewing time these days..."

He's absolutely right in terms of number of garments sewn. My output has increased without devoting more hours to sewing. I've been churning out 2+ garments most weeks rather than one garment every 2+ weeks. So, now that I'm nearly done with the pregnancy phase of Project Bump and ready to move on to the preparing for baby and post-partum phases, I thought I little recap was in order.

All are still fitting and regularly worn

Oh, right. And I did sew a bikini, too.

I normally tend to take on time-consuming and challenging projects that stretch my skills and require me to learn new techniques. Because of this, a mostly sewn wardrobe has always been beyond my reach. And yet, that's exactly what I have right now. Granted, it's a mini-wardrobe.

What really surprises me is how fulfilling I've found this sewing.  It can be pretty dull to sew the same pattern multiple times, but it's really satisfying to have finished so many garments. Mostly I did this by keeping things very easy - no zippers or buttons, only knits or loose flowing wovens, no complicated finishes and little to no hand sewing, and using patterns multiple times. My serger has been an invaluable tool.  

At this point, my sewing is shifting. Friday is my last day of work before a very generous maternity leave. So, my main priority for sewing in these last few weeks is his and hers diaper bags and some comfy clothing for breast feeding and keeping cosy that also makes me feel put together or fun when I decide to leave the house.

I've started with this cocoon-type cardi, which I think will be equally at home over a pair of jeans, a black dress or skirt, and to add another layer for nursing. Honestly, it's the sort of thing I always want in my wardrobe but never seem to have.

Butterick 6065

This is the "loose fitting unlined jacket" from Butterick 6065, one of their Lifestyle Wardrobes. I sewed it up in a sweater knit fabric in about an hour, plus cutting time. Seriously, this is one easy make. It's just two pattern pieces that are sewn with a few darts and folds.

I did not make any changes for maternity.
I like how the pattern makes the stripes run in different directions.

That's about all there is to say on this one.  Easy. Comfy. Fun.