Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mundane Sewing Projects

I decided a month or so ago that I wanted to complete a few mundane projects before the baby was born, and I wanted to specifically look for projects that would allow me to try techniques I had never taken a stab at before.  I found three projects that I really wanted to make, but offered three levels of effort: a nursing cover, a toiletries bag and a diaper bag.  I think they were successes in terms of the process, though there are a few things I could have improved.  I used three tutorials I found online (after some extensive looking!), and here are the results:

First, I made a toiletries bag, using some leftover gray wool and a cotton for the lining.  It's a good size for a whole mess of travel-sized toiletries.  It will also double as a quick-grab bag for diapers and a small bag of wipes.  I used a boxy bag tutorial and included a little handle.  The lining is hand sewn in.  I found on my second trip to the hospital that packing a bag of travel-size toiletries was SOOO much better than trying to get my full-sized items packed.  This way, I've got all the toiletries I need ready to go, and if I accidentally leave any at the hospital, it's no big deal.  I had never sewn a zipper on anything before- so that was the major challenge on this project.

The second project was a nursing cover, which I made using this tutorial.  The cover uses D-rings for the strap around the neck (which I hadn't sewn on before) and uses boning at the front center to keep the cover open at the top for easier viewing and air circulation.  The boning was interesting to work with.  I actually either didn't follow the directions exactly, or the directions had an error, and I had to pull the boning out of the casing to turn it around, because I'd already sewn the casing down.  That was interesting.  I did a very poor job of keeping my lines straight during sewing, so a close up isn't very pretty!  After trying to breast feed the twins at the hospital with no cover, and nurses and doctors always coming in and out of the room, I was really feeling the lack of privacy.  I decided that a nursing cover was definitely in order this time!

The final project, and the most complex, was a diaper bag.  It's not really a diaper bag- it's more of a purse that's large enough to hold kid's stuff.  I used the Not Just Another Pretty Purse tutorial.  I made several modifcations to the pattern pieces (made the bottom and sides wider, and changed the shape of the inner pockets.)  Adding magnetic clasps, a key fob, an interior pocket with a zipper, AND piping (!) were the challenges on this one.  I discovered that, though I wouldn't call it "easy", sewing piping on is a lot of fun!  I used a thick flannel between the layers, but in retrospect, I probably should have also used a stiffening interfacing to prevent the sides from drooping so much.  There are three layers of plastic canvas in the false bottom, as well as a piece of cardboard placed under it, to try to keep the bottom stiff so the sides are forced to stay up a bit more.  The main purpose of this bag at the hospital is to hold the toiletry bag, the cover and some items for the baby (like the outfit he/she will wear home).  I'll also toss in a few items for me, though it's not large enough to hold my clothes for going home (I'll just leave those in the car and have Dearg bring them in when I'm ready for them.)  I'm interested to see how long it "lives" before it starts to fall apart!


I've got less than two weeks before my C-section, but I have a few random projects that I might pick up and work on a bit between now and then (like my new Tres Riches hat).  We'll see how much I can get done before the baby arrives!

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