Pattern Review:McCall’s 5678 Baby Sling Option B

McCall’s 5678 Baby Sling Option B

McCall's 5678 Baby Slings

Option A, the green one the man is wearing, does not look like you can free your hands so I didn’t bother making it.  I have something a friend gave me, a serendipity wrap I believe it is called, it is about twelve feet of bright batik green fabric; if you wrap outdoors the fabric drags on concrete and my husband will not wear it because it the print is too feminine.  (But I included the  link just in case it works for you as it looks really cool on the babywearing site. ) Baby is approaching separation anxiety stage meaning I have to wear him to get anything done.  Option B looks like a rectangle with ties attached and I thought it would work up quickly and allow me to use up some of my stash.   Also my hands could be free at least some of the time.

Pros:

  1. After you make the first sling, you will find ways to shorten the process.
  2. You can make several in different fabrics having fun with various print and color combinations.
  3. It is washable.
  4. It can be adjusted to fit each individual unlike some of the commercial baby carriers where once you have the straps adjusted it is a pain to readjust if you want your husband to carry the baby for awhile.
  5. Your hands can be free some of the time, at least long enough to use a broom or mop.
  6. After you learn the technique it makes a great baby gift, though you will have to teach the recipient how to wear it, and remind her that it can only be used after the baby is 4 months old and can hold up his/her head well.

    Clearly I wasn't prepared for a photograph and I had to hold the camera at a strange angle but you can see the denim sling and that it does safely hold a baby.

Cons:

  1. Looks are deceiving.  This is not a beginner project.
  2. The instructions make it take longer than need be.
  3. The body is sewn like a pillow right sides together. On the final sew-around all four straps plus the padded top are shoved to the inside and keeping all of that stuff out of your line of seaming can be tricky.
  4. Babies have strong opinions on their slings, and you could spend the time making it to find your baby hates it.  My firstborn hated every sling we tried, but I had not used one like this which resembles a mei tai sling. (Here are some photos of that type.)
  5. You cannot bend forward with this sling.  You must bend at the knee with your back straight.  This is tiresome when doing certain household chores.

Some Assembly Required:

The instructions have you baste the fleece onto the straps before completing them.  Do it per the instructions the first time, but after that an intermediate sewer will quickly see how it can be done in one pass.

I took the extra time and basted the fleece onto the body both times as it is several layers of sewing on this piece. 

After inserting straps and padded top, create a double line of seaming topstitch the straps down inside the body for extra strength.

Fabric:

The body can be a bit stiffer than the straps but regular cotton will also do.  I recommend quilting cotton for the straps as you will be tying these and will need some pliability. I used denim and batik for the first sling, and a fanciful quilting cotton for the second.

The second sling in fun fabric. I forget who gave me this fabric with a print of dogs posing as cowboys but this is the only use I can imagine using it for.

Finetuning:

I used some of my stash for these two slings, but finding yardage long enough for the straps was a bit hard.  You can piece the straps towards the ends, but I would want one solid piece near the body.

Will I Sew it Again:

Maybe.  Depends on how long these two last.  I have a friend who is pregnant and I hope it is a little girl as I am dying to make one of these up in coordinating girlie pink fabrics. 🙂

Advice to Others:

You must give me grace because the baby kept hitting the camera though it wasn't quite this blurry on my digital screen. Hopefully you can still see my mistake where the red doesn't quite meet up with the blue. I should have taken more care in pinning and cleaning up the edges of my strap.

Remember after you sew the straps to tidy up the edges or you may have some skips in your seaming because your stitch line just missed the fabric edge. 

Mark the top of the body because once you take off the pattern you won’t be able to figure it out.  It is a little counterintuitive but the smaller end goes on bottom, so the baby’s legs can stick out, and the larger side goes on top to surround the baby at the shoulder.

If you have a post-partum abdominal separation (diastis recti) or weak upper back muscles you must remember to pull your shoulders back and down, and your bellybutton up and in when wearing the sling.  Check out Julie Tupler,  a physical therapist who helps pregnant and post-partum women get back into shape and reduce their bellies.  She warns that care must be used when wearing front carry baby slings.

 Overall Style Grade:  A, This could be very cute, especially if you bought some designer quilting cotton.

Results Grade: A, for advanced beginners or beyond.  If I were new to sewing I might find it a bit frustrating.

At What Age Did You Begin Sewing?

My daughter's sewing machine which I have been "borrowing" for the past two years.

I was nine, in third grade, when I began my first machine sewing project.  It was a tank top made of some horrible polyester and had facings, a term and technique that really bemused me, because as a nine-year-old I could not for the life of me see where these funny curved things had a face.  Much of my learning to sew has gone along these lines.  And I vowed to myself that I would teach my daughter so she wouldn’t have to undergo the agonies of the self-taught.

After my daughter’s first experience with machine sewing she decided to take a break.  A few years have passed and she is now seven and feels she is ready to face the machine again.   This is her first project completed with supervision.  (I serged the inside seams.)

Here are the photos.  She took the pictures.  They are very blurry but she was so proud of her pillow I told her I would post the photos.  

Little mermaid on one side.

 

 

Angelina on the other side.

 

 

Hello Kitty ribbons to close pillowcase.

I am curious.  Not only how old were you when you began sewing, but how much help did you receive?

I received very little help and it has left me unsure how to teach sewing to a young girl.  A family member helped me when she could but it was not often that I was at her home.  4-H at the time was not offering  much hands-on instruction in sewing, at least that was my experience.   Most of the easy sewing projects I can imagine for my daughter would he half her work, and half mine, for them to come out successfully.  If the sewing isn’t strong enough to withstand use, she won’t be able to enjoy her completed projects, and I fear she won’t want to continue sewing.   I don’t want her discouraged with poor results, but I also want her to own her victories when a project comes out well.

Did you have someone to lean on, or are you mainly self-taught?  If you had a teacher, how did your teacher go about teaching sewing?

Crazy Ugly Dog Blankets

A basket of sheeting scraps from practice muslins and one of those stiff fleece blankets from the 80's.

Sometimes I like a bit of what I call “unskilled sewing.”   At least it looks unskilled when I do it.

Right now I can’t imagine getting involved in a detailed project as I am constantly interrupted by the baby.  But I want to sew. 

Rooting through my stuff I found this basket of scraps from my practice muslins.  Often I make random household stuff out of this material and after seeing the dog shivering in her bin once winter set in, I decided to do some dog blankets.

Now let me tell you – my dog chews.  A bad habit.  But in this instance very freeing for me.

Combining some of Eleanor Burns’ Log Cabin quilt technique  with  the “Quilt as You Go” method and adding in some Paper Piecing ideas I came up with these truly crazy ugly dog blankets.

One Crazy Ugly Dog Blanket. Now there are several more where this came from and I have a tidy little pile of blankets for the dog's delight.

Totally freeform sewing.  Whatever fabric piece I reach for first is the one I use.  Not bothering to match thread, I use up my spare bobbins and leftover thread spools. If I get the seam right, wonderful, if not, so be it.  If the batting is a parallelogram rather than a rectangle, I don’t bother squaring the angles.

My dog enjoys adding some cotton fiber to her diet.

The goal – nothing wasted.  The attitude – who cares what it looks like.  The caveat – the dog may chew it anyway.

Hakuna Matata sewing – no worries.  It has been a lot of fun.  Stuff that was once only clutter around my house has been brought into use.   The blankets are admittedly ugly, but the dog has already begun her chewing.

First Post-Partum Sewing Project: Keeping Ken Modest

Once I had a boss who when confronted by questions on Casual Friday appropriateness would answer by saying, “I don’t care what you wear, as long as your who-ha’s are not hanging out.”

Sly queries such as “Just what are who-ha’s,”  were met with “You Know.  And I don’t want to see them!”

Recently my daughter brought me her Ken doll and he clearly had a problem that would have sent my old boss into a tailspin.  His who-ha’s were most definitely hanging out.  Should Ken bend to dive into the pool he would expose his derriere for all the world to see.  My daughter said, “Fix these Mommy,” and smacked the small swim trunks down on my sewing machine bed.  

It took a few weeks and I didn’t even bother to change the thread to match.  Just dusted off my machine and hit the foot pedal.  It felt really good to be sewing again

Here are the finished trunks.  I would have shown you the outfit on Ken himself but his current whereabouts are unknown.  As he is the only male in a suitcase full of Barbies I guess he is a busy man. ; )

A Dog Bed Made From Leggings, a Pillowcase, and a Zipper

Ya’ll remember these?

This is a photo of my practice muslin sewn when I reviewed McCall’s 6173 Leggings pattern.

The fabric was from an old knit sheet set I scavenged at my local thrift shop.  It came with a pillowcase.  About the time I was sewing leggings I was seeing other sewing bloggers making dog beds.  I admired theirs very much, but knew that the expense wasn’t worth it.  My dogs chew.

They also stink.  I love’em.  But they stink.

I have to be able to wash the bed frequently.

My dogs’ previous bed was oval with a rounded stuffed cylinder all the way around.  They liked it very much.  And it was washable.  I wanted to recreate that idea in a dog bed using scraps.

This is what I came up with.

The pillowcase, a separating zipper, and a pair of leggings.

1) I sewed the zipper into the pillowcase opening.  I didn’t want the zipper sticking out.  I laid one edge of the pillowcase on top of the zipper and sewed down.  They I reversed by laying the zipper on top of the other edge and sewing down.  That way the hemmed edge of the pillow is completely hiding the zipper.  If the dogs don’t notice it, maybe they won’t chew it.

2) Next I took the legs of the leggings and sewed them around the edge of the pillowcase from the topside.  Didn’t worry too much about precision.  If this thing lasts a year in this house it will be lucky.

3) Then I made another stitch line making a rectangular area out of the torso area of the leggings.  That could be stuffed into a tiny pillow.

4) Back to the thrift store.  I bought some cheap throw pillows and used the stuffing to fill the legs.  My daughter liked handing me the white fluffy stuff. 

5) I cut into the ankle of each leg to tie off the ends.  I also stuffed the pillow portion at the waist portion of the leggings.  Sewed the opening closed on the machine.  Again neither precision nor finishing seam edges was all that important.

6) Next was to stuff the main body.  The question was; buy a new pillow or use one of my own?  I could buy a new pillow for the dog.  Or use one my husband’s old pillows and buy HIM the new pillow as a replacement.  As my husband gets up at 5:45 each morning to keep us in food and shelter, and the dog’s main contribution is to bark and sneak out of the yard – the husband won!

7) I stuffed my husband’s old head pillow into the dog bed and

 Voila!

It is a funny shape laid flat.

But it fits into the corner by our bed very well.

Zoe, our jack russell/german shepherd mix, giving the new bed a trial run. She had a good time pulling the stuffing out of the legs before I tied off the ends. The loosely stuffed pillow-edges squish into the corner making it a draft-free and soft on her getting-old doggy bones.

Next Post: Saturday, February 5, 2011:Finishing up the T-Shirt Category and Moving on to the Blouses

Butterick 5772: Attaching the band to the beret.

Butterick 5772:Children's Winter Hats

This pattern provides several different hat styles and most are self-explanatory but the beret does have a few quirks. 

 

First: the undercap.

Butterick 5772: The undercap of the beret must have a hole for the head cut out. I found it helpful to fold the cap in half.

Fold the undercap portion in half to cut your inside circle.

Second: the band.

Knowing from previous options that the bands sometimes did not fit well I was leary that the band would not correctly fit into the undercap circle of the beret.  This is how I made sure the band matched the beret circumference.

I marked the back and front center with a pin.

 

I began sewing the band about two inches from the center back and sewed around until I was nearly 2 inches away from the center back.

The next step I will explain and draw in paint the best I can, though I realize that the illustrations make much more sense if you have the actual pattern pieces in front of you. 

I layed the loose ends of the bands down and cut a small notch into them at what would be the bands center back seam.

Then I sewed the band center back seam.

The band fit the circle perfectly since it was custom fit.

It took just a few extra moments and I didn’t have to worry about a mismatch that wouldn’t “ease” into the undercap. Of all the options offered the beret is middling in difficulty and time, but my daughter’s pleasure with it made it worth a few extra moments.

Next Post: Tuesday, November 9, 2010:Sloping Shoulder Alteration

 

McCall’s 5772 Child’s Polarfleece Hats: Pattern Review

McCall’s 5772 Child’s Polarfleece Hats

McCall's 5772 Winter Hats for Children

My daughter requested the beret on this pattern front as she browsed a kid’s pattern catalog at the fabric store.  The Halloween frog costume provided extra fleece as I had to buy at least a ¼ yard cut but barely used any in making the small froggy spots. I am currently on a fabric stash bash and don’t want any spare material around gathering dust.  So I decided to not even try to find a place to store the leftover fleece, but immediately sought a way to use it up.  I remembered this pattern and thought this would be a good time to make wearable muslins of each style.  I have made all of the styles except I ran out of material and couldn’t cut a visor for options E and F.

None of the hats pictured have decorations as this will take much considering and reconsidering on my daughter’s part as she rummages through my buttons and trim.  Should keep her occupied a good 30-45 minutes.  🙂

McCall's 5772 Option C with mittens: I have to make and add yarn pom poms.

Pros:

  • Finally a use for remnant fleece.
  • Lots of potential for cute little girl decorations.
  • All of the hats include a lining pattern.
  • If you don’t have enough material or want an extra quick project, you can ditch the lining.
  • Fleece does not require a seam finish.

McCall's Option B: My favorite because it is the easiest.

Cons:

  • The bands are often too small for their caps.  Cut extra length just in case.
  • The pattern instructions tell you to sew in the round attaching band to cap as you do a set-in sleeve.  I think manufacturers must sew these hats flat and wish the patternmaker had gone that route.  
  • I cut a large for my size five daughter and found the heads to be a bit peaky.  You can cut some excess off the bottom band or bottom edge of the cap if that is a problem for you.
  • I took about three inches off the circumference of option E/F which made for differently sized triangular portions.  I thought three inches was a lot to remove for my daughter’s average size head.

Some Assembly Required:

I followed the pattern instructions overall except I did not sew up the last seam of the cap.  Instead I left that seam open, attached the bands, and then sewed both band and cap at back center seam.

Fabric:

Leftover polarfleece.

McCall's 5772 Option E/F and scarf: I had to remove three inches of circumference which made the back triangles a different size than the rest. Thankfully this is only a wearable muslin and my daugther will probably lose it as quickly as I made it.

Finetuning:

I am going to cut extra length in the bands next time.  Possibly I will cut some depth off the bottom of the cap also. 

Will I Sew it Again:

As my daughter loses hats often I think I will be making many renditions.

Advice to Others:

 You must sew every seam at 5/8 inch.  Then grade the seam edge back.  If you don’t sew at the 5/8th that the pattern

McCall's 5772 Option A: The beret my daughter wanted. She choose the pink fleece. I will go over how to match the band to the undercap on Saturday's post.

was created for you will get a different circumference than intended.

Most of the options are self-explanatory but the beret does have a few quirks. I will go over sewing the beret in Saturday’s post.

Overall Style Grade:  A, this is a cute classic style for small children.   Results Grade: A, easy for beginners and a nice break in between tougher projects for long-time sewers.

Next Post: Friday, November 5, 2010: Week Eight of my Stash Bash.   Then Saturday, November 6, 2010:Fitting a Beret Band Perfectly to the Undercap.

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