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.

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. ; )

Fabric Buying – Pattern Perusing – Sewing Withdrawal

Sewing has been out of the picture for the time being as I am so busy lately with the new baby and Christmas coming .  I miss it but I thought was doing pretty well with it.  It will all come back in good time, right?

Well, yesterday my husband dropped into a bookstore for a gift for his mom and I gathered wrapping supplies at the local dollar store.  At peace with getting the seasonal chores so close to finished and enjoying the unusually sunny warm day for December I walked back to the car passing a bunch of shops I was glad not to have to go into as I was so close to finishing up the buying and gift wrapping.  

Such complacency never lasts long for me, and even feeling it should be a cue that something will rattle me in the next few seconds – and true to form the emotional landscape was about to change.

Do you know what capped the end of this little strip mall

 A super JoAnn’s

My peace was shattered.  Aahh!  I’d almost forgotten that JoAnn had recently opened a new store along this strip.  Now I felt an overwhelming desire to go in and buy something I do not need, had not planned to sew, and probably can’t even finish right now.

I fought the urge for a little while, but then thought “Pooh, I am a sewer after all, a creative person.  I am prone to such vagaries.  Just accept it.”

I told my husband I was going to go in to just smell the fabric.  He told me “You’ve got it pretty bad, babe.  Does fabric even have fumes?” 

Yeah, it kinda does.

I sent him to bring the car around while I took a whirlwind tour.  One quick look at the clearance rack which wasn’t very clearance-y in price, but then the big sales are past.  Traipsed past the patterns hoping for a 99 cent sale.  No sale but I was glad to see fresh pattern catalogs.  My daughter split for the kids crafts and came back with a paint kit I am supposed to remember for her birthday this January.   Saw all the bolts of quilting fabric lining the walls, and the bins of yarn, and gave a huge sigh of relief.  Nothing has changed since I’ve been gone.

Now I keep wondering which of my undone projects I can realistically finish as I care for the new baby.  I am sad that I have such a large stash of UFO”s but then consider it a blessing that I have so much to choose from in the undone department at this busy time when only projects that are quick and easy can be considered.

I’ve taken a duster to the machine, picked the cat off of the press board, and look forward to keeping you posted on what projects I find! 🙂

The No-Sew Nighttime Nursing Bra

First let me thank everyone for their kind words and wishes during my pregnancy and for celebrating with me upon the birth of my son.  It meant a lot to me to read those comments during the past several weeks. 

Bless you all! 🙂

Busy with baby, now I keep looking longingly at my machine but I haven’t much time to sew. However I do have one tiny clothing project, a refashioning project actually.

This is my first post-partum sewing project.  A no-sew project really.

I thought a soft and clingy A-tee would work nicely.

I was looking for something soft and comfortable to wear under my nightgown as early nursing can be a sensitive business.  I grabbed some men’s tee’s from the store, the type while growing up we used to call wifebeaters, not a pretty name but we did not think anything of it at the time, pre-PC and all.  The manufacturers obviously object to that name and call them A-tees I think.  The draw for me was that they fit close to the body and were very cheap.

Guestimate and cut. I had to cut off the bottom because men's hips being so slender, there was no way I was going to get the hem to fit my post-partum hips.

I have kept the bottom cut-off portion to use as ribbing in future knit projects.  Otherwise the shirts are disposable and I will warn you as you continue nursing, your breast size will increase, and you will have to keep cutting a new shirt allowing for more space at the top.  Also, any leaking goes right through and you may find yourself changing up a few times a night.  Not a long term solution, but it got me through the early days when I was most tender.

Here it is in two parts. The bottom I am squirreling away for ribbing in future knit projects. The top portion is probably going to be so used up and worn that I recycle it as a dusting cloth.

Baby Announcement! It’s a Boy!

October 14, 2011

9 pounds 7 ounces

22 inches

 

On October 14th my husband and I welcomed our son into the world, a healthy and hearty 9 lb. 7 oz. 22 inch long baby.  I am happy to be home with baby and recuperating nicely.  I am still a little sore and slow but I am already wondering what my next project will be.  (And looking forward to disposing of the maternity clothes.)  🙂

I appreciate all of the well wishes and good advice I have received during the past nine months. 

Thank you and God Bless!

Baby on the Way!!!

Baby Yarp Season: Building a Nursing Wardrobe

Breastfed babies DO puke, despite what authorities say.  I remember being puked upon a lot, and often smelling generally milky.  At the time I did not think much about gathering clothing that would hide baby stains.  I wasn’t sewing as much or as well then, and I did not have much money to buy even secondhand clothes.  I remember feeling very frumpy.

This time around I want to do better so I have given it some thought.  Like I mentioned last post I am going to branch out style-wise and do the unstructured, layered look.  Adding and subtracting clothing on a per-stain basis should be easier that way. 

Normally I am attracted to wovens, but I am going to concentrate on knits for a season, as they are quicker to sew, don’t need fancy seam finishes, and if unstructured, can be easily taken in as my waistline, hopefully!, decreases.

My next thought was color – what colors best repel or hide stains.  Not just puke stains.  As the baby grows and feeding solids begins, he will have his hands in strained peas and peaches and then want to love on me, adorning my clothes with permanent orange, green and brown marks.

Thinking through the fabric/color issue while waiting on my second glucose test at the OB/Gyn’s,  I decided to build my wardrobe around darker knits in solids or flowy/busy prints.  Taking a cue from a recent post by Stephanie of 3 Hours Past the Edge I got onto the website colourlovers.com and created a small basic palette.

Navy, burgundy, forest green, grey and purple in various prints and solids.

Not fancy but I think it will do for the upcoming season of baby yarp and food fights. 

Any other suggestions for baby friendly fabric or color options?

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