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Welcome to my Blog

I am a grandmother to 4 little girls. I blog about the things I make for them, review patterns, provide tutorials on how I've dealt with techniques or problems, which I hope may help others, and give links to the (mostly) free patterns I use. Every so often, I do a 'Best of..' post listing the best free patterns I've found under specific headings - babies, girls, boys etc. Enjoy the Blog!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Romper Suit from Dana's Diaper Cover Pattern

On an earlier post, I wrote about baby pants and knickers. I have used Dana's Perfect Diaper Cover pattern and tutorial to make romper suits, too - works perfectly. You can find her pattern and tutorial here. Footnote 2015 - she has a revised pattern now but it is also on her website.

And just look at the fabulous material I found to make them! I called this the Gonk fabric when I was planning what to make. 

If you read on, you'll find out how to make the easiest baby rompers in the world.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Baby Pants and Knickers

I've now made a number of matching knickers or pants for baby dresses. I've used two different free-on-the-internet patterns:

  • Dana's pattern for the Perfect Diaper Cover - that's a nappy cover, for people outside North America, but it's basically a nice pair of knickers big enough to hide a nappy.
  • Baby bloomers from Lazy Seamstress
Both of these  are good, for different reasons. The one I have used most is Dana's pattern for a Perfect Diaper Cover, which gives a free tutorial, and comes in 4 different sizes. Thank you so much to Dana. If you plan to use her pattern and tutorial, it's well worth while to read some of the comments. Like some other people, I found the sizes a little bit small (measure the baby!) so I drew and cut in between the size lines. You could also make the waistband a bit higher if you wanted to cover all of the nappy. Dana points out that sewing round the leg holes is a bit fiddly, it is easier if you make the version with bias tape. But persevere, it works with a bit of fiddling! (Since I wrote this she has updated the pattern to try and remove this problem.)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Mystery Pattern for Baby Trousers

I have been trying to track down one of the patterns I printed off in January as a PDF.  I named it 'Baby pants for 6 months square is 5cm or 2in.pdf'. It looks like this:

So I assume I found it via a search on Google or Pinterest such as "baby pants free sewing pattern".

The trouble now is that I can't identify where I got it from. I've used it a couple of times (having enlarged it on squared paper, and lengthened the legs). But I would really like to be able to acknowledge the source. I think it may not be English / American, as the centre front seam is marked 'MV' and the centre back seam is marked 'MA'. I'm not sure what those stand for, maybe something like milieu ventre and milieu arriere. (Though I am not saying this is a French pattern - I just have no idea.) At the bottom it says - 'Back to overview of patterns'. But if there was a hyperlink it has disappeared.

I've done all the searches again that I can possible think I might have used, but to no avail. I just can't find the pattern again.

If anyone recognises it, I would love to know where it comes from so I can say thank you!

On another post I will put the pants I've made using the above pattern (adapted a bit).

UPDATE: I've found it! It's a great pattern, and there are more on the same web Site. Thank you, Suzy!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Baby Bibs and Aprons

Bibs and aprons are such useful things as gifts to a new mum. And generally so easy to make.  I've been collecting patterns for making them, and in this blog I will give the links to the ones I've found the most useful. First, here are a couple of examples, first of a wrap-around bib, that was very popular with the baby's mum, and secondly, of a dribble bib with a pocket that was designed to go with a party dress.


They take such a very small amount of material, require no specially clever sewing techniques - and you can never have too many! So, read on for more information about where to find the free patterns.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A Pink Baby Outfit

Now here's an idea. This is how I created a pretty baby dress out of almost nothing.

I was about to give this old pink valance for a single bed to the charity shop, when, with my newly creative eyes, I saw that it would be perfect for little girl dresses - with the gathering already done! so, sorry, charity shop, you can have some other things, but in this case, charity is beginning at home!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Clothes for Premature Babies (Written in March and Re-edited in July)

Well, this has been a whole new adventure.  Here's the first little outfit for a tiny baby, still five weeks to go till her expected birthdate.

Yes, we are now (as of March 2014) five weeks into the initially harrowing, but now wholly joyous experience of being grandparents to a very premature granddaughter. It has been delightful watching her develop from a tiny, fragile being into a miniature version of a newborn baby, now almost double her birthweight. But still like a tiny doll. I was expecting to start thinking around now for what clothes I might be producing in a few weeks' time, thinking in terms of the baby clothes I made for her older cousin. Instead of looking for patterns for a 3kg+ baby, I've had to re-orientate myself down a couple of kilos, and I've been researching the needs of neonatal unit babies - on the internet as well as by observation in the (brilliant) major NICU unit where we spent so much time.

In this blog, I'll reflect on what I've learned, and also talk about what loving friends and relatives can best do to help. What you need to know first about clothing a tiny premature baby (if you haven't had the experience itself) is that they can't wear 'normal' baby clothes - at least until their tubes and wires are reduced. It takes some searching, but there are ranges of teeny weeny clothes available. But read on before you rush out to buy (or make) too many.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

An Unexpected Turn - Baby Ten Weeks Early

It's now four weeks since my last post, and the reason for that is that my second granddaughter, expected near the end of April, made an unexpected appearance 10 weeks early - and 400 miles from the home where she will eventually live. So everything was put on hold while we held our breath. I've moved to the city where the baby was born, to help look after my poorly daughter and her baby. Things seem to be improving steadily with our tiny new arrival and her mother, and we are more hopeful every day that goes by. But life remains complicated for now.

With extended visits to the hospital every day, that hasn't left a lot of time for sewing, though I had committed to completing some garments for my older granddaughter's first trip abroad to visit her other grandparents (with her Mummy and Daddy, of course). However, I have had my sewing machine delivered courtesy of my wonderful husband who drove the 400 miles with that and my iPad and my car, then flew back home. I've succeeded in finishing a few little things for her, but with no time to write about them.  She's going in a few days' time, so I may not be able to take photos until she returns. But hopefully she'll get some good wear out of the summery outfits in the tropical climate of her Daddy's place of birth.

Probably I will not be posting any more pages to the blog until we know when the new baby will be able to leave hospital, and we can all start to think again about the future.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

More on Peasant Dress Patterns (and Adapting the Size) for Baby Girls

I last posted about the lilac coloured dress I made for my then 5 month old older grand-daughter - but intended for her in a few weeks' time. Peasant dress for 5 month old girl. I based it on the Stitching Scientist's free pattern. However, there are several other good patterns free on the internet for a similar type of dress, and with tutorials available. The advantage of these is that they may be in different sizes. Stitching Scientist says her pattern was designed to fit one-year old twins who are small for their age, about 6-9 months size. Having tried it, I think it will be fine width wise for my grand-daughter who will be 5-6 months when she wears it, but I had to shorten it.

The one below was made from a different pattern for 0-3 months:

This was also a free pattern for this cute little dress, from Sewmuchado. The 0-3 months size was free when I found it, but she also has patterns in different sizes available to purchase. This web site also has a very clear tutorial (thank you). 

This is another free peasant top pattern, from make-your-own-baby-stuff, which comes in several sizes. As the author says, the design is quite forgiving. The elastication round the neck and arms means each size will probably work for at least a few weeks or even months: perhaps first as a long dress, and then as a short top.

I quite often find I need to adapt patterns, or adjust the sizes. You can see below how I adapted the Sewmuchado pattern, for a baby bigger than the suggested size.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Peasant Dress Patterns for Baby Girl

My internet searches brought up several patterns that people have been generous enough to share. One of these helped me produce my first offering for granddaughter no. 1. This free pattern is from the Stitching Scientist. Remona, whose web site it is, said that her pattern was for twins girls of a year old who are tiny, and so it was intended to be a 6-9 month pattern. I though this would be perfect for our baby girl, who, at not yet 4 months old, is already out of most of her 3-6 month clothes. And when she goes to Mauritius in March she will be a little older anyway.

So here it is, now finished.

 I made various adaptations. You'll see I made it with two layers, a plain white cotton lawn layer, and an over layer of this pretty material I had in my fabric box. I think it's probably polyester, but it was quite fine and see-through, hence the under-layer. I just cut them out together and treated them as one layer until it came to the bottom hem.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Sewing for Babies - Do New Grandchildren Make You Creative?

Well, in my case, yes! I probably hadn't had the sewing machine out more than a couple of times a year in the last ten years or so, but since my first granddaughter was born in October, I've dusted off the sewing machine I had for my 21st birthday, started sewing a few bits and pieces, and have now asked for (and received) a more modern and much lighter-weight machine for this birthday. And now my second daughter is also expecting her first baby, also a girl, in April.

So an excuse to start plotting baby girl outfits. The baby already with us will be going to visit her other grandparents in Mauritius in March, by which time she will be more than 5 months old. And it will be warm enough there for her to start needing summer dresses in advance of our summer. (Oh what fun!) By the time our own summer comes, in June / July, she will be 8 or 9 months and probably crawling, and the new baby will be 2-3 months. Just right for her first summer dresses, too!

I have now spent many happy hours shopping, either on-line, or at our local department shop and fabric store.  Here is my first haul, a combination of new purchases, and scraps of fabrics I already had. The joy of baby clothes is what tiny amounts you need. Look at the gorgeous colours. I chose fabrics that might combine together well, and found notions and motifs to blend in. They all got washed, to avoid later shrinkage, and check they were colour-fast (one wasn't) and were then ironed ready for use.

Well, this, my first post, will reflect on my limited physical output so far! Oh, I have laboured into the night scouring the internet for ideas and patterns, and did a lot of pondering about which of the fabrics would work best for which design. I laid out  materials in various combinations, with different trims or buttons. I've even had a sewing tutorial with Emma Nicholson (thank you Emma ) to show me how to use my new machine. I've practised button holes and shirring on scraps of material. But  - somehow I didn't have quite enough materials or motifs, so what I did next was  ---- buy even more fabric!

You can see the pile has got higher, without much coming out the bottom - but ha! Yes, there are finally signs of something happening - you can see a (not-quite-finished) baby girl dress beside the pile. More posts coming on how I made it. Don't you love the little rabbit?