Baby Steps Towards a Baby Project

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In my last post, I said I’d make some culturally celebratory items for LJ – and had every intention of doing so. How hard could it be to sew some small things for a baby? I even found a free pattern for a diaper cover over at Made Everyday. But after skimming through the steps, I froze. I realized I wasn’t ready for anything as fiddly as a tiny casing. After several crazy months, every part of me was rusty. But I missed sewing! Luckily, a UFO swooped in and save the day. Cue #sewingstorytime!

The night before I went to the hospital to have LJ, I taught a sewing class and got home at about 1030pm. Now, if you had to be at a hospital at 8am to be induced into having a baby three weeks early, what would you do? Sleep, right? Well. I looked around my room and decided I needed to wash and put away all my laundry – which was pretty much every stitch of clothing I owned. It took me from 11pm until just past 5am the next morning!! And I was exhausted the whole time. I knew that the moment I so much as brushed against my bed, I’d be curled up, knocked out, and likely to wayyy oversleep. So I sewed. I made twelve burp cloths, three blankets, and cut a yard of flannel into six bibs. But I ran into a snag. Not only was I not about to do buttonholes at 4am, but I had no plan for any other kind of closure. And, more importantly, I had no clue how big to make the neck opening. After some dithering, I made a circle that looked small, and stitched a few bibs. By that time, my last load had finished drying, so my attention shifted towards folding it, putting it away, and then double checking my hospital bag. After LJ was born, life was a whirlwind and then we moved.

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Fast forward to last month, when LJ was finally old enough to dabble in ‘solid’ food. Of course she had to wear a custom homemade bib! So I pulled out the stack of cut and partially sewn bibs and decided to Make It Work. For closure, I’d since gotten a roll of mint colored ribbon from the local Walmart that coordinated with the fabric perfectly. My sewing machines were all set up and itching for use, though the rest of my setup was improvised – which is how I ended up ironing in the bathroom! Anyway, the gist of the process to freehand these bibs was:

  1. Fold the fabric in thirds along the crossgrain.
  2. Fold the thirds into fourths along the grain.
  3. Use something round to cut curves into the corners.
  4. Use something round to cut a neck hole.
  5. Cut two lengths of ribbon 8″-12″ long (20.3-30.5 cm)
  6. With right sides together and ribbon sandwiched between the layers, stitch around the edge, leaving an opening at the bottom.
  7. Turn right side out through the opening and top stitch.

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Sounds easy, right? Especially since all the cutting was done and I had the perfect ribbon? Well…remember how I guesstimated the size of the neckhole? It turned out it was way too big! The bib fit around my large adult neck, and was laughably big on LJ. And my handiwork was rough – wobbly stitching ruled the day, and my attempt at decorative faux-embroidery was weak. The bib looks cute from afar, but it’s not 100% functional and certainly not up to the sewing standard I hold myself to. That said, I don’t feel like this project was a fail, as much as an alert that I have work to do to get back into my sewing groove. The next few (several?) projects I sew will be more about the process than the outcome, so prepare yourselves for more ugly stitching!

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4 Comments

  1. Ahhhh, that burst of energy right before baby is born :)

    I had to laugh at the neck opening! hahaha! You must have just cracked up when you saw her teeny tiny neck in there!

    The fabric is gorgeous and now you know you can knock out a half dozen bibs in no time.

    1. Yesss that pre-birth energy was real! Although I wonder if being terrified and unsure of what was coming next also gave me some fuel :p I knew soooo little about baby sizing before LJ was born, it is laughable – I’m still learning, but at least I know better than to make her a bib she’ll wear at her 25th birthday party, haha.

  2. I’m so impressed that you are doing any sewing at all, and what a lovely photo of you wearing the bib with the adult-size neck hole! I think I meant to write a comment when you moved and never did, I am not sure. I’m a bit sad we don’t live the same state any longer but I’m happy for you that your life has taken these amazing new turns. All best to you and LJ and sewing in your whole new life!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! It’s so funny – when I lived in MA I felt like I knew no one who sewed, but now I realize how good I had it, sewing community wise. Isn’t that the way it always is? When I was pregnant, I vowed I wouldn’t give up any of myself – hobbies, interests, preferences – just because of the baby. I didn’t want the child to ever feel responsible for me not living my best life. And when I gave birth to a girl, it became even more important to show her by example how to be a mother and a person in her own right! So many thanks for the kind words and well wishes :) they’re very much appreciated.

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