28 June 2011

burp cloth pattern

I was asked if I could share the pattern for the burp cloths I made some friends back here.
burp cloths
So I made a downloadable pdf with the pattern and tutorial for making some just like mine.  They are super-simple to make (you can make 4 in less than an hour), and they are SO USEFUL.  I really prefer to call them "baby slobber control devices".

Anyway, you can find the pattern here on my website, or on Burdastyle.

The burp cloths have quilting cotton tops, flannel bottoms, and absorbent interior layers.

I used these Gerber Flatfold Cloth Diapers from that I bought from Amazon for the absorbent layer, because I wanted my burp cloths to be absorbent, yet not unreasonably hefty.  These 1-ply diapers are a little thin, so I used 2 layers in each burp cloth.  Each diaper is 27 inches square, big enough to get 4 pieces out of a single diaper if you are careful, enough for 2 burp cloths.
cloth diapers make great absorbent layers
But if you want to use another material for the absorbent layer, you could imagine a layer of terry cloth, or a second layer of flannel would probably work equally as well as the diapers. (You could also make these without the addition of an absorbent layer, but I highly recommend the extra protection).

Anyway, the instructions are pretty simple, but if you have any questions, please ask.

And if you happen to try the pattern, I would love your feedback, and to see pictures!

I must love my sister...

...because the past couple weeks were spent was designing and assembling the invitations for her upcoming wedding.  And she didn't ask for simple invites.
invite front
She requested invites with almost a dozen separate pieces, and I tried to deliver as best I could. It's all on Stardream paper (thick, sparkly cardstock - though you can't really tell in the pictures) with Bickham Script and Copperplate text.  I had to use 3 different types of adhesives to hold all the pieces together, and the final invitations weighed almost a 1/4 lb each when I took them to the post office to mail.
I think they turned out pretty well, but more importantly, my sister seemed pleased with the final results.

I've also been working on sewing my mom's dress for my sister's wedding, and it's almost finished.

Oh the things you do for family (though I do love the feeling of being helpful and useful).

I haven't been able to do much sewing the past couple weeks (see above distraction), but I have a load of ideas for some new bag designs, and with the feedback I received so far from my sunhat pattern, I hope to work on a few new patterns in coming weeks.

27 June 2011

Food is better when it is fresh

Warning: This post has nothing to do with sewing.
The past couple years I have been trying to increase the amount of fresh produce in my husband and my diets.  I started by going to the local produce market every week, instead of just buying stuff at the grocery store. I then moved to planning each weeks meals so that I could write a weekly list for our veggie needs.  This year, we decided to join a CSA (community-supported agriculture, a.k.a farm-share)

And so last Saturday was spent at the lovely Red Fire Farm, the current suppliers of our produce.

We signed up for the farm share with my friend Sarah, and it comes with the benefits of free pick-your-own fruits and veggies at the farm.  And so Sarah and I ventured out to pick-our-own.

It's a far drive from Boston, but so worth it. Seeing so much blue sky and green grass is such a change of pace from city-living.

And Sarah and I left with 8 quarts of strawberries, 4 pints of peas, and as many sprigs of herbs as we could possibly use.
fresh-picked strawaberries
A pretty awesome bounty, if I don't say so myself.  The farm share has really exceeded my expectations already, and is definitely worth the investment, but it also requires a different type of meal planning, since we don't know/choose what we are getting each week.  So I have to make up weekly meals to use the foods we get.  So far, so good.

I would love to eventually have my own garden and grow my own veggies (my parents have a wonderful garden in their backyard), but it's just not possible to get the right combination of (abundance of) sun and (lack of) wind where we live currently.  But no matter what, I'm so grateful to have a supply of fresh food. What do you do for your fresh foods?

17 June 2011

Summer Essentials

I signed up for the Summer Essentials Sew-Along this year, because it  coincides with my other goal, which is to have a nice collection of cruise-worthy clothes for a big trip my husband and I are planning at the end of the year. 

I have a pretty big list of what I want for the cruise, which included the sunhat I already made and some comfy slippers that look more like shoes which are also finished and have already gotten a lot of wear.
slippers with canvas bottoms for durability
My priorities for the summer are:
1. Shorts:  I've been working to draft a shorts pattern off my favorite RTW shorts, and I want to make a few pairs this year.  I have already made one wearable muslin that is pretty close, just a little bit big in the waist.
drafted shorts
2. Shirts:  I really need shirts. I don't have any patterns in mind, but I am always looking for ideas.
3. Summer Jacket:  I've already shared the beginnings of my linen jacket, which will hopefully be perfect for summer nights.  I am practicing some couture techniques on this jacket (a la Claire Shaeffer), which means there is a lot of handsewing, which is slow-going for me.

linen jacket in progress
linen jacket in progress
4. Poolside pretties:  I already made one bathing suit "muslin", and now I just need to make a few tweaks and churn out the real thing. Also, a caftan cover-up!  I have the fabric for it, and I was thinking of going for something dramatic (a la weekend designer).
oscar de la renta caftan via weekend designer
I have more planned than just those things listed (like a multitude of bags for carrying my DSLR camera discreetly, of which a couple designs are almost finished; also, shorts for the hubby - his big butt doesn't fit into store-bought shorts easily), that I hope to share soon.

Do you have any plans for summer sewing?

13 June 2011

No sewing this weekend

This weekend was a special occasion.  My husband actually took a day off from work.  The first one he's had since the beginning of January.  And so we had an entire day just to hang out, which meant I did not sew anything.

The day started with an amazing breakfast.
Homemade whole wheat waffles with berries and freshly whipped cream, cappuccinos, and strawberry mimosas. We also had bacon (I need my savory component with every meal). And we watched Fantasia.

We then went to check out the Chihuly exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts here in Boston.  It is absolutely amazing.  Beautiful glass creations in some of the most vivid colors and textures, and with such intricate details.
Many of the displays were huge pieces, 30-50 feet in length or height.

And although I didn't get to sew anything, I did wear quite a few of my creations on Saturday.

Here is my trench coat, which is almost finished (I still need to make the removable hood).
I gave it an orange silk lining, which makes rainy days more pleasant. And the purse on my shoulder I made large enough to hold my DSLR camera in a padded compartment.

And under my coat, I wore a blue skirt I made a last year.
It was the first skirt I ever made, and I did it without any pattern or know-how, but it worked out okay.

I even hand-knotted the pearl necklace I was wearing.
pearl necklace
It was one of two necklaces I made for my wedding last year, because I really wanted greyish-silver pearls and couldn't find any necklaces I liked, so I bought some pearls I liked and made my own.

After the museum, we got dressed up and went to Craigie on Main for a fancy dinner, and it really was as good as all the hype it's received lately.

All-in-all, it was a great day, and a fun weekend, even without any sewing.

How was your weekend?

08 June 2011

jewel-toned wallet clutch

My wallet was getting worn out, and I was getting tired of reaching for it, my keys, and my phone separately when running out the door.  Because inevitably I forget one of them some of the time.

So my solution was to make a wallet clutch, that is just large enough to house my cell phone and my keys.  And a pen.  And maybe a checkbook when necessary.

And by using fabric scraps I had on hand, I came up with this jewel-toned version made of a really thick canvas on the outside, a quilting weight cotton on the inside, some funky-colored zips, and a touch of a beautiful cotton voile designed by Anna Maria Horner.

It has 2 credit card pockets for holding all my IDs and cards, and a zipper pocket for cash and loose change.  The outer zipper closure keeps everything nice and secure, while the flap with magnetic snap adds another level of security, and easy access when the zip is left open.

This canvas was SO HARD to sew in the past when I was using Sophie, my Brother sewing machine.  But this time I used Veronica, and she handled this stuff like it was nothing.  I've never had such perfect stitching through 3-4 layers of ridiculously stiff canvas.
And the best part is that now that she is done, I have an indestructible wallet, that will take much more than a few months of abuse before needing replacement.  And that will keep my keys and phone safely stowed.  

I think it's a pretty useful design, and I hope to share it very soon.

06 June 2011


This weekend was all about celebrations.

The first was that of MIT's 150th Anniversary.  We didn't attend, but we could see the festivities out of our window.
MIT 150
The Prudential Building in Boston was lit up in celebration, and the fireworks were pretty fun to try and catch on camera.

The second celebration included two adorable babies being born to close friends. The hubby helped me make their gifts (i.e. he cut while I sewed, I take that as a BIG help).

I figure twin boys will need a LOT of slobber control, so the new parents received a collection of bibs and burp cloths.
burp cloths
They are quilting cotton on one side, and cotton flannel on the other side.  I went for non-pastel colors, which the parents seemed to appreciate.  The twins also each got a stuffed turtle with their initials on it.
For the bib, I used a pattern from here.  The burp cloth pattern I created, and you can find that right here.

And eyes like these make me want kids too (in a few years).
twin A

In the meantime, we can visit our new little friends. And I can make them gifts.
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