Today I had my first custom order for a GRACE baby change bag made from Cotton laminate, similar to the oilcloth bags from Cath Kidston. I must admit to a little trepedation when I had to order the fabric from Plush Addicts as chosen by the customer. I had not worked with cotton laminates before but had read lots of reviews and tips which recommented needing a special foot for sewing machines which worried me. I wondered whether I would need to order a special Foot for my Janome to sew cotton laminate. I looked at the most popular:
The Janome Ultraglide foot is made of a special resin so it glides across fabrics that would otherwise be “sticky.”
The Janome Roller foot as we’re sure you can guess, has a roller on it that is textured to hold onto an otherwise slippery surface as it helps to guide the fabric under the needle.
The Janome Even Feed (or Walking) foot is the one which I already had. This foot has its own set of feed dogs so the fabric is being fed under the needle from the top (with the foot’s feed dogs) and the bottom (with the machine’s feed dogs) simultaneously. But this did not ‘Hold’ the fabric for the pattern I was using.
In the end, I just went with my gut feeling and worked by trial and error with my usual ‘suck it and see‘ philosophy! I must admit my custom designed pattern for the GRACE baby change bag did not work directly with the specialist fabric, even with trying to use the ‘walking’ foot. Every option I tried, had to be rethought onto how I could achieve the desired results. Even the standard top stitching was a challenge for me. In the end, I found that as long as I was stitching the laminate to either itself or another fabric it could be acheived without a major problem. The main problems were, when the laminate was next to the sewing machine foot or machine feed dogs. That was when sewing the fabric casued a major problem to me. Cottom laminate is a fabulous easy cae wipe clean option, as long as it is used in a simple pattern. I had to scale down some features of the GRACE bag for this fabric. However, as i tried to stitch direct to the shiny sticky qualiaites of the fabric, I realised it didnt need a new expensive foot on the sewing machine, but a way of reducing the friction between the fabric and the foot or feed dogs. Toilet paper! yes you read that right, I nipped to the loo and had an epiphany. If I used a single ply layer of loo roll (or other such transparent tear away tissue) between the shiny laminate fabric and the sewing machine foot or feed dog it should reduce the friction. So on making the bag sewn with lovely owl laminate fabric, bear in mind that without creative use of toilet paper (or an expensive additional specialist machine foot) it was not possible to create!
This specific bag was designed for Kelly and is matched with her choice of owl laminate fabric for a wipe clean baby change bag similar to the Cath Kidston bags. It was designed to match the colours to her Phil and Ted turquoise buggy with additional specification attachments on external handle to clip to her buggy. As long as custom modification requests are agreed up fron they can be worked into the design.
My daughters have always used cloth reusable nappies on my grand children. They have stroked the soft fluffy nappies, and stalked for the most sought after designs. I never knew there was such a thing as designer diapers as the say across the pond. But I suppose celebrities have started a trade in unique custom baby bums. No longer are nappies the plain white square of terry towelling with intricate folding techniques for when my children were babies.
As they ‘encouraged’ me to buy the babies the fancy fleecy nappies I thought that they can’t been too hard to make. So I cut round one and had a go! It was actually easier than I expected, so if you can use a sewing machine and want to design your own nappies, then have a go. After all, whats the worst that can happen, we know what goes in them when they are used.
The basic Pocket Nappy consists of three.basic layers.
A fleece or fancy fabric outer layer
A PUL layer (the waterproof part)
The soft micro fleece inside (next to babies skin)
Cut out all three layers to the basic shape – I will try to get a copy of the pattern loaded up here for you to download.
Next you have to make the ‘pocket’ where the absorbent filler goes. I used a simple rectangle of the same micro fleece inner and drew a straight line. I stitched all around the line with a quarter-inch space from the line. Next snip up the line and into the corners of the rectangle. What you are making is the same as an insert zip or pocket.
Turn the spare fabric through the slot you have just cut and turn to the back and topstitch around the opening as shown below.
Next I pinned the PUL Layer and External fabric around the legs and edges ready to stitch. Make sure you do not pin in the centre of the fabric as the pins will go through the polyurethane fabric layer so the nappy will leak.
I had bought some fold over elastic which is a bit like ordinary elastic but is prefolded like Bias binding. I carefully matched the fold of the elastic with the edges of the nappy and slightly stretched the elastic around the leg area. As I stitched I made sure I caught in both top and bottom of the fold over elastic and it encased the layers of fleece.
That done all that was left to do was to stitch on the velcro or aplix (softer velcro) to create the fastenings.
Voila! one unique custom nappy. I had embroidered a pirate and a customised name on the one I made but you could add frills or fancy fabrics
Go on, have a go. Wrap you baby in hand-made customised nappies and safe the environment from disposable nappies!
Finally after what as seemed like three years in the making I finished the Fairy tale quilt for my granddaughter Daisy. I was starting to feel guilty as my oldest grandchild was the only one one without a personalised quilt from Grandma! when the boys were born I made one for Logan, George and William and Aliyah got her play quilt. But Daisy was kept waiting!
I wanted to include some of the fabulous Fairy tale embroidered collages available from www.emblibrary.com I chose these four. I was planning an a few more but as each one took over 6 hours to stitch out, I soon gave up on that idea!
I wanted to use the scraps of fabric which I had at home and used a simple foundation piecing strip quilt method. this works for all weights of fabrics as the cotton backing provides stability. I made my small blocks as 6.5 inches square and marked off with a pencil of diagonal corners 1.25 inches in from the diagonal point on two sides. Then drew lines joining them up to create my own basic foundation.
I lay a scrap strip face down touching the line and stitched by usual quarter-inch seam. I then folded the scrap strip over to be face up and finger pressed the seam down. I then lay my next scrap strip over the unstitched edge of the previous strip and sew the quarter-inch seam. The second strip holds the first strip down. I repeated this until the whole block was covered but left the white central diagonal foundation uncovered. That way when I joined up four blocks into a large block, they all linked.
I included scraps of fabric from outfits and dresses I had created for Daisy over the years, and bits of fabric she would recognise from her mums vintage style apron and her brothers quilt. There is even a little bit of Uncle Craig’s Army Camo uniform in there.
I appliqued her name by first printing out the letters on the home printer. Then tracing them onto the paper side of the fabulous Bondaweb before ironing onto the back of the chosen fabric. Then cur around the shapes and that helps seal the edges of the applique. I then iron the letters into position on the quilt top and used a blanket style stitch to finish off round the letters.
Hopefully, it will be with her for many years and will remind her of all the fabrics around her. But on thing I am sure of, it will be a long time before I choose to do another quilt with this method. I was a stash buster but it seemed to take forever!
I picked up a lovely Batiks Jelly roll at the Scarborough shop while I was ‘just passing’. I know its a 130 mile round trip from where I live, but I usually have other reasons for being in the area! Honest the shop is like an Quilters fantasy land and fantastic to visit in person but not useable online.
The Jelly roll was in my stash for months while I pondered what to do with it. Inspitation struck when I saw the You Tube video by MissouriQuiltCo and just loved the simplicity of making blocks from a Jelly roll. Pop over and have a look. It was really easy and the effect gives a double pattern of diamond shapes and sort of a pin wheel effect as well. Although the trimming down of the blocks resulted in a bit of waste, I did manage to get a double bed quilt top out of it with the addition of some white sashing around the edge.
Next step is to back and quilt it. But first I have others to make.
It’s that time of year when everyone is busy rushing around trying to catch at work before the down time of the holidays. It seems like there are more meetings in December than we ever have in January. I suppose its trying to squeeze in a months worth of work time into just under three weeks. It’s not just work which is busy. I find I impose deadlines on myself which just add to the seasonal stress. This year (and to be honest most years) I try to plan the gifts I will create and make for people. Now I know I am married to a Scotsman but things are not that tight with both of is still in work. I could just go out and buy gifts, but I actually hate the thought of having to look around the shops for things. Unless something really jumps out at me and I impulse buy, I can’t plan gifts.
For once this year the tree is up and the twinkle lights are all over the house. We are planning a family get together this Christmas and as we will get all the grandchildren together it was planned to try to make the time a bit special.
But as ever, I was a little over ambitious with my plans for a crafty Christmas. I have made some gifts for my friends, but for most of the family and grandchildren the main gifts have been bought.
I have however had great fun in practicing some craft techniques which I have not done for ages. I suppose it has been quite a change for me and its has really been therapeutic to relieve the stresses of the working life. I have also scaled by my own expectations of what I can achieve. I only have two unfinished work in progress gifts to complete before Christmas but if they don’t get done then that is also fine I am not going to worry.
So for my crafting this year I have enjoyed making little quilted items, I have knitted garments, done some needle felting, made a rag wreath from scraps and baked and decorated Christmas cakes and cookies. I have learned new skills and had fun. But I am not going to push myself any more. Life and crafting still has to be fun, but next year I might try to start a bit earlier!
Here is a photo of my newly decorated Christmas cakes complete with sparkle icing and my attempt at a Poinsettia.