Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Letter From the President

Emma has her connections!  She received a letter from the President and First Lady welcoming her to the world and wishing her a long and happy life :o)

A month or so ago, I read that you can write to the White House Greetings Office for different occasions (births, weddings, birthdays, etc.) and they will mail you back a card from the President and First Lady.  I thought that would be fun to include in Emma's scrapbook that I'm hoping to finish for her first birthday (fingers crossed!).

I found the info for where to write and what needs to be included on the letter to the President here.  And lo and behold Emma received a letter addressed to her from the White House!  The only place her name appears is on the envelope so be careful opening it if you do decide to write the President :o)

Here's a picture of the announcement we sent with a picture of her on election day:

Regardless of your political leanings I think it is a fun little memento to have.  I've heard other places like Disneyland also do something similar.

I also sent for a birthday greeting for my Grandma Dorothy who will be turning 95 this year!  But don't tell her it's a secret :o)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Baby Messes

Getting anything done with a baby under foot is nearly impossible!  Well, I could have wrote this post a while ago but I was trying to get more bibs and burp clothes done to show all the fun fabrics I chose.  I actually didn't finish them all but figured it was about time I got this post up!  Fitting in a few minutes of sewing here another few minutes there I was able to find time to work on sewing some bibs and burp clothes for Emma.  As she has started the solid food eating stage and teething we have been going through a lot of bibs!  And using all those bibs I have designated certain ones my favorites.  The ones where the snap is on the side of the neck are easiest to get one and off a squirmy baby.  And some velcro they use on bibs is not nice!  If you don't get the velcro tabs adhered together perfectly the rough velcro will scratch the babies neck..........poor babies!

So my goal was to save Emma's neck from velcro scratches and make it easier on me to whip those bibs on and off in a jiffy.  And I also decided to make some burp clothes in coordinating fabrics, because Emma does not like clashing fabrics...............and I had the extra fabric and burp clothes are our friends :o)  Someone gave us a stack of hand-me-down flannel burp clothes before Emma was born and I took them somewhat hesitantly thinking "I guess we can use them, we have tons of bibs!"  Those burp clothes have become our prized possessions, they follow Emma everywhere!  So new can never have too many burp clothes, they will be your new best friends :o)

As I was saying, with more baby messes has come the need for more mess catchers a.k.a bibs and burp clothes.  I traced an outline of the bib style I liked on poster board, with a little extra for a seam allowance.

I then cut out the pattern and used it to trace an outline on the flannel fabric I wanted to use. 

And then cut out the bib shape from the flannel and also some cotton terry cloth I for the back side of the bib.

I then added one side of the snap to the upper right corner of the flannel fabric.  Here you can see the "receptacle" (I'm not sure what the proper term is) side of the snap on the right side of the fabric.

With the back side of the snap on the wrong side of the fabric which will be inside the bib after sewing.

Next I sewed the wrong sides of he fabric together, leaving a couple inches open at the bottom of the bib for turning the fabric right side out.

 I then cut notches in the fabric around the curves so when I flipped the fabric right side out the curved edges would be smooth.  (Here's a picture from when I made the burp clothes as I forgot to take a picture when making the bibs).

Next I flipped the fabric right side out and used an invisible stitch to close up the hole at the bottom.

 And top-stitched around the edge of the bib:

And finally added the other side of the snap to the top edge of the bib:

 For the burp clothes I followed a similar procedure.  I traced a burp cloth we had for a pattern, used it to cut out two pieces of flannel fabric.  Sewed the pieces, right sides together, then flipped the fabric right side out and sewed up the open end.  Lastly top-stitching around the edges.  Here are how a few of those turned out:

And lastly, the most important part, quality control:

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Softie Doll for Emma

For Christmas I decided to attempt to make a doll for Emma.  I found a tutorial online for a softie doll that seemed do-able from Seventy Piggies. I also Googled "softie dolls" and found a wide array of dolls.  I fell in love with the dolls by Charla Anne, especially her "Little Red Riding Hood Doll".  I decided to try to adapt the pattern and tutorial from Seventy Piggies to make something similar to Charla Anne's dolls.  The whole process I wondered if I would ever have a finished product that would resemble a doll.............and in the end everything came together, and Emma seems to like it!!!

I used the pattern from Seventy Piggies, modifying it a little.  I first cut out a circle for the face, two small circles for the cheeks, and hair all from felt:

Here's how the hair will look on the face:

I used fabric glue to attach the cheek circles and then used a back stitch to add a swirl design:

Here you can see the finished cheeks:

I then traced out the fabric for the hood, trying to account for the seam allowance:

Next I stitched eyes, a nose, and mouth:

I glued interfacing to the back of the face to provide stiffness to the face:

Then I glued the face to the hood fabric and back stitched around the perimeter of the face to secure it to the fabric.

I then glued the hair to the face and back stitched around the perimeter.  I hand stitched all the details of the face because I have a hard time controlling the sewing machine around curves.  So I figured the best approach for me was to hand stitch even though it took longer  :o)

I used the pattern from Seventy Piggies for the arms, hands, legs, and feet with modifications.  I made the sleeves of the dress shorter and the arms/hands longer and an even width the entire length.  For the legs/feet I made them narrower and the legs (stockings) longer with shorter boots.  For the dress I drew a narrower neck to match the narrower neck of the hood fabric.  I also made the dress have more of a flare.  For the picture below all the pieces are in pairs.

I then used my sewing machine to sew the head piece to the dress piece, placing right sides together for both the front and back sides of the doll.  And then I did a top stitch along the dress edge to hold the seam down.  Here's a picture after I sewed the head to the body.  You can also see the back side of the hood fabric after back-stitching the hair on.

I then sewed the arms to the sleeves and the legs to the boots with a top stitch on the sleeves and boots, respectively, to hold the seams down.  Here you can see that I did two seams (green) for reinforcement when sewing the two arm pieces together and the top stitch is also visible (pink):

Next I stuffed the arms with batting, tearing off little pieces and stuffing them down firmly into the arms.  Then things got a little tricky.  I don't have many pictures of this process because I was just making things up as I went along.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to turn the head right side out after I sewed the back and front of the hood together because of the narrow neck.  I decided to make things easier I would just sew the head first and then the rest of the body with the arms later for easier maneuvering.  Here I have everything laid out to see how I wanted things placed.

Once the the back and front pieces of the head were sewn together and the head flipped right side out, I sewed on the arms one side at a time.  This took me a few tries of sewing, flipping everything right side out and finding that an arm was too low or even folded back into the body at one point.  So I removed the stitches and tried again.  I also used a pin to scrunch the batting down into the arm I was working on below where I was stitching so I would have room to maneuver my sewing machine foot.  And eventually I had success!!!

I don't have pictures of this part because as I said before I was just making things up as I went and was in a zone :o)  For a more detailed order of things you can follow the Seventy Piggies tutorial.  When I attached the arms I continued sewing down the edge of the dress around the bottom corner and in towards the leg position a bit.  I left an open edge along the bottom where the legs would go to flip the arms and head right side out and to stuff the doll body and head with batting.  

As I did with the arms, I put small pieces of batting in one at a time packing them in with a pencil as I went.  Seventy Piggies said to use small pieces to prevent lumps in the body so that's what I did.  When the body was stuffed with batting I stuffed the legs and then pinned them in place and used an invisible stitch to sew the dress bottom together.  When I got to the legs I just stitched across the bottom of the dress with a leg sandwiched between.  I couldn't figure out how to make this stitch invisible, but that's ok, Emma will be able to tell it was hand-made by her mom (among other "details"!).

And in the end, somehow I had a doll!

I also added a little removable cape along the neck. 

And Emma approves, she really likes playing with the legs:

Hehe! Success!!! :o)