Monday, 9 January 2017

A larger toddler sleeping bag

This is just a brief post to update another earlier post - well, two posts, actually. I wrote a good eighteen months ago ago about a diamond pattern quilted sleeping bag that I'd made for Jane. You can find the details about how to make it here.

I also wrote more recently about my quilts for the girls, which were actually made a while ago as well. And one of the things I said in that post was that there were quilting squares left over for another project.

And here's the result!

Jane needed another much larger sleeping bag (as she rolls around in bed a lot, and the previous year's was way outgrown). So I enlarged the original pattern. This is from Small Dream Factory. The pattern is for 6-14 months old, but I used the basic shape to create a much bigger pattern. I extended the shoulders straps a little, just an inch or two, and increased the width at the top a bit, but mostly I just continued the side lines down until I had a suitable length.

I had also changed the front opening to a side opening with a much longer zip, going down one side and round the bottom - I think this was a 30" zip. The only problem was that the longer zips (or anyway the one I could get) have a much lumpier top bit, where it would be under her arm pit. I added some padding and a padded flap to go over it. You can see the flap here, and the Velcro to hold it down.
Initially I also made the shoulder straps fasten with Velcro - see below.

But by this time, Jane was wise to how to open Velcro, so she could tear it off too easily. I corrected this with snap fasteners which were harder for her to undo. Thwarted - for a while!

I also added a little initial appliqué on the shoulder. (Jane is not her first name!)

I think another time, I might go back to the upside down front zip approach used in the Small Dream Factory tutorial, at least for sizes where the child is likely to try removal - it's too easy with the zip closure at the top. But for Jane, at least, sleeping bags are probably a thing of the past, at least until she goes camping.

Quilts for growing children

I've called this 'Quilts for growing children'. When the babies were all in cribs and small cots, I made each of them a quilt. You can see them here and here. Now, as two out of three had graduated to toddler beds, they needed bigger sizes, and the next one will soon graduate as well.  Fleur loved her first quilt, which helped her transition from cot to bed. It was made with 10 by 7  quilting squares of 4", with a wide border, so allowing for seams, its total measurements were probably c 42"  by 31 1/2". For Christmas, the plan was for her to have a new quilt. An obvious way to increase the size of the quilts is to use 6" (15cm) squares rather than the 4" (10cm) ones I used before.  I didn't find ready-cut quilting packs that I liked though, so it was down to buying fabric and cutting my own. Here's the end result.

Although all our grandchildren to date are girls, both they and their parents are less than keen on the girly pink floral style, especially now they are now longer babies. Most of the ready cut quilt pieces I found come in pink florals or possibly blue - but often the blues are floral as well. So I started searching for more 'unisex' fabrics - which I realised I would have to cut.

Read more about making quilts for children after the jump.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Warm trousers for winter

Small children's ankles can get very chilly in our climate, when their socks roll down, or their trousers ride up in a buggy or carrier. Last year I made an extra long leg pair of salopettes out of a recycled anorak for one of the grand-daughters who was suffering the riding up trousers fate. This year, her mum asked me, should I have the sewing machine out, whether I could make some cosy trousers that could go under a dress or jacket. (My daughter knows I always have the sewing machine out!) I had bought some nice midnight blue fleece a while back, and some stripey fabric a bit like ticking, and suddenly, here was the ideal opportunity to use them.

To find out more about how I made these warm winter trousers (and how you could copy them if you liked them), read on.

Friday, 9 December 2016

My Current Top Twenty Free Baby and Toddler Sewing Patterns

I've had cause to be very grateful to people who are kind enough to put free patterns out there on the internet. People who do so ask, quite rightly, that their patterns are not used for commercial purposes. I think that's totally fair. If you are running a business and making money out of producing children's clothes, I don't think it's fair to pinch other people's ideas and patterns. If you are making clothes for your own kids and grandchildren on a not for profit basis, then it's very nice to be able to be part of a community that is prepared to share ideas and patterns. A big thank you to everyone I've linked to here, and to all the other people who share their patterns.


Equally, I've done lots of research myself, and produced the odd design, the results of which I've been happy to share on my blog. So I would also ask that any ideas you get from my blog, or any lists of links, are not just taken and reproduced without any acknowledgement, and especially are not used for commercial purposes.

I'm planning to go gradually through ALL my favourite patterns and post links for them. As a starter, I thought I'd do a 'Top Twenty' of the patterns I've used most over the past three years since my elder daughter was pregnant with my first grand-daughter. Even then, I'm missing out so many great patterns. In due course, I'll do posts for each of the categories, either by age group or type of pattern (e.g. dress, pants etc.) In the meantime, you can find my 'Top Twenty' free patterns after the jump.

Summer cover-ups and beach wraps - part 2

It may seem a bit odd (unless you are in the southern hemisphere) that I am writing up a post on this subject in mid-December. However, two of my grand-daughters will be travelling somewhere hot and sunny in the Christmas holidays, so I thought my best pre-Christmas presents should be useful on their holidays.

For a tutorial and how to make the pattern for this type of beach cover-up, read past the jump.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Tulip dresses

It's taken me a long time after making them to get round producing a post on the subject. I've got caught up with writing up all the doll's clothes I made. But now that's done, I'll return to my first love, making clothes and other stuff for my beloved grandchildren.

I can now tell you about another free pattern that I've been loving making. The dress above was the first of three, and I may well make more next summer. To find out more about the free pattern and how I made it up for my three grand-daughters, read on.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Outfits for Dolly - and a new body!

Here are just a couple of a series of dolls clothes I made recently. (The second has since been adjusted - as you can see it's too cosy a fit round her chest really.)

I must first say that I'm not really someone who is into making dolls clothes. It certainly isn't a pre-occupation, like making clothes for my little grand-daughters is. We aren't, on the whole, a very girly family, considering we have two daughters and three grand-daughters.

But one of my lovely grand-daughters, the middle one, Jane, who's had an operation recently,is currently going through a phase of loving her Dolly. Dolly gets carted around everywhere. Not only that, but Dolly carelessly lost her only outfit early on. It was taken off as part of the experimental phase, just because it would come off. (It probably needed a wash anyway, but somehow it disappeared). So, as Dolly had come naked on holiday with us, I thought it was time to make her a few quick outfits, easy on and off, super quick and easy to make. Otherwise, I feared, if I'd taken too long to make them,  the interest in Dolly might have waned by the time they were made. I've written up what I've done in case anyone else would like to make easy doll's clothes based on my very simple patterns. Dolly is a soft-bodied doll of about 15-16" tall, or about 40cm. However most of the patterns are very easily adjusted for different sizes. These are in increasing order of difficulty, but none are really difficult.

Dolly's dungarees / playsuit

One of the outfits I made for Dolly, my grand-daughter's beloved baby doll, was a pair of dungarees, similar to a pair of Jane's own dungarees. I had originally planned to make a short legged playsuit, as all my grand-daughters have been having playsuits for summer (you can read about them in these posts here and here.) However, we are nearing the end of summer as I write this, so I decided to make the legs of Dolly's a little longer for winter. But the pattern I devised will make either.

This will fit a doll approximately 15"-16" tall, about 38-40 cm.

You can find a free pdf pattern and detailed tutorial after the jump.