Wednesday, 17 October 2012

sewing : a test-drive changing mat

cat on a new changing mat

On returning to work after maternity leave I had planned to treat myself to an iPad. However, I had a last minute change of heart and spent all the money on much needed new sewing machine.

With my budget and list of requirements it became clear I had only one choice, a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118. Not the most popular seeing machine out there, but one that met pretty much all my sewing needs.

The only problem then became finding the time to use it.

Fortunately I tend to be more productive when I'm busy and now I'm back at work I manage to fit more into my limited spare time than I ever managed during the sprawling days, weeks and months of my maternity leave. But still... there will never be quite enough time.

So far my new machine has worked like a dream - as if it, and I, have the same end goal, and a mutual agreement on how to reach it. This is a world away from the arguments and disagreements I had with my stroppy and ill behaved old Brother machine which was bought many years ago, before I even understood exact;y what I wanted to use it for.

However, I was yet to throw any real challenges it's way... until this week when I spent a couple of evenings sewing a new baby changing mat.

changing mat, detail #1changing mat, detail #2

I had been looking to buy a new changing mat, but nothing met our needs. It had to be padded, small enough to roll up into a bag (in which we keep nappies and other baby-changing sundries), reasonably atrractive (i.e. no pink or baby-blue), wipeable, machine washable and not too expensive. It didn't sound impossible to me, but I just couldn't find the right thing out there.

Fortunately I had some Ikea oil cloth lying round, which had previously been used as a table cloth for our old dining table, when my eldest was in the messy throws of baby-led weaning.

I'm pleased to say that this, along with some wadding and cheap bias tape from one of the many fabric shops in Brixton, and the help of a walking foot, became our new, custom changing mat with the minimum of sewing effort.

So far it has been rather popular. As you can see, the cat likes it - and even #2 son has been well behaved and calm when I'm chaning his nappy change... I'm sure it won't last, but I'll make the most of it for now.

Monday, 8 October 2012

sewing : ikat trousers

pink and blue ikat trousers, being worn
I originally made these trousers two years ago, when my eldest boy was still a baby using this wonderful ikat fabric from the V&A.

What drew me most to this fabric is the colours.Personally do not really like the colour pink, nor am I not a fan of pale blue. But I get so frustrated by the fact that so many baby products come in blue or pink (or occassionally an insipid shade of yellow) that I frequently find myself rebelling from and buying pink things for my boys.
pink and blue ikat trousers, lying on the floor pink and blue ikat fabric, as bought
Fortunately, this fabric manages to be blue, pink, cheerful and sassy - a great uni-sex baby fabric. And the trousers have stood up to being worn by two baby boys.

'handmade for babies' book, cover'handmade for babies' book, inside

The pattern is based on one from 'Handmade for Babies', a Japanese book of baby patterns.The trousers are quick and easy to make, use very little fabric and are quick to get on and off (ideal for quick changes after messy baby led weaning meals). They are definitely my go-to baby pattern.