Monday, February 13, 2012

and I was like, baby, baby, baby

Sorry if the title of this post gets some Bieber lyrics stuck in your head. Shared misery, eh.

"Andrea, you shrank and became real adorable!" Wait, you guys, that's not me. That's my one and only niece, wearing the one and only thing I've made for her so far in her little baby life. I know, how negligent. For her baby shower I gave her a store-bought laundry hamper and a stuffed cow. What kind of seamstress aunt am I? I'll make up for it once she's of the age when drooling all over her clothing is no longer socially acceptable.

I made her a robe, which my dad thinks looks like a Jedi robe and my brother thinks looks like a boxer's warm-up robe. I think I'm okay with either one of those interpretations. 

I made it from Simplicity 3711 (size 3 to 6 months) with some simplifications. For the main fabric I used JoAnn's "Lil' Safari Buddies" cotton interlock knit, which is soft and cozy. The lining is made from a camel-colored king-sized pillow case that has a bit of sheen to it. 

Safari-themed kid prints are my favorite; I think it's hilarious how they "bab-ify" wild ravenous beasts like lions by giving them oversized heads/whiskers, little round bodies and goofy grins. Trust me, human babies: these animals aren't actually "buddies" with each other in the real world, but I admit they do look pretty cute when they frolic together on your bath robe.

As you'll notice on the model, the sleeves are too long and have to be rolled up. I made it for her current age range as indicated on the pattern, but I'm glad she has room to grow in it. I added belt loops to the side seams so the belt wouldn't slide off and become lost forever. I put them where the pattern indicates the waistline, but I think they should probably be lower since babies tend to flail their arms around and get picked up a lot (making the belt line rise up - see fourth photo of this post). 

I omitted the patch pockets because I found it incredibly tedious to press and neatly top-stitch tiny bébé pockets. Almost certainly my niece is the smartest baby in the whole world ever (of course), but even she doesn't yet understand the concept of pockets, so I doubt they'll be missed. I also omitted the ric rac and appliqués because I'm a no-frills kinda gal. The hood has a flat-felled seam down the center which I like.

O hai.

So, the robe's safari fabric was leftover from a set of baby-related things I made for my work's silent auction fundraiser (actual baby not included). I'll show you those items, too, because I know you're just dying to see.

I used Simplicity 2924 as the base pattern for everything here, though if you're familiar with the pattern you'll notice a lack of plastic vinyl, ribbons, reflecting tape (seriously) and bias tape in my version. I made the diaper bag, wipes case, burp cloth, bib and a pacifier clip. Everything you need to take care of your baby's spontaneous bodily messes! Lovely. 

It was difficult choosing fabrics, since the diaper bag needed to be gender-neutral enough for a mom or dad to carry around for their baby girl or boy. It also needed to be adult-friendly with enough whimsy to pair well with baby prints (i.e. no ornate damask). I wanted it to be sturdy, too, so I stuck with home decor fabric and heavyweight interfacing. I eventually chose brown and beige geometric shapes with blue accents for the whole set. Learn from me: don't use a directional print for the diaper bag because of all the seams and overlapping pockets/flaps; mismatching stripes (or circles) are inevitable, unless you're incredibly patient or have a ton of fabric to spare. Imagine how thrilled I was to find, when cutting, that both fabrics for the two bags were printed crooked on the cross grain. How perfect for a pattern that's essentially a bunch of rectangles! 

I threw in a bottle and two pacifiers for some name-brand desirability. There should be a gift certificate to a local baby product store (Mama's Hip) included, too, so I hope the whole set is a desirable item at the auction. 

I'm pretty nervous about this silent auction, to be honest, since I'm not a professional seamstress  and I've never done anything like this before. I just hope it gets some bids and  is able to raise a little money for this organization that's so dear to my heart. It's kinda ironic that my job for them is to write grant proposals for pretty substantial funding, but I'm most anxious about trying to raise ~$50 with some handmade burp cloths. Oh nooo my top-stitching's not perfect! 

Have you ever sewn for charity?