Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby Bib: TUTORIAL (!!!!)

That's right. I'm making a TUTORIAL because that is what some cool crafty blogs do that I know. I am usually the type of person who makes stuff up as they go along, with a lot of "winging it" and "trial and error", and therefore my processes tend not to be the best for tutorials, but this was pretty straight forward and I made a pattern and everything instead of just free-handing. I had to make some baby gifts (see last post) and so I was thinking about what could be useful and Fletcher drools A LOT so they have to make him wear a bib almost constantly. This is what I made! Okay, disclaimer, I just kind of guessed about how big a baby/a baby's neck is. I didn't exactly have one around to be a fit model for me, but this looks about right.
Ok, it's pretty simple, it has some curved seams, but that's about the trickiest part.

1. Get some fabric--100% Cotton--easy to work with and washable. I got 11" of several patterns and it was more than enough. Wash and dry the fabric before you do anything to make sure it has been pre-shrunk!
2. Download my nifty bib pattern:
Bib Pattern
It should print on a regular 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper.

3. Cut out the pattern and fold your fabric in half. Lay the straight edge of the pattern along the fold of the fabric, and pin pattern to fabric if desired. Then cut around the pattern, so that you have a symmetrical piece that looks like a bib. The pattern includes an aprox 1/4 inch seam allowance, so don't worry about adding that on. Clip the strap along the fold at the top, so you can eventually get the baby's head in.

4. Repeat step 3 so that you have a piece to go on the back. Use different fabric if you like. Essentially they are reversible. TIP: cut the second piece slightly larger than the first, leaving a little space between the pattern edge and where you cut the fabric. This way when you are sewing you will always know that are sewing through both pieces (because the back one will be sticking out from under the top one) and it means you can be less precise with your cutting. In the end, where you sew determines the shape of the bib, not what you cut.

5. Align and put right sides of the two pieces together and pin (if you cut the back piece larger, make sure the front piece is on top) and then sew around the edge, about 1/4 inch away, starting and ending about an inch apart, so that you can turn the bib right-side-out. It is best to leave the opening at a part in the bib that is less-curvy, such as the very bottom. Note: if you are using a machine and struggling with the curvy parts, put your needle in halfway, lift the presser-foot, and adjust the fabric as needed. Just make sure to put the presser-foot back down before you continue sewing.

6. Trim seams. Not too close, just so there is less bulk.

7. Turn right-side-out! If you use a chopstick and kind of scrunch the skinny end pieces on it like a woman putting on panty-hoes, then you can easily stick it through that little opening. Once the bib is right-side-out, run the end of the chopstick along the inside of the seams to make sure all the curves are fully popped out.

8. Use your finger to stick the edges of the little opening back into the bib, so that the raw edges are contained, and it basically looks like the rest of the seams. Press with an iron. This will get the raw edges to stay inside, and will also make your big instantly look about 1000 times better.

9. Top stitching! Sew around the edge of the entire bib, making sure you secure the raw edges of the opening. I like to stay pretty close to the edge. When you get all the way around, be sure to sew over your original stitches to secure them, and you can even backstitch for some extra security. If you are hand sewing: you could do a blanket stitch along the edge instead of a top-stitch which might be easier to make look cleaner. I never hand stitch because I am way to lazy, but if you want to, good for you. Clip all the threads hanging off.

10. Buttons! Get a button that seems like the right size and then if you have a button holer, make an appropriately sized hole in one of the ends and sew the button on the other. You could also sew on snaps or velcro if you don't know how to sew a button hole. Also, you could add extra button holes (or buttons I suppose) to make the bib adjustable.

11. Please keep in mind during this entire process, that this is something for a baby to drool on. It does not need to be perfect. If your seams aren't totally straight, it's A-OK. The new mom and dad will hopefully appreciate the "hand-made quality" a.k.a. not perfect.

12. you're done!!!! Be proud of yourself, then repeat steps 1-11, then send off to gift recipient.

I made some adjustments to my pattern along the way, so the blue one with turtles is the most accurate to the pattern.

Ok, hopefully this will be helpful to someone out there who wants to make something handmade for some babies, but doesn't want to take on something crazy difficult.

Sayonara amigos!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Year One: Check

Hey all I don't know if all of you remember what was going on about a year ago this past sunday--Nathan and I were getting hitched! We got a couple of nice notes and phone calls, and our dear friend Brianne (who made our beautiful cake) sent some commemorative sweets!

As you can imagine, we were delighted to have such an accurate representation of our cake in easy-to-travel form. The cookies taste AMAZING as well--what is that? Nutmeg? Cloves? It wasn't your regular old sugar cookie. I know I've mentioned her website before, but if you are in the Ann Arbor area, check out her website: She's the sweetest!
Speaking of sweet, Nathan got this really awesome book for me for our "paper" anniversary (and you know I love paper...) called The Paper Architect. Combining my love of paper cutting and architecture, it gives templates to transform a single slip of paper into three dimensional architectural wonders from around the world. Unfortunately this is going to be a "post-move" project as I need to focus my creative powers on packing, and restrain my mess-making powers until we get settled in.
Our anniversary was not the most exciting...I had to work brunch after working 12 hours the day before, and then we got slammed because of the 12th Ave Festival, and our bartender got relayed to sell sandwiches at the stand outside, and our dishwasher got relayed to make said sandwiches, and so I was waiting, dishwashing, and bartending, and meanwhile I forgot to eat all by the time I got home I was exhausted and starved, and we tried to go to Mars Bistro, but it was closed, but by then I was so desperate to eat that we just got ready-made chinese out of the buffet at the grocery store. After relaxing for a few hours we walked to Pies and Pints and got a late dinner and heard some live folk music, and that was about it for the day. 
Also in EXCITING NEWS. Nathan and I are now First Cousins Once Removed. Well, we were before, but now we're THE OLD KIND, by which I mean, our parents' have cousins, but now our cousins have children! Are you following, or am I gonna need to diagram this for you? Here is the important bit:
A big CONGRATULATIONS to Jennifer and Cameron on their son Dawson!
Also, speaking of BABIES, Nathan and I recently got to meet our nephew Fletcher, and now we are best friends. Here is a super cute picture I took of him with Nathan over our vacation.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

We signed a lease!!!!!

After an extremely anxiety inducing week, we finally signed a lease. It was a super stressful process and pretty much I never want to do it again... We basically learned that you have to be the absolute first person to see a property, so you can guarantee to be the first to put in an application, and then you will get first refusal. One bedrooms are in high demand, so we had to be pretty agressive. We ended up being first in line for four different apartments over the course of like 3 days. One adorable one with a great kitchen, but it was over a bar. Another that we loved but was supposed to be 850 sq ft. We measured. It was 500... Another that was super nice, but the location was less convenient for nathan and not much storage. The apartment we ended up getting, we had the second showing, but we got there mega early and the showing before us was a few minutes late. Are you two my 12:00? You bet we are. The girl after us filled out an application, but she was 7 minutes late and now she doesn't have it. I would feel bad for her, but she was late after all. Anyways, my self-induced stress-sickness can now be over because we have a really beautiful apartment with (almost) everything we wanted. Pictures! The previous owner's stuff is all in it, and she's moving, so it's kinda messy. Apologies. Also, rooms are difficult to photograph. No wonder they use those wide-angle lenses.
 Here is the living room looking into the dining room (that's right, living AND dining) and then nathan is at the threshold to the kitchen and the bedroom is beyond that.
 The bedroom--there's another window on the wall you can't see. The closet isn't walk-in, but it goes far back and has lots of space. There is another very large closet off the living room with some built in cabinets inside and more hanging space. The storage in this place was very alluring.
 The electric stove was our one big concession. Nathan really wanted gas : ( but we will have a dishwasher! : ) (on the right, you can just see the edge in this picture). Lots more counter space than in our current apt, which we were looking for. Our little galley kitchen is very hard to cook in. This is still galley, but significantly bigger. The idea is that we will cook at home more. The door leads to the basement and back parking area and laundry. 
 Bathroom--no clawfoot tub (sigh...there was one in two places we almost got) but very nice and clean tiling, and some of the old character was left intact. 

 At the entrance to the bathroom there is a little built in vanity area that is super cute. You can't see in this picture, but the wall on the right hand side in there is completely built-in cabinets that have tons of charm and functionality.
Chandelier!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Need I say more. Also note picture moldings that run throughout. It's a little hard to tell, but the ceiling curves between the picture molding and the top.

 The living room looking in the opposite direction. You can see our faux fireplace. We are allowed to paint pastels, so if anyone has any color ideas, I'd be open. Right now it's a lot of white!
 Ok, this picture stinks, but apparently after this tree loses it's leaves, if it's clear, you can see the olympic mountains from here.
 A close up of the built-in in the living room.
 It has a cool little landing at the top of the stairs where our door is. It was hard to get a good shot though.
And here is the outside of the building. We are the top window on the left. I think it will be super cute once we get all our nice stuff in there. It is located right on the bus line for nathan and walking distance for me to work and dance class, so that is probably the best part of all. No more dealing with bus 49 on a daily basis!

We don't officially have it until Sept. 1st. Hopefully the girl will move out a few days early, but if not we will have to load all our stuff into a truck, stay somewhere, and then unload it all the next day, since we have to be out of our place by the 31st. Yuckers. We shall see...the girl is out of the country until next week, so we can't ask her. I'll keep you updated!