Lovey Tutorial

How about a lovey for your little one?

This blankie is made from super soft flannel with crocheted edges.

Personalize it by embroidering baby’s name or monogram on the back!

Here’s how to make a 12″ square lovey:

1.  Cut out two 13″ squares of flannel.

2.  Embroider baby’s name on one square using crochet thread in a contrasting color.  I put my bambina’s nickname diagonally across one corner with a swoop and a heart beneath.

3.  Stitch the two squares together, right sides facing.  Leave a 2″ section open and unstitched in the middle of one side for turning.

4.  Turn the blankie right side out and topstitch the turning hole closed.

5.  Crochet around the edge using the same contrasting crochet thread you used in step 2.  Here’s a great tutorial for how to crochet the edges.

Cuddle away!

Can’t you feed her in the bathroom?

Design Your Own Drape Neck (Nursing) Dress

I have recently rediscovered my love of dresses.  Unfortunately, it’s rather difficult (and a little too immodest for my taste) to pull up a dress to nurse – hence the need for dresses with necklines that are easy to pull down.  I decided to combine the easy access of the drape neck on one of my favorite shirts with the comfortable style of one of my favorite dresses.

As it turns out, drape neck tops are fantastic for nursing – even though I have never bought one with that purpose in mind.  Just stretch the drape over to the side and voila!  Nurse away, little bambina!

The easiest way for you to create this dress is to copy pieces you already have.  If, however, you don’t have pieces that match these, you can get adventurous, use pieces that fit you and are similar to these, and modify the pattern as we go (I’ll try to fill in the blanks as I can).  I’d recommend using a fitted tank top and A-line skirt.

Besides the pieces you’ll be copying, you will also need:

  • 2 yards of stretchy fabric – mine is a 95% rayon / 5% spandex knit
  • thread to match
  • clear elastic (the kind used for swimsuits)
  • tissue paper

First, create a paper pattern for the front of the bodice and then use that pattern to cut out the piece from the dress fabric.

Notice that the shirt drapes at the neckline because the neckline is square and much wider than the shoulders.  If you are copying a tank top, first mark where the waist and bottom of the armhole fall, and then curve the armhole out at the top to make the neckline go straight across.

Next, create a pattern piece and then cut out the back of the bodice.  I used the bodice front to figure out the length.  (No changes in directions for copying a tank top.)

Next up is the skirt, front and back.  To make these pieces, first you’ll need to do a little measuring.  Measure across the folded bodice (front or back – should be the same) at the waist.  We’ll call this measurement X.  Also measure how long the skirt piece is in the dress you’re copying – call this measurement Y.   (If you’re copying an A-line skirt, just measure down how long it is.  Keep in mind that we’ll be adding a ruffle later, so leave off about six inches from your skirt measurement.)

You will need two rectangles that are Y inches tall and 3X inches wide.

You should end up with a trapezoid that is 2X inches wide at the top, 3X inches wide at the bottom, and Y inches tall when measuring straight up (not along your diagonally cut sides).

Finally, cut out two rectangles for the ruffle.  They will be 6 inches tall by 4X inches long.

Cutting complete!  You should have these pieces.

Start assembly by attaching the ruffle pieces to the skirt pieces.

Next, we turn to the bodice back.

Now we deal with the bodice front.

We’ll attach the front to the back, starting at the shoulders.  (Do this step on each shoulder.)

Finish the assembly by stitching the front and back together on the sides.

Done!

Comfort, style, and easy access to the goods.

You might notice that I never said to do anything to the bottom of the ruffle.  I left mine untouched, and since my fabric is a knit, I don’t have to worry about it unraveling.

Breastfeeding supplies

She’s back!  Snarky Mamma is pleased to provide you with a new snarky card.  It looks different, yes?  Well, it turns out that a certain website where she previously generated snarky cards apparently has a problem with downloading the cards and putting anything else on them (like a blog address).  So, we’ll just have to go about this a different way.

Latch on, Indy!

What baby item could be more homemade than breastmilk?  Pure and simple, it’s the easiest way to give your bambina something homemade, organic, and cheap!

If you’re a breastfeeding mama, or thinking about becoming one, or you want to show your support to breastfeeding mamas, and you live in the greater Indianapolis area (or will be in the area), please consider joining us for the Big Latch On Indy.

On-site registration, refreshments, and socializing will begin at 9:00 am, as well as the chance to check out some mama- and baby-friendly vendors.  The actual latch will be from 10:30-10:31, and will be followed immediately by a drawing for some fabulous door prizes!  You can pre-register to participate or volunteer at Eventbrite.

You might want more info… Here you go:

Learn more about Big Latch On.

Learn more about Breastfeeding USA.

Learn more about Indy Breastfeeding Moms.

Repurpose! T-shirt into bubble romper


Turn a Goodwill find into a cute little outfit!

Start by harvesting the main part of the shirt.

Shape the crotch/inseam.

We’ll create a solid foundation to attach snaps to later.

Now attach those pieces to the crotch.

Next, use elastic thread to cinch up the legs and create that bubble effect.

This next step will create the stretch around the top.

Now, add some straps to hold it up on her shoulders.

Finally, attach snaps to the crotch.

Tip:  I’d recommend that you switch where the snaps are attached – to the “inside” of the front and the “outside” of the back.  That way, when it’s closed, you don’t see the overlap from the front.  

Aside:  Of course, if I were going to make this again, I’d leave off the snaps entirely and just sew a panel in the crotch.  Why?  Because I HATE snaps.  Actively loathe them.  With my whole heart. Fortunately, with the top being so stretchy, it’s just as easy to pull the romper down from her shoulders for diaper changing.

And now my favorite part!  Put it on your bambina!

New Toy for Kitty

Poor Turkleton.  The bambina keeps getting new stuff… How about something for kitty?

Ok!

Does your favorite feline friend need a new toy?  Here’s how I made this one.

Cut out three of this shape from your favorite medium-weight fabric (I used a heavier quilting cotton).  I’d describe it as saying it’s a peanut shape with slightly pointy ends.

You’ll also need about six inches of rope.  Knot it at both ends.  (Mine was the handle from a shopping bag.  Yay for repurposing!)

You’ll also need a needle and thread, some stuffing, and some catnip.

Go ahead and sew two of the peanuts together, right sides together, from top to bottom with about a 1/4″ seam allowance.  Stitch the third to one of the other two, making sure to overlap the stitching at the top and bottom.

Lay the rope inside the shell with one knotted end slightly sticking out.  Stitch the rope to the edge of the big end of one of the peanut shapes.  Keep the stitching close to the edge, about 1/8″ away.

Stitch the final side seam, leaving an opening that’s a couple inches long.

Turn the toy right side out.  Put some catnip down in the ends and stuff the whole thing.

Slip stitch the opening closed.

Give it to kitty!

I realized after finishing that this would make a great turkey drumstick toy for the bambina to play with.  Just use brown felt and leave off the rope.  Fun toy at Thanksgiving time!

She’ll never learn to walk that way…

She’s finally home!

Chompable Mamma-Jewelry

We recently reached a momentous milestone in the bambina’s short life:  6 months old!  That’s half a year!  How did that happen?

She’s been showing more and more signs of teething lately – drooling through multiple shirts a day, chomping hard on her fingers and my own, putting everything within reach into her gummy little mouth, and responding positively to iced pacifiers and clove oil on her gums.  She’s also been more and more grabby (which is only a problem when I don’t want her grabbing anything that’s actually in reach, like my hair, or breakable and probably germy products on a store shelf), so I decided it was time to find something for her to play with and chomp on while I’m holding her.

I found some beautiful necklaces on Etsy that I absolutely love, like this…

And this…

And this…

But in the spirit of homemade, I headed out to my local craft store and found some supplies to make my own. Boy, was that a mistake.  It turns out I am a terrible jewelry designer, especially when it comes to practical necklaces that are baby-mouth safe.   My first two attempts were not even worthy of photographing – they ended up being disassembled to harvest the beads and then the cord got trashed.

Take two.  I ordered two wooden teething rings from Life Circles Necklaces on Etsy, one of which became a necklace when I strung a silk cord through it (the other went  in the bambina’s toy basket).

Too bad she enjoys sucking on the cord more than anything else.  It’s also slightly uncomfortable to have hanging around my neck when she’s not actively playing with it, so I went back to my original plan of knotting some beads onto cord.  Here are the two necklaces I ended up with.

The first one uses cotton cord knotted in a friendship bracelet style with small red and orange glass beads spaced evenly along the cord.

The second one is made of narrow ribbon and blue glass beads, also assembled via the friendship bracelet style of knotting.

(Thank goodness for all of those years of making bracelets at summer camp!)

“But, Jacelyn,” I hear you exclaiming, “you’re letting her chew on glass beads?!”  Yep, I sure am.  But a) she still has no teeth, so technically she’s just gumming them, and b) I double-check them every time I grab a necklace to make sure they’re all still fully intact, and c) I supervise her when she’s playing with them.  And to be perfectly honest, she pretty much spends all her time sucking on the cord or ribbon; any bead-mouthing is just collateral damage.  When she gets to the point that I’m actually worried about her having those beads in her mouth, I’ll make another necklace that’s just knots, possibly embellished with wooden beads.

So, the bottom line…  In the end, it would have been more cost- and time-efficient to order a finished product.  But I enjoyed challenging myself to create something that I would enjoy wearing and that the bambina would enjoy playing with.  And she does enjoy playing with them.  Mostly I wear them when I’m carrying her in a sling or other carrier – they keep her entertained and busy when we’re just standing around, and they distract her from needing to grab at everything else.  Mission accomplished.