Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nursing Cover {Tutorial}


Want to make a trendy Nursing Cover?

Then, let's get started with my fee tutorial!

Makes a wonderful baby shower or New Mom gift 
for someone who plans on nursing their wee one.

Be prepared for an obscene number of photos. 
I tried to be very thorough. Should you have a
question, any at all, just leave a comment and 
I'll answer you.

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Now, let's get started!

Nursing Cover Tutorial
*FYI - I will write my instructions above the corresponding photos.

Supplies
-2/3 yard of your main fabric (or 1 yard if you only use one print)
-1/3 yard of contrasting fabric (or 1/6 for just the straps)
-Matching thread
-1/2 yard of 1/2" boning (you'll find it along the notions wall, in boxes, near the by-the-yard elastic)
-Pair of 1" D-rings
-12" square of minky*, chenille, or terrycloth for pocket (you can skip this)

Step 1 - Start by cutting two rectangles
I always prewash my fabrics to get rid of the preservatives they are manufactured with. I iron it, fold it in half so the selvedge edges line up (taking pains to match the pattern as well) and use my rotary cutter to cut it out.

Main fabric - 34.5"W x 19.5"H (or 25"high if using just one fabric)

Accent strip on bottom - 34.5"W x 6.5"H
Note - You'll cut out the straps in a little bit.

(this photo shows them still folded in half)

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Step 2 - Sew them together*
Lay the bottom strip along the bottom edge of the main fabric, right sides together. Stitch them together with a 1/2" SA (seam allowance).

*Skip to step 3 if you are using just one fabric.

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Serge the seam, or you can use a zig zag stitch along the edge, with your regular machine.

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Press the seam up towards the top (main fabric) so it lays flat.

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You can then top stitch the seam or sew ribbon or ric rac along the seam. I chose ribbon this time. In the red/aqua cover-up ^ I sandwiched ric rac inside the seam. Do whatever strikes your fancy.
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Stitch along both edges of the ribbon. You don't need to heat seal the ends as they will be caught up in the side seams.

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Step 3 - Hem the bottom edge
Now you can hem the bottom edge. Just iron a crease at 1/2" and then fold it up another 1/2". You can certainly place pins along the fold for sewing, but I usually don't. I find that I can hold the fabric taught enough not to need the pins as long as I have a crisp edge.

If you'd like to add a little chenille pocket, don't hem it yet, skip to the next step first.

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I had to stop and wave at the little "lint roller" under my sewing chair.

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Step 4 - Adding a pocket
I cut a 12" square of cream colored minky dot from my stash. Then I cut it in half diagonally and serged the longest edge. If you don't have a serger, you could just fold that edge over twice and stitch it for a nice hem.

Lay this under your ironed seam so that it will be caught in it when sewn.

Before you sew the hem, go ahead and iron both side seams with a 1/2" seam allowance like you did for the bottom edge, in step 3. You'll notice in this photo I had forgotten to do this so my pocket isn't over far enough from the edge. I should have placed it a 1/2" in from the side seam so it doesn't make the side seam too thick. Yes, my seam ripper is my best friend. I don't know what I'd do without it.

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Once your pocket is in place, sew the bottom hem and then both side hems.

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The pocket "as is" won't hold much without flapping open. So next, you will sew a 3 sided square on the pocket. You'll see that mine is a little crooked. I need to rip mine out and sew it again. To make it more exact, place a pin equidistant from the corner on both hems, for where the pocket corners should start and use that as a guide.

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You can't really tell that it's crooked from the top since my thread matches the fabric. I could have used cream thread in my bobbin, but I had a small window of opportunity to sew here and didn't stop to change it out.

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Step 5 - Assembling the straps
Long strap - cut 28.5"L x 5.5"W
Short strap - cut 10" L x 5.5"W

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Fold both straps in half lengthwise with right sides together. Iron them flat. Set aside the smaller strap. Working with the longer strap, at about 7" up from one end, draw a diagonal line* from the raw edge to the inside corner. I used a wash away fabric marking pen.

*You can save yourself some time and forgo the diagonal bit and just make it a rectangle. When right-side out, your seam will be on the side, instead of along the back center of the strap. The end will be a blunt 90*. But there's nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. If anyone tells you otherwise, just tell them I said it was OK. OK?

In this photo, the folded edge is on the left and the raw/cut edges are on the right.

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Start sewing a 1/2" SA for those first 7" and then follow along the line you drew. Trim the SA, especially as you get near the smaller end.

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Press again so that the seam you just sewed is now open flat on top, down the middle.

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Now, turn it inside out. I ended up cutting 2" off of the skinny end because you can't turn it all the way out without cutting off some of it. Mine didn't end up in as small a point as I was going for, so maybe just 1" would have been enough.

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Set the longer strap aside and pick up the smaller strap. It should already be folded in half, pressed with right sides together. Sew a 1/2" seam along the 10" cut edge. Then press the seam flat, down the middle.

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Turn the small strap inside out and iron it flat with the seam running down the center.

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Next, you will want to edge-stitch both lengths of strap. This will help them from twisting and just getting all wonky on you later. I lined up the edge of my straps with the side of my presser foot, but looking at it now, I wish I had made the stitching closer to the edges like how I normally top-stitch. What was I thinking?

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Now you need to fold your small strap in half and thread the two D-rings onto it. I emphasize two because the first time I made this, I got the entire cover finished before I realized I had only put one D-ring on the small strap. I recommend not making that mistake.

There are indeed two rings in this photo, they are just lined up so perfectly that you can't see the second one. Am I good or what!?!

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Go ahead and pin the raw edges together and baste-stitch it so it doesn't move around when sewing it into the seam later. You can also sew a straight line about 1/2" below the D-rings to keep them from sliding down the strap. I didn't bother because I find that I never unfasten my straps, so it always stays in place anyway.

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Step 6 - Boning Part I
Here is what it looks like when you bring it home. Don't be intimidated. It's really rather easy to work with. It does all the work for you. Now, if only it would do my laundry...

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I cut my boning to 16.5" in length. Curving the edges so they aren't sharp and end up cutting through the seam. Don't use your "fabric only" scissors to cut it or it may lead to a dull blade more quickly.

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Set the boning aside and we'll pick it up again after the straps are attached.

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Step 7 - Attaching the straps
Fold the top edge down 1/2" and press. Then fold it down again 7/8" and press. You have just now made what will become the channel for the boning and the straps will also be secured in to this hem.

For measurement's sake, fold the top edge in half to find the middle mark. Put a pin there. Your boning is 16.5" in length. Place a pin in the hem, on either side of the middle, 8.25" out. At these two pins is where you will place the middle of your straps.

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Looking at the backside, I placed the long strap on the left and the short strap on the right. but it doesn't matter which way you do it.

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Now you can sew along the top hem like this. Being careful to sew close to the folded edge. You don't want to eat up the space that the boning needs to fit in to.

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Next, flip up the long strap and sew it down the middle, only the width of the top hem. You'll need to use your fingertips to feel where it ends, to signal you to stop sewing. This creates one end of the casing for the boning.

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It will look like this from the top.

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Step 8 - Boning Part II
Starting at the end closest to the short strap, start inserting the boning into the casing that the top-hem made. Push it all the way down to the middle of the long strap. It will stop at that line you sewed in the middle of the strap.

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It will look like this when it's all the way in there. I told you the boning does all the work.

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Now you need to close up the end of the casing so the boning is trapped in there. Sew another line down the middle of the short strap, along the top-hem. Just like you did on the long strap. You should find that the stitching leaves little wiggle room for the boning. That is good! You want it to be right up next to the boning, but not through it. You may find that your stitching may not be exactly down the middle of the second strap, but that's OK. Better to let it be off, then to allow too much room for the boning. This helps it bend out to it's best ability.

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Step 9 - Finishing up the top-hem
Your final stitching will be a very thin edge along the very top. This will keep the boning from twisting around in there and is the final step to securing the straps in place.

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Go ahead and attach your straps to each other.

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TaDa!
You are finished.
Give yourself a big pat on the back, you earned it.
Enjoy your new custom designed Nursing Cover-up and go make one for every nursing Mom you know. She'll think you are super-duper special. I know I do!

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Angel Signature photo 1-Angel amp Amy Signature-001_zpsq3vngnq4.jpg

Monday, June 29, 2009

Candy Land is driving me batty

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Raise your hand if you play Candy Land with your kids. And does anyone else not like the new "look" of the game? I wish we had the original version instead.

This game is not meant for 3 year olds. Or at least not my 3 year olds. Or maybe it's just not meant for this Mama of 3 year olds. It really tries my patience.

Now, I 100% for sure know, that I am greatly lacking in the patience category. It weighs so heavy on my mind that I ask God to grant me patience with my girls on a daily basis. I am convinced that when we ask for patience, He doesn't just say "Here is a great big dose of patience for you. Use it as needed." No, he says "Here are more opportunities for you to learn to be patient. I keep giving them to you, because you keep messing it up and need more practice." I can't wait to get this one down and move on to the next part of me that seems to be broken. But I have a sneaking suspicion that I will battle this one until the day I die. Something about "a work in progress" rings true here.

Learning to play board games is somewhat of a right of passage in my book. I adore games, any and all games. I kick butt at Pictionary and Monopoly. And my personal favorite is Settlers of Catan (though I usually get creamed), proving that I don't have to win to enjoy them.

So today when the girls and I sat down to play Candy Land, it was all I could do to get through the game. I didn't once cry like a baby, or lash out in a tantrum. Instead I calmly repeated (endlessly), "nope, we move in this direction -->" and "where is the next red/blue/orange...spot?" and "just take the top card Honey" and "I don't know where the special lollipop card is, we'll find it when we find it." The biggest problem with this game is that it is never ending. You can be 5 spaces away from winning and wham, you get sent back to nearly the beginning. Thankfully, Allison picked up the board and all the pieces flew off. We couldn't possible continue.

But now I have to make good on my promise to play again after nap time. Wish me luck...er, patience.

Here fishy...fishy...fishy.

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Our spoiled week-end was salvaged when we were able to take the girls fishing Sunday afternoon. Saturday morning, the girls were looking forward to a Birthday party that was rained out. Happy Birthday Baby Alex! He's two now, so I think we better drop the "baby." We'll drop your present off later this week.

Just when Dave had gotten to my parents house (Boppa & Kiki's), with the girls to work on hooking up their tv/dvd stuff, he got called in to work. The girls were not happy to be going home so soon. The power had gone out and the air conditioners had stopped working. This is a huge deal when they are a necessity in the ginormous server room, to keep everything from literally melting. His 14 hour day didn't end until midnight! He also missed out on dinner with his dad (who lives in Florida). He had flown up for just the week-end and Saturday night was "our" time with them. The kids and I went and had fun, but felt bad that Dave had to miss out. We were shocked when we went out to lunch on Sunday, and seated just 2 tables away, less than just 5 minutes after us, was his dad (on their way to the airport). What a treat, so that was the silver lining.

So, on Sunday, after lunch and a nap, we went fishing. I had no idea they made PINK bait! Great idea Honey, that made it even more fun for the girls.

I managed to snap a pic of Allison doing her trademark "shirt twirl." This girl loves to twirl not only her hair (into knots I might add), but also her clothes. My grandma tells me that my mother was a hair twirler too.

Sam wasn't left out, he had fun throwing his toy in the water. We were glad to see that it floats. And isn't he adorable as "King" Sam? hehe

We cast their PINK Princess rods right next to the dock so they could see everything. Still, we managed to catch 3 little guys that we happily threw back in. The fella next to us caught a gorgeous large mouth bass. At least 18" long I think. I should have thought to ask for his e-mail address to send him this pic. But now that I see what his tattoos are of, I'm a little glad I didn't. I think he enjoyed all the ooo-ing and ahh-ing we did over it though.

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I've finished 3 projects and I'm almost done with my first tutorial. I'll be back soon!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

7 months

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His second tooth has almost poked through! He is such a trooper, you'd never know he was teething, except for the constant drool.

It has been HOT, HOT, HOT here. I'm talking 90's, in JUNE! And muggy as all get out. We can't wait to go swimming again at my grandma's pool, tomorrow.
We had some fun in the backyard earlier this week, while the girls used their slip and slide. They did more slipping than sliding. And we ate up almost all of our ripe strawberries. They are just too tempting right from the garden, I never have hope of them making it into the house.

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My goal is to knock out a bunch of sewing projects this week-end so I have something to share with you next week. But we've got a very full Saturday, so that may just be a pipe dream. I was super duper sick for 3 days last week and that has put me majorly behind in the whole "keeping the house sane" category. Oh and I am completely obsessed with the Twilight books. Working on the last one right now. Yeah, that could have something to do with it too.

Speaking of being sick. My sweet, sweet little Emily made my day last Tuesday. I had called Dave that morning to come home so I could go to the Dr. and when he got home, Emily said "I know! We should pray for Mommy!" She folded her tiny hands and squinched up her eyes real tight and almost yelling, said "Dear Jesus, please help my mommy to feel better, and not to be sick anymore and not to cry. Amen!" I was weepy all day after that. And I coudn't help wonder, seeing this little girl that looks so much like me, if I had ever done that for my mother when I was Emily's age and she was so sick and dying. Talk about feeling weepy! I even cried on my way home from the Dr. when I saw a bumper sticker that said "Proud Mother of a Soldier." That one always gets me.

I'm feeling much better this week, just need to find some motivation. Hopefully the sun will shine all day, that usually helps.