Monday, February 21, 2011

Why “hidden in the hem”?

When I thought about starting a blog to talk about my sewing projects, all the typical titles came to mind: “i love fabric,” “confessions of a fabric addict,” something using the word “sew,” as in “my sew-called life.”  Well, it turns out other people have thought of these titles, too, and they had already taken them.  So, this required me to think a little more creatively.  I came up with a different title, “More Fabric Please!” but then one day, “hidden in the hem” came to me, and it felt like just the right title. 

So, what is hidden in the hem?, you ask.  If you’ve been reading this blog, you might say more fabric?!  ha!  No, no.

Last summer, after my daughter was born, I was still decorating her room, and I got this idea to hang a peg shelf in her room and hang a cute dress on one of the pegs.  (I totally got the idea from a blog I read, so not an original idea at all.)  My daughter had a little pink tutu onesie that she’d already outgrown that I thought would be cute to display on the peg shelf.  Then, during one of those middle of the night feedings, I got the idea that I would also hang this shirt that my mom made for me when I was little.  My mom had kept this shirt for years and gave it to me to keep a few years ago.  After multiple moves, I wasn’t quite sure where it was.  While my mom is a pack rat, I’m a purger.  I really feared that maybe I had thrown this shirt away. 

But, no, I found it in one of the plastic bins in the garage.  I think it goes perfectly with the tutu onesie. 

Recently, when I started sewing, it occurred to me how special handmade things are.  It’s sad that home sewing is such a dying art, because there is so much personality and character in everything that is handmade.  I mean, there is always a story behind it, right?  Like, the hours that went into making it, the search for the perfect fabric, or all the mistakes made along the way.  Oh, the mistakes are always fun to share, aren't they?

And it brought me back to this shirt hanging in my daughter’s room and the story behind this shirt.  My mom made me this shirt when I was four years old.  It’s the shirt I wore when we escaped Vietnam.  My mom had sewn a gold chain into the hem, so that if we were attacked by pirates (which we were), they would not be able to find it.  And I remember, when we got to the refuge camp, my mom ripping out the seams and taking out the gold chain, which she used to pay for a telegram to my dad to let him know where we were.

So much history in this little shirt.  So glad my mom kept it.  So glad I never gave it to the Goodwill.
It sits next to my daughter’s tutu onesie, so that she’ll one day know the story of the women who came before her, and how far that shirt traveled to hang next to her tutu onesie.

It's held up pretty well, hasn't it?  It has lots of great details, too.

Tilted pocket:

Peter Pan collar:
(I just noticed that the seams are covered.  Wow.)


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Baby pants!

I made these baby pants for a friend of mine who just had a baby.  When I saw the space themed fabric, I thought it’d be perfect for this friend, who is literally a rocket scientist.  (Although, now that I think about it, she probably got bombarded with space themed gifts for that very reason.)  I used Made by Rae’s newborn baby pants pattern and Big Butt Baby Pants pattern.

Both patterns were pretty easy to sew.  But I think I got ambitious with all the embellishments.  I wanted to embellish each pair of pants a little differently, so the project probably ended up taking longer than it needed to. 

This is my attempt at a cargo pocket.
Of course, after I made the pocket, I looked at the pockets on a pair of my husband’s cargo shorts, and these look nothing like those.  Oh well.  Hopefully, the baby won’t mind too much.

More simple pockets and binding at the hem on this one.

I used Rae’s tutorial for pimping those baby pants.  (Love Rae’s blog, btw!)  I need to figure out how to get the corners of the pockets more pointy and square, though.  The binding was one of the more tricky embellishments, lots of ironing and trying to catch all the layers with the sewing machine.  I don’t think it ended up that pretty.  If I were to do it again, I’d probably just use the same method for making a cuff that I did with the pants below, which I think is easier and less bulky.

These are the Big Butt Baby Pants.

Such a fun pattern, and they turned out so cute.  Love the butt panel.  I originally intended to make the main part of the pants out of the blue fabric (it’s super-cute with the rockets), but I cut it upside down. :( And there wasn't enough fabric left to re-cut it. So, I made it into the butt panel and the cuffs.  Ah, this is what nine months of sleep deprivation can do to you.

Overall, I think they turned out well.  They're the first baby gift that I've ever sewn myself.  It feels nice--more meaningful--to make a gift for someone.

Lots of lessons learned, though.  (Like, make sure you’re cutting the pattern in the right direction!)  Next set will be better.  I just need for someone else to have a baby now.  :)