Sunday, September 30, 2012

Easy Baby Clothing Extender (or One Way To Recycle Baby Clothes) Tutorial

Here is a quick way to make your own clothing extender for baby clothes. This is a little item that lets you get more wear out of the onsies that baby has outgrown in length. Besides that, I'm sure most mothers have noticed the discrepancy in baby clothes sizes -- sometimes an 18 month size onsie in one brand is a good 4 inches shorter than a 12 month in other brands! This "rescues" those kinds of clothes so you can use them after all. Baby clothes extenders can be purchased ready made, but they are sometimes expensive, and this is really a quick and easy method to make them!

Editor's Note: there are two methods shown. One uses another of the same type of garment (a onsie) and the other uses other kinds of baby clothing. 

Method One: Using an extra out-grown onsie.
For an easy clothing extender, find another item of old baby clothing that you can sacrifice that has the same size snaps as the one you want to extend. Another onsie is ideal. If you are thinking ahead or making something for a mother-to-be, try finding stained baby clothing in a garage sale or thrift shop. Mothers of many can go through the old baby clothes stash. It doesn't matter so much what the rest of the garment looks like, you just want the part with the snaps to be in good shape and several inches around it to be stain-free.

With this onside, I will use the top part as a shirt, and turn the bottom snaps into a clothes extender (recycling 2 items out of one!).
Cut the onsie a little above the leg-holes, maybe an inch to and inch-and-a-half. You want to leave enough room to hem the shirt and have it be a decent length, but enough material in the snap part. I used a ruler to make sure I cut straight. Before you do this, snap the bottom of the onsie together.

Hem up the bottom of your new shirt!

With the bottom part, cut a line down as shown, to the leg hole binding, but not through it. Cut away excess fabric, leaving the binding in-tact. You want some of it still connected to the bottom snap-part of the fabric. 
Cut through the side-seams of the binding. 

It should look like a very strange sea-creature when you are done with it. The binding will make it really easy to make a sturdy, nice looking edge. 

Take the binding and scoot/twist/sort of fold it up to the side of the extender. Overlap/Lay it over the side about 1/4 inch.

Stitch the binding on to the sides of the extender, using a straight stitch or zig-zag. Trim it up. The knit should not ravel, and so stitching on top of the binding through to the material should be sufficient.

Now fold the extender in half, right sides together. Stitch together at the top. You can decide how long you need this extender-- usually 3-5 inches would be long enough. After you stitch the top, open it up and see how long it is. You can stitch it again to make it shorter, and then trim and zig-zag the edge to neatly finish.

Here is what it should look like when you are done! One set of snaps should be up, and the other set down. 

Here is it on another onsie. I have noticed that different brands and sizes of baby clothes have different size snaps, so one extender may not work for everything in the baby's wardrobe. Tucked into baby's little pants, no one will see the extender, and you got to use that cute little outfit a while longer! 

Method 2: When you can't find another onsie or need different size snaps and don't want to go searching for another onsie:

Here we have a sacrificial baby gown, and a onsie. Another onsie would have been better, but this was the best I could find for a quick demonstration. (I know, I know, the baby gown looks perfectly fine--it was stained, and at the time I didn't know how to get old spit up stains out. Don't worry-- I'll use the rest of the gown for a doll dress or something! This is recycling!) 
This is the part we want-- it's close to the neck ribbing so we'll get as close as we can. You want to keep this all snapped up while you cut it out.

Cut out around the the snaps in a rectangular shape, leaving about 3-4 inches on two sides (the left and right above), and ideally an inch next to the snaps. It makes it easier to trim down and hem properly if you have more room next to the snaps than I did! If you can cut it out neater than this on first try, congratulations. Others will have to try and trim up the edges to be smooth. Now lay the piece out just as you see above, don't move it, keep it snapped up. 

Now fold it in half, right sides together. You will be sewing together the raw edges (shown on the right). 

Sew or serge those raw edges together. If you are sewing instead of serging, go over them again with a zig-zag. 

Now unsnap it and open it up-- this is what it looks like. 

For the rest of the raw edges on the sides of the snaps, if you have enough material on those sides to hem them, do that; but if not you can zig-zag them like I had to. (If this is a gift, do try to get a big enough piece to hem, or serge it-- it looks nicer in presentation!)

Now to use it! Simply snap it to the onsie and you have a lot more use out of the garment! A set of these in graduated lengths and various snap sizes will be very handy-- busy mothers can make them in minutes, and they make a very thoughtful and useful gift for a mother-to-be! 

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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Has it been 200 years already?

Thread Trade Card, 1880
Thread Trade...

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Coats & Clark has a fun interactive timeline celebrating their 200th anniversary. This could perhaps be used as a mini-history study for homeschoolers intersested in textiles.   Somewhere around here I've got some antique spools with the thread still on them-- guess it would be a good year (what is left of it!) to make up a little sewing display! Now where did I put those?

Cotton Thread Trade Card
Cotton Thread...

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The New Hutch

Needing some extra storage, I started haunting craigslist looking for a china hutch. I checked the site twice (or more) a day for a week, and one day this one came up. It was just my style! I had been thinking of getting an old, dark hutch and painting it, but it seemed like a huge project to undertake, and at the end of summer when I'm not sure how long this sunny weather will last. This hutch, however, had already been painted and re-done by someone who knew what they were doing! And in a color I like, a style I like, and just the right price for me! 

The chicken wire replaced some old yellow bubble-looking glass, I was told. It is charming and "country" this way. I bought the hutch not just for china; I needed storage for a lot of things-- fabric, crafts, and tea cups. I have this idea that a china hutch will be more versatile than a tall closed cabinet, or plastic storage drawers (done that already), as it looks good in the living room, dining room, the kitchen or a craft room. I had seen a sewing studio tour on this blog and thought that the color of her shelves really made the fabric colors "pop." This hutch is the same sort of color, and it looks really good with all the pinks in my fabric stash!

Here is the inside. Why, thank you, yes I do know how to stuff a china hutch to the gills.
And I'm going to need another hutch for the rest of the teacups I think, not to mention the china...

In one of the drawers is a stack of antique magazine pages-- this one featuring embroidery ideas "for the April Bride" that are "First Aids Toward Efficiency For The New Housekeeper." Some day when I can remember to take them along with me to town, I'll find a large scanner and post them here for you. 
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Because of the cups in the hutch, I'm Joining Teacup Thursday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Teacup Thursday: The Thatched Cottage

This lovely cup and saucer came from an antiques shop. The pretty thatched cottage on the front is surrounded by a colorful garden. 

It is a "Regency English Bone China, Made In England."

Joining Teacup Thursday
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Saturday, September 8, 2012

This is worth watching all the way through-- a little slice of U.S. history. The prices have changed, and so have some of the phrases*, and so have the sizes of political Conventions!

*(for example, we aren't called "the masses" anymore, we're just a bunch of carbon footprints.)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Uses for Laundry Baskets

Hanging The Clothes

Hanging The...

Mildred Lyon...

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There are many uses for a laundry basket-- every household could benefit by having several!
Here are some of the uses for a good, sturdy laundry basket:
The laundry, of course-- dirty, clean, wet or dry.
Storage-- for sheets, blankets or pillows. Good for toys, too.
Quick Cleaning-- a sort of storage system for the mess for later. Here's how: take several baskets, and designate one for cloth, one for paper, one for toys, one for books, etc. Have the children sort & toss. Then when you have time later, sit in an easy chair and pull up one of the baskets to sort. Or if you are in a big hurry, you can take a basket and throw everything into it, and sort it later. Children can sort it or they can be "gophers" and run the doll back to the toy room, the book back to the shelf, the sweater back to the closet, etc.
Toting-- put one in the trunk of the car when you go shopping. Load the grocery bags into it for a smooth ride home (no rolling milk jugs) and to make it easy to carry it all in at once when you get home.
Family Picnic Basket-- nice a roomy to take everything with you on a family picnic
A Car-- every child loves to crawl into a laundry basket to take a ride! Or take the toys for a ride.
Portable Sewing Room-- if you have to take a sewing machine and set it up in the dining room, you can put it in the basket, and your project, too, and store it out of the way during mealtimes.
A "Bushel" Basket-- use a laundry basket to hold the harvest of potatoes or apples.
A Napping Place-- maybe the cat needs its own laundry basket and soft blanket for napping in, instead of on top of the clean clothes.
A Gift--Don't forget that a nice, sturdy laundry basket makes a great present, for a wedding shower, housewarming, or baby shower (one extra person in the house, no matter how small, requires another laundry basket).
Clothesline Fresh

Clothesline Fresh

Kate Ward...

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