Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Almost 7 months ALREADY?

(Dahlia at 6 weeks)

Where does the time go?

I'm writing up Dahlia's story. I've tried to keep it as everyone friendly as possible, but if you don't want to read about a birth skip this post. It is photo heavy at the end. So if you want to look at photos and skip the story just scroll down.

Here's Dahlia's story...
Back in the beginning of December I was exhausted. Extremely pregnant as well as being mom to a 13 month old who's seconds away from walking. (She held off until her sister was born. Then she took off) I had some serious prodomal labor for weeks. Things would seem like they were progressing but then they would stop abruptly. On Tuesday Dec 8th I was feeling hopeful that things were moving in the right direction, but chasing T around was exhausting and there was no way I'd be able to really let myself surrender to labor with her there. We asked my father in law to take her for the day. My husband stayed home and we tried to get things go by walking and bouncing on the birth ball. It seemed like things were going well but they'd keep stalling and I was losing my morale.
From about midnight to 2am I chatted online with a few friends. They really REALLY helped. Because of all the false starts I wasn't sure that this was "it". They convinced me that even if it wasn't it, I was doing great. Soaking in the tub felt SO fabulous. By 3am my contractions were only 8-12 minutes apart. (For the uninitiated they tell you to go to the hospital when they're 4 minutes apart for 1 hour and lasting 1 minute each) Labor with T lasted 30 hours so I figured we were in for the long haul.
At 3:30 I called the midwife. I lied. I said my contractions were 6 minutes apart. We were on the phone for 8 minutes with no contraction. Right as we were going to hang up I had a contraction, I'd been groaning through them for about an hour at this point. She heard me and said "I'll be right there!"
I got out of the bathtub and walked to the bedroom. I don't think it took too long. But I had 3 contractions on the way! (from 8 minutes apart to two minutes apart in 30 feet) My fabulous husband started the air pump to blow up the pool. I wanted a water birth.
That pump was incredible.
I know, you probably don't hear people gushing about air pumps very often.
The noise it made was great. When a contraction would come on I would match the pitch of the pump with my groans. On the one or two occasions I started groaning at a higher pitch it quickly turned into a panicked scream.
Only a couple contractions after our arrival in the bedroom my water broke. I was beyond words at this point but managed to yelp a little "help" and a towel showed up on the floor. With a little help I climbed into the bed and got on my hands and knees.
The very next contractions something strange happened.
I started to push.
I didn't have any control over this. The contraction started to get intense (I wasn't getting a break between them at this point) and my body shuddered and I felt like I was standing beside myself trying to convince myself that I couldn't push, the midwife was on the way and we needed to wait for her. Afterwards I shuttered and came back into my body. I reached down to see if my accidental pushing was effective. It was. I could feel the top of her head.
This time I wasn't able to yelp.
Another wave came on and I found myself standing looking at myself thinking "what is this nutcase doing??"
Fortunately this time my husband looked up from the pool inflation and realized that things were a bit further along than he'd thought. He came around in time to see her head emerge.
What he did next I find amusing. Even in the moment I almost laughed at him.
He looks me in the eye and says "Kath, the baby's coming."
As if I didn't know.
He grabs the phone and dials 911 - since the midwife still isn't here. They transfer him to the wrong dispatch, who proceeds to try to give him the phone number for the right one. He hung up and dialed 911 again. Fortunately this time they sent him to the right people. By the time he was actually speaking to someone he was also holding Dahlia wrapped in a towel.

It didn't take long for an EMT and a Police officer to arrive. The EMT didn't have everything he needed. He radioed in to have someone bring something and I asked him what he needed and directed him to the dresser, where I had all the supplies laid out. (We planned a home birth) He was shocked and quite happy to find everything he needed right there.
While he checked Dahlia out I got my cellphone out and called the midwife and called a friend. (Note: I'm still on my hands and knees afraid to move because Dahlia is still attached)

The midwife arrived shortly thereafter. She helped me get into a better position, where I could hold the baby. The EMT announced that we should pack up and head to the hospital now. We politely declined. "But you just had a baby??!!" "Yeah... but I'm not injured or sick? There's no emergency?" "Ok.. umm.. sign this?"

It was a perfect experience. It was completely peaceful. Her birth was a moment I shared with only my husband. It was empowering, it was thrilling and it was perfect. It wasn't until he called 911 that things went nuts.

It wasn't how we planned but I wouldn't change a thing.
Later that day she was captured on Skype by her grandma.

A week later:

At 1 month

At 2 months

At 3 months

At 4 months

At 5 months

At 6 months

At almost 7 months on a skype call with my mom

Friday, June 25, 2010

Sew Along: Popover Sundress Week 3

So now that we have all the fabrics cut out we're ready to sew! This dress comes together so fast you'll be amazed!

We'll work one side at a time. Take out one yoke and one dress piece. Set aside the other two pieces for now.
First, pin the yoke (the small piece) to the top of the dress with the right side of the yoke facing the wrong side of the dress. (like in the picture)

Sew these piece together along the top edge with a 1/2" seam allowance. Fold the yoke up and iron it.

Flip it over. Fold the top 1/2" of the yoke down and iron.

Fold the Yoke in half and iron.

Pick your trim - this is optional. Before we sew down the yoke we'll need to sandwich the trim between the two pieces nice and straight. I have a bunch I'm trying to choose from. Once you've got it in there, pin the entire "sandwich' together and sew the folded yoke and trim together really close to the edge of the yoke.
Repeat all of this with the second set of pieces. These become the back and the front of the dress.
Place the back and front together with the right sides of the fabric together. Sew the side seams.
The dress is almost finished! We'll talk about the bias tape next time. If you want to make it check out the bias tape tutorial here.

Help me pick a rickrack color? I'm leaning towards white...




light pink:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sewing Baby Girl Clothes

One of my crafty friends learned recently that she's having a girl. I have several other friends who are expecting girls as well. When I first heard, I thought I would put together a collection of some of my favorite free patterns. This is not even close to a comprehensive list of all the patterns available out there. Not. Even. Close. These are just the ones I've made myself.
I've decided to share it here so other people can enjoy the love too.

There are several blogs that are absolute gold for finding sewing patterns and tutorials.
Check out:
Made by Rae
Luv in the Mommyhood

As for particular projects that I love, I've only included one from each source. But browse around each source! There's plenty more!
Check them out! (The images are links to the projects)

(used with permission)

If this isn't enough, also check out Craftster, Burda Style or browse around links in those blogs I mentioned. I really can't recommend them enough. I can get lost spending hours and hours clicking through from blog to blog.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sew Along: Popover Sundress Week 2

OK I'll admit it. I've been neglecting you. I'm sorry. Things got a little crazy around here. The new shop has been keeping me busy. We made the front page twice last week!
I also redesigned the blog. What do you think?

But onto the task at hand.
Hopefully if you're playing along you've already printed and cut out your pattern. (And resized it if needed)

Remember to prewash your fabrics before you cut out the pattern. I'm going to be using two quilting cottons for this dress.

When I was learned to sew my grade 7 home-ec teacher had us pin the patterns to the fabric. I blindly did this every time I've sewn anything else ever since. Recently I realized that it was a load of busywork. That's right, I said it. My home ec teacher knew that it would take us a full class or two to pin and cut out all the pieces. And she was much happier reading a book.

My secret? It's crap. Seriously, I use the random things near me as pattern weights. Lots of people just go to the hardware store for heavy washers. (One day I'll make the trip and customize a set for myself)

This time I used my mason jar pincushion and my giant jar of buttons. (don't let a glass jar of buttons fall and land on your toe. It hurts.)

I like to do this on my ironing board because I can just walk around the board while cutting if any of the angles become awkward.

Don't worry about cutting out the straps. We're going to make some bias tape later for that. But if you want to jump ahead you can always refer to my Bias Tape Tutorial. (We'll be using the same method to make the straps for the dress as we did to make the bias tape.)

Remember to put the edge marked Fold along the fold. (And it's ok to refold the fabric so you're not cutting it out of the middle.) For most of the sizes if you're careful about how to fold it you can actually cut the pieces out beside each other.

Cut out two of each piece. The dress looks really sharp with contrasting fabrics for the yoke and the body.

Make sure that if your pattern has a definite direction you cut both pieces the same way. (a dress with right side up cupcakes on the front and upside down cupcakes on the back is going to look a little funny)

We'll actually start sewing soon! (I'm not going to wait a week before posting again, I promise.)
I'm going to assume that people know how to use their machines but if you have any questions just shoot me an email (see my new snazzy contact me button on the side?)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tutorial Grading a Pattern Version 2

Ok so now that you've tried the first way to grade a pattern I'm going to show you an even easier way. This way isn't always appropriate. For instance I find it's better for grading up than it is for grading down... It's much better for larger pattern pieces than it is for smaller ones

I managed to do all this AND blog about it during the girl's nap-time!

First you'll need to collect your supplies: Paper, pencil and your pattern. (Good light helps a ton too)

Lay the paper on top of your pattern and trace the largest size. I also like to trace the next size down so I know how much to adjust between sizes. This is going to be a template for you to use in the next step.

Once you're done tracing, lay the pattern on top of the template. Line up the largest size on the pattern with the second largest size on the template so that you can see where the next size up belongs. Trace the template onto the pattern. You'll need to extend it in the same areas where the size goes up between other sizes - this means you have to do this in sections.

Use this template to extend all the edges that need to be extending (again any edges on the fold doesn't need to be extended)


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tutorial - Grading a Pattern Version 1

Grading a sewing pattern means resizing it to fit your needs. I have never been taught how to properly grade a pattern, I sort of worked it out on my own. I've got two methods I use, the first works best for small sizes and small pattern pieces. The second is best for larger pieces - but I'll show you that another time. Both of them are really easy to do. Here's the first method. I'm going to use the Popover Sundress we're sewing in our current Sew Along.

Some of the steps are optional and you should be able to figure out which steps they are on your own, but I will mark them with the words optional step. This is more to give you an insight into my personal processes.

Optional Step 1 Set the kids up with something to distract them

Step 1 - Assemble your supplies. You will need the pattern printed out, scissors, tape, a ruler, and a pencil

Step 2 - Tape the pattern together, matching the letters

Optional Step 2 - Realize that the Toddler should not be within arms reach of the baby while playing with markers

Optional Step 3 - Move her

Step 3 - Look at the pattern and notice how the pattern changes with the different sizes, with this pattern the difference betwen sizes is pretty consistent until you look at size 2T to size 3T. Don't worry too much about that. we're going to take 1/2 inch off of the 2T size. Also notice that the line for the fold does not change with each size.

Step 4 - Using what you learned in step 3 we're going to start editing our pattern. Draw the straight lines. You want to make your changes similar to the ones you see between the sizes that have already been graded.

Step 5 - For curves, mark dots the appropriate distance away from the lines.

Step 6 - Connect the dots

Do this for all the edges that need to be graded. Notice, however, that any pieces that are against the fold, the fold does not change. Only grade the edges that are graded for the other sizes.

Optional Step 3 - Clean up the mess