I come from a long line of women who are excellent seamstresses and knitters, I have not ever been one of them though. I took the obligatory Home Economics type class in school but beyond that I have not done much sewing since I was young. When I was about 10 years old my grandmother gave me a sewing machine, a doll, and a whole set of doll dresses in different stages of completion from sewing on a button to having the pieces cut out but not sewn in any way. My dad helped me follow the instructions to finish all the dresses and I learned a lot, most of which I didn’t use again and forgot. I have always wanted to sew though, but with clothing being so affordable generally I just felt like I had other more worth while things to do. Now I am having a baby, and boy are baby things expensive! So I am trying to teach my self to sew again using that same sewing machine my grandmother gave me all those years ago.
These projects started when my husband and I sat down after my baby shower to figure out what we still needed to get for our bundle of joy and were shocked at the price it all added up to. We are going to cloth diaper our baby for many reasons least of which is that Bob has severe psoriasis and as a baby it was exastrobated by disposible diapers, we have decided to plan that our baby will inherit his skin issues and have it be a nice surprise if it does not. We have been given some cloth diapers and picked up a few second hand as well but we still needed covers and wet bags (bags with a plasticky lining called PUL that you put soiled diapers in until you wash them). We had planned on using wool diaper covers and Bob asked me if I thought I could knit some instead of buying them. I hesitantly said I would give it a try but in the back of my mind was the green scarf I started knitting for myself about 5 years ago that I work on a little every year but have never finished. I decided to look into other options and found that you can turn old wool sweaters into diaper covers so the next day I took a trip to the thrift store and cleaned them out of 100% animal fiber sweaters.
I have not had a chance to make any diaper covers yet but one of the sweaters I got was perfect for something else I had planned to make a wool sleep sack, and given its boxy shape and my very rusty sewing skills I thoguht it would be the perfect way to start my sewing refresher. Using safety pins (which unfortunatlly are almost the same color as the sweater and so dont show up very well) I did a rough outline of where I wanted to sew and gave it a quick zig zag hem and then trimmed the seams.
I still need to add some shoulder straps to the top of what was the neck hole and will soon keep our babies’ chest and torso warm but I think it turned out pretty well. When all is said and done I am hoping it will look something like this.
Today I tackled another project, a wet bag. I want to have one large one to hang in the bathroom and several small ones to keep in the car, diaper bag, etc. I started with one of the smaller one since I am using fabric samples I bough a Jo-Ann’s a while ago and I bought a larger amount of adorable fabric for the larger wet bag. Since I have never in my life sewn a zipper onto anything I was actually pretty nervous about it and figured the project with the least amount of fabric was the best one to start on so if I messed it up I would have waisted less. Except for not having an iron accessible to flatten my seams and a little issue with my knee peddle on my sewing machine sticking which caused my bottom seam ( and of course my only exposed seam) to look a bit wonkie but my zipper was sewn on with out incident and I am pretty proud of it.
But my most proud sewing moment was today when I was sewing on three little buttons. You see my grandmother Millie was a veracious knitter, I can hardly remember a time in my childhood when she didn’t have knitting needles in her hands. I think that is one of the reasons it took me so long to realize that she was blind, she was always doing something that it seemed to my child’s mind only a person with sight should be able to do. I was lucky enough to grow up with all kinds of hand knit sweaters, gloves, and hats and when Bob first asked me to try my hand a knitting the wool covers I immediately thought of her. Unfortunately she passed away the summer before Bob and I got married but shortly before she died she returned to me one of my baby sweaters that she had apparently borrowed to study and try to copy along with her attempt at copying it. She told me that at my age I would start having lot of friends having babies and that I could use to as a gift at a shower or something, but I kept it. When she died I was very glad that I had done so and so I dug it out when I started packing my hospital bag the other day and realized that it still needed buttons added to it. So today I got to finish the baby sweater that my grandmother started, it was a kind of surreal moment for me. My baby will be able to wear a sweater my grandmother knit just like I did, in fact it will be coming home from the hospital in one.