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What started out as a blank white cotton knit baby gown eventually became a colorful sleeper with an unusual snap opening across the back. It started this summer when I decided to do some tie dye for the baby. I used my favorite colorway, seaglass, on a white baby gown from Dharma Trading.

tie dye baby gown bunting

Much later I decided that I would like to make a tie dye romper but I didn’t really have time to order a blank and it was getting rather cold to be doing tie dye. So I looked at the beautifully colored gown and thought long and hard before cutting into it. I dug out a favorite newborn sleeper with an unusual opening across the back that I remembered made it easy to change diapers—a definite factor in how often an outfit gets worn by the baby. I took a deep breath and started cutting and ripping out seams. I added some navy blue knit trim and a few snaps and eventually finished turning the gown into a romper without disturbing the existing tie dye pattern much. The matching socks and hat make for a cute outfit.

tie dye baby sleeper snaps across back tie dye romper

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I’ve managed a little sewing in the last week. I made four wool diaper covers for the baby, all side snapping wool, my favorite. I used a single layer of the thicker red boiled wool and double layer of blue merino interlock. Each of them is a bit different as I tried out some different techniques and adjusted the pattern. I found the interlock soft but difficult to work with. The army green cover was made for the girl when she was a baby and I think the fabric came from a skirt my mother had made herself. The white cover is not wool at all but PUL lined in microfleece and was made for the boy when he was a baby, before I discovered the advantages of wool. The wool covers just need to be patted down with my favorite lanolin balm from Sudz ‘n’ Dudz and they’ll be ready to go. All the cotton and hemp/cotton diapers have been pulled out of storage and sit in a bin washed and waiting.

side snap wool diaper covers

Another variation on lengthening pants for the boy. This time I cut up an old flannel shirt and gave it a bit of body and thickness with fusible fleece. The faux cuffs do not turn up. I cut off the shirt pocket and sewed it on one leg as a useful and decorative accent. He said they looked “old-fashioned” but wore them anyway. If I do this look again I think I’ll use denim or khaki backed with the flannel rather than the doubled flannel so the cuffs can actually be turned up. But hopefully he’ll get a few more months wear out of them this way. He keeps getting taller but his waist isn’t getting any bigger!

boys pants lengthened with cuffs from flannel shirt

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I think those are the right descriptive words. I’m proud of myself for making quick work of the math it took to make this pattern. I may need to make a few adjustments but it worked out pretty well. And I used up some chambray remnants to achieve the look of denim without the weight. The girl had requested a jeans skirt, but one that she could play in. Since she’s quite the monkey, that meant it had to have lots of room to move in.

rounded yoke, flared circle skirt for girl

Here’s a detail of the waist which I made adjustable by putting elastic in the back and sets of snaps in the front. When she grows past the smallest snap I can cover the one that will show with a brass cap which I think will look fine. It would have been better with buttons but this machine does not make the best buttonholes and I was more interested in getting the skirt finished.

adjustable waist skirt using snaps

I take neither credit nor issue with her choice of accompanying garments and accessories. . .

flared chambray denim jeans skirt

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I am so proud of the girl. She has been making a list of all her favorite people and making gifts for them. Some of her choices have been interesting but I’ve done my best to help her carry out her plans. This faux leather wallet is for one of her boy friend/heroes. Though he is nearly 6 years older, he has always been kind to her and she looks up to him like another brother.

pleather faux leather wallet with contrast stitching hand made

I was a bit dismayed when she said that she wanted to make him a wallet but after a bit of thought I pulled out this remnant of black vinyl. She sat on my lap at the sewing machine and chose one of his favorite colors, red, for the thread. We then turned the dials of my simple machine through the different stitch patterns and sewed parallel lines of red stitching against the black. I folded the rectangle wrong side out and sewed; her eyes danced as we turned it right side back out revealing the simple pouch shape. She chose a matching red resin snap to close the wallet.

hand sewn pleather vinyl snap wallet pouch

It didn’t photograph so well, and it’s a bit on the bold side, but I think he will actually like it. She seemed matter-of-factly pleased with the finished project and immediately wrapped it and wrote the label. I had to retrieve it after she went to bed and carefully unwrap it to photograph it!

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A skirt for me. Wow, it’s been a while. This skirt has a lot of features that I wouldn’t normally wear or sew for myself. First I used a conversation print – Alexander Henry‘s Starlings. I rarely wear prints at all. I also used red! as a secondary accent to highlight the red in the print and contrast with the main fabric of the skirt which is denim. I also appliqued one of the birds to the back waist, I don’t know why but hopefully it looks cute in a good way. I can’t think when was the last time I used piping and I’m sure it wasn’t on a garment for myself. I was originally going to use bias tape as the edging but went with the piping after seeing Rae’s use of piping on a child’s backpack. It really made the lines of the design stand out.

birdskirtfront birdskirtback

Other details: I’ve never cared for waistbands so that’s not new. But I don’t think I’ve ever done one like this. I cut some of the print fabric on the bias and used it to bind the top of the skirt which also helped reduce bulk since the body of the skirt is made from a hefty 12 oz. denim. The pattern is my own, rough modification of an existing six gore skirt pattern I drafted ages ago. Red topstitching. I love invisible zippers! And a resin snap for the closure. I also fused the lightweight print to white cotton to give it some bulk so it would stand up to the denim and a crisper hand to hold the pleat even when walking. That worked out very well.


I apologize for the grainy pictures, these were all taken at night and Frances (my dressmaker’s dummy) was a bit tipsy as well. And unfortunately the skirt turned out a tad big despite stopping for a fitting midway. Oh well. Maybe it will shrink in the wash. (I pre-washed the fabrics of course.)

I need to thank FW and the gals on designer-stashers for turning me on to new fabrics and for hosting a skirt sew-along which is probably the only reason I got this done! And finally, the skirt on the reluctant model, wearing some eye-brow raising 70s looking clogs scored from DH’s office. (Amazing things turn up when you are cleaning out an advertising agency. :) )
birdskirtside birdskirtfrontview

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The girl got a really nice set of metal pots and pans for Christmas from her grandparents. Problem was, she needed a stove, and she needed it now! Rather than using a cardboard box that wouldn’t last long, I looked around for something that wouldn’t take up extra room but would be appealing to the girl. I decided to use the top of a plastic storage drawer unit that held the kids’ art supplies. I rearranged the contents to empty the top drawer to hold the new pots and pans and the girl’s tin tea set. I layered several colors of craft foam to make the stove top. For a long time I despised craft foam but I’ve finally decided that it does have its uses on occasion. I made the stove knobs from some wooden craft pieces glued together and painted red. I used my snap press to put snaps through the foam pieces and glued the other side to the bottom of the knob. Once snapped together the knobs are secure but able to turn smoothly. I love it when I can take stuff I already have around the house and turn it into a completed project!

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I made my own pattern for this boy’s long sleeve tee shirt based on several tee shirts from my son’s closet. I used heavy olive double knit cotton out of my stash. I layered a stripe of light blue helicopter print cotton knit across the chest. I also made a small pocket for the left sleeve which is embellished with an orange snap. The boy was quite pleased, as was I.
I’ve had my serger about a year I think and I’m really getting to know how to use it. I’ve never had any luck using a regular machine for stretch fabrics. I was initially concerned about how much I would use it but I’ve found it to be essential for working with knits and a great time saver for sewing non-stretch fabrics as well.

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You know how your comforter is always drifting around inside the cover? I hate that. I had thought of various methods for temporarily attaching the comforter to the cover while still allowing easy removal for washing but none of them seemed likely. I finally hit on the idea of using snaps along the top edge of the comforter and the seam allowance on the inside of the top of the cover. I put about eight across and it works like a charm! No more comforter sinking towards the bottom of the bed leaving flat, empty cover at the head of the bed. I cannot express how much aggravation those few little snaps have saved me. It doesn’t show at all from the outside and it also makes it much easier to put the cover back on after washing.


This shirt started out as 9″ wide scraps of Kona Bay faux shibori pattern cotton fabric in a lovely shade of ocean blue. I thought it was perfect for a summer dress shirt for the boy but I was limited by the size of the scraps I had. I fiddled around a bit and managed to eke out the body pieces by piecing the back of the shirt and cutting the collar and pocket from contrasting black. Rather than buttons, I applied black resin snaps to complement. I appliqued a humpback whale to the pocket and drew in the details with my favorite permanent fabric pen, Identipen.

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Another little dress for the girl sewn from a half yard of ladybug fabric and some red bias taped scrounged from the depths of the sewing cabinet. Rather than create an opening in the back of the neck, I used my handy snap press to put a cute snap on each shoulder. If you do much sewing of any kind you’ve probably attempted snaps before. For a long time I only used hidden sewn in snaps because I’ve never been terribly pleased with the the hammer or pliers methods for setting snaps on clothing. Making my own cloth diaper covers forced me to explore some better methods. The first that I would recommend is the Snap Setter from the Snap Source which can be used to apply metal snaps which come in all sorts of colors including the open ring style seen on the inside legs of baby clothes. You still have to use a hammer but this does a better job that any of the application methods I’ve seen for snaps found in the local sewing shops. But better still is a hand press for applying polyacetal resin snaps. They are a bit pricey but I traded for mine and have gotten a lot of use out of it. I get all my pretty snaps from the Yahoo group NotionSupply, ably run by an American living in China. She’s just started selling a new item, snap pliers, that are getting rave reviews for light use. I’m considering getting a pair of those instead of my press which does a great job but is rather a hefty doorstop considering I only use it for personal projects now.

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