tutorial

UPDATE: The birthing gown in use here.

Have I mentioned that I’m going to be a grandmother? My daughter is about to give birth to my first (hopefully of many) grandson in a few short weeks.

Wanting to do something nice for HER (cause the baby already has more than he needs and he’s not even here yet), I asked her if she would like a birthing gown instead of using those dull hospital gowns.

She was keenly interested, so off we trekked to Mary Jo’s Cloth Store in Gastonia, N.C.  Mary Jo’s is also known as the Mecca of fabric stores (no offense).  It’s massive and has such a dizzying variety of fabrics.

While there she picked up an adorable butterfly print, and we got some deep pink fabric for the trim.  I eagerly took my purchases home, washed them immediately, then ironed them all into perfect piles of glorious fabric!

And then it sat.

And sat.

And sat.

For MONTHS. Until finally it dawned on me that the baby was due in a couple of weeks, her hospital bag was already packed and in her car…GASP!…without my birthing gown. She would have to give birth in a boring old hospital gown. Her pictures immediately after the birth would have her in a drab gown worn by who knows how many people before her!  This COULD NOT STAND!

So I got busy and in less than a day (really about 6 hours of pedal to the metal), I had finished the gown.

Let me share some of the pictures.  I wish I had taken more during the gown’s creation, but this will have to do.

First I got the pattern for the hospital gown from here, Thank you Lazy Girl Designs!

Second, I completely changed the pattern around.  I made the front the back, so that her gown will open in the front.  There were two reasons for this. One, she could use the gown as a robe before and after and two, she can breastfeed more easily without having to undo her entire gown.  The pattern is printed out onto like 11 sheets of paper, and then you have to tape them all together.  To make the back, I folded the pattern along the “front” line, and put it on the edge of the fold of my fabric.  To make the fronts, not only did I use the “back left and back right” patterns, but I extended the cutting line out from the neck line, made a nice arch to accommodate a baby bump, and came down to an extended line from the bottom of the gown’s hem line.  As a note, the hemline is high unless, like me, you give it some extra length with a contrasting trim.  I added two inches in trim, and that is a good length.

I sewed the pattern together as the directions dictated, except that instead of Velcro on the shoulders, I actually sewed the shoulders together.  Because she’s going to a birthing center and again, the gown opens in the front, I didn’t think she needed quick access like a normal gown would.

With the shoulders I did French seams, which turned out lovely.  I couldn’t figure out how to do French seams on the sides as well, so I serged the sides, then sewed the seam allowance down to avoid annoying itchy seams (didn’t want any distractions during labor).

Fold Lengthwise and Press

 

At that point I started on the bias tape.  I lied. I didn’t make bias tape.  There’s a very good reason, though. I lent my mat and rotary cutter to my daughter, and wasn’t about to try to make bias tape without those invaluable tools.  So my “bias” tape is really straight strips of 4” and 3” fabric. So sue me.

That’s when I decided to start taking pictures, too.

Fold over Edges Again and Press

 

 

 

Sewing two strips to make one long strip

 

 

 

 

Bias tape is pretty simple, really.  You (normally) cut on a 45 degree angle, making strips that run diagonal from the direction the threads run.  This allows the “give” in bias tape that makes it so nice around curves.  Then you iron the strip in half length-wise.  This gives you single fold bias tape.  I wanted the “tri fold” or quilt binding type. So I proceeded to iron down the length in quarters on the two flaps.

 

Sewing the trim on really made this whole gown come together.  I put some smaller pieces of trim on the inside under one armpit, on the outside under the other arm pit, and then on the flaps of the front of the gown.  It looked good, but I wanted something to gather that extra fabric I cut out for the baby bump over the top of the baby bump, so it would “poof” out just so.  I used about 6” of elastic on both flaps of the robe, pulling and gathering the fabric up perfectly, just between the bottom of her chest and the top of the baby bump.  Perfect!

Finished Gown

I should have taken a picture with her wearing the gown, but she promises there will be lots of pics forthcoming. I’ll add them up here after.

 

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My friend’s daughter baking with her Hat and Apron

One of the fun little things I like to make is a matching hat and apron set for children, (though I’m making one for a child and an adult right now).  This idea came to me when I was going through some old stuff, and I found my daughter’s old apron. It was from Michaels, a thousand years ago (she’s a Junior in college now!).  I painted on it with puff paints, and it had actually held up pretty well through the years.

I’m the kind of mom that makes the kids help cook, even starting very little.  We had (at the time) a foster child living with us, who loved to help me cook or bake. I’d put on the adult aprons that my daughter and I had made, but of course I had to tie them around him four times and he still managed to trip.  So for his birthday, I decided to make him his own apron.  And just for fun, I was going to throw in a Chef’s hat, cause he would just love that.

The birthday present was a huge success. He loved it, the people on Facebook that saw a picture of it (but not him in it, can’t post pix of him for legal reasons), loved it, and a friend of mine asked me to make one for her daughter. She supplied the fabric.  I found I could get two aprons out of two half-yards, mixing the fabrics up.  This gave me really fun combos of patterns.  And omg can my friend pick out really beautiful fabrics that go so well together!  I could have cut up her whole stash!I had to stop myself at two sets of aprons.

So you’ll see here in the pictures, the “apron/hat set” I’m working on are actually three different sets. Because I’m so disorganized, I failed to take pix of one set all the way through. So I’ve mixed and matched the different photos to show you the complete tutorial. But the premise is the same for all of them, even though one (the flames fabric) is for an adult.

 

 

 

The apron I traced from an existing apron I had.  Then I trimmed it with bias tape. Two packages is adequate for an adult (I use the wider for the adult, and the thinner for the child).  I think I use two packages for the child, too.  I’ll have to come back and edit this after I confirm. I also create a pocket by folding coordinating fabric in half, then trimming to match the edge of the apron. Here is a picture before the neck and waist ties were put on:

 

 

 

The hat is simply a circle and a rectangle, some velcro, and a small bit of bias tape.

I used a 24×7 inch rectangle, and a circle with a circumference of 65″.  That’s a wobbly circle, unfortunately, in the picture you see.  Long strips of velcro are the secret to avoiding sizing…but to to between children and adults, measured my own head, added several inches for overlap, and then used .39 to divide 27 (the distance around my head plus overlap).  I got 72″ circumference.  I then fudged a bit and went with the 24″ diameter circle.  The fluffier the chef’s hat, the better. Right?

 

 

You need to fold the circle in half, then notch one corner on the fold.

 

On the other corner, make a slit about 1/4 of the way towards the notch you just made.  The notch is for matching up center later (where my finger is pointing in the picture. The slit is the opening for overlap for velcro.

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll wrap the bias tape over the slit, and sew it down with a line of stitches about 1/4″  in from the edge.  I love the way a contrasting thread color looks (even if my stitches get a bit wobbly), but you might like something that blends in better. It’s all about your taste.

 

 

 

Are you familiar with gathering fabric using long basting stitches? If not, there are probably tutorials out there. Simply set your stitch length to as long as it will go, leave tension the same as it was.  Make two runs around the outside of the circle, staring and stopping on eat side of the slit. The first pass should be at 5/8 seem allowance, the next pass inside this, I usually do “presser  foot distance” inside the line. Here’s a terrible picture with light thread, so sue me.

You can see the thread line on the right side of the fabric, and how it’s already starting to gather.

You might also notice that these instructions are out of order.  You can do it either way, apply binding first or second. Up to you.

Back to your band. I put iron-on interfacing on the wrong side, then fold right sides together, and serge both short ends.  Leave the long end open, and obviously leave the folded end alone.  Turn it right side out, and push out the corners with scissor points, a pencil, whatever you have.

This band is for a different hat…don’t worry.  You aren’t seeing things.

 

 

 

 

 

So here I folded the band in half along the long side to find the halfway mark. Then I pinned it to the notch on the circle (right sides together).  The bias-tape covered slit then gets pinned on either end. I let the bias tape hang over, then fold them over after serging. Notice how the gathering is already happening. Once the three pins are in, pull the bobbin threads on one end, gathering the fabric gently and pushing it down the bobbin thread to evenly distribute between the pins.  Do this on the other side as well.  Once  you are happy with the distribution of ruffles, you can pin the circle securely to the band

Then take it to the serger, or stitch it with a 1/2″ seam allowance or more (make sure you cover the basting stitches or you’ll be ripping them out later).

 

Ok, so here is the nearly finished product. I like to put a row of stitches around the edge of the band so that when it comes out of the wash it stays nice and flat. Also, when you are doing that, catch the circle seam, which helps the hat “stand” up better than it is here in this picture.  I’ll get the real “finished” product pix tonight.

 

 

 

 

Well, so that’s about it.  What details did I skip? Tons I think.  I’ll have to check my math to explain it better. I did kind of throw out all my calculations and just randomly pick a diameter (mostly cause the cutting board I have has a 12″ radius premeasured).

Once this is done, I’ll get a picture of my friend’s daughter modeling it as well.

 

D-

 

Disclaimer: If you want to copy this tutorial, have at it. If you want to sell what you make, have at it.  My idea isn’t original, so I’m not stupid enough to try to claim otherwise. This is just my way of doing it.  Nothing pisses me off more than those who steal ideas and then say “Don’t steal my idea.”  Steal away.

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