Washable breast pads- FREE tutorial

I find washable breast pads much better than disposable as they never leak and you never run out.

First up you need a 13cm diameter circle. Your diameter is the width through middle.

Fold in half then half again. open out and fold in half the other way to basically end up with triangles as per pic. Cut out one of those triangles this is your dart and will shape the pad.

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I used flannelette and fleece for mine. 4 layers of flannelette/winceyette and 1 of fleece per pad. Don’t forget you need 2 pads to make a pair.

Place the two egdes of your dark together and sew in place to create your dart (middle)

Do the same to each layer. I found sewing 2 layers of the flannelette at same time much easier and no more bulky than one layer at a time. Plus it made the process of sewing 8 pair much faster.

Next up place your 4 layers of flannelette with right side against wrong side. Right side- neatly sewn, wrong side- open seam with raw dart edges. Then place the wrong side of flannelette layers to wrong side of fleece.

Once sewn this ensure none of the raw edges of darts show and therefore reduces any irritation. image

Sew around the edge of each pad trapping each layer. I used a straight stitch then trimmed them and finished off with an overcast stitch. If you are using a serger you can just do this in one fell swoop.

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Repeat for each pad till you have enough.

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If you don’t feel confident doing the darts or haven’t the energy you can use the pattern as a full circle and they work just as well without too much bulk showing through a bra and top.

You can also make bigger and thicker ones for night use and remember to only use washable creams or you may find them less effective over time.

Other materials you can use for absorbency are microfibre, bamboo, zorb and terry towelling. You can use fleece like I did or PUL to keep them breathable.

Fleece acts as water resistant barrier so provided you have enough layers to absorb any possible leaks the fleece is enough a layer to stop any leaks out other side whilst remaining breathable enough.

tracy

Covering a feeding pillow

I’ve had this pillow a while and although it is a good pillow (albeit on the smaller side) the non removeable cover is a cheap horrible fabric that tears with the slightest tug so I decided to make 2 different covers.

First up is making your cover! I basically laid it down and drew round it. Check you drew it correctly by measuring around parts of it and checking your drawn version is same measurement. For first one I’m using cotton jersey so I don’t need a big seam allowance or it will end up baggy.

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I chose to make a half pattern so I could guarantee both sides of the pillow were the same. You can see my redrawn lines where I made sure it would be same size as pillow and not smaller. Cut 2 out of the fold.

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Starting from inner curve sew together all the way leaving a gap big enough for turning but also stuffing.

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Cut a piece of jersey approx 2 inches wide and the same length as your gap. (top left)

Fold in half and sew 3 sides, 2 short and 1 long then turn out (top right)

Place this onto right side of gap, so pattern side and sew into place. (bottom left)

Create another and repeat above step then you need to turn it inside of the pillow and top stitch in place (bottom right)

At this point you can add velcro to fasten but I chose kam snaps to close mine up.

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Here is the finished product!! It wasn’t super easy to get on so I would consider adding more ease along the curves next time.

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Next up I wanted to make a cotton version. As cotton is non stretch you will need to add a little ease and a little more seam allowance, 2cm each side should do it.

First you need one cut on fold, this will be the main side and 2 cut as separate halves but approx. 5 inches added to centre seam. Fold the centre seam over twice to create a double hem. If you are using patterned fabric make sure to cut your 2 back halves mirrored (opposites).

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Place your back halves onto the front making sure to match the right sides together.

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Sew all the way around leaving no gaps. You may wish to clip the curves to make it easier to use and create extra ease.

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As you can see without adequate ease this version can be quite tight it’s all trial and error. However comparing before and after it’s like a whole new pillow.

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tracy

 

Make your own dress ups

For christmas at the last minute I decided to make few dress up  bits or my youngest so thought I would show you and share the links! Happy Sewing.

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Click the picture for the pattern and tutorial. I found my markt felt sheets weren’t big enough so I pieced them together. If you don’t want to do this you will need to buy metre sheets of felt.

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The T-rex is actually a printable mask but is easily transferable to felt if you’re happy to leave off the texture or create it. Click the picture for the link.

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Top L-R: Dragon This link includes other animals  too, white dog and lion This is also the link for the lion aswell as other animals like tiger, bear and cat, wolf This is not in english but it’s easy to spot the pdf link for the mask. Triceratops you can access through same link as t-rex as well as a couple other dinosaurs.

Top tips for  felt mask sewing:

  • Make sure you have a full front piece to add smaller pieces to and a full back piece to cover the back of the front up. This also means you can trap your elastic
  • Don’t cut your back piece out instead layer up your front detailing and lay it on a full sheet of felt and sew round, then cut out. This ensures your front and back match and saves you time too
  • Sew around eyes last so you can secure all layers then cut them out.
  • Measure your child’s head and make sure the elastic int too tight or loose.
  • Print masks off at 100% no scaling to ensure they are the correct size
  • Think about your layering before start so you don’t end up removing parts or sewing over already sewn bits creating double lines
  • For small sections don’t feel ashamed to break out the fabric glue no-one wants to sew on tiny tiny parts especially t-rex teeth!

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Quick Toddler Snood

I used fleece for my toddler snood but jersey fabrics and other knit type fabrics work great and best part you don’t need separate lining so chose something soft.

Cut a rectangle 14×20 inch. Your stretch should be going along the 20 inch length.

Fold long sides together with right side of fabric in middle. Sew along that seam.

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Next turn your tube out. Now fold up one short (unsewn) edge to meet another again so right sides face. Sew the two edges together but remember to leave a gap for turning. Try locate your gap close to the sewn seam that way it’ll be hidden inside when worn .

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Turn out through your gap. I folded my snood so the long seam when worn will be inside rather than at bottom but it’s up to you what is easier. Hand stitch the gap closed using whip stitch.

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Place on toddler and enjoy the silence because they are no longer saying I’mmmmmm cooooold!!!!

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This is a great size for babies too! To make bigger to older children and adults add approx 5 inches.

tracy

How to use fabric panels in clothes

Sewing with panels is great! Often when you buy a panel from a custom designer they are cheaper than the main print so if you’re on a budget they can be a great way to still get a piece of the fabric you like.

Some people still struggle knowing how to use them so here’s a few ways I have.

Tops are the most popular use for panels with a few patterns making this especially easy.

MBJM V tee is great pattern for panels especially if you are sewing bigger sizes and the panel isn’t quite big enough to cut a whole front out.

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Another alternative when the child is bigger than the panel and you don’t want to piece it together is to use it as a sleeve. This works well for simple designs and ones that  aren’t too large or you will loose the design.

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The most common and easier way is to use it as the whole front this depends on the panel size and the size you are making. This is an age 4 top and the limit is around age 5 before adding bits to extend is needed.

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Smaller panels you can fit baby tshirts on then buy a small amount of matching print to make trousers. The panel was £4 and the print was flawed so was also £4 from a custom pattern designer. Bargain!

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Another great pattern perfectly designed for panels is the Duck Butt Designs PPT top. It is fiddly with lots of pieces but so worth it!

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Other items of clothing are also great for panels.

These I didn’t make from scratch only hacked (read about it here) but these are a great example of how bigger panels could be used for part of a trouser leg or shorts. Alternatively just make tiny trousers.

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Another store bought item but clearly shows how you could use a panel to make a romper or even dungarees.

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Adult t-shirts can be tricky especially if you buy a one size panel. The receiver of this tee asked for it to be sewed on the front like a picture. It’s simple but works and he still has the option of a mostly black tshirt. I used Melly Sews free pattern. I did need to lower the neckline and use a smaller neck band but all in all it was a great pattern for one off make.

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You could use panels in home furnishings too. This is a blind and I used it as the centrepiece. You could also make a blanket, quilt, cushion covers and pillow cases.

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I used a second panel that was the exact same to make a baby coat. The main part of print made up the back with smaller sections making the sleeves.  and plain sections making up front and hood. I only got an age 1 out of it but with extra fabric to compliment you could make bigger sizes.

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Bags are great for panels. The Elmo bag is a woven panel and bag is my own design but you could use any shape. If you were feeling clever and needed extra room you could use big spaces like his mouth as a pocket.

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Messenger bags are also great for showing off panels as for nappy bags. Tote bags, drawstring gym bags the possibilities are endless for panel bags.

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The gnome panel is actually a nappy cut that was embroidered wrong for me so I got the correct version and the wrong one,  which leads me to my next item. A nappy is a great platform for all sorts of panels including embroidered ones. You can also make briefs from panels and recently designers are designing special underwear panels so you don’t have to cut round your design.

You can use panels for skirts, dresses, as hoods, on the back of a top instead of the front. You could even make baskets, cover for you sewing machine the only limit is your imagination.

tracy

Making a Bump Band

When you’re pregnant and nothing fits because your tops are too short a belly bump band is perfect! But at minimum of £10 especially when you sew it’s much cheaper to make your own.

First up measure around your widest part, usually hips whilst wearing your usual trousers. Jeans are best as tend to be bulkier. Next up measure your waist. If you don’t want your band to go up this high cut your top band about 80-90% of main band.

You also need to determine how high up you want it mine’s about 35cm, add 1.5 inch for a hem and 1/2 inch up top for adding top band. Make your top band about 3 inches thick.

Make sure you add enough so it can fit with growth and not just for right now. Although these are cheap enough to make for every month.

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Mine is single layer but if you don’t want to hem it then cut it double house and fold to sew top band on.

Sew up short sides of top band and main band. Fold over top band to create a folded band. Match top band seam and main band seam, right sides together and pin.

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Stretch top band to fit main band and sew into place. Turn up your bottom hem 1/2 inch then further 1 inch. Alternatively you can finish edge and just fold up 1 inch.

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Voila your band is done. I used cotton lycra for mine. Cotton jersey, rayon, spandex are all good choices or you could buy a cheap vest for couple pounds and use that with a tiny bit extra for your top band.

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Best part they only take about half a metre so you have the option to make lots of designs much cheaper than shop bought bands.

tracy

Diaper Shirt Tutorial

I have mentioned this diaper shirt before so thought was time to write a how to!

This diaper shirt Blouse Choquette is a doll outfit which is bonus for those who make matching doll and child clothes but not so great for an actual child.

Follow my handy How to adjust any pattern blog to copying this out at the right size.

You can measure your child’s chest to determine what measurements to use, add 1 inch ease to sides (should total extra 4 inches all round) then 1cm for seam allowance. You will also need to check sleeve length and neck to hem length as those will need lengthening past newborn.

However if you’re making for a gift or new baby I’ve added a guide of measurements per size that should help.

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Once you have your pattern pieces you need to cut out: main fabric- 2 fronts (left & right), 1 back and 2 sleeves. Lining- 2 fronts (left & right) and a back.

You will also need buttons or snaps and elastic (optional).

If you wish to have a front that fastens off centre you need to cut your 2 fronts separately.

Lay your pattern piece on your fabric pin in place I added 2.5 inches to my straight centre edge and cut out.

Flip your pattern piece and again pin in place but only on the outer edges. I then folded up 1 inch from the centre edge. This provides enough overlap plus seam allowance. Cut out from outer fabric and lining.

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Next we start sewing by sewing fronts to back at shoulder seam on both outer and lining.

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When sewing lining sew your wider front onto opposite side to outer or when you line them up to sew they won’t match ( we won’t discuss how I know and no it’s not because I’m clever!)

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Lay out your outer and pin on lining. Matching shoulder seams and edges.

Sew from bottom edge up centre front around neck and back down other side.

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Next sew up side seams. Sew all 4 separately. On one of your lining pieces leave a gap half way.

When you’ve sewn up side seams line up bottom edge and sew. Clip curves and corners and using your gap in lining piece turn out. Press.

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Now grab your sleeve pieces turn each up 0.5 cm then another 1 cm and sew down.

If you want elasticated hems cut 2 pieces of elastic about 60-70% smaller than sleeve width. This depends on the look you’re after and the size of child. My sleeve is 20 cm I cut my elastic about 12.5cm. It’s a good idea to add an extra couple cms to make it easier to work with just remember to leave excess sticking out to cut off.

Thread elastic through one end secure the edge before you pull right through. Once reach other end sew both ends to secure elastic.

Fold sleeves so your long edges are right sides together clip the elasticated edge at a slant to reduce bulk. Sew edges together and turn right side out.

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Match shoulder seam on shirt to sleeve centre fold and match shirt side seam with sleeve seam. Again right sides together. Pin rest of sleeve and sew in place.

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Lastly put on snaps or buttons at regular intervals.

I made these cute bloomers to match from See Kate Sew. They are a free pattern and can be made from a few different materials.

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