Adventures in Cloth Diaper Making – Part 2

Thanks to a lovely community share page on Facebook, I managed to borrow a serger from a super nice woman in town, and I’m hooked. Let me show you why! If you missed part one of my cloth diaper adventures, check it out here.

If you’ve never heard of a serger, it’s essentially a sewing machine that finishes your edges for you. It also gives a really nice secure stitch to avoid fraying and keep things likes elastics in place. Here’s what the edges look like with a standard overlock stitch.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

This is super handy for this project because it means I’ll only have to sew around once, adding in the elastics, and the machine will trim off the excess for me. Then I can turn, do the topstitching, and voila! I used the first pattern as a template and drew out the modifications for my second prototype.

I wanted a thicker upper piece and a slimmer front.

I wanted a thicker upper piece and a slimmer front.

I picked out some scrap flannel for both the inside and the outside, so I could simulate the weight of the flannel and PUL I’ll be using for the diapers. It took a grand total of three minutes to serge them together, elastics and all.

Whoo hoo!

Whoo hoo!

I turned it inside out and played with it a bit, enjoying the feel of the secure stitching.

I never would have thought diapers were cute until I got pregnant, I think.

I never would have thought diapers were cute until I got pregnant, I think.

I made sure to poke out all the corners really well, and then used my regular sewing machine for a simple straight stitch around the edges. Because my elastics were right on the seam, I didn’t have to worry about sewing a berth around them.

Whee!

Whee!

The only tricky part was that I forgot to leave a good seam allowance on the opening hole so it was tough to fold it under and sew it in place. Lesson learned!

Comparison shot.

Comparison shot.

I like the shape a lot better for where the snaps will be (when they finally get delivered!). Next adventure: liners!

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Adventures in Cloth Diaper Making – Part 1

Hubby and I are really excited to cloth diaper our baby. We did some research (which meant ultimately consulting a lot with my bestie’s cousin who is in the cloth diaper business: Hippeez Cloth Diapers) and looked into what we were going to need. A set of the ones we wanted were about $350.00, so we put together a diaper fund for my baby shower, and went on our merry way. When I started telling people that the set was of 12, they started saying that it wasn’t going to be enough, because babies poop a lot. My plan had been to just wash them as I go, but started getting worried as time went on. What if there were so many poops that the first diaper wasn’t done drying by the time the last one was being used?

Naturally, I turned to the internet. I looked up a whole pile of cloth diaper making tutorials, sourced out a bunch of materials, and approached my math whiz of a husband to help me figure out realistically how many diapers we could make ourselves for $350.00. The number on the least amount side was 28. This is a significant increase from 12, so we’re off to the races. Of course, I now have less than two months to master diaper making.

And… fight!

Attempt #1 is a bit of a mismash. I used this PDF Ottobre pattern as my template, but used this tutorial from Dream Crafter for directions. As with my previous tutorial on working with PDF patterns, the Ottobre pattern printed at %93. Since this was a prototype and my girl is going to be a newborn, I just cut out the bigger pattern instead of the newborn one and used that.

I had some flannel from Wal Mart and an old thick flannel topsheet that I never use, so I figured those would be good for a trial diaper. Planning a little far ahead here, but in the spirit of not being wasteful, our little girl could have this to use on her dolls or stuffed animals someday!

First thing I did, to avoid having to tape the pdf pattern together, was trace it onto my pattern paper. Which is actually 1-inch graph paper from Staples.

So much easier to pin this stuff!

So much easier to pin this stuff!

I cut it out, pinned it to my fabric, and cut out my pieces.

The fabric piece was a little thin, but whatever, prototype, right?

The fabric piece was a little thin, but whatever, prototype, right?

Putting the right sides of both pieces together, I pinned.

Pinned and ready to sew!

Pinned and ready to sew!

I sewed all the way around with a 1 cm seam allowance, leaving most of the top part open for turning it later.

I just used a straight stitch here.

I just used a straight stitch here.

Next, the elastic. The pattern had dots on it for where the elastic starts and stops, so I marked those on the edges of my seam allowance. I cut a five inch piece for the back, and two six inch pieces for the leg holes.

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Now for the tricky part. Sewing elastic can be daunting, but fear not! It’s actually very straight forward. The key is that you want to stretch the elastic so that the fabric is flat. You sew that with large zigzag stitches so that once finished, the elastic will ruffle up the fabric evenly but won’t pop any stitches when it stretches.

Ruffled!

Ruffled!

The elastic pieces go on the outside of the seam, and while the leg hole ones were a little finicky because it wasn’t in a straight line, it wasn’t too unpleasant.

Got a pretty decent evenness.

Got a pretty decent evenness.

After this, I gave the seam allowance a close trim and clipped little notches in the curves to make for easy turning. And then my very favourite part, flipping it right side out!

Whee!

Whee!

It looks like a blob, so that means one more step, and that’s to sew the finishing hem around the outside. This step will also double to close the open seam at the top. I folded that in and started there, going all the way around and allowing for a berth around the elastics.

Voila!

Voila!

Beauty! It’s diaper shaped!

All in all, it wasn’t too difficult or time consuming. Granted, I didn’t put any fastenings. The pattern calls for velcro, but I’m dead set on using vinyl snaps. Upon folding it around a teddy bear, I’m thinking that I’d like to widen the outer flaps and make the front thinner. I’ll be trying that on my next prototype.

I also realized the value of a serger, because one of those would make this process a LOT faster. How, you ask? I’ll see you on Wednesday with part 2!

Share your favourite cloth diaper escapades in the comments below!

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DIY Canister Shelf

I’ve had this project in mind for a long time… so much so that I haven’t bought rolling tobacco in two years and I still had ten empty canisters in a box. Hubby got a piece of maple for me and sealed it so I could use it as a base.

I marked the wood and heated up a glue gun to start constructing.

I marked the wood and heated up a glue gun to start constructing.

I used a single line underneath each canister, and made sure to put the wood at the front of them where the openings are, so that the shelf wouldn’t tip forward.

Bottom row.

Bottom row.

I set the next row on top and marked where the next lines of glue would go.

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Middle row.

Second row.

I repeated the process for the third and final rows.

Almost ready!

Almost ready!

Final row to finish the pyramid!

Final row to finish the pyramid!

I went over the back with the glue gun to join the backs for extra stability.

I went over the back with the glue gun to join the backs for extra stability.

Once everything cooled, I made sure it was nice and stable and set it up by the door.

Dog stuff, sunglasses, hats, and spots for hubby's keys and wallet!

Dog stuff, sunglasses, hats, and spots for hubby’s keys and wallet!

Love the way it turned out! Let me know in the comments about your own creative organizational ideas!

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Epic Recipes – Nut Butter

Hello, friends.

I recently was gifted a Ninja Kitchen System from my wonderful workmates, and have been seriously loving it. Aside from making perfect smoothies and not having to physically mix dough anymore, I also discovered that nut butter can be made with the food processor in about twenty minutes. YUM.

According to my internet travels, you can do this with any blender or food processor, just be aware that your machine is going to be working really hard. The Ninja is 1800 watts, so this might take longer on a less powerful machine.

Ingredients

-Raw nuts (not roasted)
-A pinch of salt
-Honey or agave, for sweetening

Method

Insert nuts into food processor.

 

Om nom nom nom.

Om nom nom nom.

Once you’re locked and loaded, choose a medium blending speed and let her rip.

Eventually, it'll start to look like this.

Eventually, it’ll start to look like this.

Once it starts to stick to the sides, add the pinch of salt and a little bit of honey or agave nectar. Don’t go overboard, you’d be surprised how sweet nuts are naturally when they’re liquefied! You can always add more later if you need.

Stop every minute or so and use a silicon or wooden spatula to scrape down the sides.

Stop every minute or so and use a silicon or wooden spatula to scrape down the sides.

Make sure to taste it. Because warm cashew butter is heaven.

Before you know it, it'll start to look like this.

Before you know it, it’ll start to look like this.

This was about fifteen minutes for me, give or take a bit, I let my machine rest for five or so minutes because it was getting pretty warm.

Smooth delicious butter.

Smooth delicious butter.

About five minutes later, I had smooth delicious butter. I probably could have kept going, I read that if you keep at it even more oils are released and it will get gooier, but I really liked this consistency. And it was really hard not to just eat it all out of the food processor. YUMMAY.

Enjoy, and let me know what blenders and nuts you used for this!

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DIY Shopping Bag Holder

I had some extra fabric kicking around yesterday and was wondering what I could do with it. I opened my kitchen closet to grab a plastic bag and was reminded of this travesty.

There is no keeping these contained anymore.

There is no keeping these contained anymore.

When we used to have a cat, we used to go through these a lot from emptying the litter box, but apparently I don’t go through them as fast anymore. I decided two things: I needed a plastic bag holder, and I needed to find some projects for recycling old plastic bags.

All you’ll need for this project is a rectangle of fabric and two hair elastics. You can sew your own elastic, I just had a couple of hair elastics kicking around that I wasn’t using, and they’re the perfect size for this. Feel free to use any kind of fabric that you want to work with. A stretchy knit would accommodate more bags, but a non stretchy weave still makes a good bag.

Cut a rectangle of fabric and fold over into a tube.

Cut a rectangle of fabric and fold over into a tube, right sides together.

I made mine about seven inches wide, and about three feet long. I have a lot of bags though, so feel free to adjust if you want it shorter. Next you’ll want to sew all the way up the cut length, and across the top. I used a hair elastic in the top seam to make a hanger. Because you’ll be flipping it inside out, make sure there is enough inside the fabric when you sew to give a good sized hanger when you turn it right side out.

The first hair elastic will be the hanger, if you're not hanging up your bag you can skip this.

The first hair elastic will be the hanger, if you’re not hanging up your bag you can skip this.

You can use whatever you like for the hanger part. Ribbon or braided yarn would be fun.

Finished seam.

Finished seam.

I just used a straight stitch, making sure to backstitch the beginning and end. If you’re using a stretchy fabric, use a zigzag to accommodate stretching once the bag is stuffed.

Slide the second hair elastic (or elastic of your choice) over the non-sewn end of the bag.

Slide the second hair elastic (or elastic of your choice) over the non-sewn end of the bag.

 

Fold the end over the elastic, leaving a generous amount of fabric.

Fold the end over the elastic, leaving a generous amount of fabric.

 

Sew around the entire hem, stretching the elastic so that you're not sewing bunches of fabric as you go.

Sew around the entire hem, stretching the elastic so that you’re not sewing bunches of fabric as you go.

Make sure not to sew over the elastic! I gave about an inch seam allowance here, to give the elastic room.

A perfect bunched up bottom.

A perfect bunched up bottom.

Now all that’s left is to turn it right side out and admire your handiwork!

And stuff it with bags, of course.

And stuff it with bags, of course.

 

And hang it up!

And hang it up!

Stay tuned to find out what kinds of projects I ended up using all of my extra bags for! Let me know how your bag of bags turned out in the comments below!

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My Half Assed DIY Yoga Pants

So, I finally got myself registered for prenatal yoga. It’s wonderful, by the by, and I wish I’d been doing it since the beginning. In general I hate yoga, but with all the fun stress and soreness that comes with pregnancy, the prenatal series is relaxing and stretchy and just delightful.

Anyway. The day before I went, I realized that I didn’t actually have anything super comfy to wear that would accommodate stretching and my belly. To the sewing machine!

I discovered this wonderful YouTube Channel called pinkchocolatebreak that focuses on ‘freestyle sewing’, which essentially means this chick uses no patterns, just her own existing clothes as templates to make awesome projects. I loosely used this video as a guide to make my pants:

I found some knit fabric in a bin that isn’t particularly a print I would choose to wear, but it was cheaper than buying new fabric. Woot!

Laying out a pair of pants, folded in half on a fold of a fold. ^_^'

Laying out a pair of pants, folded in half on a fold of a fold. ^_^’

I picked a pair of pants that fits loosely in the legs but isn’t as comfortable in the waistline. To make less cutting, I folded the fabric in half and lengthwise so I could just snip the pattern out once.

Gave about an inch seam allowance, the baggier the comfier for these pants.

Gave about an inch seam allowance, the baggier the comfier for these pants.

So this left me with two pieces, front and back.

I sewed up the legs, ending up with somewhat of a pair of chaps.

I sewed up the legs, ending up with somewhat of a pair of chaps.

IMG_2977

For the crotch part, I turned one leg outside out and stuffed it into the inside out leg.

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I sewed up the crotch double for strength, right sides together.

Nice and big, this isn't a waistband it's a bellyband!

Nice and big, this isn’t a waistband it’s a bellyband!

I measured around my belly and cut a square of fabric for the waistband. I folded it in half, giving it a nice double-sided comfort, and sewed it right sides together to the top of the pants.

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Pinning is useful here, especially because the waistband will generally be a little smaller than the pants. I pinned at the sideseams and matched them to halfway points on the waistband.

Once that was done, I tried them on and it was a great fit! A little loose, but my gut still has some growing to do so it worked out fine. I hemmed the legs to even out the cut, because none of this was cut well at all.

Quick hem.

Quick hem.

All done!

IMG_2981

And off to yoga I went. :)

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Introducing: The Arctic Fox

So, I’ve been working on a thing. Once I’d exhausted all of my resources towards Slingers Embroidery and realized that I wasn’t going to hit the funding goal, I started to explore some other avenues. I’ve always been obsessed with making stuff. Embroidered baby slings seemed like a really cool niche product that I could work with, but with all the regulations and insurance involved, it was going to need a lot of startup money.

As I continued to tinker around in my craft room (which sometimes is my coffee table, let’s be honest here), I chewed over what kind of product I could make, or that I really wanted to make. I realized that I don’t like to be constrained, which of course makes businesses like this difficult. I like to just make stuff, and be creative, and go with it. So, in the spirit of creative flow, The Arctic Fox was born.

Because foxes are awesome, and Canada is cold.

Because foxes are awesome, and Canada is cold.

As of right now, I have a few blog posts scheduled to come out over there on Fridays, and the theme is that they’re free tutorials. I’m starting with some sewing basics, but will eventually expand into full blown project tutorials as I create more original work. I’d like to get into some crochet over there as well, since I’ve been doing a lot of that too.

My bestie over at Emerald’s Creations is also a crafter, and we’re going to be doing some vendor shows throughout the fall and winter. I will keep these events updated over at The Arctic Fox, and once I have items listed in the shop I will put up a link here at Voracious Vividity in case any of my wonderful followers are interested in my work!

Also if you’re running a kickass craft blog with tutorials and fun projects, let me know and I’ll link to you from TAF! As well as selling my wares, I want to be able to share in the DIY community as much as I can!

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