Baby TOMS Shoes Tutorial

One of my favorite things about being a mom is dressing my baby boy up in beyond adorable clothes. Lately I’ve been itching to get him some stylin’ shoes. I mean, what’s more fun than tiny baby shoes… correction–tiny baby TOMS!?! Yes, you read that right, baby TOMS. I saw them on Pinterest and about died from the overload of cuteness. I absolutely had to make them right away!

I found the original pattern and tutorial from Homemade Toast. She has got some amazing sewing talent!

1. Cut out the pattern

You can find it on the link above at Homemade Toast.

2. Cut out your fabric

I used minky fabric for my inner lining for extra comfort.

3. Sew the back part

With right sides together, sew 1/4″ seam allowance in a straight line.

4. Sew elastic in back part

Fold in half and press. Sew a little more than 1/4″ seam allowance in a straight line along the top. I used 1/4″ elastic to pull through. Be sure to leave a little extra elastic sticking out of the ends when you are done.

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Pull elastic from one side to tighten fabric to your desired stretchiness. Stitch in place to hold. I did a zigzag stitch along the side to make sure the elastic didn’t go anywhere.

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5. Sew the center part

Cut and fold the triangle shapes as shown by the pattern. Press folds well.

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Place right sides together and line triangle shapes up. Sew along the top with 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Turn it right side out and press.

Sew elastic by inserting along top of center strap and stitching with 1/4″ and 1/2″ seam allowances (the “V” shape design).

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Place center strap over toe piece. This part may get kind of confusing, but meet the bottom of the center strap with the middle fold of the toe piece. Stitch with 1/8″ seam allowance.

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6. Baste the toe piece

This part is tricky, but just follow the pattern as close as you can. Fold along the dotted lines to create a nice smooth curve around the toe. Pin and sew 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t fret if you can’t get the pleats perfect. Personally, I don’t think it needs to be perfect.

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7. Sew front to the back

Sewing along the same two lines on the center strap, attach the front to the back.

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8. Attach the sole

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Before you start pinning, make sure the entire shoe is inside-out. Now pin the sole to the top and back. Pin like crazy. You can never have too many pins, in my opinion. The more you have the easier it will be to keep all the pleats and seams in place, especially since it is such a tiny shoe.

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Sew with 1/4″-1/2″ seam allowance.

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Now turn it right side out and admire your awesome work!!! The best part is putting them on your little baby’s feet! Enjoy the cuteness. :)

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Diaper bag and baby accessories

About a year ago, when I was getting ready to have Lacey (and in serious nesting mode), I decided I wanted to make my own diaper bag.  I was inspired by Rochelle’s diaper bag that she made for her sons a few years ago, and wanted one of my own! She kindly held my hand every step of the way as we made it (It was my first big-girl sewing project)! (See tutorial links at the bottom of the post.)

I found some cute canvas at JoAnn Fabrics, and got to work.  Rochelle had the great idea of reinforcing/protecting the fabric with clear vinyl – in fact, most of the vinyl we used actually came from a couple bedding bags that Rochelle had been saving…genius!  We felt pretty good about ourselves for recycling what could otherwise have been thrown away. (Although I will say, that after nine months of use, the plastic is starting to rip a little…I’d recommend using clear vinyl that is thicker and has a little more give – the kind that you use for tablecloth liners…oooh or you could use a clear shower curtain liner… I’m brilliant!)

 I also made this cute diaper/wet wipe holder (very nice so I don’t have to bring the entire diaper bag with me for a quick diaper change):

Because I had quite a bit of fabric left over, I decided to make myself a Boppy cover to match! I’m very happy with the way it turned out, and I love having the two different fabrics – so fun!

I had fun learning how to sew a little better with these projects, and I love having high-quality (and matchy) baby accessories!

 Pattern sources:
Diaper Bag: A Mingled Yarn
Diaper Holder: Jan Andrea
Boppy Cover: Vanilla Joy(she saved it from economical baby blog, which had been removed)

 

Baby Girl Refashions

Here’s a quick share of some baby girl refashion ideas…

This set is made of an old maternity shirt (pink stripes) and a bit of an old white Tshirt. (Pardon the phone pictures.)

I made the onesie using an old onesie that I cut apart as my pattern.  The scratch mitts were made from my Infant Scratch Mitt Pattern and Tutorial here, and the tie-top hat was made from Tie Dye Diva’s pattern found on Sew Mama Sew.

Don’t forget the ruffles!  Lots and lots of ruffles.

Flannel burp cloths- yeah, these are not refashions, although some are made from scraps of fabric used to make jammies, but I am including them anyway, because they are a great way to use up small pieces of fabric, and you can make them out of old flannel shirts, pants, even jersey Tshirts.  They can have batting in the middle or not.  I made my own pattern for these, but there are several free versions on blogs- just Google it or check Pinterest!  These tend to be more absorbent than the ones you can buy from the store, so these make nice gifts.

Baby leg warmers made from Dollar Tree socks.  Again, there are several free tutorials out there to make these.

This is a peasant skirt that I tried so hard to like, but it was just too generous in adding bulk around my hips, and… I just don’t need any extra volume in that general area.  So, my hip- fluffing skirt became a sweet little summer dress for my niece who should be arriving in the next few weeks!

The extra material made a nice diaper cover- tutorial found on MADE.

Can’t wait to meet my niece in the very near future!  😀  Think happy, positive childbirth thoughts for Marissa if you will- good karma, right?  Maybe soon I can post pictures of the little miss wearing some of these outfits!

Ugly Duckling T-shirt Transformations

Is it just me, or does everyone have a basket/pile/box/bin of clothes that are technically unwearable as-is, but have tons of potential if reinvented?  (I guess I shouldn’t admit that I actually have three bins full of such articles…)  These four unlovely and unloved shirts came from one of my bins.  Two of them were previously- loved shirts of mine (from an earlier fashion- phase), and two were pre- loved shirts from D.I ($1 each).

I drafted a little pattern for baby leggings and transformed this shirt into a cute pair of lace-bottomed, ruffle-bummed girl leggings (for Marissa’s baby, of course)!

With plenty of leftover fabric, I created this flower headband to match!

Using the same leggings pattern I drafted earlier, I transformed this stretched out sequin trim shirt from “Closet Disco Wannabe” to “Subtle Sparkling Diva”!  Both pairs of leggings were soooo easy to make, since I didn’t have to hem the legs- I just used the fun trims. 

I believe this shirt was previously a men’s size large which had shrunk in the dryer.  I used a T-shirt that I like the size of as a pattern to cut this shirt down to size.  Of the plentiful fabric scraps left over, I made  the flower, stem, and leaves, which I pinned down and sewed over with contrasting thread.

This pink shirt was a women’s size XL which had also shrunk in the washer (I’m assuming, since it fit me just fine when I bought it at D.I.)  I used more of the scraps from the white shirt (which I cut into long strips) to make the swirly designs- you can see how I pinned them onto the shirt on the top right of the picture below.  I also added a little modesty panel because I really hate layering shirts.  I didn’t bother trying to keep the white strips straight; I figured it would have more character if I twisted, and turned the fabric.  I sewed with white thread down the middle of each strip.  This one took a little more time than the rest, but still probably close to an hour, so not too bad!  Since I have worn and washed it a couple times now, I like how the swirls look even more than that “brand new” look.

Want to see some of my other women’s shirt transformations?
Check out this flutter sleeve refashion, this quick modesty refashion, the stripey shirt refashion, this awesome spring shirt refashion, and, should you be interested, a regular T-shirt turned nursing shirt.

Do you have any go-to refashion techniques for shirts?!

Mother and Baby Shower

I mentioned very briefly in my last post that while in Oregon, we had a baby shower.  What I didn’t mention was that it was a shower (or, more accurately, a mother and baby shower) for my sister Marissa!  My mom, my sisters and I collaborated and planned it all, with Marissa’s help and input, and I think it was a success!

 

Marissa wanted frilly, lacy, pink-y loveliness as the theme, and so that’s what we did!

Marissa and I got together and laughed hysterically- as we usually do- while we designed the invitations.  We were able to make them entirely out of what we had on hand already. :-)  The pink part is a sleeve which the invitation slides out of.  The umbrellas, clouds, and hearts were cut using my Silhouette machine.  I designed the text part of the invitation in Inkscape.

If you are going to ask people to RSVP, it is a good idea to not only include your phone number, but also your email address- some people (including myself) don’t like to call.  We also created a facebook event.  Hey, we just figured that the easier it was (and more ways there were) to RSVP, the better response we would get.

I had read about an idea of a “mother blessing shower” in one of my favorite new books (The Gift of Giving Life– seriously an amazing book; I would say that reading it, along with their blog for the past two years has changed my life and the way I think about motherhood- I’m not paid to say that, it’s just true.  Go check it out; you won’t be disappointed, even if you just read through the archives of some of the positive birth stories).  I was charmed with the idea that while it is great- and really fun- to focus on the baby, a shower is also a great opportunity to celebrate motherhood.  So, taking the suggestion from the book, in our announcement we invited people to bring a blessing or good thought for Marissa and a bead or charm to represent it, which would be put on a charm bracelet for Marissa to wear and feel happy vibes! 😉

This was a blank paper we included in the invitation for people to bring their written good wishes on.

The shower was fun (I really enjoyed seeing people I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting with for many years in some cases) and lovely of course.  We used pieces from our mom’s wedding china to hold flowers and candy.  My mom also had a great collection of crystal and glass serving dishes, and glass snack sets which she inherited from her mother.  I had picked up mini- chalkboards from the craft store recently, and those were fun to use, along with ribbons, and tons of tissue paper that we turned into flowers and pom-poms.

Ooh, before I forget, the menu included assorted fresh fruit, gluten/dairy/egg free brownies (which were amazing), oreo truffles, jordan almonds and Dove chocolates, dark and white chocolate drizzled popcorn, and heavenly pink sorbet punch.  Mmm.

Here’s the cute pregnant mama… I wonder why I couldn’t get her to look at the camera?!

Something else we did that I have seen done at other showers is pass around a basket of blank envelopes for people to address to themselves to make it that much easier for Marissa to send out her thank-you notes.  (Whoops, don’t have a picture of that one, but you can use your imagination…)

A few nights ago, Marissa and I got together, and we added jump rings to all the charms, and attached them on to a bracelet that we made.  I think it is adorable, if a bit crowded- but you can never have too many blessings, right?!  Some of the charms were meant for the baby some day, so ultimately, a few charms will be removed and it won’t be quite so crowded.

Here’s what it looks like on.  Artsy, unique, lovely, and a reminder of all the love, blessings, and good wishes from friends and family!

As a gesture of gratitude/ favor of sorts for those who attended, we made about 30 of these crocheted friendship bracelets with a bead in the middle.  The idea was that people would grab one as they walked out the door, but of course we forgot until half of the people were already gone.  😛  Oops.  Maybe they will go out in some of the thank you notes.

We definitely had fun with this baby shower, and I really liked the “mother blessing” part.  It seems appropriate to me that this portion could be done for any mother- regardless of how many babies she has had, or if she needed an actual “shower” for the baby.  Honoring motherhood and womanhood is always a good move in my book!  Tell me what you think in the comments!

Play outfit refashion from men’s clothing

Actually, I’m going to give you two for the price of one!  That is, I will share two separate play outfit refashions from the same two shirts.  One a sweater of my husband’s, and the other a polo shirt of my brother in law’s.

This was one of my first refashions I attempted, and it really got me started on the idea that I could totally transform clothing and give it new life. This sweater was one my husband wore for many years, and being sentimentally attached to it, he had a hard time with me telling him that it really wasn’t the right size for him.  He didn’t want to get rid of it and think of some stranger wearing this shirt he still loved!  He suggested that he might be ok with parting with it if it “stayed in the family”.  I took that as permission at immediately started sweater surgery, knowing that it could make an adorable play outfit for my son.

I used another pair of pants that fit my then-nine-month-old baby as a pattern, and got to work.

I am fearless when it comes to cutting right into fabric with a nice, sharp pair of scissors.  I love that feeling!   (Although I do remember how terrifying it was when I was first learning to sew, convinced that I was ruining a lovely piece of fabric.)

I really only intended to make the pants; as I said this was one of the first refashions I ever tried, and I was tickled to have made pants that turned out decently well out of a sweater.  However, the portion of the sweater that was left over continued to nag at me until I decided that I had plenty of fabric to make a matching sweater, and that it was just scraps anyway, so if I botched it, it was no big deal.  So I went ahead and performed another life-saving procedure on the sweater (sorry for all the medical puns; I am a nurse after all!) and this adorable sweater was born!

The sweater wasn’t perfect; I sewed one cuff onto the sleeve turned inside- out, and decided not to fix it.  (In addition to being a fearless cutter, I also have the superpower of turning my perfectionism on and off; this time I turned it off and was very happy to do so.)

As I had predicted, my sweet boy was absolutely precious in the outfit.  It was soft, comfortable, and durable!  After my son grew out of it, it was still in good enough shape for my next son to wear it, and he was just as cute in it!

Let’s fast-forward about three years to this past March, when I was going through all my fabric, scraps and all.  I found the remains of my husband’s sweater (really all that was left were the sleeves) and I remembered what great pants the sweater had made, and I decided to make another pair that would fit my now-nearly-four-year-old son.  There was just enough fabric to do so, and it was so easy because there was no hemming involved!  I just kept the original sleeve cuffs as the pant cuffs, and the whole thing took about 20 minutes at most.

Because I didn’t have any more sweater fabric to make a top for my son, I pulled out an old polo shirt I swiped from Marissa’s donate pile (I’m a scavenger, what can I say?) and determined to make a shirt that would be just as soft and cuddly as the pants.

I actually used an old pattern for this shirt (one from a large set my mom gave me that she used to sew for us from when I was a little girl), but I have also made raglan shirts for my boys using their old pajama shirts as patterns. 

I did my best to match up the stripes, but again, it wasn’t perfect, and I’m ok with that.  After all, my son is ok with it too!

Do you ever sentimentally hold on to items of clothing hoping to give them new life in one way or another?

eBook Review: Unbound Birth

Pregnancy, labor, and childbirth… women love to talk about it, whether it’s comparing notes on aches and pains, reflecting on our deliveries, sharing hospital horror stories (have you ever noticed when someone announces they are pregnant, the nearby women start topping each others’ crazy childbirth stories?!), or just plain amazing stories (like my friend who had her baby in the car).  Or maybe it’s the great debate between proponents of unmedicated childbirth and those who love their epidurals.  In fact, I can’t count the number of times I have been conversing on this very subject and someone says something along the lines of “Well, you don’t hear of too many unmedicated births in hospitals, and I would never have a home birth, so I guess “natural” childbirth isn’t for me.”  In some ways, I have to agree with them, in spite of myself.  Let me give a little background… with my first son, I had planned to have an unmedicated birth, but complications arose and plans changed.  I had a very difficult and painful recovery and felt sad for quite a while about how things went.  With my second son, I knew I wanted to try for an unmedicated birth again, but I knew how easily things could change.  I prepared myself as best as I could, hoped for the best, and felt blessed to be able to deliver a nine pound boy (I’m just over 5 feet) without an epidural.  There was a huge- positive- difference in my recovery afterwards, and although it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, I felt strongly that doing it that way gave amazing benefits to both me and my baby (My doctor agreed, but that’s another post).  I was pretty convinced that this was the best way for me personally to birth my children, but I also knew from my four months as a nurse working on a labor and delivery floor (it was my nursing residency, right before I graduated) that things pretty much have to go perfectly for a mother to be allowed to deliver without many interventions pushed on them (that’s also another post entirely…).  I considered home birth, but felt unsure about it given some of the complications my babies and I had experienced.

Maybe those of you who are mamas or anticipate having children someday
have been in a similar boat- having the seemingly impossible goal of an unmedicated childbirth- in the hospital.

Enter Jennifer Yarbrough and her new eBook: Unbound Birth: How to Have a Natural Birth in the Hospital. This is an awesome resource for expectant moms, first time or sixth time, who would love some support in achieving that now-not-so-impossible goal of natural childbirth in the hospital!  I was able to review Unbound Birth, and I was happy to discover valuable pregnancy and childbirth information in an easy-to-read format- as if I were just listening to another mom talk.  Jennifer (who also happens to contribute to the crafty blogosphere over at The Southern Institute) shares her own natural birth stories, and she details information that is really good on a variety of subjects, including childbirth education, using a doula, tips on relaxation and pain relief during labor, and how to help your baby stay in the optimal position for birth (anyone who has had a breech or posterior baby knows how difficult and sometimes impossible it is to go through labor normally).  Jenny also covers creating your own birth plan, and gives tips for good prenatal nutrition and exercise.  Unbound Birth is all about empowering you to be able to have the experience you want, and it is packed with great information to know if you want to give yourself the best chance possible to birth naturally in the hospital!

In case you’re wondering, the eBook is about 60 pages (it is a quick read) and it costs under $5- not bad!  If you’re thinking of buying it, it is available as of today, and you can get your own copy by clicking here.  (Also check out the Unbound Birth website or follow Unbound birth on Facebook and Twitter.)

I learned long ago that everyone has the right to choose what kind of experience they want while giving birth- and there is no right or wrong way to do it as long as everyone ends up healthy.  If you decide that unmedicated childbirth is right for you, and you have concerns, then I suggest checking this book out, and best of luck to you!

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this eBook in return for reading it and posting my review; however the opinions expressed here are my honest feelings and reactions to the eBook.

Car Seat Protector Pads

A while back I posted about some projects I was finishing up, and one of them was this car seat protector pad.  It really has been one of the most useful things I have made recently.  I made it because I was potty training my son, but believe me, I wish I had made it long before.

Let me tell you a story.  This is not for the faint of heart (or stomach).  One day when I was pregnant with my second child, we were driving Marissa and her husband Richard up to the airport.  I was sitting in the back seat- in the middle, next to my one year old in his car seat.  That alone was uncomfortable.  When we got to the airport, we found out that not only was their flight cancelled, but my son was… really sick to his stomach.  I’ll spare you the really nasty details and only share the fairly nasty ones.  I’m considerate like that.  😛  His car seat was a mess, and after dumping it, we really had no way of cleaning it.  He had to sit, practically naked at that point, in a nasty car seat all the way home.  Remember who was sitting next to him?  That was 5 months pregnant me.  Enough said.  Once we got home, we had to figure out a way of getting the car seat clean.  This seems crazy to me now, but I think the tag on the car seat cover said you couldn’t machine wash it.  What?!  Or at least I was convinced of that.  So guess who ended up washing that dang seat cover in the bathtub?  My husband, of course. 😉  I helped.  Most of the mess was right in the bottom of the seat.

This whole nasty scenario could have been largely avoided if we had been using a removable pad.  That said, you never know where kids are going to be… um… aiming… when they get sick, but this is a pretty good start.  In fact, that same son tossed his cookies in the car last week, and I was able to keep his seat cookie-free, thank goodness.  This pad has also kept his seat easy-cheese and chocolate- free on a road trip, and kept it dry when he fell asleep and we forgot to put a pullup on him first.  I know some of you have been in that same boat!

Ok, I promise I’m getting to a point here.  Last time I posted about this, some of you asked for a pattern for such a pad, but I just kind of “winged it” (“wung it”?) when I made it and didn’t have dimensions or directions.  This week I made another one for my youngest son’s car seat, and  partway into it, I realized I should pay attention to what I was doing so I could share it here.  You’ll have to forgive the lack of pictures on the first few steps until I made that realization.

My sons both have the same-ish car seat- I believe it is the Alpha Omega Elite.  I think this tutorial will work for most similar car seats, but you can definitely tweak it to meet your needs.  It will at least be a starting place.

Car Seat Protector Pad {Tutorial}

Materials Needed:
Cotton flannel for the top layer, or any other absorbent material you choose (all fabric should be prewashed)
Rubberized flannel, PUL, or other waterproof material for the bottom layer
Batting or high quality fleece for the middle layer
Serger or sewing machine
2 small pieces of velcro (optional)
Thread

Cut one rectangle about 18″x 20″ from all three pieces of fabric. (These dimensions can be easily altered based on your car seat.  These are the dimensions I used, but you can make it square if you want- customize it for the perfect fit!)

If you have a serger, layer the fabrics with the batting in the middle, and the flannel and PUL on either side, right sides facing out.  Serge around the whole thing, rounding out the front two corners.  Cut straight slits (these are for the car seat straps to go through) that are 4 1/2″ long, 5″ from the back (the longer side).  Serge those edges too.

If you are using a sewing machine, you’ll have to do this a little differently.  Layer the fabric with the flannel and the PUL right sides together, and the batting on top.  Pin it all together, and cut each of the slits the same as described above, 4 1/2″ long and 5″ from the back.  Now sew all around the whole thing, leaving an opening on the back edge about 6″ wide to turn the whole thing right side out.  Round out the front two corners to make it look nicer.  Clip corners, and turn it all right side out, and topstitch the back side.

Now you should have something that looks, more or less, like this:

In order to contour the pad to the car seat’s shape, we need to add two darts.  Make a small mark 3″ from the edge, and another 7″ from the edge.  Repeat this on the other side.

Fold the flaps in, matching up the little marks you just made.  Pin in place.  Draw a straight line from the mark at the top to the edge of the fold.

Sew along the lines you just drew.  If you want, serge along the lines to reinforce and remove excess fabric.

So far so good!

To make the buckle opening, draw a line which is 2 1/2″- 3 1/4″ wide depending on the size of your car seat buckle.  This line should be positioned in the center, 9″ from the back.  Now, depending on your car seat, you might just want to ignore my measurements and lay the pad down on top of it, and mark where the buckle actually is to get a custom fit.

Use the buttonhole setting on your sewing machine to go over the line, then open it up with your seam ripper.

Check to make sure the buckle fits through the slit; if not, just make the slit longer by adding length to the buttonhole on each side, again with your buttonhole setting and seam ripper.

You can be done now if you want, or you can add velcro which will help keep the pad in place.  You don’t need much- just two small square-ish pairs.

Sew the pieces of velcro on the corners as shown.  The lower corners should be the loop velcro (soft), with the velcro on the top of the fabric.  The top (angled) corners have the hook (rough) velcro, with the velcro on the underside of the fabric.

Here’s another view of what the velcro should look like once sewn on:

Slap those pads on the car seat, stick the velcro together around the straps, pull the buckle up through the slit, and you’re in business!

Here’s crossing my fingers that we can just avoid any more cookie tossing in the car from here on out! (But now you’re prepared, just in case!)

Any crazy car- mess stories out there?!