Cheryl Torres loves to sew for babies but especially for the ones who live on Pine Ridge Reservation. One of her specialty items is the sleepsack which is one of the items we are highlighting this week. Cheryl donates often to other groups but her donations again benefit -you got it – those lucky babies! I asked Cheryl to share some information about herself and her sacks etc so read on.
“After 10 years of flying out to see Jer (my daughter)and my grandkids on the East Coast, my new husband and I moved to Plainfield, Vermont three years ago. I bought a new sewing machine last year and have been going crazy every since. I have always wanted to learn to really sew. I had an old, old Singer that my Grandma gave me years ago but some creep stole it! I only did mending. Getting this new machine is so awesome.
I originally started making the sleepsacks with the help of Jer – the patterns came from The Preemie Project. I put the zippers in, upside down using a separating zipper. Jer made them bigger for me. My little mitts are also from a project that is long gone too. I took the original pattern to Staples and enlarged it. Hence, two sizes. Hats, I just use a pattern that works.
When I first started making these I only made the sleepsacks, then a hat, then mitts and before I knew it I had a set. When I make blankets, I go to the only fabric store we have-Joanne’s. I get a yard of the printed fleece. That allows me enough to make the sleepsack, a hat and a pair of mitts. The solid color I have them cut it 42”. Joanne’s personnel know me now and run when they see my cart full of fleece – they are so funny! They treat me like gold! My hubby works there now and we get an additional 15% off our merchandise!
I truly can not cut a straight line with a ruler – so my very talented daughter, Jer made a perfect 40” square on my cutting table. She used two strips of painters tape, which allowed this wonderful perfect strip to cut with. Now I can make blankees with a just a little bit more confidence.
I am going to try a new pattern from McCall’s #4236 . It has 4 different sizes of sleepsacks you can make with or without sleeves and the mittens are part of the pattern. I wait until Joanne’s has their patterns for 99 cents and go get all the sizes I need of the same pattern. I do copy a lot of my patterns to pattern ease, but it is all getting costly.
I so love making the sets for the babies at Pine Ridge. I call them “Going Home Warm Sets”. The hospital said their babies are usually 7 to 9 lbs and it stays cold through May. The need is so huge on the Rez, the fleece sets keep me focused. I’d make this and that before but felt like I wasn’t really making anything just spinning around in circles.
Out of these sets, I have scraps. I make extra hats, mittens and I cut up squares for additional blankees. With those irritating little scraps that you can not do anything with, I cut them up in little pieces and use them for stuffing.
After May – I will switch my fabric to cotton and flannel blankees. The sleepsacks, hats, and mitts will be made out of stretch cotton fabric. That will be new for me and I will let you know how it works out.
I want to say thank you to my daughter for without her help and push I would not be where I am today. My hubby (Jose) lets me sew for hours and never complains!”
Thanks Cheryl for sharing your talents with us. Not only have your sewing skills improved with all the practice acquired making baby sets but because of your focus more babies are warmer on the Rez and sleep safely. I am also impressed on how you waste nothing. How thrifty! Anyone with questions for Cheryl can comment on the blog and she certainly will respond.
Now tell me Cheryl. Any signs of Spring yet in Vermont ? What a winter you have had this year. Its no wonder that you know what to make to warm up the babies !