Will life ever slow down around this place? Every week I start out with big plans to get a lot of things done but something always seems to come up and back they go on the “to do ” list, blog included. I still make time to sew every day but usually don’t accomplish as much as I’d hoped. Many of our great volunteers have been sending boxes to the Rez full of clothing and other goodies for babies and children. Wouldn’t you love to see all the kids wearing their new outfits around town this summer? The summer clothing project has been an outstanding success, everyone pat yourself on the back, and June isn’t over yet!
Once I realized the clothing needs were being taken care of I decided to work on accessories. What a great way to use up some of my scraps, which you all know by now I have plenty of since nothing gets thrown out. I sent 7 diaper bags during bag month to Jerome and Theresa so decided to work on some things to help fill those bags.
First project was a changing pad, I’ve made several of these in the past and blogged about it here. They’re easy to make, washable, provide parents a clean place to lay their baby down and they roll up nicely for carrying in the diaper bag.
Next project, bibs. Most children start to resist wearing bibs when they become toddlers, at least my grandchildren did and we decided this was a battle we didn’t want to fight. If their friends had been wearing them or if they’d had their favorite superhero on them it would’ve been an easier “sell”. We have laundry facilities and enough detergent to wash dirty kids clothing here, although I don’t like to waste water as we’re having a drought here in CA. Sadly laundry facilities aren’t a reality for every family on the Rez and laundromats don’t exist. Hopefully parents will use bibs if provided which will lighten the laundry load.
I love cute kids bibs but since I didn’t have a lot of time to devote to the project or large pieces of kids prints, I could at least make them colorful using scraps. Below are a few of the bibs I made using a pattern from a store bought bib. As kids get older making an “art smock” type bib and using cartoon or other favorite characters is a good way to make them more appealing. And of course you can upcycle items you have like denim jeans , T shirts as here , here and here .
My next project was burp cloths, look at this page for some ideas. Using scraps from my stash I pieced the front together and added a backing of terry or flannel. Babies tend to spit up for about 6 months and instead of moms grabbing a blanket or piece of clothing, this offers another option. Check out this blog on burp cloths and bibs.
Receiving blankets were up next, great to use for those cool summer nights. Ideally babies under 12 months should only be using a cotton sleep sack over clothing to reduce the incidence of SIDS with the highest risk being in the first 6 months. But blankets are great to use when babies are being held or swaddled and are also serve as “security” blankets for many children. They should be at least 30 inches square using fleece, flannel, terry or other soft fabric, single thickness for warmer months and double for winter. I pieced the fronts of mine from scraps and added a flannel backing with some machine quilting to hold the layers together when washed. I find rounding the corners off to be easier sewing and like the appearance better. This is a quick project, cutting scraps into usable pieces takes the most time. I also used this pattern tutorial for a few of my receiving blankets. I’ve read new babies should have at least 6 receiving blankets in their layette as they’re constantly being soiled, doubt we’ll be making that quota for the Rez. Check out this blog on blankets.
I have plenty of terry cloth scraps left over from the 10 hooded towel sets I made a few months back and plan to make some washcloths just to use the scraps up. When I find a good sale on towels or locate some good used ones at the thrift shop my plan is to use “Steam A Seam” and do some appliques to dress them up a bit. New or gently used towels are always needed on the Rez, embellished or not, they just need to be in good condition if used. I also plan to knit some baby washcloths with Peaches and Cream cotton yarn, there are so many cute patterns on Ravelry for free and they take very little time and make cute gifts along with some hotel size soap. I made my son and his family some dishcloths from this yarn as a stocking stuffer 2 or 3 years ago and was surprised to find during my last visit they were still in good shape, although a little stained.
Baby sun hats is another project I made from my scrap bag, gosh you’d think I could see the bottom by now…. nope I can’t! Sunscreen can’t be used on young babies so hats are a great way to protect young skin from the damaging sun and help prevent skin cancer in later years.
For new mothers I made some nursing pads to protect clothing from those occasional leaks, as those of us who’ve breastfed a baby all know about. Here are a few more patterns you can choose from here and here. One of our volunteers, Beulah from WI, has sent lots of nursing pad sets with cases to the Rez and and the women love them. For mine I used 4 pieces of flannel per pad using this pattern. Generally I try to use a neutral color, at least on the outside of the pad but did not have any for this picture.They will still be used. Nurse Debbie has started a breastfeeding group to encourage women to breastfeed longer and to have a place where they can some together for mutual support and get their questions answered. Each mom on the Rez as in the rest of the USA gets a free electric nursing pump so that they can pump and leave the baby in the care of others while they attend school or go to a job. Also nutrition education is provided as a good milk supply depends on a good diet, not always easy but doable if they get WIC and food stamps or commodities and some recipes. WIC tries to educate clients at their monthly visits.
The last project I’ve been working on are quilts. I love to piece and really like the modern quilts that are all over the web, but I used what I had in my stash. I like to bind my quilts instead of doing the sew and turn method as for me it’s a relaxing process. Quilts can be backed with cotton, flannel or fleece in all sizes. These pictures show some completed quilts and others that need binding or assembling. To make a fast quilt try sandwiching together backing, batting and top, stitch around edge leaving an opening for turning, turn right side out, top stitch 1/4 inch from edge and tie every few inches or machine tack. Here’s a demo for the “quilt as you go” method. Making quilts is a great way to recycle old clothing such as jeans, corduroy pants, stained clothing, men’s shirts, etc. Here are some free quilt patterns to get you started.
All the projects I made are easily dried in the SD sun as none of them are very heavy and most are sized to be easily washed by hand with some soap in the bathtub, sink or pan. Will be adding a few baby spoons, cups and plates to my box for the baby project.
Let us know what you’re working on and send pictures if you have any. Will be discussing a few more items in the next blog featuring projects you can work on in your leisure time such as training pants, cloth diapers and underwear! Clothing and other items we send are given out to mom’s at the daycare center, at WIC when they pick up the monthly food supply and by nurse Debbie at her immunization clinics, home visits and in the breastfeeding group.
Please send all donations here. Thanks from Sew For Kids.