Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Elephant Skin Blanket

Elephant skin may not sound like the softest thing around, but when it's made from minkee, everything's different.

This is Cotton Ginny's Cuddle Blanket in the style "Pachyderm." The pattern I bought includes a bear and hippo version, if I should want to switch things out. She also offers patterns for lions, frogs, dogs, cats, zebras; practically the entire animal kingdom.

Stretched out on the rug
I first spied this pattern on the Sew Well blog. Amy has made a bunch of these cuddle blankets, each cuter than the last. When I discovered I was going to have a grandson, the first thing I thought of was making one of these darn blankets.

Little tail
The pattern calls for minkee. My internet exploring turned up a bunch of terrifying information about sewing with minkee. Stretching, creeping, fluff everywhere. I considered using flannel instead, which I bet would also be very cute, but then I noticed the mother-to-be nuzzling a minkee stuffed bear on a recent trip to LA. So minkee it had to be.

I went slow, used plenty of pins, lengthened my stitch to a 4.0 and it didn't give me much trouble after all. It's true, there was fluff everywhere. I tried not to breath deeply and I'll clean my machine out before I try to use it for anything else.

But once all the raw edges are safely sewed up to the inside, that minkee is so darn soft and soothing. Mmmm. I think it was worth the trouble.

Baby's eye view
This was my first time sewing up a stuffed animal-type object, so I stumbled through the directions a bit. I could have used a diagram showing exactly how the underside of the head was meant to come together. I was able to figure things out pretty well, though, by pinning and fiddling a bit with the pieces as I went. I'm not 100 percent sure my finished product would meet the designer's standards, but it's good enough for Grandma work.

Cotton Ginny had some computer issues in the midst of my order, which delayed shipping for a bit. She was super sweet and insisted that I pick a free pattern to make up for any lost sewing time. She also said she's always happy to answer questions from sewists if they find themselves confused about one of her patterns mid-project.

If you happened to be a besotted grandma and you have a source for minkee, I really recommend this pattern. I'm actually pretty tempted to grade the pattern up to 5 feet long to make one for myself.

My pattern review is on PatternReview.com here.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Yet More Baby Duds

I'm still on a baby sewing jag here in Surf City. I'm going to have to slow my roll, or my grandson-to-be will need extra closet space while he's still in utero. I'm just having so much fun that I can't stop.

The top of this little outfit is the Brindille and Twig Basic Tee done up in a cotton jersey in a print called Rocky Raccoon. Need a close-up of that? OK, here goes:

tee up close
Oh, you meant even closer?

Raccoons close up
Pretty cute, huh? I'm thinking my grandson will be the most hipster baby in So Cal.

The pattern was very easy and fun to sew. The only fiddly part was the neckband, but I always have to fiddle with knit neckbands. It was extra challenging in this case because everything is so tiny. For this version I did what I always do for my own neckbands: press the band wrong sides together, pin to the edge of the neck, sew that puppy down with a bit of stretch and then flip the seam to the inside and zig-zag in place. I've tracked down a couple tutorials on the web that promise a less bulky finish, which is important when you're head is almost as big as your shoulders. I'll give one of those techniques a go on my next tee, and hope that practice will make perfect. This pattern will take me all the way up to a size 6T, so it will allow for practice galore.

The pants are from the May, 2015 Burdastyle (trousers #137B). That issue has a bunch of very cute baby patterns sized for knits. You can download them from the Burdastyle site if you can't get your hands on the magazine.

BS 05-2015 #137
Don't they look like little MC Hammer pants? The style should give plenty of diaper room. There's a separate waist band and little cuffs. I used a knit cotton jacquard that's maybe a bit heavy for this pattern.

It's almost a sweatshirt weight, which made turning those cuffs inside a bit tough. I can't wait to go crazy on this one with some bright cotton prints. Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be slowing my roll....

My third item is another pair of pants, also done in the navy jacquard. These are from a Butterick See and Sew pattern, #6364.

BS 6 month vs. Butterick newborn size. WTF??
Here they are, compared to the Burdastyle trousers. The Butterick pants are the newborn size; the Burdastyle are the 6 month. I mean, I know the Big Four add lots of ease, but this is a bit ridiculous, no? These Butterick newborn pants have an 11 inch inseam. That's just not right, is it?

No real worries, the kid will grow into them eventually. The pattern also includes a bunting; I think I'll stay away from that. He for sure will not be needing a bunting when his inseam is 11 inches.

My pattern reviews for these items are on PatternReview.com thusly:

Brindille and Twig tee
Burdastyle pants
Butterick pants