Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Pants, bib and sling

I recently made three of the projects in Growing Up Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. 

I started with the Bubble Pants, which were not the easiest pattern to follow for my skill level! I struggled a bit with attaching the middle bit to the legs and managed in the end. They look a bit strange seen flat like that with no baby wearing them but I think they will be good for when my baby wears bulky washable nappies. There will still be plenty of room for his bottom to wriggle around! The elasticated ankles are also a practical feature of these trousers as babies don't get their feet caught in the fabric and can play with them (suck them?) easily. Lastly, they are reversible! Which will give me double options when dressing him. In conclusion I would say that these seem like the most practical baby trousers I have seen so far.

I also made the All-By-Myself Bib from the book. I used jersey cotton for the main fabric and woven cotton for the bias and appliqués although the pattern called for rib knit (which I didn't have). It was rather easy to put together. Because I added appliqués to the original pattern I lined each half of the bib so the stitching wouldn't show on the other side. It was fun to draw the appliqués - I drew the star and my partner, Chris, drew the rocket - a real team effort! The envelope neck means that there is no fastening to this bib, no itchy velcro on the back of the neck or unpractical poppers. You just slip it on and off! If you hadn't already noticed, the bib is reversible, so if it gets dirty on one side, you can just turn it around, no need even to take it off, just turn it around the baby's neck. On the absorbency level, I am not sure how well it performs. Even my double layer of fabric does not feel very thick and I am not convinced that liquids wouldn't just go right through. I won't be able to test it on my baby though as this is not for him but for his cousin!

Lastly, I made the Ring Sling. I used normal weight cotton for it and it is very good like this. This pattern is really easy, all you do is cut out a large rectangle, hem up all four sides, pleat one of the short ends, slip it through two rings, and sew it on! The thing that took me the longest (one long day...)was to wait for the rings I had ordered to arrive. I ordered them on an Ebay boutique, Herbalbaybee, which seems to be the only place in the UK for baby sling rings. They have them in a variety of colours and two sizes and these are rings especially made for slings so they are extra strong.

I tried the cradle carry and the hip carry with the sling. Whenever I saw ring slings before it looked to me as if it was unsafe but actually trying this on feels very secure (even though it wasn't a real baby, I had to pull quite hard on the fabric to release it from the rings). It is easy to adjust the pouch to the baby's size and position by just pulling on the tail hanging from the rings. Depending on which side of it you pull, you can tighten the bottom of the pouch or the top. And if you want to breastfeed, you can leave the baby in the sling and just adjust the pouch (or support the baby if you are sitting down) to bring baby to the breast. The tail can even be used as a nursing shield if needed. 

When the baby is bigger they can sit up on your hip while supported by the fabric of the sling. The legs of the baby are not supposed to be dangling like they are on my photo, I just couldn't put the teddy right! The baby clings onto you as well with their legs. I saw other ways of carrying a baby in a sling, and I was told by a woman that she still uses her sling to carry her 3-year-old on her back. I am rather impressed by the cleverness of such a simple piece of fabric pulled through two rings!

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