Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Version of the Cloth Diaper Burp Cloth...and Puppies!

I recently rediscovered the joy of sewing.  My Mom handed down an older White machine that has served me well through my new hobby.  So well that I decided to take on the challenge of making some burp cloths for the the little one.  Every where I have read says that old fashioned cloth diapers make the best burp cloths due to their absorbent nature.  So, when I ran across a package of 11 Gerber cloth diapers  at TJ Maxx marked down to $6, I said, heck ya!  The package was marked as having 12, but the one missing must have accounted for the clearance price.  When I got them home, I realized they weren't the six-ply ones that most people used.  They are called Flatfold Premium Cloth Diapers.  

Photo Courtesy of
In a way, I was kind of excited because I could customize the size of cloth I made.  However, most of the tutorials online were for the birdseye or six-ply type, so I knew I'd have to figure this one out for myself!

Once they were all washed and dried and ironed, I decided folding them into even thirds was the best way to go.  It layered them up so they would be thicker, but it also made them about as wide as my shoulder and long enough to cover to my chest and the middle of my back.  Hopefully enough puke and drool coverage.  

I then ironed them into the thirds to help hold their form while sewing.  They ended up being nine inches wide.  I think the flannel-backed ones are super cute and a way to add some fun to something normally, um, drab and practical.  Plus, it adds another layer to the thickness.  I hit up Joanne's where they were having a half off sale and got a third of a yard of ten different flannels.  At nine inches wide, I could have just gotten by with a fourth of a yard, but I wanted some wiggle room, just in case.  

Next step was to line them up on the flannel:

You'll see I left myself some width on each of the sides (in the picture above I haven't cut from the main piece yet).  I left about 3/4" on each side.  I was left with a little less than half of the flannel for a future project.  I placed the flannel face up and considered the middle of the diaper the "front" and put that face down.  In the picture of the folded diaper above, if you start at the top and label the parts A, B, and C, B would be my "front".  Hope that makes sense.  

I got to going too fast and neglected to take pictures, so hopefully this will all make sense.  I then pinned and then sewed around the perimeter, careful to grab all the layers of the diaper to avoid bunching in future washings.  Make sure you leave an opening to turn them right side out.  Once done, flipped the cloth over so the flannel side was up and clipped the corners diagonally and trimmed the extra.  It will make it easier if you leave a little "tail" where the open part is, since you'll need to stitch that down in the next step.

Ok, so now you're ready to flip it right side out.  I used a seam ripper cover to push the corners out, but you could use a chopstick or something long like that. Then, go back to your ironing board and press everything down nice and even and flat.  On the section that has the open part, tuck in and press down so its nice an even, hopefully hiding that it's even there.  

For the next step, I used a guide that screws into the plate on the sewing machine that helps you keep a straight seam.  I straight stitched around the perimeter, making sure to catch the open part.  Then, for added security against bunching, I stitched two straight lines down the middle of the entire thing.  You should be able to see them in the picture below.  

And that's it!  I went ahead and laundered them all again since I had man handled them so much and I wanted them to be as clean as possible for the little one.  I have to say, they are thicker than what I initially anticipated, and I really like each of them.  I have no experience with burping a baby, but I am thinking these will work nicely.  Want to see all ten?  I didn't use any theme with these; I just grabbed whatever flannel I liked best and went with it.  I could divide them up into three categories though:

Mature and Sophisticated

Cute Birdies

And, of course, nursery prints

The pink and yellow one in the bottom picture was my steal of the day.  Total, that one cost me 88 cents to make, as I got exactly a third of a yard as a remnant and remnants were 70% off.  The rest of them cost $1.67 approximately to make, since the fabric was on sale and I got such a great deal on the diapers.  I also ended up with a nice scrap stockpile of all these fun flannel prints.  Each one took me probably 15 minutes or so to make, so a pretty quick, easy, and cheap project!  

Now, I hate to do this, but since I haven't found another tutorial online like this, I ask that if you are going to make these, please do not do so for a profit.  If you plan to blog about your experience making these cloths, please link back to this post.  In the blogging community, it's only the right and fair thing to do!   Thank you, and I trust you understand!  

Onto funner things...this is where my first babies have been most of the day, if they weren't chasing the warm sun rays...

Man, I love my fur-kids.  Just a lazy Sunday afternoon in the Freeman household!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Quilt Progress

My Mom just shared a progress picture of the peanut's quilt, and I thought you might like a sneak peak...

It's a cell phone picture, but it gives you an idea of what we will have.  I have to say, I am a bit surprised that there aren't more colors in it.  Mom was surprised too when she unrolled the jelly roll to start working on it.  The preview pictures we had of it showed so many more colors.  But, I do like it, and I think it will go really well with the theme we are working with.  It's soft and feminine and vintage.  I can't wait to see it all done and in the room.

One more project in progress, only what feels like a million more to go...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

How I Almost Pulled My Hair Out Refinishing a Dresser

And that title is no exaggeration.  Ask Andy, my brother, my mom, the guy at Home Depot.  This dresser was not easy.  But I am so glad I hung on and kept working at it.  I just love the finished result, so it was worth all the headache.  Sometimes, I go in the nursery just to look at it.  I'm not the only one that does that, right?

Ok, so I will give you the skinny on what I learned by refinishing this dresser.  I am by no means an expert, but I can offer a few pointers.

1. Use Oil Based Primer.  I cannot stress this enough when you are dealing with a piece of furniture that has an old stain on it, especially when you suspect that the stain was oil based.  Here's the mistake I made...I used water based primer, which in the past has been great.  After the primer coat, I noticed a bit of seepage.  I though, eh, the paint will cover it.  Wrong.  So, so, so wrong.  I put four coats of paint on, only to find out that the stain was still seeping through.  Instead of a nice, pale, champagne pink, I was getting a reddish baby pink.  I have nothing against baby pink...just not what I was going for.  I didn't take a picture because I was so incredibly frustrated I couldn't see straight.

2. Oil Based Primer can go over water based paint.  I was shocked!  But the guy at Home Depot mentioned that after I said I would have to sand everything down.  I was skeptical, but he was right!  I did sand down the top a bit just to pull back a few of the layers, but there was still plenty on there.  And to my amazement, there was no bubbling, and she is still going strong!  As you might guess, I was highly relieved to not have to sand that bad boy down again.

3. Sand between coats.  Because the primer, paint, and poly will pull the grain of the wood up, its important to sand well with high grit paper between coats to get it back to smooth.  I was going for an ultra smooth feel, so I used 220 and 310 grit paper between coats.

However, do not make the same mistake I made on one of the drawers.  After applying the primer, I found the grain was pulling up more than the high grit could take back down.  I used some 180 grit (not the mistake) but it took off some of the primer.  Silly me, I thought it was so little that the paint would still cover it.  That was the mistake.  After the poly was on and I was attaching the knobs, I noticed a bit of the old stain coming through.  At that point though, I was so over it I couldn't even fathom sanding that drawer down again.  And, to be honest, a person would have to be looking for it in just the right light to find it.  I am just that picky and Type A to see it.  But I am living with it, and haven't lost it yet.

One last point, something I already knew, but its worth mentioning.  Several light coats are so much better than a couple heavy coats.  Trust me, you will like the results much better.

Now, onto the materials I used.  For the priming stage, I settled on Kilz Oil Based Original primer.  It was applied it with a foam brush and a foam roller.  I didn't want to clean good brushes with mineral oil, so I used ones that could be tossed.  For the paint, I used two test pots of Dutch Boy Composed Bloom.  I could have gotten away with one test pot had it not been for the nightmare in Point #1 above.  For the poly, we used Minwax Polycrylic.  It has a way of not yellowing over time.  I have used it in the past on other pieces, and that statement holds true, even a couple years down the road.

Now, if I could just work up the energy to start working on that rocker....

Monday, January 9, 2012

The One is Done!

I'll be back with the play-by-play, but the dresser is D-O-N-E!  This turned out to be more of a challenge than I ever imagined, but man, I am thrilled with how it turned out.

If you remember, this is what we started with...

Here's a progress shot...

And here she is, two coats of primer, four coats of paint, three coats of poly, and eight new knobs later...

And, we might have picked up a new friend along the way.  His name is Spot, is incredibly cuddly and soft, was $4 at Tuesday Morning, and I could not imagine leaving the store without him.  He lives on the dresser, waiting for a special little girl to play with him someday.

Like I said, I'll be back with all the deets, my tips, and what-not-to-do's soon!