no seriously, baby MANIA.  in fact, the whole last month or two has felt a little manic in the way i approach my craft projects.  yet, i can’t stop.  not yet.  for the past week plus, my mom has been visiting.  this is lovely for several reasons, not least of which she happens to relish in watching the little ones, freeing up unheard of amounts of time for me to………sew.  knit.  run.  go to the fabric store alone.  really, my mom’s visits are the only time i get a legitimate break from the rather daunting, albeit wonderful, life of stay at home parenting.  how glorious.
as usual, she came with goodies to pass out to us all.  seeing as she’d made some space in her suitcase, and my sister’s baby shower is coming up at the end of the month back in michigan, she suggested that i send any gifts along with her to save on shipping.  for some reason, this very reasonable suggestion sounded to me, in fact, more like this:  you have 9 days to make as many gifts as possible for two infants (yes, there are two of them) because at the end of those nine days, all postal shipping options will cease to exist and you will not be permitted to complete any future projects before thanksgiving.  see?  mania.

indeed, mania ensued.  except it didn’t feel like mania, because somebody else was taking care of my kids!  it was more like a nice week to spend a good amount of time each day making baby clothes (fun), and also hang out with my kids, and go see the first movie i’ve seen in a theater in three years, among other things.

sewing for babies, so fast, so easy.  i started with a few pairs of reversible pants using the method outlined in anna maria horner’s book, handmade beginnings.  reversible pants are perfect for babies, because when one side inevitably gets dirty, you just turn them around.  of course, making quick appliqued onesies to match felt necessary.  i used heat and bond extra strength, which apparently requires no seaming.  even faster.

months ago, that was going to be my shower gift.  i had ordered that fabric specifically for that project.  i could have stopped there.  but actually, i couldn’t.  seeing how much reese has been enjoying the “jeans” i made him during kcwc, i thought a pair for each tot would be a nice addition to their wardrobe, and i had plenty of fabric left over.  it’s kind of difficult to find denim pants, great because they match everything, without zippers and buttons, or they are made with really stiff fabric.  for a three month old?  really?  uncomfortable for baby, too much effort for parents.  so, soft denim pants free of hard metal bits.  done.

but of course, the cuffs need to be lined, to give the option of a little color.  since the pants are not fully lined, i wasn’t sure the best way to line just the cuffs.  in fact, i didn’t plan for the seams whatsoever.  these projects kept evolving and becoming more complicated as i spiraled deeper into my frenzy–no time for forethought.  i ended up with pinked seams pressed to one side and reinforced with a few stitches to hold them in place.  i don’t love the unfinished seam, but i think had i done french seams, it would have been too bulky in the waistband.  it doesn’t look terrible by any means (only raw at the inseam), and the seams won’t show unless the cuffs are rolled.

lest we begin to think this is a sewing blog, i devoted some time to knitting as well.  i set out to make sweater sets small enough for them to wear home from the hospital and the first few weeks of life in the dead of chicago winter, but the yarn i used was quite light weight, so i made them a little larger (still, they are tiny enough for a newborn, just not a premie) so they will last longer and can be layered.  i used a really soft acrylic yarn, the softest i have ever found, called “cuddle.”  i have only seen it at joann fabric, so i think it might be their own brand. limited color selection as well, but it did the job.  these are another version of my “make your own raglan,” one with a seed stitch yolk, one garter stitch.  somehow i did not mess up the side of the button closures…who knew boys and girls close buttons on opposite sides?!

and, i couldn’t resist cranking out a couple of quick milos, a favorite and endlessly customizable knitting pattern that i make for virtually every baby i find deserving of a gift.  the newborn size knits up in a day, easily.  i made the green one riding to and from berkeley, maybe two hours in the car.  i used vanna white’s lion brand yarn.  yes, vanna white has her face on yarn.  how does one go from gameshow hostess (if you can call her that) to yarn?  fascinating.  anyhow, it comes in a lot of great colors and one ball will easily make a sweater for an infant.

but, i still had a few days left of creating before my large, totally fabricated deadline expired (this magical thinking and imposition of firm, irrational deadlines allowed me to develop outstanding time management skills in college and graduate school, mind you).  so, i started rifling through my fabric stash to make something a little fancy.  i am not one to dress my kids up for any occasion in anything i deem impractical, but i realize i might be outnumbered.  since i made them plenty of outfits to roll around in and soil in various baby ways, i next attacked my large cut of grey suiting.  suiting, i decided, is actually great for children because it’s soft, lightweight but sturdy, and very wrinkle resistant.

i’ve discussed my stigma against skirts, but they are slightly less irritating to me when the diaper constantly showing itself from underneath them is covered in something cute.  and coordinated.  as for the little boy, i didn’t want to line the pant cuffs with the floral print, but thought if i evened out the femininity of the print with a more masculine shape, it could work.  seeing as i’d already used my dinosaur idea, i went for a whale.  those are my only two masculine appliqué ideas.  why are boys so difficult?!

i had two onesies left over from the package, so as my mom was packing the car for the airport, i was ironing on just a few more scraps of fabric for good measure.  an acorn and a squirrel, if you can’t make out the picture.

so, i think i successfully filled the void in my mom’s suitcase and made a large dent in the developing wardrobe of these new babies.  more than once i have imagined just how much i might have accomplished if they were both girls!  but, it’s good for me to continue exercising the boy side of my creative brain.

anyhow, with back to back kcwc, halloween, and baby mania, it’s actually nice to slow down for a bit before the holidays and regroup.  i actually cleaned my filthy craft room yesterday, did some brainstorming and sketching, and some relaxed sewing on a project i cut several weeks ago and set aside.  my plan is to work on a few projects for my own kids (i always feel a little guilty making so much for other peoples’ and continuing to dress mine in year-old beat up clothes from carters) and some projects for the house that have been on my list for a few months.  and, it’s definitely not to early to start the holiday planning–in addition to gifts, we’re hosting christmas this year, so we have to majorly festivize!  it will be fun.  and probably manic.

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