Lua Sleep Sack

We had to stop swaddling cold turkey earlier than many sites predicted because our little overachiever taught herself how to roll early. We had a few hand-me-down sleep sacks to get us started, but the more I looked at the construction the more it felt like a missed opportunity to make something. Funny how quickly your brain takes you there once you start crafting. Surely I can make this and surely someone has thought about how to improve the store-bought design.

Dark blue sleep sack with forest animals riding in hot air balloons printed across it.

Enter the Lua Sleep Sack. Originally written to be a wearable quilt, the buttoned straps and side zipper (which as a bonus also means you’re not slicing a beautiful design in half) make it so easy to get little ones in and out of. Plus, it was so easy to use knit fabric instead of woven so that the sleep sack wasn’t as heavy. Combine that with the fact that I made two in less than an hour, it’s hard not to start buying fabric simply to crank them out.

Faux patch quilt sleep sack.

I have a third sleep sack in the works using a gauzy hand-me-down swaddle blanket. With any luck, the mod I used to make the knit sleep sacks (only the upper area is lined) will work for the gauze fabric and we’ll have a light/airy sleep sack to throw her in. If nothing else, it’s more invisible zipper practice.

Real talk: I don’t have a lot of time to sit down at my sewing machine these days and I don’t have the headspace for a lot of complications in my crafting. This isn’t to say that I don’t like to challenge myself, it’s more so that whatever I’m working on needs to be a project that I can pick up, work on for 3 minutes and then put down again. Generally speaking, knitting fits the bill because there isn’t a lot of setup time. Sewing projects tend to sit cut out on my craft table because so much prep work goes into getting ready to sew. The Lua Sleep Sack is the perfect project if you find yourself in this situation and wanting to sew for a little one. I cannot recommend it enough.

Tiger Sewing: Matching Outfits

Yellow, orange and blue spotted tiger stripped dress.

Unlike yarn, I have yet to become immune to fabric fumes and can still spend hours looking at different patterns. On the one hand, I still tend to buy fabric when I have a project in mind, on the other hand, it’s still very easy for me to want all the fabric and to impulsively buy some. Several months ago, I opted to make our daughter four cribsheets when Joann Fabrics was having a sale on nursery fabric. If I’m being honest, I actually purchased enough fabric to make five, but “accidentally” purchased a non-flannel fabric that I didn’t end up using. This means that I’ve had vibrant multi-colored tiger print cotton staring at me, waiting patiently to be transformed into something.

Then I found out my sister was pregnant with her second and everything snapped into place, that is after all why one stashes right? I knew I wanted to reuse an overall and dress pattern I put together recently, so I printed out the PDFs, cut out my desired sizes, and got to work! Since there was a little bit of fabric leftover, I threw together two scrunchies as well. I’m not sure if they’ll be used, but it was surprisingly easy to throw them together.

Yellow, orange and blue spotted tiger stripped overalls and two scrunchies.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself it’s that I start to lose interest in a project when the project requires a higher level of focus. In other words, when the end is in sight and all the final steps are small detail items. This used to happen with knitting projects, so I can only hope that as I become a better sewist I’ll dread the final steps less and less.

Some Ponyo Love

A pinafore dress patterned with Ponyo running on top of giant waves laying next to a pair of matching baby bloomers.

When we first found out we were pregnant, I enthusiastically purchased 3 yards of gender-neutral patterns from Spoonflower. A yard of firefighter fabric in their organic cotton knit, a yard of kiwi bird fabric in their organic sweet pea gauze and a yard of Ponyo Fabric in petal signature cotton. Then, I enthusiastically set off to find gender-neutral patterns to work each of the fabrics up in.

For the firefighter fabric, I made a pair of easy-knit overalls. The kiwi bird fabric became a bubble romper. Ponyo, however, sat staring at me for months because I couldn’t find a gender-neutral pattern that fit what I wanted to make with it. There isn’t a good reason as to why, but for some reason, all I wanted to do was make a Flutter Pinafore Dress out of the material. Honestly, it wasn’t even that the dress had ruffles (especially when you consider that I didn’t even add ruffles!). Something about the fabric just screamed to me that it wanted to be a dress and not overalls or a romper.

So I sat on it, occasionally taking the adorable fabric out from time to time to see if I could find a pattern that excited me as much as the Flutter Pinafore Dress. Trying to decide if I should cut my losses and make the dress for a friend or if I should compromise and convert the dress into a romper. In the end, I spent a lot of time knitting and sewing other things. Allowing my mind to forget about Ponyo until about a week ago when I started to have enough energy to start thinking about being creative.

The back view of a pinafore dress patterned with Ponyo running on top of giant waves laying next to a pair of matching baby bloomers.

I would be lying if I said that the Flutter Pinafore Dress was not enthusiastically printed and taped together. Due to looking for alternative patterns for so long, the Ponyo fabric was going to become this little dress no matter what, it was just a matter of who was I going to make it for (and I was sort of hoping to keep this one).

Monica Bacon is a fantastic pattern writer for beginners because each step shows an image of what you’re meant to do. In true Paige fashion, I hated gathering the skirt but am happy with how it came out. The only thing I would do differently would be the addition of the elastic on the back of the dress. For starters, using 1/4 in was too small to synch the back completely (but I had so much of it leftover from making crib sheets that I couldn’t help but commit). The other thing I would do differently would be to thread the elastic through the back instead of attaching it before sewing around the waist (which is what the pattern called for). In my mind, I would have less sewing to do and less ends to clip, but in the end, attaching the elastic early lead to a finicky five minutes. I also added a decorative star stitch to the bottom of the skirt, which would have looked even cuter if I had considered the color of starfish instead of using white thread (but hey it’s still cute!).

I love this little dress and wish I had the skill set required to convert it into adult size.

Ballerina Crossover Pinafore

A size 6 month pinafore dress with a repeating ballerina pattern laying next to a pair of matching baby bloomers.

A few times a year, not specifically in honor of the new year, I sit down with my fiber and fabric stashes and look through them. Am I still inspired by the materials in each stash? Do I still see myself working with them? Fabric and yarn are meant to be used and enjoyed, if I am no longer the person doing those things I like to think that I’m releasing them to find the person who will. While going through my fabric stash this time around, I stumbled on the half a yardish of fabric that I used to make my first Cleo Skirt.

Honestly, I forgot about this fabric and how much I enjoyed working with it the first time (which is why I like to sit with my stash from time to time). Occasionally, I rediscover leftover fabric (or yarn) and let it go because I don’t see myself making something out of it a second time. Sometimes because I didn’t enjoy working with the material the first time, others because I’m happy having made the one thing. Even knowing that the fabric can get a little wrinkly when worn, I instantly knew it needed to be a crossover pinafore. The frog one I made a few weeks ago came out super cute and I can’t help but smile at the idea my own little girl with little ballerinas on her. Combine that with by the time she’s 6-12 months the weather will be warmer and I couldn’t cut the fabric fast enough.

Back view of a size 6 month pinafore dress with a repeating ballerina pattern laying next to a pair of matching baby bloomers.

My straps came out better than the first time I made this pattern, but honestly, they’re still not perfect. As with the first one (we didn’t know we were having a girl, so I’m thrilled that she’ll be rocking the little frogs instead of it going straight to a friend), I used some leftover black fabric to make the linning and had just enough fabric left over to squeeze out a pair of bloomers.

Strap skills aside, this is still a pattern I can see myself reaching for time and time again. The fabric requirements are low and the total time from start to finish is so fast! Even if our little one doesn’t end up wearing a pinafore every day this summer, it’s definitely become a staple baby shower gift.

Firefighter Knit Overalls

A while ago now, I stumbled across a firefighter-inspired print on Spoonflower and purchased a yard of it in their organic cotton knit. The theory behind this purchase was twofold: it’s a super cute pattern to make something for a baby and it would give me the chance to work with their organic cotton knit without committing to an adult size project.

Sewing with this fabric is like sewing with butter. Seriously, there were parts of this project that were 4-5 layers thick and my machine didn’t even skip a beat. Plus, it’s softer than I was expecting and one can’t help but imagine a pair of pajamas or an everyday dress being made with a different print.

In terms of choosing a pattern for the fabric, I knew that I wanted something on the gender-neutral side. As much as I love the Germanium Pattern as a dress workhorse, even using the sunsuit hack limits the sewist to a more feminine garment. Not that baby cares! Let’s be honest, baby will wear anything that you dress them in at this stage of the game. It’s really the parents that you’re sewing for at this stage of the game and, even though my husband and I are the parents for this one, I really wanted to add another workhorse pattern to my arsenal.

I don’t remember how exactly I stumbled upon OhMeOhMySewing Patterns, perhaps a Pinterest search for baby sewing patterns put them on my radar? While they have many patterns that have quickly earned an “ohh I want to make that someday”, I knew I found the pattern I was looking for when I saw their Knit Overalls Pattern. Cute little pocket on the front, the ability to choose between snap or button closures… it was perfect for filling the hole in my pattern collection. I also love that it goes up to a size 5 years!

Initially, I meant to sew the 9-12 month version in pants because it’s going to be chilly by the time our little one can wear that size, but I wasn’t paying attention when selecting pattern pieces to cut out and ended up cutting out the front and back pieces for the shorts instead of the pants. Completely my fault and not a reflection of the pattern.

All in all, these little overalls came together super quickly and I’m thrilled with the final result. I may modify the bottom closure next time in order to incorporate snaps for easier diaper changes, but otherwise, the only change to the pattern I made this time around was to add topstitching to the top edging in order to help the lining stay in place after washing.

Having sewn the pattern using a knit fabric, I’m confident that the shorts version of this pattern could also be used when working with woven fabric (and you could probably lengthen the legs to turn them into a pants version). That being said, if you’re someone who works more with wovens than knits, OhMeOhMy also has a Woven Overall Pattern.

In case you were wondering, I’m already jonesing to make this one again. Perhaps another shorts version for my niece’s upcoming birthday?

Toddler sized overalls with yellow buttons and a firefighter pattern printed on them that includes hoses, fire extinguishers, hats, boots, axes and fire hydrants.