Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another Ottobre 04-2011-13

I made another one of these blouses.

This one isn't near as nicely finished as the orange version I posted earlier. My serger, sewing machine, and the coverstitch machine all hated this fabric. It's a shame because it's quite pretty and I have a bit left. I'm not sure where it came from, but my best guess was that it was from a Hancock's in SA that went out of business. I also don't know how long this shirt will last as the serger and the coverstitch machine poked some holes in it and I had to try and try again to get either machine to finish any particular seam. Don't be too impressed, but I actually broke two of the needles in the coverstitch machine at the same time. I'm blaming the fabric as I wasn't tugging on the fabric other than to stretch out the seam for sewing. I sure hope the nerdlet likes this one as much as she seemed to like the orange one. Hopefully the next shirt I make, which is also an Ottobre pattern will actually fit the bear cub.

Nerdlet's Orange Shirt

I've been focused on long sleeve tops for the bear cub because I can't buy them and the hand-me-downs don't work since her arms are so short. However, I traced two shirts for her that turned out to be way too big and so the nerdlet is getting them. This is Ottobre 04/2011-13. The nerdlet couldn't stop dancing for me to take pictures.

I followed some great tips on my new Brother Coverstitch 2340CV at this sewing blog. It helped me immensely with getting my fabric free from the machine. I still had some issues but this is only the second item I tried and it was well after I normally go to bed.

Here are some close ups of the stitches. I didn't have four orange spools so I used a multicolor quilting thread I had for the looper thread.

One final note. I was so incredibly tempted to bind the collar and sleeves in this gorgeous purple knit I bought, but my mother talked me out of it.

Then, this morning, when I asked the nerdlet to pick out some pants, you'll notice what color she chose.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My New Coverstitch Machine

I read a sewing blog that convinced me to finally buy a coverstitch machine. I've wanted one for a long time but couldn't really justify the machine with how often I make myself knit items. Lately, however, with making so many sweaters and tops for the bear cub, I've been sewing a lot of knit items, and considering how many more years I have to sew for the girls and how many sleeves I'll have to shorten, it seems I could justify it. I'm thinking that I'll need to make or hem about 80 outfits to make it worth it and as I finished one and have five more in the works currently, it shouldn't take me long.

Here is the new machine.
Like Elizabeth's, it is a Brother Coverstitch 2340CV.

The first top that I decided to finish was originally made by my MIL. It was supposed to be a sleeping bag for the nerdlet as a newborn. The nerdlet, however, soon showed that she was unwilling to be swaddled or completely covered. The nurse in the hospital told me I wasn't doing it right and when she tried to swaddle her and the nerdlet screamed until she was let free, the nurse told me she was born spoiled. Anyway, it was never finished and I saw it in the giveaway pile at my MIL's and swiped it for a top for the bear cub.

Here is what the stitches look like when done. I used three different yellows that I had on hand and didn't really think about the order. Also, I just eyed the amount hemmed so the cut isn't nicely under the stitch as it would be in a more important outfit, but as I was just trying the machine out for the first time, I didn't bother measuring and ironing.

And here is the finished item.

What are my first impressions? One is that the cord is too short. I sew off the counter in the kitchen and I'll have to get an extension cord if I want to do this with this machine (at least until I have the girls potty trained and we stop using the playpen where it is, since the only outlet on the island is behind the playpen and Darth Baby has no sense and loves to pull on and chew cords). Also, because I sew at the counter I am standing up. This machine's pedal isn't sensitive enough for the position and I'll have to find a spot to sit down until I get good with it as I don't want to sew over my finger because I'm concentrating on the right foot pressure instead of the actual sewing. I'm also having a hard time getting the fabric out from under the machine after sewing. I think this might be that I just having figured out how to do it right yet though. The manual is extremely short and not very detailed so I'm going to spend some time on the internet googling the use of the machine and see if it helps.

The newborn outfit fits the bear cub fairly well as a t-shirt. I cut off about four inches from the bottom to turn it into a top and I hemmed the sleeves as closely as possible, and newborn sleeves apparently are three quarter sleeves on the bear cub. I do like this style for her though because like her sister, the nerdlet, her head is really big for her shoulders and most things that fit her this well are really difficult to get over her head.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ottobre 6/2011-3 Takes 2 and 3

The bear cub is in love with these lined sweaters.

The chevron fabric is one of the fabrics I bought at TexStyles. The owner has a cousin with Ds and mentioned that his cousin really doesn't like seams. I told him that I didn't think the bear cub has this issue but she likes these sweaters an awful lot and all of the seams are enclosed and not against the skin, so it is quite possible that even though she hasn't complained about them that she doesn't care for the feeling of them either.

The other sweater is from fabric I bought off the clearance table at Hancocks. It is quite thick and will be very warm for her. We only have a few days each year that merit a sweater like that, but I think that these sweaters should fit her next year also.

Here are the sweaters lined up.

The second chevron sweater is for my friend's daughter, who is also a princess with Down syndrome, and who is a day younger than the bear cub and almost exactly the same size.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I WILL have a bath

I went to visit my mom this weekend and while I was bringing in our stuff from the van, Darth Baby and the bear cub decided to have some fun.

There was luckily no water in there. All weekend, when anyone opened the bathroom door, they would hightail it in there to climb in as fast as they could.

My routine for potty training the bear cub usually entails afterward allowing her to play in the soapy water after I wash her hands for a while. Today, she convinced me that I shouldn't leave her alone to do this anymore.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


My sister let me know about a fabric store in Austin called AustinTexStyles. Since I am visiting my mom with the girls this weekend in Austin, I had to stop by.

This is what I came home with. $14.00 total for a yard of each of high quality sweater fabric. I'm a little reluctant to let you know that this is more than I normally spend for fabric as I'm quite cheap, but two yards of fabric will make the girls four sweaters (or more).

The store itself isn't impressive and the name of the store isn't on any signs outside, but the fabrics speak for themselves. They also have trim and other items. I only took a few pictures as I was leaving as an afterthought, but here they are.

If you are looking for high quality wearable fashion fabrics and you have the chance to drop by, I highly recommend it.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Waiting Office Rules

The bear cub has to have a couple of eye surgeries. The first one was done a week ago and was to open the tear ducts. Her pediatrician suggested this when she was very young because every morning I would have to use a damp cloth to wipe her eyes of all the crust on them so that she could actually open her eyes. I had asked if it was hurting her any or a danger to her and they had told me it wasn't so I passed on the surgery. She had to have it now, though, in order to have the second surgery because it causes a greater chance of infection if it hasn't been fixed. The surgery has a success rate of 95% and from the bear cub's follow up appointment, it looks like she falls in the 5% group and will need to have it performed again. Despite her ducts still being too small, she is orders of magnitude better. They had to open a space in her sinus cavities in order to get to the tear ducts and because of this, she seems to be happier and breathe easier in addition to having more room to hold tears. The doctor gave us appointment in six weeks to look at her again and see if she improves any without surgery before discussing moving forward. The second type of surgery she needs is to cut and realign the muscles in her eyes so that they see level which will result in her holding her head straight instead of at the tilt she currently has.

I'm currently fighting a sinus infection and have a doctor's appointment later today. I've spent a lot of time waiting in doctor's offices lately with the three girls and these are the rules I'd like to implement:

15 minutes: I pull out the cheerios or other snack that isn't too messy.
30 minutes: I pull out a messier snack, something along the lines of an orange or juicy plum. I also stop trying to control any screaming or noise making.
45 minutes: I pull out permanent markers and paper to let the girls draw on.
1 hour: I take away the paper and rest my eyes.

I'd give them caffeine, but I know they'd then see me right away and I'd be stuck with three hyped up little girls and have to deal with them myself. Maybe I'll pull out the caffeinated drinks for second time offenders.