Monday, January 12, 2015

darling Sherpa

I have a weakness for baby bonnets.  And baby girls.  And squishy, plush fabrics that promise to keep one warm.  I'm always cold this time of year, which I blame on our lack of central heating and the fact that the inside temps in our home peak in the low 60's on particularly cold days.  With baby to make her debut in cold weather, you can bet I'm brainstorming ways to keep her warm.  Enter Purl Bee tutorials and organic cotton sherpa fleece.

Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

Did you catch that?  Cotton Fleece.  That's a totally natural, breathable fleece fabric that's warm and plush and perfectly delightful.  It's made by Michael Miller, and it wants to be baby clothes.  (It may also be whispering "quilt back", "washies" and a few other tempting one-liners, but I digress.)

Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

This weekend I started with the Fleece Baby Jumpsuit from Corrine's Thread on The Purl Bee.  I expect to use this as a layering piece over a cotton sleeper on cold days or when bundling up for the carseat.  The free pattern includes directions to adjust for 0-9 months.  Since it will only be cold for 1-2 months after Eleni's born, I used the pattern at its smallest size and actually cut down the template even smaller and overlapped the pieces to shorten things by a good two inches at least.  Aria was a small baby (6 lbs, 10 oz), and so far Eleni is a little small for dates.

Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

Right from the start, I love the way this pattern plays with the right and wrong sides of the cotton sherpa. One side is a smooth knit, while the other has a short, fuzzy pile.   At the back of the jumpsuit is this a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e round gusset with a contrasting fuzzy bottom.  Squeal!

Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

Partway through assembly I realized the jumper was still looking much too big for my newborn.  Here is a newborn size sleeper for size comparison.  I decided to narrow the legs by about 1", bring up the arm holes and shorten the legs/arms too.  The neck to crotch measurement was pretty good, but remember I had already shortened the pattern by overlapping pattern pieces from the get go (see earlier picture).

Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

All-in-all this was an easy sew.  The cotton sherpa knit is really, REALLY forgiving.  I sewed without changing any settings on my machine - regular cotton thread, regular piecing needle, no walking foot, just normal.  My machine does feed pretty evenly.  If you had trouble, a walking foot would be a good idea.

 Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

 Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

And, oh my gosh, aren't the results darling?  I finished with interior snaps and ribbon ties for an extra girly flourish.  LOVE!  Super sweet from the back too.

When I paraded my creation for Brandon, I told him not to worry, I'd be making a matching bonnet too!  Wink.

Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

The Purl Bee's Winter Baby Bonnet tutorial uses the same sherpa/fleece cotton paired with delicious Liberty fabric.  I didn't have a large enough Liberty cut that would do, so I pulled in a Folk Song fabric by Anna Maria Horner.

These bonnets are actually fully reversible, so we could wear it on the sherpa side if pairing with clothes that aren't red.  But, you know I'm going to make more bonnets.  It was too quick and cute to resist!  I think we need a yellow and a pink, for starters.  Maybe blue too.

Purl Bee winter duds in Cotton Fleece

I am so thankful that this baby is coming after I've had some time to develop my sewing skills.  There was a time when I would not have been brave enough to attempt either of these projects due to the curved seams in the rear gusset and bonnet.  Curves can be so intimidating!  Luckily (and largely thanks to you all cheering me on) I've come a long way in my sewing.  If you still find yourself shying away from a good sew for fear of curves, the new year is a perfect time to conquer those fears.  Curves Class starts next week!  It's not a bit too late to sign up and join in.

Thanks all for your sweet well-wishes and for oohing and ahhing along with all these baby makes.  I sure am enjoying myself!  But, to be honest, I am eager to get back to more quilts.  Soon, soon.

xo,

Rachel


21 comments:

  1. we're hoping if we do get blessed with another little one that it will be a boy, only because we already have 5 girls. however, when i see things like this, i think a 6th girl would be perfectly fine with me! maybe even more fun. haha. your items are adorable and that cotton fleece (!) sounds fantastic. good to see you enjoying this preparation phase so much

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  2. What do you think of using that cotton fleece for baby bibs? Is it absorbent?

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    1. Yes, it's absorbent! I was considering bibs. The downside is that they'd show stains pretty well, being cream.

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    2. I was trying to find a substitute for the Michael miller organic terry that was used in another purl bee project....their adorable baby bibs : http://www.purlbee.com/2010/09/25/purl-sohos-liberty-baby-bib-kits/

      So, the white would just be a backing for some other cute fabric. Maybe staining wouldn't be quite as much of an issue?

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  3. I have both the organic cotton fleece sherpa (shown by Rachel) and the organic plain fleece.
    I would recommend the sherpa fleece as it has a lovely feel and look to it. The fleece that is not denoted as "sherpa"--also available at Purl SoHo and other places) looks fine on the knit side, but it is a little messy looking on the other side. In this case, you would have to make the knit side the right side or I don't think you will be happy with the results. Both types--the sherpa and the plain fleece--shrink ALOT when washed. I found the sherpa very stretchy to sew on my really old machine but I haven't tried it yet on my new machine.
    I made a toddler's pillow with organic sherpa on one side and an organic print (polar bears) on the other. I put in a zipper for washing. I made 2 (for twins) and they were nice and cuddly. Sewing in the zipper with all that stretch was slow-going on my old machine.
    I bought some of this fleece (both kinds) on Purl, but when I craved more they were sold out and I finally found it on Fabric.com. It's out there, but can be hard to find.
    Frankly, I'm looking for something to make with it that's not kid/baby and am having trouble thinking of what to make other than the obvious of a lining for a lap quilt.
    If anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them.
    Love the sherpa--but the plain fleece, not so much. So, that's my input for your readers.

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    1. thanks so much for these great tips, Sandra! i appreciate them!

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    2. Such great info, Sandra. Thanks for sharing! Fortunately, I did prewash (always key when making clothes!), but since I was prewashing yardage it was hard to see how much it shrank. Good to know. I wonder if you could use it to line adult slippers? I think that would be cozy! Or, to line an adult robe!

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  4. So cute and it does look warm.

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  5. Adorable! Love the idea of cotton fleece! Thanks for sharing these projects! You are a super-mom!

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  6. Rachel, I am just swooning over here at this - how can you want to quilt after making something this lovely?! Looking at this made me feel sad about the days when I will no longer have a baby to sew for... and I currently have a baby to sew for! That's simply crazy! Well, I think I need to get on this stat! And oh boy, I am in awe in how you can stand your house so cold. I won't tell you how warm we keep our house (ok, I'll spill - 77!). Year round we keep it at 77. But our house was not constructed well and I think our themostat is broken. 77 in the summer I'm wearing tank tops and skirts but try not to turn it lower, but 77 in the winter and we are all freezing with sweaters and things, so I think it must be inaccurate.

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    1. Haha, that is crazy! Ok, go sew for your baby! But, now, not too crazy because it's advance sadness. I do get advance sadness when it's anything to do with children growing up!

      I don't stand our house being cold very well. I'm a complainer! Oh, and I wear long johns, wool slippers and a fleece or wool jacket inside the house pretty much November through February! I get really tired of the same jacket.... =)

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  7. These are so cozy, and indeed darling! Sometimes it's difficult to see all the sewing going on for babies-to-be when my *baby* is turning three in march (sniff!). But I can't help but enjoy how much love you put into each item you've made for your baby girl. It makes me smile in spite of missing those teeny tiny baby days!! Your little girl is going to be precious in her new warm sleepy!

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  8. Rosemary B here:
    Oh my. This is adorrrrable.
    YES yes and yes. I am going to make some of these.... in the bigger size. For next winter :-D
    Your house is chilly, but I bet you are saving a pile of money. We keep our house at 71º during he day. Our house is newish, and drafty, so the down stairs is cold, the windows are terrible.
    Thick curtains are great for winter. It keeps the heat in.
    Oh Rachel. Keep making. You are doing wonderful. Babies do grow quickly. Perhaps you will have to have another -- you know... later ;-)
    Stay toasty in your warmies. I wear sweatpants (Christina's hubb's family is from NC and they call them Puddin pants haha) and I did make myself several pair of "legwarmers" out of polar fleece bits. They are great... I made some for my arms too. Try it.
    hugs

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  9. you think it looks cute now, just wait until it has a squishy little baby girl inside it!

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  10. This is so adorable. Best wishes for the upcoming baby.

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  11. One in adult size please. It's lovely! And now I want to make one for my cousin's baby. :)

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  12. Too cute and the hat is the cherry on top!

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  13. They are so cute. I cannot wait for Eleni and seeing her in all of the cutest baby clothes. The bonnet is adorable. The sleeper is perfect for in the car! I'm sure Eleni will be plenty warm.

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  14. These little clothes are beyond adorable, lucky Eleni.

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  15. This is soooo cute - love it! Is it easy though - do you need to be a good sewer? I'm kinda of a beginner +, but still struggle with directions etc... I love doing hand work compared to sewing machine things. Would love to hear from you if you get a chance! I have a new granddaughter on the way... and would love to make it. Thank you!

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    1. I wish I could say it was an easy project, but I think it's more accurate to say it's a medium-level difficulty project. That said, I don't see why you couldn't hand sew it, if you were game to put in the time! It would work just as well. Maybe that's the way for you!

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