Monday, April 30, 2012

baby gift for Darcy

{In Which I Sew A Bib and Changing Pad from Laminated Cotton, Have a Crisis, and Learn Something New}

My niece, Erin, recently had a beautiful little baby girl. I haven't met sweet little Darcy yet, but oh, I will soon. And just so my grabby sisters and nieces all know – IT'S GOING TO BE AUNT LARISSA'S TURN WITH THE BABY.

Ahem. The occasion called for a sweet handmade gift and so I thought I'd sew up a bib and a changing pad. I was excited about this. Easy, gratifying, cute, and let me just share that I've had a couple projects go south lately and I needed a win, people.

I just happened to have some beautiful Amy Butler Soul Blossom laminated cotton on hand and it turns out everything else I needed was waiting in my stash. (Which just reinforces my OCD compulsion to buy random spools of ribbon and bias tape.)

The laminated cotton means you can easily wipe the bib and the pad clean if needed, so this makes them ideal for being on the go. I have to confess I actually bought the laminated cotton by mistake online. I thought I was buying regular quilting fabric. It was a doofus move at the time but it sure came in handy for this project, and I'm glad I have some leftover to make something else with.

But. I had no idea that it doesn't just obligingly sew up like regular fabric, so after I got the bib cut out and pinned together, I couldn't figure out why it would NOT feed through the presser foot. It seemed to stick like glue. Which is in essence exactly what it does when laminate meets the shiny metal underside of the presser foot.

After several foiled attempts and several fruitless minutes spent adjusting foot pressure, stitch length and ripping out stitches (I loathe ripping out stitches), then the lowest point which was a bad idea involving baby powder, I crammed the bib in the trash and complained about it on my Facebook page. After just a few seconds this totally awesome Person Extraordinaire, Christina, gave me a link to FutureGirl's post about the very same problem. Keep in mind I've never sewn on oilcloth or vinyl so I had no idea there was anything such as a roller foot or a teflon foot, like I do now from other helpful commenters. Thanks, everybody! So after reading FutureGirl's extremely timely and low tech quick-fix, I cut out some blue painter's tape and stuck it on the bottom of the presser foot and suddenly I was back in business. Note: regular shiny clear tape does not work. It has to be dull tape, not shiny.

I feel I should say something poetic and profound about what happens when the immediacy of facebook is magically combined with the hive mind of valuable DIY knowledge on the internet, but I'll sum it all up and say it was less than twenty minutes from nasty temper flare to successfully finished bib.

If you are wondering, I used a couple of free patterns for the bib and changing pad:

Bib: Nested's free bib pattern has a pocket included and is designed for velcro closure, but I used a pearlized snap instead. Just FYI, I also did not construct it as suggested, but instead traced and used the outline as my stitch line when I sandwiched my uncut front and back fabric RST (I used a light table to line up the pocket in between those layers).

Changing Pad: SewTakeAHike's diaper changing pad tutorial gave me the rounded corner idea and the dimensions I needed, but instead of using velcro I added a ribbon tie, and mine is three layers: cotton laminate, batting, and chenille.


  1. You're cray cray if you think you can deprive her of her favorite person.

  2. Jamie, I will cut you. (Other Gentle Readers, please not that Jamie is my grabby niece who hogs the baby and I do not intend to ACTUALLY cut her, but she knows what I mean, DON'T YOU, JAMIE?)

  3. Ha! How bizarre, my niece is called Darcy. She sadly did not get a handmade, lovely changing mat/bib set from Aunty Lisa...but I can read 4 Dora books in succession using all the right voices and without too much eye-rolling when I hear "Again!"

  4. luckyandcharm, egads, EXTRA bonus Aunty points for reading anything about Dora even once. :-)

  5. So glad you had success! And with such beautiful results!

  6. Best baby name EVER, lucky girl ;-)

  7. They turned out great! It's good to know about the painter's tape. I also like using the Clover binding clips instead of pins so I don't poke holes in the laminated cotton. :-) I know what you mean about reinforcing your random purchases. I was thinking the same thing when I was on a crafting jag the other day and could find all the things I needed buried in my sewing room. Kinda scary. And I thought, "Gee. This is why it's so important for me to buy stuff and keep well stocked!:

  8. Mama Pea, I couldn't see my pin holes afterward (?), so I thought it would be ok. I'll check out the clips though. Well stocked. EXACTLY.

  9. So glad that I caught this post today, I just purchased some laminated fabric for a project and had no idea of any challenges that would await me! Thank you for sparing me many tears in advance. The bib and changing pad are is everything you make!

  10. I needed to hear this... that I'm not the only one who's temper rages when a seemingly simple project goes awry. {I also loathe seam ripping.} Makes me twitch just thinking of it!

    Glad the project ended well. I'm certainly going to try the bib. Such a cute gift!

  11. I love the internet. Instagram and Facebook have solved many a near panic, tear filled, pie eating binge session. It's much more enjoyable to eat the pie without tears. I have two kinds in my fridge right now, better go check on them ;)

  12. I've also heard that you can put tissue paper around vinyl so that it will slide through the sewing machine without getting stuck on your presser foot; then you can tear off the tissue paper when done sewing. I haven't tried it yet but will soon. If that doesn't work, I'll have to try out your painting tape fix. Tissue paper just sounds like less work to me. :)

  13. These are so lovely! I wonder why you don't see more oilcloth bibs out there.

  14. Carmelsmith, glad I could take one for the team. :-) Good luck!

    Pink, you keep pies steadily on hand, don't you? I'm a pie gal too. Much preferred over cake. It might be dangerous for us to know one another.

    Mindy, I was thinking just the opposite, the tape is less work. Ha! Not being able to see your work clearly through the tissue? All that tearing away tiny bits of tissue paper from stitches and having to cut strips of it to feed under the foot...bleh. :-) But in the absence of tape or a roller foot, yeah, good to know!

    Chase, I think I know. LOL. They probably hit the same wall I did and throw them in the trash.

  15. Oh, they look so cute! I love the tip, Larissa!

    ANd congratulations on the new family baby!

  16. Thank you for posting this- it makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one out there that messes up, throws it away, and then comes back and finishes the project.

    I've been scared of sewing laminate- so I cheated and got some of that iron on vinyl and made a bib that way- it was all good until I turned it- totally wrinkled. And after one measly hand washing the vinyl separated from the cotton and it looked like it had come from the dollar store.

    So, thank you for giving me the courage to try the laminate!


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