Clothing is still my favourite thing to sew, because nothing represents a better interaction of beauty, use, and challenge.
However, lately I’ve been enjoying a break from clothing and have been sewing some useful items. Aside from being quicker to make, they require less perfection!
The first thing I made was some bunting for Edith’s and my joint birthday. This project nearly ended in disaster. It began as a vision to use up fabric scraps, centred around some pink floral fabric left over from a maternity skirt. I was going to pair it with other florals and blue shades and achieve that lovely Cath Kidston look. But it turned out that in a ruthless declutter session I had discarded that fabric – and when I started gathering my other scraps, they really looked scrappy. Not cute, vintage, make-do-and-mend, just scrappy. The pink fabric had been the unifying colour scheme.
So although this project was aimed at using up fabric I already had, I went out and bought fabric for it. I hauled myself and Edith to the pyjama section of Goodwill, bought two pyjama bottoms and a cotton dressing gown, and these combined with some other scraps I had, made, indeed, the bunting of my original vision. Actually, it’s nicer than it would have been.
Featuring in the bunting is a leftover white sheet that I used to make curtains, and I also used it to make some napkins.
Next up, some little zipper pouches, also to use up scraps. (Now using up scraps from the bunting that itself should have used up scraps.) I got the pattern for these pouches from a free class on Craftsy.com, which I highly recommend if you’re into that sort of thing. I adjusted the pattern to accommodate the different lengths of zippers I had, and used a variety of scraps and zippers from my stash. These take me 30 minutes to sew up, so they’re just right for a nap time or a little evening project. The pink bag is already stuffed with embroidery floss.
Finally, I made some cloth diapers. Is that weird? It can’t be too weird, because I found the supplies at a fabric store. Now, we already use cloth diapers the majority of the time, a set which I bought secondhand last year. But they’re the old-fashioned kind which have a folded cotton layer topped with a waterproof cover, and Mike was never totally comfortable putting them on, so we ended up using disposables at night and on the weekends. So I’ve wanted for a while to get some of the all-in-one style diapers which are shaped like disposables and thus easier to use.
After trying to hunt down some secondhand ones locally, and failing, I bought one brand-new one and used it to make a pattern. I already had the waterproof fabric, and the inside layer is just old flannel sheets. The absorbent insert is a folded cloth diaper from the ones we already owned. I did have to buy the snaps, velcro, elastic and a wicking fabric for inside, but by my calculations once I made four diapers (as I did) we would recoup the cost of supplies compared to buying diapers, even secondhand. I’d like to make a few more, since I have the supplies now. They’re not exactly fun to make, but not difficult, and it’s very satisfying to make something so practical.