Saturday, January 22, 2011

FOE is really your Friend!

Fold Over Elastic, that is! I bought a whole spool of 100 yards of it and it has been worth every penny. I originally bought it for overnight waterproof training pants but I keep finding ways to use it that make my life simple! For instance, my newly turned 1 year old wakes up every time we would lay her down. Talk about driving me crazy! But I finally figured out it was the cold sheets that was shocking her into waking up. So tonight I made her a fleece crib sheet. I cut out a 60 by 42 rectangle piece. Then cut out a 6 inch square out of each corner. Sewed the corners together. Then finished it with Fold Over Elastic all along the edge! I found online that fleece crib sheets are $38.00 a sheet. Honestly I didn't know they existed until after I made mine, let alone that they were $38 a sheet! I bought anti-pill fleece on sale for $5.00 a yard times 2 yards. Then I had a $10 voucher for a Teacher Appreciation Event at Joann's. So I spent nothing there. 4yards of FOE so that is $2.00. And I guess I could calculate the thread but you get my point. Awesome savings and super easy to do. And one happy baby!

And just the week before my son had a camp out in the dead of winter and in the snow. I obviously didn't want him to freeze. So I purchased washable wool for $25 a yard. Sounds like a lot but when you find out that wool winter underwear online runs for $60-$80, per piece, $25 sound cheap. Washable Merino Wool is super soft and yummy like Cashmere, which is wool too, by the way. So I took his tightest pants and traced out a pattern on paper. No fly, I'm simple like that. ;) Fold over elastic to finish the top and around each leg. Simple and a huge savings for for me. And he stayed warm all weekend! So don't you think it is time to make FOE your friend too?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to make a Feminine Cloth Pad.

It is also called in many circles "Mama cloth". Even if you don't want use them full time, like I do, they are great for emergency supplies. Just 12 of them is enough to have a full year supply! In this tutorial I will be making an overnight, all in one, cloth pad with internal soaker.


Free Patterns for cloth Pads
Make your own Cloth Pads, Many Free Patterns
Pauline's Free Cloth Menstrual Pads Sewing Pattern
Adahy's Cloth Pad Patterns
Pad Makin' Tutorial

Patterns for sale but usually come with customer support
Fern and Faerie
Kiki Cloth Pads (I have purchased this one and it is GREAT!)
KinderBee Cloth Menstrual Pads
Kristins Cloth Pads
Mamas and Maiden's Cloth Pads
Personal Things Pattern
Pretty Pads

Next...... Materials
Next to Skin Materials
Cotton or Bamboo Velour

Waterproof or next to Panty Fabrics
Polyurethane Laminate Knit (PUL)
Thick Fleece

Inner Layer Fabrics (Soaker Pad)
Cotton or Bamboo Terry
Cotton, Bamboo, Hemp Fleece

Sew on Snaps
Plastic Snaps (Kamsnaps, tools required)

Foots for the sewing Machine
Walking Foot or Teflon Foot
This is desperately needed when working with thick fabrics and PUL.
Here is a picture of my walking foot on my Janome.

100% Polyester Thread. Important! You do not want the thread to wick moisture to the other side of the waterproof layer and any percentage of cotton will do just that.

Places to Purchase Materials
Suedecloth (called Buttersuede but not Microsuede!), Flannel, Thick Fleece, and Cotton Terry.
Everything but Hemp

Very Baby
PUL, Flannel, Microfleece, Cotton Velour, Cotton and Hemp Terry.
PUL, Flannel, Microfleece, Cotton Velour, Cotton Fleece, and Thick Poly Fleece.

Plastic Snaps and special pliers to apply them.
I love kamsnaps and I know that the pliers are an added expense but they have been their weight in gold to me. Not only have I used these for cloth pads, diapers, and trainers, I have used them to turn Blankies into Capes and turned scared kids into super heroes! They are wonderful for putting snaps on children's clothes. Like I said, they are worth their weight in GOLD!

Step 1...
Cut out material

Soaker layer-1 Zorb, 2 Flannel
Outer layer- 1 PUL
Inner layer- 1 Cotton Velour (I recommend Suedecloth when first starting, I was using up this cotton velour and it loves to stretch and can be a pain in heinie!)

IMPORTANT!! When you cut out the PUL, make sure that when you are pinning the pattern to the fabric, that you only pin in the seam allowance. Otherwise you will ruin the waterproofness of the fabric!

Step 2...
Layer soaker. I am using flannel, zorb, flannel. But you can use 6 layers of flannel or a couple layers of terry. Sew a 3 step zig zag down the middle to keep layers from shifting.

Step 3...
Now, either serge the edges or fake serge by doing a zig zag all the way around.

Step 4...
Pin soaker pad to wrong side of inside or top layer. So I have pinned my soaker to the wrong side of the Cotton Velour. Then I zig zag on my widest and longest setting all the way around the soaker pad.

Top or right side of the Pad.

Step 5...
Pin right sides together of Top and Bottom of cloth pad. Since you do not want to ruin the waterproofness of the PUL, make sure to pin ONLY in the seam allowance. And PUL is slippery stuff (But awesome stuff!) so you will want to pin every inch of that seam allowance.
Tip: if you pin in a counter clockwise fashion, it's easier and faster to get the pins out when you sew.

Step 6...
You will sew a straight stitch all the way around the fabric with a #12 Ballpoint Needle, and with a stitch length of 3. I line up the edge of the PUL with the edge of my sewing foot when sewing all the way around. Leave a small opening to turn the pad right side out when done. I tend to leave the straight edge along the wing open to turn it.

Step 7...
Trim the edges to make both fabrics even with each other and then turn.

Step 8...
Use a stick to make sure all the edges are pushed out.

Step 9...
Pin the opening closed, again only in the seam allowance.

Step 10...
Top Stitch about 1/4 of an inch around starting at the pinned opening.

Voila, sewing part is done!

Now to add the snaps. These are handy for securing the pad to the undies by snapping the wings together after wrapping around the sides of the undies. You can use sew on snaps or a button and hole method as well.
I first use an awl to make the hole and then add the snaps with my kamsnaps pliers.

Here's my Lavender snaps.

There are great tutorials on how to add Kamsnaps Here.

And here they are all folded up for discrete storage.

Happy Sewing!

You will want to wash and dry on hot 2-3 times before using. This shrinks the needle holes around the thread and prepares the absorbent layers.
Regular washing instructions for cloth pads.
Rinse on Cold, then do a warm or hot wash. Can be washed with your whites, but never use Fabric Softener or Dryer sheets because it will cause the pad to repel moisture. Air dry flat to lengthen life, but will do just fine in the dryer as well.

I can tell you that switching to cloth has been the best thing ever! You wouldn't believe it but beside feeling great and unbelievably comfy, I no longer have cramps. It is a bonus side effect that seems to happen to women who switch to 100% cloth. And if I had known that, I would have switched years ago! I don't know why it happens but it is awesome! Here is a link of another testimonial on this!
Update 1 year later..... My cloth pad making ability is getting better and better. This pattern is a Kiki regular and I really like the fit!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tackled a New Training Pant Pattern Today!

A friend and I tackled a new pattern for a training pants. I like Trimsie Trainers but with Fold Over Elastic, the corners were very hard and awkward. So I learned of another patter and now that it is done, I LOVE IT! It's called Tinkle Time Trainer!

Here is Trimsie with FOE (Fold Over Elastic)

And here is a Tinkle Time Trainer with FOE

Straight edges were meeting with other straight edges. It even has a section to add a printed panel on the side. I can't wait to make these for my 4 year old for night time. :)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Had a wonderful Cloth Pad class today!

We were so busy that I didn't get a picture of what my students made. But we made 5 overnight cloth pads!

When we first started, they saw the pattern and almost fainted on the spot! LOL The pattern made it seem so huge. I had to tell them several times that it really won't be that big when we are finished. :) And they weren't!

And this week has been super busy with project that I have been getting done. You want to hear a secret? I have been getting this all done by putting my family first more. Isn't that crazy? I have been reading to the kids and taking them to the park, daily, and I have more time. I'm happier and they are happier. I need to remember this!

Well here's some pics of what I have been up to.

Here is a couple of the overnight pads I made for myself from the class.

And here are only 2 of the 17 wool balls that I finally finished this week, for Christmas Gifts to the in-laws.

If you remember I made some previously and you can read how and get the directions from this post. But this time I put cinnamon sticks in the middle and then covered them in Essential oils of a Cinnamon mixture.

And here is wool longies that is my first custom job. I was sent a grey, moth eaten, Cashmere sweater and was asked to make longies for a 4 year old girl. I think they turned out well and they are so soft! It's no wonder that the lady wanted to salvage them.

And lastly on the Science front... While I had a sewing class today, the children and hubby took apart a non functioning TV to see what was inside. They loved it! And kept the shell. They thought they could do puppet shows in it. But the baby loved it too, so here is the Baby Channel!

So, what have you all been up to? I hear the seed catalogs are arriving in the mail. It's almost garden planning time again!