Sunday, January 30, 2011
I have a habit of entering every single contest I come across, whether I want the prize or not. So when I got an email notifying me that I'd won a copy of Anna Maria Horner's Handmade Beginnings I wasn't exactly surprised that I'd won something so poorly suited for me. It's a book designed to prepare for the arrival of a baby and anyone who knows me is probably snickering already. Not only do I not have any kids but I also intend to keep my life child-free. No offense to those of you who want to reproduce but it's just not my thing. Still, the thrill of winning was enough and I did eagerly flip through the book when it arrived, making note of the few projects I could make even without a young 'un in residence. There's a bag that looks promising and a maternity shirt that, with enough alterations, could make for a cute summer top. Or a great top to hide my belly after a cupcake binge.
Then I realized that I have not one, not two, but three cousins all expecting babies this year. Good to know they're making up for my lack of cooperation in the baby producing arena and carrying on the family genes. I thought it might be nice to make them some handmade gifts and what better source for inspiration than the book I just happened to have tucked away in my craft desk? Going in chronological order by due date I picked which cousin I'd sew for first and I already had the perfect fabric on hand.
While I never make New Year's resolutions for various philosophical and psychological reasons, I did tentatively plan to try to use up as much of my overgrown fabric stash as possible this year without adding lots more. Yeah, that lasted about a week before I saw the Pac-Man and Space Invaders fabric at Fabric.com. I managed to stop myself from purchasing it for nearly another week. But then they put it on sale, I had a coupon for an additional 15% off, and the rest is history. What really gave me the excuse to buy it was knowing that it would be perfect for my cousin's baby, which doesn't explain why I bought two yards of the Pac-Man fabric and even more of the Space Invaders fabric. What can I say? I'm a weak woman.
The book is as beautiful as you'd expect anything from Anna Maria Horner to be, full of her gorgeous fabrics being used to create gorgeous items. There are a lot of useful projects to choose from so if you or someone you know is expecting I do recommend it. The pattern that immediately caught my eye was the adorable baby-in-the-hood jacket and I was thrilled to discover that I had the perfect fabrics already in my stash to coordinate with the Pac-Man fabric. Must be fate. That and a snow day off of work were all I needed to dig in and get started.
I love that baby clothes require so little fabric. Even this fully-lined jacket barely made a dent in my yardage. The instructions are very clear and, aside from a few blips where I had to re-pin due to my own misjudgment or misalignment, everything went as planned. It's just that it took me forever to sew. Maybe it's because it was my first experience with the pattern or maybe it's because I was extra careful since it's a gift, but after a full afternoon of sewing last Saturday I still had the last page of instructions left to complete. Fortunately by that point I was able to see it coming together, which was enough to convince me that my hard work would pay off and spur me on to finish yesterday.
The pattern is really a clever one with all of the seams neatly tucked away. I could have used more illustrations and diagrams but the written instructions are clear enough that, once I forced myself to read them thoroughly, it was easy to figure out what to do. The only thing I might do differently next time is make the extra effort to switch out threads and bobbins so there's no contrast stitching. I'm confident enough in my ability to sew straight that I lazily used black thread everywhere but think I'd prefer the more invisible look of color coordinated thread better.
Still, as proud as I am of the end result I'm not sure I'll be repeating this performance for the other two cousins. I'm thinking of finding something a little less time-consuming to make for them, but I'll be sure to make it with just as much love. Although this jacket is so darn cute!