Sewing for Kids: Bateau Neck Dress

I was privileged to test another pattern for Anneliese of Aesthetic Nest. This is the Bateau Neck A-Line Dress, an extension of the Bateau Neck Top I sewed for Danny. Anneliese’s patterns are truly the most beautiful patterns I’ve worked from. I even learned some useful sewing techniques through following her meticulous directions.

sewing for kids-bateau neck dress (3)I’ve had this star fabric for a while and intended to use it for the boys. But I actually love it for her. I think it’s different and fun. Making it in a thicker knit (it was like light sweatshirt weight) makes the dress perfect for playing in while it’s still hot and then for layering as it gets cooler.

sewing for kids-bateau neck dress (2)I love the simplicity of the dress, and the cut is just the right amount of being fitted yet still loose enough to add the perfect amount of “swing.” While I was putting it together, I couldn’t stop picturing a little gathered pocket, so I added one of my own even though the pattern calls for a flatter version. I love the little touch of girly-ness it adds.

sewing for kids-bateau neck dress (7)Lining the pocket with some leftover minky from another project gave the dress a touch of pink. I couldn’t help myself. =)

sewing for kids-bateau neck dress (1)I’ll be sure to let you know when this pattern extension is available.  In the meantime, pin this adorable dress to your sewing board!

Sew you next time! HAHAHAHAHAHAH (ouch, I know)


A Little Here, A Little There

It’s been a bit quiet around here, but See Mommy Doing has been involved in a couple fun things elsewhere in blogland.

I shared Zeko’s birth story on the blog of Freshly Picked, the site featuring  Susan Petersen’s gorgeous moccasins, loved by many celebrity mamas for their kiddos. If you enjoyed my birth story in pictures, be sure to head over and check out the whole story!

mother holding newborn baby

I also managed to squeeze some sewing into a particularly busy schedule full of special house guests and an intensive Bible-study seminar. I was thrilled to be contacted by Anneliese of Aesthetic Nest to test a pattern for her. Her work, her site, her craftsmanship, her words — they are truly beautiful. Her chenille baby blanket is one of my favorite completed projects. I made one for Elora and Danny right before Danny was born. I still need to make one for Ezekiel!

Anyway, I was honored to test one of her soon-to-be-released patterns. The pattern itself was beautiful, easy to follow, and taught me some useful sewing tips as I went along. I’ll be sure to let you all know when her pattern is released, but here’s a sneak peek:

boy in striped shirt


Nursing Cover Tutorial

I made a nursing cover this week. Actually I made two because my friend is having twins.

HAHAHAHAH!!! Just kidding. “I’m going to be an aunt.” “OR an uncle!!” “Pivot! Pivot!”

Okay, so I made two nursing covers out of the same fabric for two different dear friends who picked out the same fabric from links I sent them!!

I’ve made my fair share of nursing covers, and have used them a significant amount myself, so I wanted to share my favorite way to make them. My pattern base is Prudent Baby’s DIY Nursing Cover, but I’ve added some touches that I think make this one extra special. They are an easy sew for yourself or as gifts. I personally love to give these as gifts because they are for the baby, but also for the mother, the fabric can be totally to taste, and they are something useful for many months. Follow the steps below to make your own.

What you need to make your own nursing cover:

  • One yard of quilting weight fabric
  • D-rings
  • 14″-long piece of boning
  • Small piece of terrycloth or cotton chenille

Nursing Cover Tutorial, Step-by-Step

Cut your fabric:

what you need to make a nursing cover

Cut pieces of your main fabric in the following dimensions:

  • One 38″ x26″ (main piece)
  • One 3″x10″ (for one strap)
  • One 3″x30″ (for the other strap)
  • One triangle about 7″ long on each of the square sides

Cut the same size triangle out of your terrycloth or chenille

Sew the straps:

Sew each of the strap pieces in half with right sides together and then turn right side out. Tuck a bit of the raw edge in on one short end of the strap and make it as even as possible.

Iron the straps flap, positioning the seams in the middle of the back side.

Topstitch around both long sides and around the short side that you tucked in. Topstitching wherever possible really gives your pieces a finished, professional look.

Slip the D-rings onto the finished end of the shorter strap, fold over, and sew in place. I like to sew a little rectangle to make sure this stays nice and secure.

Assemble the built-in cloth piece:

What really makes this nursing cover nice is the little cloth on one corner. It’s great for discreetly tucking away that nursing pad and also for wiping any little milk dribbles on baby or… elsewhere.

Take your triangle pieces and lay them together with right sides facing. Sew the hypotenuse together. WOW!!! I used geometry!!!!!

Open up and turn wrong sides to face each other. Iron flat. Clip of the extra little tippies. Topstich.

Extra-fancy tip: Fit your sewing machine with two different color threads if appropriate. I was using black as my main thread color, but I didn’t want black stitching showing on my white cotton chenille. So I adjusted my bobbin and main thread colors so that black thread would be on the houndstooth pattern and white thread would be on the chenille.

Hem the main piece:

Next, take your big piece of fabric, fold in 1/4″ and iron and then another 1/4″ and iron. (You could fold over both times in one step if you can be accurate and careful doing it that way. I’ve burned my fingers a few too many times trying to be accurate.) Do this on both short sides and one long side. (When you get to the corners, you can always fold a little triangle in to keep the edges nice and neat.)

BEFORE YOU SEW, grab your triangle piece and tuck it into one corner. I tuck mine into the left corner, if the main fabric is face down. Pin.

Sew around all three ironed sides.

Finish built-in cloth:

To sew a pocket into your built-in cloth (and also to keep it tacked down nicely), measure three sides of an even square on the chenille and mark with pins. Sew along your markings (of course taking your pins out before you hit them with your needle).  Again, match your top thread and bobbin thread colors to coordinate with your main fabric and your chenille.

Insert boning:

Head back to your iron and iron down an inch of fabric on the remaining long raw edge. Fold down another inch and iron again. Fold the nursing cover in half to mark the middle of this edge and measure 7″ out from the middle on each side. Mark with pins and sew between these two pins along the bottom edge (the one closest to the inside of the fabric).

Get your piece of boning and scoot it into this tube.

Sew perpendicularly at either end of the boning. I recommend catching the edges of the boning with some stitches if it’s sewing machine safe (NOT if it’s metal boning) to keep it from twisting around.

Attach straps:

Tuck the unfinished edges of your straps under the ironed hem, wrong side (the side with the seam showing) down, along each side of the boning. Fold the straps up so that their right sides are against the ironed down hem. Pin in place.

Finish sewing all around four edges of the hem, skipping the bottom 14″ already sewn when you put the boning in. When you’re done, go back and sew a square with an X in it where the straps are attached to the main piece.

This will strengthen this area so it doesn’t come loose even when it’s stressed through yanking and pulling from chubby baby hands and kicking happy little nursing feet. =)



Embroidered Fleece Blanket

I do still sew. I know, I know, I have three little kids, give myself a break. Truth is, I love it and it’s something I can accomplish, start to finish, which makes me feel good, so I do what I can when I can (which is a lot less than before).

embroidered fleece blanket

This is a recent project I finished for my sister’s birthday. I worked on it in between newborn feeding sessions in the evenings after the older kids were in bed. It was fun, relatively quick, and I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Although I haven’t embroidered in years (and I don’t think I’ve ever embroidered something actually useful) I love the look of hand done embroidery. When I saw this project on So Semptember it captured my imagination. The crisp white snowflakes on a simple, cozy piece of cushy fleece…

The project is also a good one because yes, it’s a handmade blanket, but you can make a large one much more affordably and quickly than, say, a knitted or even crocheted blanket or a quilt. It’s also super easy to toss in the washer and dryer.

And, yet, as I reminded my sister in a particularly cheesy moment, “Every stitch is made with love.”

embroidered fleece blanket gift
A free pattern and instructions are available through Good Housekeeping. I have the materials for a slightly funkier rendition, which I’ll present along with my own tips for the project, so stay tuned!