Friday, August 21, 2009

Busy Work


Baby bibs, side one
Baby Bibs!
My niece, who just moved to Johannesburg, is expecting her first baby, a girl, Liliana Grace. She's asked her relatives stateside for homemade items for the baby; something small and easy to stuff into a suitcase. (It's really expensive to ship stuff to South Africa!)

Now, we are a crafty, creative bunch for sure. As I type: my step-mom is making a quilt; my sister is "crocheting like a madwoman" as I understand it, working on a little oufit; my brother, cabinet-maker extraordinaire, is working on a wooden box which I'm sure will be a treasured family heirloom some day; a couple of my neices are working on blankets; and my other sister (the grandmother-to-be) is sewing everything under the sun—except for baby bibs, 'cuz that's what I promised to make. (She is a professional seamstress, and costume designer, and has the most amazing fabric stash I have ever seen! But since she's in FL and I'm in NH, I had to hit up the fabric store...)

My goal was simple: I had eight weeks to make seven bibs, one for each day of the week. But then, after drooling over all those "quilter's quarters" at the fabric store, and having a tough time narrowing my selection down to only seven prints, I decided I'd make the bibs reversible, and picked out 14 instead. I figured I could mix and match the left over scraps for appliques, ruffles, and such. I didn't have a pattern, so I bought an 89 cent bib, scanned it into my computer, and traced it in Illustrator. I added a seam allowance and printed out a template. I was ready to roll....

My head was swimming with ideas, so I dove right in. Now, I am no professional seamstress, and sometimes my creativity gets the best of me on projects. On the first bib, I got totally carried away making applique flower petals at the neckline (so when it's on, the baby's head looks like the center of a flower). It is so-o-o cute, but it took me three weeks to complete! (I don't have a whole lot of spare time between running a business, chairing a non-profit, planning a remodel of a second home, and basic family & household obligations....)

Okay, so three weeks for one bib meant I only had four weeks to complete the other six! My weekly bib quota had suddenly gone wa-a-y up! No problem (as long as there are 24 hours in a day, I still had plenty of time...). I dragged those bibs cross-country to LA with me last month—and down to Long Island, too—and they've been back and forth to the Lakes Region several times. By the time I ship them to FL, and then my sister carries them to Africa, they will be some well-traveled bibs indeed.

Baby bibs, on the flip side
Down to the Wire

Well, there's only one week left now, before my sister flies off to Africa with her second suitcase stuffed with baby gifts, and I am still not finished with the bibs. (And I still have to ship them down to her in FL, too!) I have been pulling all-night sewing sessions this week, staying up into the wee hours of the morning. Last night, I was finally able to pack away the sewing machine, and finished slip stitching all the openings. All that is left are the embellishments and Velcro closures. (I continued to get carried away on a couple of other designs—adding embroidery, ruffles, bows, etc.—but the last four are decidedly PLAIN. Such a shame, as I had SO many more ideas!) I found some nifty buttons to dress the last ones up a bit, so they'll look nice, too. Of course, four bibs actually means eight sides because they're reversible—me and my brilliant ideas!—so I've still got a lot of hand-sewing to do, but I think I'm going to make it.

People just better not look too closely at the handiwork (as I said before, I'm no seamstress). I'm hoping that they won't fall apart in the wash! But I figure, I'm sending seven of them, so the odds are with me that a few will withstand the test of time anyway. And one thing's for sure: Baby Lily will be the best-dressed little drooler in Jo-burg! :)