Look Ma, I’m Famous!

June 2 at 6am | Posted in Freebies, Life, Little Comet Tails, Sewing | 2 Comments

Well, sorta. If “famous” means having your passions featured in two different blogs that you idolize in less than a week, then YES!!

On Saturday, my cloudscape photo of Thomas and Molly won the tap tap tap contest.

I was completely floored that they also chose another photo entry of mine in the honourable mentions. If you have an iPhone, I totally recommend Camera+ it’s a great app (and I’m not just saying that because I won, lol).

Today, I’m guest blogging over at Sew Mama Sew! Can you just pinch me now? I submitted an idea for a Summer Sewing series and they liked it, they really liked it! I hope you all do too. It’s for a freebie swim diaper pattern!! You can find their intro about me here (I’m so flattered by their kind words), and the Aquarius Swimmer Pattern is available as a PDF download on their blog.

While you’re at it, head over to Sew Mama Sew! and look around, it’s one of my favorite sites (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a Summer Sewing contributor, lol)!

À la Carte ePatterns, Crescent Moon Yoga Pants, now available!

December 9 at 9pm | Posted in Little Comet Tails, Sewing | 1 Comment

I’m so excited, I’ve been working on this for literally months and now it’s LIVE!


You can now instantly download your own Crescent Moon Yoga Pants Pattern, complete with instructions, in whatever size you like. Heck, at $2.50 each, get them all. I’m diligently working to make all my patterns available as ePatterns, so stay tuned!

Wikipedia is awesome. AKA: I’ve been staring at this all morning.

December 2 at 9am | Posted in Little Comet Tails, Sewing | 3 Comments

How a Sewing Machine Works

Ever wonder how your sewing machine works with just one needle? Wikipedia to the rescue!

Adding a Little Color to Our Lives

October 27 at 5pm | Posted in Crocheting, Life, Marcus, Molly, Sewing, Thomas | 2 Comments

I love our living room. It’s where we all, for lack of a better word, live.Ahh, all balanced again.

The kids build forts,
Hanging at home :)

and dance,
Little Miss Princess

and play swashbuckling pirates.
Silly Faces

Recently I decided that our house needed a little more color in them to match the ever growing characters of the little inhabitants in our lives.

It all started with the big granny square.
Big Granny Square

Which totally needed a pillow.
Chair full of color.

Oh, did I say A pillow? I meant lots of pillows. (Which took me MONTHS to crochet, but I totally did it!)
My favorite crochet project so far. Pillows!
My favorite crochet project so far. Pillows!

It’s been quite a colorful week in our house.

I was in the basement getting out bigger clothes for Marcus (ahem 12-18 month sized) and found this lovely sweater for Molly in my hand-me-down bin.
Lovely Before...

Upon closer inspection, I saw that it needed a button.
Missing a button.

Which got me to thinking…
All sewn on.

Molly loved it. She immediately started to dance,
She loves it so much, she dances.

and dance (check out that pillow, it’s totally setting the dancing mood),
and dances.

I think all the color in our lives inspired a little shimmy,
and adds a shimmy.

and a boogie.
and a boogie.

February is going to be a busy month!

January 22 at 9pm | Posted in Life, Little Comet Tails, Sewing | Leave a comment

I’ve running around so fast lately trying to set up everything for the new baby’s arrival, that I haven’t posted here in a while. I was thoroughly freaking out at the beginning of the month, completely unprepared if the baby was coming any earlier, but I buckled down *with the help of my lovely husband* and compiled a list of things I NEEDED to get done before the baby comes. I decided on sixteen things I couldn’t stand if they didn’t get done, and am happy to say that only four are left 🙂

…One of which is to release the BabySteps EC pattern! The testing was a great success and I’m on to my favorite task of prettying up the pattern and writing and drawing the instructions. Stay tuned to the blog for updates! Hopefully you will be seeing this in my store soon! Thanks again to all the lovely testers and their feedback!

A knit Spin Around Dress with Sleeves!! (pattern add on included)

October 13 at 5pm | Posted in Freebies, Molly, Sewing | 2 Comments

So, if you know me, you know I can never leave well enough alone. Which is why yesterday I thought, hmm I wonder if it would work as a knit and I could totally make sleeves to go with it for the cold weather months ahead. 🙂

Well, that should be easy, right? All I needed to do was cut the two back pieces on a fold where the first line is (totally thinking ahead when I made the pattern) before the part with the snaps in it. Knit part complete! Oh and here’s my sleeve pattern add on while I’m at it:

**** FOR KNITS****  http://www.kingstondesign.com/SpinAroundSleeveAddon.pdf
***FOR WOVENS*** http://www.kingstondesign.com/WovenSpinAroundSleeveAddon.pdf

Here’s some quick modifications, with kinda bad pics, sorry I used my iphone.

After you sew the shoulder seams, the neckhole should look like this:

Pin and sew!

Clip V’s or pink and turn right side out, topstitch.


Match center to seam of top, right sides together. Pin.


Sew/Serge together. Repeat for other sleeve. (see? I was ambitious, I even got out my serger this time!)


Looking like something!


Pin bottom of front piece and top of bottom piece right sides together, sew and then topstitch. Repeat for back and bottom.

Match up front to back along sleeves and down side seams. Pin together, sew down both sides. (Pretend I took a picture of this step.)

Fold up your sleeve hem. I did 1-1/4″ for Molly, I would probably do 1″ for a standard 2T. Topstitch up 😉 (I did 1″ from edge, 5/8″ for standard 2T)


Hem the bottom of the dress! I serged this time, then folded up 1″ and topstitched 5/8″ from bottom edge. (Feel free to do it like the original post as well.)


Done. On with your day then.

How to Sew Little Half Moon All In Ones with Cute Cotton Outer Prints

August 15 at 4pm | Posted in Freebies, Little Comet Tails, Sewing | 20 Comments

(Whew! That’s a wordy title!)

All In Ones (AIO) are great for outings or when you’re showing off your cloth diaper collection to your friends in hopes to convert them. PUL is great but only comes in a limited array of solid colors and Cotton Laminated PUL is adorable, but the prints you love are hard to come by and wicks anyway.

So what is a girl to do?

If you have the Little Half Moon Pattern, the answer is easy: Combine your favorite cotton woven (heck, it could even be a great skirt that you found at a vintage shop) and make a wick-less all in one. 😉 Start out with your pattern laid out on your favorite work surface.


See the two lines on the pattern for each diaper? One is designed for the Inner Fabric (the dotted line) and the other for the Outer Fabric (marked with the dotted to solid lines). When making a traditional AIO, you would cut 1 layer of PUL using the Outer Fabric line and 2 layers of your absorbent fabric on the Inner Fabric line.


To make one with a wick-less cute cotton outer, just cut one more layer on the Inner Fabric line, using your outer print.


From here it’s easy, all you need to do is fold under the non-matching edges of your print (basically the leg line) about 1/8 of an inch.


Lay the cotton layer on top of the right side of the PUL layer (shiny side down) and pin the cotton layer to the PUL.


Using a straight stitch, sew the two layers together, put aside.


Now it’s time to decide if you want a hidden inner soaker layer (to make a true AIO) or have a removable quick dry snap in soaker (technically making it an AI2). I have a serger, which makes snap in soaker construction a breeze, but if you don’t it’s totally fine to just turn and topstitch (t&t) or just don’t finish the edges and sew them on the inside to the hidden inner layer.


If you choose to sew up a snap in soaker, my free download works great for this. Before serging or t&t, add snaps to the bottom layer of the soaker and the top layer of the inner fabric. Be sure to use a scrap piece to stabilize. If you are choosing to t&t the whole diaper, now is also the time to apply snaps (or loop, of the hook and loop variety) to the wings. Stack the diaper layers as follows, hidden inner layer, then the inner layer right side up, and the outer layer right side down on top of that (with the cool cotton woven sewn on top of it).


Pin edges together. It is helpful to pin the front and back of the diaper first, then match the leg edges up. The outer layer will be “baggy”. This is correct and will all come together nicely when you turn it later and create a nice rolled in appearance.

Here’s where you get some choices:


I decided to leave these open along the back for ease of turning and applying snaps with the intention to serge them closed later, but I’ll include instructions for both. 😉


You can opt to make a traditional t&t diaper and sew a straight stitch ¼ inch seam allowance around the entire diaper leaving a 3-4 inch opening on the underside of one wing.


Now it’s elastic time! I used 1/4” polybraid for these. You can opt whether or not to use front elastic (I didn’t). The diaper has a larger size range without, however some babies are harder to fit and need this for leak minimization. Lay the elastic in the seam allowance even to the starting elastic marking and 3-step zigzag in the seam allowance across the top using the smallest stitch length and a medium width. Then, increase to the largest stitch length 3-step zigzag, sew to the end, and then decrease to the smallest stitch length and stop stretching as you sew back and forth a couple times to stabilize it.


Repeat for sides and back (if sewing completely t&t, if not just the sides).


Turn it all right side out. I like to use my bone folder to help smooth the corners and curves. Pin around the diaper as needed to help it lay flat, usually around the elastic points and any curves on the diaper.


Topstitch the front of the diaper and then the sides of the wings.


If you are serging the back closed and haven’t yet applied the snaps (or the loop) to the wings, if you want them hidden, now’s the time to do it!


Pin the layers together where the elastic starting and ending points are for the back elastic level to the top of the snaps.


Thread the elastic under the two pins inside the inner and outer layer at the starting marking in the back and 3-step zigzag across the top using the smallest stitch length and a medium width. Then, increase to the largest stitch length 3-step zigzag, sew along to the end pin stretching to the max as you sew, and then decrease to the smallest stitch length and stop stretching as you sew back and forth a couple times to stabilize it.


Make sure you caught all the elastic by checking the inside.


Serge the back closed if half serging or fold the opening closed by turning the edges in following the sewing line and pinning it shut.


Apply front snaps (or hook and loop) and lean them up against your snap press and act like paparazzi.

Stellar Sprightlys, or is it Sprightly Stellars?

February 28 at 12am | Posted in Life, Little Comet Tails, Molly, Sewing | 9 Comments

Well, whatever it is, it’s Molly ASKING to go on the potty!

That’s right 😉 our 23 month old started asking to go on the potty herself about a month ago (when she was 22 months, lol). A neighbor of mine asked if we could have a sewing session and we made up some training pants for her son using the Sprightly Soaker & Underwear Pattern and the free add-on.
The Sprightly Soakers we made.

Add on soaker pads sewn to inners!

I WAS totally set to sew Molly up some cloth diapers using the Little Half Moon pattern for outings (I even cut them all out), but she had her own ideas! Molly started asking to go on the potty out of nowhere and wanting to wear Thomas’ underwear. She needed her own and fast! Never being able to leave well enough alone, I decided to make her some Stellar Transitions
but I wanted to make them without waterproofness and without FOE.

I grabbed my Sprightly Soaker and Underwear pattern and used the bands for the size medium using the same length, but cutting the width down to about 4″ for the waist and about 3″ for the legbands (She’s tiny, lol… She’s in 18-24 month ST).
Sprightly Stellars

They fit PERFECT! I have since made her 5 more pairs of Sprightly Underwear with the extra layer, and she is doing great! I foresee some regular Sprightly Underwear in her very near future! Note to self: must get cracking on child #3 so I can keep on sewing cloth diapers! Totally kidding, of course, I think… lol!

Little One Size Pocket Diaper Tutorial

February 17 at 7pm | Posted in Freebies, Little Comet Tails, Sewing | 14 Comments

My ever lovely licensee Jessica from Utopian Dreams is an expert Little One Size
maker, and she was so kind to write up this tutorial on how she makes the cloth diaper pattern into a pocket diaper. She’s very clever in her snap pocket, I admire her ingenuity 😉 Go try it!

-Samantha

——————-

With this being the first in-depth tutorial I have written, I tried to be as detailed as possible but if you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask. This was done with the side snapping version, but is pretty easily translated over to the front snapping.

1. Gather your supplies. I did also use a hole punch that wasn’t pictured.

2. Mark your pattern. You can decide if you want them on your master pattern or if you want to trace a new one specifically for pockets. Personally, I am lazy and put it on my master pattern. You can determine how much of an overlap you prefer for you sham openings. The way this is written there is an inch overlap initially but it gets decreased down to about 3/4″ when the hemming is complete.
Lay your pattern down and measure 5″ from the front panel. Make a dot at each corner of the ruler.

Turn your ruler sideways and draw a line through those two points. (You have got to love algebra coming into play in diaper making!)

Lay your pattern down and measure 4″ from the front panel. Make a dot at each corner. Repeat the line process.

Now, I often sew way too late or way too early and get confused easily. Therefore, I label my lines with which correlates to the back versus the front. It saves a lot of swearing in the long run!

3. Making a pattern piece. You need a special pattern piece for the rise snaps of the pocket. This pattern piece will serve two purposes: It will make something for you to trace and apply rise snaps too and it will also help with placement of that piece on your inner.

Measure the distance between the rise snaps (shhh it is 2.5″)

Knowing this, cut a piece of paper or poster board to 2″ x 4″ in order to provide enough room to comfortably sew around. Now, you need to find the center point of the piece. Two lines will take care of that!

Next, measure 1.25″ out from that center point in each direction and make a mark. (Don’t worry, you cannot measure the wrong way because the other direction is only an inch wide from the center!) Punch holes through those markings.
Place the pattern piece on top of your full pattern and bask in amazement at the accuracy of your measurements! Wow, you are awesome!!

4. Time to put your new pattern piece to work! Now, since this piece will be on the inside of your pocket. You can use pretty much whatever material you see fit. I used the same suedecloth as the inner but even absorbent material would work!
Trace the pattern piece and cut out two layers of fabric. Leave a bit around the outside of the traced line.

Apply one socket and one stud on the snap placement markings.

Take it to the machine and sew ON the line that you traced

Trim the excess fabric to even up your seam allowance.

OK, set this piece aside for now.

5. Inner cutting time! Trace around your pattern on the wrong side of your fabric and stop your tracing lines when they are at the appropriate “pocket” line on your pattern. (side note: remember which line is which or you will wind up with pattern pieces that don’t overlap) Also, make sure to mark the snap placement for the rise snaps as well. Feel free to leave off the soaker snap placement though…you will not be using them.
Use your wonderful algebraic skills to draw a line between these two points.

Repeat for the front panel piece as well.

6. Placing the rise snaps! OK, at this point you have what looks like standard inner layers for a sham pocket diaper and a funky little piece of fabric with two snaps attached. Those snaps need to be part of this diaper!
Pull out your little pattern piece and place it over the markings on the wrong side of your inner. Once you have the piece lined up so that you can see the markings through the holes, trace around it.

This will leave you with a layer that looks like this:

Pin your snapped piece with cap sides down to the WRONG side of the inner (If you pin it to the right side… you will kick yourself later).

Sew around the piece on the same line as before (I change my bobbin thread to coordinate with the inner, but that is not necessary).

Flip the inner over and look at the right side! YAY! Just a 2″x4″ square and no snaps against the baby!

7. Hemming and assembly! I do not hem the part of the inner that will be hidden when the diaper is complete. I find that by leaving it without a hem it cuts down on bulk, strain on the machine and it lays flatter to boot. If you are using a fabric that will fray, you will want to at least serge the bottom of that piece. For the front panel piece you will need a hem.
Measure 1/4″ from the bottom of the piece and mark two dots.

Draw a line at that 1/4″ level.

Fold the fabric along that line and pin with wrong sides facing each other. (Yes, for those of you who know me, I am now a reformed pinner. LOL)

Sew hem down. I again left the bobbin thread the color as the inner.

Grab your outer fabric and place the front panel piece right sides together on top of it.

Lay the back panel piece right side down on top of both of your other layers.

Pin everything together.

Sew All the way around. Remember, you don’t have to leave an opening because you can turn through the pocket! Seriously, that is my favorite part! Apply the elastic, topstitching, snaps, etc. according to the t&t version of the pattern.

8. YOU ARE DONE! You now have a one sized pocket diaper. The weight and size range will vary a bit depending on what type of fabrics you used, but it is nice to have the ease of use of a pocket combined with the convenience of a one sized diaper!
The rise is so simple to adjust. You can either do it with the diaper right side out simply by feeling around and snapping the snaps together, or you can turn it inside out and snap them together that way.

**Disclaimer: designs used on this diaper were hand digitized for personal use only by a member of a message board I frequent. This diaper was a shower gift for a friend and was not sold for profit!**

Now, get out there and make some LOS pocket diapers! You know you want to 😉

Making your own cloth diapers

January 28 at 12am | Posted in Little Comet Tails, Sewing | 11 Comments

So you have a sewing machine that your Great Aunt Elda gave to you when you got married (or you stumbled on a great deal on craigslist). You could be just starting out; only ever using it to fix some seams on some old shirts, or maybe you have lots of sewing hours in, making dresses for your daughter or even yourself. You find yourself saying; “It doesn’t look that hard.” when you look at a cloth diaper. Well, the truth is, it’s not… If you know the right terminology, that is.

Being a pattern designer, my email is filled with questions daily: “How do I T&T?”; “Does this come with an insert pattern, as well as the pattern for a cover?”; “What’s the difference between inner fabric, outer fabric, hidden inner fabric, soaker fabric? How many of each do I need and where do they all go?” All of those are questions I actually just replied to from my inbox, and I will address them here along with a few others.

How do I T&T?
Simply put the first T stands for turning and the second T is topstitching. Basically you sew the diaper right sides together, leaving an opening somewhere described in the pattern; turn it right side out, pin together the opening so it matches the rest of the edge and topstitch around. A turning tool (I use a bone folder, but a plain old chopstick works great) will really help the wings stay even when turning, so I highly recommend that.

TWH
The Tighty Whitey Hipster pattern is a freebie T&T pattern, you can see some pictures of how to here: https://makingitlittlebylittle.wordpress.com/2008/11/20/oldies-are-goodies-but-freebies-are-oh-so-sweet/

Does this come with an insert pattern, as well as the pattern for a cover?
Mostly these questions come from folks that aren’t familiar with cloth diapering in general. Most of my diaper patterns include instructions for making All-in-One diapers (like a disposable), Fitteds (absorbent only, requires a cover of some sort), Covers (waterproof only, needs an absorbent inside. Can be a fitted, or even prefolds). For greater detail in descriptions of types of cloth diapers and add-ons (like inserts) check out http://www.zany-zebra.com/types-of-cloth-diapers.shtml.

What’s the difference between inner fabric, outer fabric, hidden inner fabric, soaker fabric? How many of each do I need and where do they all go?
Wow, slow down there! That’s actually a bunch of questions! LOL Okay, so from the outside of the diaper towards baby: outer fabric, hidden inner fabric, soaker fabric, then inner fabric. Some recommendations for the ladder are as follows;
All-in-One(AIO)/Pocket outer fabric: PUL or Polyester fleece works great. You can use Alpine, Blizzard or Anti-pill fleece from Joann’s for an inexpensive route (find coupons!) all the way up to Malden Mills 200-300wt Polartec works well. You can’t use wool as the waterproofing fabric, because it requires different care then the absorbant materials.
Fitted outer fabric, AIO & Fitted inner fabric: Cotton, Hemp, Bamboo knits work well here. Fun prints for the outers of the fitteds are always a big hit with the kids. If you are going for the “I can’t feel wet” idea, which works wonders for overnight and outings, get some microfleece. Knits, such as interlock, jersey, velour, etc, will give you the largest range of fit. For frugality, it’s totally fine to go with wovens such as flannels and birdseye for full body layers (if you are using wovens and want the “I can’t feel wet” effect, try suedecloth), and pretty cotton quilting wovens for outers. Heck, while we are on the topic of cheap, search through old clothes, t-shirts work WONDERFULLY, and are found a plenty, look for natural fabrics and make sure you are using fabric with no more the 20% polyester content.
Hidden inner fabric: Remember those cotton t-shirts you found? Use the discolored and stained ones here 😉 No, really, you won’t see them and they are just added to stabilize the soaker fabric. I won’t tell. (or you could use similar fabric to your inner, you know, whatever you are comfortable with. LOL)
Soaker fabric: This is where you get most of your absorbency from. Some folks like microfiber (towels in the car section) and zorb, others like french terrys and fleeces(cotton, bamboo or hemp here, not poly fleece!), and others still like birdseye and warm and natural cotton batting. Try a few out and see what you like best!

As far as numbers of fabric for each layer; there is a balance that you need to find between bulk and absorbency, for a “general average wetter” you should be fine with 3 body layers (outer, hidden inner, and inner) and a 3 layer soaker (microfiber, zorb, french terrys, old towels, lol, you get the idea) for the thicker fabrics or 6 layer for the thinner (birdseye, flannel, jersey) ones. Sew one up and see if you need more or less. For example, french terry is very absorbent and thicker then birdseye, but thinner then terry toweling. Birdseye is absorbent and about similar thickness flannel.

Just a couple last things to remember when sewing your own.
1.) Ballpoint needles are your friend. They don’t pierce the fabric they “push” the fibers away to go through, not causing runs (think those pesky stockings).
2.) When sewing on knits, a stitch length of 4 or greater for a straight stitch is where you want to keep your settings. It will provide enough stretch so that when you pull the fabric, the stitches will move with it and not break.
3.) Remember to relax! Sit down when the kids are in bed with a cup of tea and read the instructions. Reread them. Read them one last time for good measure. Pattern designers sometimes take weeks upon weeks to write these up making sure they are both informative and easy to follow. Don’t ask me how I know. 😉

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