Smock Bib: FREE Pattern and Tutorial

It’s sewing time!  I’m excited to share with you my first ever FREE pattern and tutorial for a baby smock bib.  🙂

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I don’t know about your kids, but my baby is certainly a messy eater!  She likes to feed herself and usually ends up with food everywhere.  Even when we try to feed her it gets a little messy.  Easter dinner ended up all over her face, hands, hair, ears.  Fortunately she was wearing her smock so her clothes were at least unstained.  🙂

When we first introduced E to solid food, we quickly figured out that the regular bibs weren’t going to work.  So I went out and found a smock that I hoped would do the trick.  It was made out of vinyl or something that seemed like a great idea, but really didn’t come clean and it wasn’t too long before holes were starting to form.  I took it apart and used the pieces as a rough template for a cloth version.  The original smock was for 18 M.  I decided to make it about the same size, but since my daughter is only 10 1/2 months, we just roll up the arms to make them a bit shorter for now.

The front of the smock is made up of denim from three pairs of my old blue jeans (might as well use them for something!).  Denim is a fantastic choice for a bib since it doesn’t stain easily.  🙂  I’ve used various types of fabric for the back and sleeves so you can probably use whatever you have on hand.  In this tutorial I’m using flannelette, but I’ve also used broadcloth and even a cut up cotton t-shirt.  As long as it’s washable, I don’t see why you couldn’t use it.

I was at FabricLand and found this super cute fabric with the pea pods.  Ok, maybe white isn’t the BEST choice for a bib, but it was so cute I just couldn’t resist.  🙂

But enough chatter…on to the tutorial.

Materials:

– fabric for sleeves and smock back (can be the same, as in this tutorial, or different)

– denim for the smock front (I used my old blue jeans)

– double fold bias tape (around 2 1/2 yards or meters)

– coordinating thread

– hook and loop closure

Smock Pattern and tape

Instructions:

1. Print, cut out, and tape the pattern pieces together.

There are 3 pieces for the sleeve and 2 pieces for the front.  Overlap the pieces so that the shapes are complete.

You will need to create the reflection of the front so that you have a full shape.  I just have half in the pattern so that it was easier to share.  Here’s what your pieces should look like.  (Ignore the “Fold” written in pencil)

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2. Cut out your fabric.

IMG_3659Fold your fabric with wrong sides together and cut out the sleeves.

Cut the smock back using just one layer of fabric, either of the same fabric or a coordinating fabric.

 

 

 

3. Create the denim smock front.

IMG_3661This is where you can get creative.  Because I used my blue jeans the front will not be in just one piece.  Here’s what I did.  I took the pattern for the smock front and divided it into three sections.  I just did vertical lines for this tutorial, but the sections can also be cut on an angle.

 

 

 
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Pin each section onto the denim and cut out.  Here’s the important part: make sure to add about 1/2 inch extra on the “cut” side.  This is so that you can sew the pieces together, creating the front of the smock.

 

 

Here are my pieces all cut.

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TIMG_3667ake the bottom and middle pieces and pin with right sides together.  Repeat with the top and middle pieces.

 

 

 

 

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Sew each pinned section using a 1/2 in seam.  Trim the seams and iron open.  Put aside for now.

 

 

 

 

 

4. Prepare the sleeves.

IMG_3692Pin and sew the bias tape onto the straight edge of the sleeve.  If this is your first time using bias tape, there are lots of great tutorials online.  Basically here’s how you do it.  When folded the bias tape is slightly longer on one side than the other.  Taking the shorter side, unfold it and pin, right sides together, to the sleeve as shown in the picture.  Sew along the fold.

 

 

IMG_3693Next, remove the pins and fold the bias tape over the edge.  With the right side up, since that’s the side that is going to be visible, sew along the inner edge (basically where you were first sewed the bias tape to the sleeve).

 

 

 

IMG_3694Once the bias tape is sewn on, fold the sleeve as shown in the picture.  Sew using a 1/2 in seam.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3695Trim the excess material.  I did a zigzag stitch which will hopefully prevent too much fraying from happening when it is washed.

 

 

 

 

5. Attach the sleeves to the front of the smock.

IMG_3691Take the denim front and fabric back of the smock and pin, wrong sides together.  If you are feeling ambitious, baste them together, leaving the openings for the sleeves.  Basting would help eliminate blood stains from pin pricks!  🙂

 

 

 

IMG_3696Fold down the openings for the sleeve about 1/2 in as shown in the picture.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3698Pin the sleeve (the non-sewn straight edge) in between the two layers.  Make sure you have the correct sleeve on the correct side!  The rounded part goes in the back of the bib, around the baby’s neck.  Sew in place.  I sewed fairly close to the edge of the denim.  You just want to make sure that all the layers are sewn together.

 

 

6. Add bias tape to finish the edges.

IMG_3701Here’s the most dangerous part of the project…there are a lot of pins!  Pin and sew the bias tape around all the unfinished edges.  It does get a little tricky, so have patience during this step.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3707You’re almost done!  And hopefully you’ll have a bit more luck than I did.  My sewing machine needle was on it’s last legs and seemed to hit every other pin until it finally broke!  I replaced the needle and finished the project.

 

 

 

 

7. Attach the hook and loop closure.

It doesn’t really matter which side overlaps, but I would suggest that you put the “hook” part on the side that will be on the top.  Reason for this…it won’t get stuck in hair!  Ouch!

IMG_3708Cut about an inch of the “hook” part and sew in place.  You can either do the same size for the “loop” or make it slightly bigger, which allows for a bit more size variation.

 

 

 

IMG_3710And you’re done!  Congratulations!  I’d love to hear how yours turned out!

 

 

 

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Cloth Diapering: How We Set Up Our Nursery

Before I launch into something new I try to get as much information as possible and then I imagine how everything will go.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it takes a bit of trial and error.  Cloth diapering was like that for me.  Ok, it still is!  I’m still trying to figure out how to deal with my fast heavy wetter of a daughter, but that’s not what this post is about.

So what is this post about?  Well, when you do a Google or Pinterest search for cloth diapering, many of the posts are about washing those diapers.  But there is a lot more to do with diapers than just washing them!  For example, where do you put them when it isn’t laundry day?  What do I do with a poopy diaper?  Should I use cloth wipes or disposable?  Where should those wipes go?  What kind of wipe solution should I use if I am using cloth?  The list could go on and on.

Now for some, all this might seem obvious, or not that big of an issue.  For others these might be the exact questions that you are trying to figure out.  So I’m going to share how we set up our nursery for cloth diapering.

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Here’s the change table in the nursery.

1. A place to keep the clean diapers.  The top left and center boxes are where we keep the clean, stuffed diapers.  When changing E, the diapers are easily within reach and it is easy to see when we are running low and need to do laundry.  The other drawers hold washcloths, extra cloth wipes, lotions, etc.  We do also use disposable diapers at night and we have put those beside the change table for the time being.

It is hard to see, but we have two identical laundry baskets to the left of the change table.  That way we have a basket for dirty cloths as well as a basket for the diapers when they come out of the dryer.

2. A place to keep the dirty diapers.  Hanging above the laundry basket are the extra large wet bags that we use as our diaper pails.  We bought a towel hanger from Ikea, and it works great for this!  The little shelf adds for some extra space to decorate too.

The wet bags are from Colibri.  We had originally only bought one extra large wet bag, but since it goes in the laundry with the diapers (what a great way to keep it clean), we found we would have a bunch of wet diapers piling up on the change table before the bag was dry.  So we bought a second one and now we always have a bag available to hold the wet diapers.

At first this system was working great, but then our daughter reached the solid food stage and the poop changed!  It isn’t like the breastfeeding/formula baby poops that wash away in the laundry, these ones need to be rinsed first!  Ok, not a big deal.  Take the diaper to the bathroom, rinse it in the toilet, and into the wet bag…that is in the nursery.  Eww…wet dripping diaper across the carpet.  I don’t think so!  We purchased a couple regular sized bags and we keep those bags in the bathroom for quick placement of the rinsed out diaper.  These wet bags also go in the laundry so they are kept nice and clean.

You might also notice that small pink thing hanging beside the wet bag.  That is a container holding plastic diaper bags for when E poops in a disposable.  They are from the Dollarama and work great at keeping the poopy smell to a minimum.

IMG_37413. What about wipes?  The first decision to make is whether you want to use cloth or disposable wipes.  Since you’re doing laundry anyways, cloth wipes can make sense.  Lots of places sell cloth wipes.  I decided to make my own.  I bought some cheap flannelette and cut it into squares.  I then folded the edges over and did a zig zag stitch to keep them from fraying when washed.  They might not be the nicest looking, but they work great!  And really, there are so many cute fabrics out there that would make great cloth wipes!

IMG_3740The only thing with cloth wipes is that they do require some sort of solution to wet them.  Do a Google or Pinterest search and you will find a whole bunch of ideas if you want to try some fancier solutions.  I did for awhile, but then found that I preferred the simple solution of water and baby wash.  I have a wipes warmer that my sister lent to me that I use.  It isn’t one that is meant for cloth wipes, but it still works.  At first I put the solution in the warmer along with as many wipes as could fit, but found that they started to smell bad really quickly.  So now I put the solution in the warmer (I fill it 3/4 of the way with warm tap water then mix in a squirt of baby wash) and when we need a wipe we put it in the water, wringing it out before we use it.  This system is working great for us.  The wipes warmer keeps the solution at a good temperature so E isn’t shocked when we wipe her cute little baby bum!  🙂

We keep the wipes and warmer on a plastic shelving unit right beside the change table for easy access.  The drawers in the shelving unit are perfect for storing the cloth-safe diaper rash cream and other miscellaneous baby items.

So there you have it…how we set up our nursery for cloth diapering.

How is your nursery set up?  Do you have any “why didn’t I think of that earlier” kind of moments?  I love hearing about other people’s systems, so please share!

 

Baby Finger Food: Spinach Cups

I wanted to share a great recipe that I found through Pinterest.  The original recipe is from The Test Kitchen of Melissa Fallis.  This is the second time I’ve made the spinach cups.  The first time my daughter didn’t like them at first, but then we gave them to her a few weeks later and she devoured them!  Looks like this batch is going to be eaten pretty quickly too.  🙂  I haven’t tried the other recipes, but they look pretty tasty too.

Ingredients:

– Spinach (I used a 10 oz bag)

– 1/2 cup sour cream

– 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

– 2 eggs

– sprinkle of pepper

– sprinkle of garlic powder (the original recipe called for minced garlic, but I didn’t have any fresh garlic)

Directions:

IMG_37521. Preheat oven to 350 F.  Chop up the spinach.  I had great success with a Tupperware Quick Chef Pro System.  I chopped the spinach into rough chunks.

 

 

 

 

IMG_37532. Add the sour cream.

Ok, I’m showing off more Tupperware here!  Bowl, measuring cups…I had a Tupperware Bridal Shower before we got married…let’s just say, I got spoiled!  🙂

 

 

 

IMG_37543. Add the cheddar cheese.  Mix well.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_37614. Add 2 eggs.  Mix well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_37625. Fill a mini muffin pan with the spinach mixture.  I filled them to the top and it made 24 muffins.  Put in the preheated oven.

I just recently cleaned my oven, but it certainly doesn’t look like it from this picture!

 

 

 

IMG_37636. Let them back for about 20 – 25 minutes.  A toothpick should come clean when inserted into the middle of the muffins.

Here is E waiting for her spinach cups!  (Don’t mind the messy oven door…that was a pretzel making mishap!)

 

 

 

IMG_37787. Once they are cooked, take them out of the oven and let them cool.  Remove them from the muffin tin and place them on a cookie sheet so that they aren’t touching.  Stick them in the freezer.  Once they are frozen they can be put into a freezer bag without sticking to each other.

Enjoy!  Thanks again to Melissa Fallis for this great recipe!

Waffles, anyone?

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I had such a blast making my niece’s birthday present!  I’m so excited to give it to her tonight for her third birthday.

I bought the Blueberry Waffles pattern from BuggaBugs Etsy shop.  This is the second pattern I’ve purchased from her.  The first one was for Bakery Sweets that I made for my other niece for her fifth birthday last month.  The patterns are reasonably priced and very easy to follow.  They include a list of the materials as well as fully coloured instructions.

The picture above is what I made following the pattern and I’m quite pleased with how it turned out.  The waffle iron opens and closes and the waffles fit nicely inside, just like the real thing!  I didn’t make all the fruit – the pattern included strawberries and mandarin oranges in addition to the bananas, peaches, and blueberries.  I also modified the bananas so they looked more like slices instead of chunks.

If you are thinking of making felt food check out the rest of the BuggaBug patterns!  There are several patterns on my wish list that I hope to make one day for my daughter.

But for now I should probably get wrapping…

UPDATE: This was a great success!  My niece loved it as did all the other kids at the party.  Even the adults were impressed, especially my soon-to-be-brother-in-law.  Haha!  The fruit was probably the favourite part.  Each of the kids took turns mixing up a “fruit salad” in a Tupperware bowl (part of a gift to the birthday girl from my mom) that just happened to match the blueberries.  So cute!

I confess: I’m not that great of a mom.

I was awake for over an hour last night…I woke up because my baby was crying and then once she was settled, I couldn’t fall asleep because of my snoring husband and all the thoughts that were going on in my head.

Sometimes I don’t think I’m cut out to be a mom.  Sometimes I don’t think I’m a good mom.

There have been a few times in my life when the advice I got was not the advice that I really needed.  Would I have actually listened anyways?  Well, that’s beside the point.  Now that I’ve gone through some major life events I find myself sharing the advice I wish I’d heard.

For example, if I could go back to my wedding day and change one thing, I would have walked down the hallway to see my groom before the ceremony.  I would have gone before I got in my dress so that would still be a surprise, but I REALLY wish that I had gone to see him.  I wanted to.  I was so nervous and anxious and all I needed was a few minutes with him to calm my nerves and get me excited again.

My advice to brides: give yourself permission to go and see your groom if you need to.  Yes there is the whole tradition about not seeing the bride before the wedding, but since that is a tradition from the time when a bride and groom didn’t meet each other until the wedding date and it was to keep the groom from deciding that he didn’t want to marry her because she wasn’t pretty enough…I think we are passed that in this day and age.  A friend of mine who recently got married told me that she was so happy that I had given her this advice.  She didn’t go and see him, but she did call him so they could talk and she said it helped calm her nerves and helped her be excited instead of stressed.

Now I’m a mom.  And wow, was I not prepared for it!  I guess part of it is because I was living in a state of disillusionment when I was pregnant.  Yes, I knew that my life was going to change, but I didn’t realize how much!

I remember running into a colleague shortly before I was due.  We had been pregnant together.  She had her baby a couple months before I did.  She was dealing with a new baby and I was anxiously waiting for my baby to arrive.  I remember being a little put off by her attitude towards motherhood.  She seemed like she wasn’t enjoying herself.  I can’t even remember what she said, but now I realize that her feelings were legitimate and if I had listened to her I might have been a bit more prepared.

Prepared for what?  Here are some things that have caught me by surprise.  Things I was not expecting.

1. I didn’t realize how much time babies take!  They consume almost every moment.  I don’t have much time to myself any more and I find myself grieving for that.  I find it hard to find the time to recharge my energy and mood.  Naps are great, but they don’t last forever, and before you know it, baby is awake and requiring attention again!  I’m constantly changing diapers, feeding her, putting her down for a nap, doing laundry, and all the other things that need to be done around the house.

2. I didn’t realize how resentful I’d be towards my baby.  I love my baby, and maybe resentful is too strong a word, but in the middle of the night, after I’ve struggled to fall asleep, when the baby wakes up crying I find it hard to not be annoyed, frustrated, mad that I can no longer sleep when I want to sleep and for however long I want to sleep!  Even during the day, when she is clingy or fussy, it is hard to not get annoyed at her.

3. I didn’t realize how resentful I’d be towards my husband.  There’s that word again: resentful.  I am so jealous when he stays up late because it is his turn to sleep in in the morning.  Even if I was going to sleep in the next morning, I know that I’m going to be the one to wake up to the baby’s cries and then need to wake him up, and that it will be hard to stay asleep when I hear them making noise downstairs.  If the baby does wake up in the middle of the night, I get annoyed that I am the one who always gets up to soothe her back to sleep.  (My husband has a really hard time falling asleep at night and if he gets out of bed it can take him over an hour to fall back asleep.  It doesn’t seem fair to ask him to get up when it takes less than 10 minutes to get the baby asleep again.  But it can be hard to remember that at 2 in the morning.)  When I was pregnant I would read in horror that some women would “accidentally on purpose” wake up their husbands when they were getting back into bed after dealing with the baby.  Now I completely understand!  And it isn’t just the sleeping that I can get annoyed at…sometimes something as him staring into space while I’m struggling with feeding the baby can be all it takes to set my thinking in the wrong direction.

4.  I didn’t realize there would be “mom guilt”.  I feel guilty for wanting time away from my baby.  I feel guilty when I’m away from my baby because I’m enjoying myself.  I feel guilty when I ask someone to watch my baby – even if I ask my husband – because I know how tiring it can be being around a baby.  I feel guilty for getting frustrated with my daughter when she is fussy or won’t sleep when I want her to.  The list could go on and on.

So why on earth am I writing this?  It certainly sounds depressing.  Or maybe it just makes me seem like an impatient person who doesn’t love her baby.

You know what, though?  I do love my baby.  I love her so much that I will put my own needs in front of hers, again and again, and again.  That’s why these things I just wrote about have caught me off guard.  I am slowly figuring out how to meet my needs so that I can be a better mom and wife.

I’m writing this because sometimes it seems like there are certain things that just aren’t talked about.  We talk about labour and delivery.  We talk about breastfeeding.  We talk about diaper changes.  We talk about night wakings.  We talk about how much we love our babies.

But we don’t talk about the negative feelings.

And you might not have these feelings.  You might absolutely LOVE every minute of being a mom.  But if you are struggling, know that you aren’t alone.  Know that other moms feel the exact same way.

My Top 5: When Baby has a Cold

My daughter just got over a cold!  There are lots of ways to help prevent colds, like washing hands, staying away from germs, etc., but even with good hygiene everyone catches colds.

It’s a fact of life.

And really, do I want to keep my child in a sanitary bubble her whole life?  I think not.  I will teach her about washing hands, covering her mouth, and all that other stuff as she gets older.  For now, when her primary mode of moving is by putting her hands on the floor and everything goes in her mouth, there isn’t too much I can do.

Except deal with the symptoms and help her get through it as comfortably as possible.

So what do I use?  Here’s My Top 5 things for when baby has a cold.IMG_3545

1. Boogie Wipes: Never would have splurged on these, but my cousin gave me a pack as part of a baby shower gift.  I have since picked up the large size!  These things are great!  They wipe off crusted on boogies like nobody’s business.  They even work better than a warm wet cloth or other baby face wipes!  I still use a tissue to wipe E’s nose most of the time (which she hates), but she complains far less with the Boogie Wipes and they do a much better job getting everything off.  The wipes come in three “flavours” (Fresh, Grape, and Unscented), although I have only tried the Fresh scent.

2. Vick’s BabyRub Soothing Ointment: This is on the must-have list for a new baby.  It is a non-medicated ointment that helps relieve congestion and coughing.  It also smells wonderful because of the aloe vera, eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavendar in it.  According to the directions, it is meant to be rubbed on the baby’s chest, back, and neck.  I also read on Pinterest that rubbing it on the baby’s feet can also help.

3. HydraSense Ultra-Gentle Mist Hydrating Nasal Care: Another product on the must-have list.  This helps with nasal congestion.  It has a specially designed “comfort tip” that has been designed specifically for a baby’s tiny and delicate nose.  E isn’t a huge fan of it getting sprayed up her nose, but it helps her breathe and relieves dryness.

4. Humidifier: Speaking of dryness, a humidifier can help with that!  Edmonton can be very dry, especially in the winter, and E will often have a very dry nose that starts bleeding a little bit.  😦  We have a humidifier running in her room during naps and through the night to help relieve some of the dryness.  It also provides white noise which is an added bonus!

5. Coconut Oil: This is an amazing thing!  Everyone should have a big jar of it in their homes.   I even listed it as a “bonus” item in My Top 5: Things for a Newborn post.  Right before putting her to bed, we would give E a baby spoonful of coconut oil to help relieve coughing.  It tastes great so she takes it eagerly.  Apparently mixing it with honey makes it even better for coughs, but since E is still under a year, we haven’t tried that yet.

There you have it.  Five great things to help your baby through a cold.  Add some extra love and cuddles, maybe even a nice warm bath, and hopefully your baby will be feeling better soon!

 

 

Tempt Your Baby’s Taste Buds

My husband and I like to go on “mini dates” to Chapters.  After we order our drinks from Starbucks we start wandering around, looking at the various books in the hopes that we’ll find something interesting.  That usually happens.

I knew that I wanted to try making my own baby food.  Don’t get me wrong, the prepared baby food available in stores is fantastic for introducing those foods, especially fruit, that are too expensive to buy when they aren’t in season, but there’s something about preparing your own food.  There are tons of recipes online for making baby food, but I figured that I’d take a look in the baby section of the book store anyways.  (It’s been one of our most visited areas of the store since we got pregnant.)

With Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate in my hand, I started looking at baby food cookbooks and came across this one.  AMAZING!  As I was looking at the recipes, was getting hungry!  I don’t think that happens all that often with a cookbook for baby food.  Haha!

IMG_3554The book is written by a restaurant owner and chef.   He also is the developer for a line of baby food known as Sprout so he knows what he’s doing.  (I wish I could buy the stuff here in Canada!)  The recipes in the book are simple to follow and taste great!  Anything I have made, E has gobbled up.  I have tried some recipes online as well as from other cookbooks, and it has been hit and miss.  Not with this one!  (The applesauce recipe is particularly delicious!)

This book is American so it doesn’t follow the Canadian recommendations for introducing foods to a baby.  So use your judgement when introducing the various dishes to your baby.

The book is divided into four main sections based on age starting at 4 months.  (Here in Canada 6 months is the recommended age for introducing solids.)  The last two sections (for ages 9 months and up) have recipes that could easily be enjoyed by the whole family, pureeing or chopping up the baby’s portion.

So if you’re thinking of making your own baby food, pick up this book to help you get started!