Maternity Pants

We just got some great news in my family – my daughter is expecting a new baby in January!  Now, while this means many great and wonderful things – it also means thinking about the clothing she will be wearing for the next several months.   She has a career job that requires her to wear suits to work each day – and she would rather not go out and buy new slacks for all her suit jackets.  She is a very tall woman who has difficulty finding slacks that fit correctly off the rack.

So, we decided to alter her existing pants instead of buying (or making) new ones.  And the pants can be altered right back to their original size later on.

I started with a pair of her existing slacks.  Sorry, I didn’t get a picture before we cut the pants up – but they were originally purchased at The Limited, so you have an idea of what they looked like.   The pants had a low-cut waist line, so I removed the waistband and the zipper (which was only 4″ long), then I sewed a maternity band into her pants where the waistband had been.  Here is a picture of the pieces I removed, and with the maternity band added.

When she is ready, I will just reverse these steps and add the waistband and zipper back into the pants.  If the pants had a higher waist line originally, then I would have measured up from the crotch 8″ and cut the rest of the pants off.  Use a 1/2″ seam so the maternity band will start about 7 1/2″ above the crotch.

I’ll be doing this with all of her pants, it’s very easy to do, saves some money (and shopping time) and she loves the results!

One important thing to note, this method uses a maternity band (sometimes called a belly band), and NOT a maternity panel.  Maternity panels require you to cut up your pants much more than using the band does, and while it is possible for a skilled seamstress to restore the pants after the alteration is done using panels, they would never look quite the same.

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

Bridal Shower Gift/Activity

April Showers…. generally that means rain to get the ground ready for Spring.  But around my house, it recently meant baby showers.  My daughter was hosting a shower for a friend who was having twins – these were her first children, so of course there were not any ‘leftovers’ in the essentials department (namely onesies and burp cloths).  The expectant mother had asked for those types of items as part of the gifts being brought to greet her little darlings.

So, being inventive, that’s what my daughter and the girls decided to do for the baby shower.  They purchased a bunch of plain onesies, and cloth  diapers to use as burp cloths.  Then (with permission) they raided my stash of small fabric pieces.  Each particpant at the shower was given a blank canvas (onesie or diaper) to work with – and they created appliques to go on their ‘canvas’.  The applique was made using fusible webbing (Wonder Under in this case).

Everyone had lots of fun exploring their creativity, even though many of them had never touched a sewing machine.  Here are some pictures of what they came up with (click the picture to see the larger image).

After the shower, I got to do my part – doing the actual applique stitching on the projects.  So as you can see, this is a shower idea that even a group of non-sewers can do!  (Just make sure you have at least one person willing and able to do the final stitching!)

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

Fat Quarter Pumpkins!

Hello everyone!  This is Heather, Sheila’s assistant, again.  And I thought I’d drop you a quick project that even a non-sewer can do in no time.  Just in time for Halloween (and you even have time to still make several before Friday)!

First – , for those who want to know what a fat-quarter is, it’s a term used by quilters. It’s a ‘fat’ quarter of a yard. Which means that instead of the ¼ yard being cut only along the width of the fabric – it’s actually first cut as a ½ yard, which is then cut in half along the length. This gives you a piece of fabric 18” x 22”
Need a picture? Check out this link.

Now, what can you do with a fat quarter? Well, some quilts are made up entirely of fat quarter cuts of fabric – and in most fabric stores you can purchase fat quarters as single pieces or in color- or pattern-coordinated packs. But I’ll leave more on fat quarter quilts to Sheila and other experts in quilting.  (Trust me, you don’t need me to confuse you!)

Since I work around fabric, and I’m a crafter – I’m always on the hunt for little scraps of brightly colored things I can use in crafting, and fat quarters (which can occasionally be purchased for less than a dollar with a good sale) naturally attracted my attention. And when I first saw these pumpkins – well, I had to have a few.

The steps are simple. Here’s what you need:

  • An average roll of toilet paper (mine are the ‘jumbo’ size, and so my pumpkins came out a bit more squared looking at the top)
  • A few leaves cut out of green felt or fleece (or your leaves could be fall colors)
  • A coiled pipe-cleaner, brown or black makes a great stem – and holds the fat quarter in place
  • An orange colored fat quarter (red ones make good apples!)

Wrap the toilet paper in the fat quarter – start with it centered on the fabric as shown here, then pull one side of the fabric up and tuck into the top of the roll.

Match with the second side, and then tuck in the corners, be careful to pull the extra fabric so it will hide under the edges that are securely tucked in (unless your roll is VERY small, not all the edges of the fabric will reach to be tucked into the tube of fabric).

Press in your coiled chenille stick and one or more leaves.

Voila! A pumpkin! Okay, so a few of you are wondering what to do with a fat quarter pumpkin… Why not use this method to disguise that extra roll of toilet paper that you have out in the guest bathroom?

Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing