Customized Burp Cloths

Our family is growing by one this spring, so it is baby shower time! And for us creative types, that means it is time to think outside the gift registry and come up with something that we can hand make that will still satisfy the mother-to-be. I started looking around online for inspiration and found several tutorials for cute burp cloths, so I thought I’d start there. The mom has particular tastes so I didn’t want to stray too far from her nursery theme. Turns out I didn’t have to stray at all!

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I went to my local Babies R Us and printed up her registry, went trolling up and down the ailes trying to decide what I’d pick up for the expectant couple, when I came upon their nursery bedding.

And then it hit me. I didn’t see crib sheets; I saw fabric! There it was, my inspiration. After I checked out, I went next door to Hancock’s (conveniently located!) and picked out three coordinating flannels and headed home. If you do this project yourself, don’t do what I did and go to the fabric shop fueled only by one cup of coffee, and only get 1/4 yard of fabric. It wasn’t a disaster, but a healthy sized burp cloth is about 10-18″ so mine wound up being 8″ since I only got 1/4. But hey, I have less to throw in my scrap pile now, so it wasn’t all bad. And I think they came out at a useful size regardless.  PLEASE NOTE: Disregard the batting you see in the photo below! You’ll read why below.

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The basic instructions are:

  • Cut off the elastic part of the crib sheet and iron it out (you’ll have about 2 yards)
  • cut out rectangles of 8″ x 18″ of the flannel and crib sheet (or 10×18 if you bought more flannel)
  • Sew wrongs sides together, leaving and opening on one side to turn it inside out.
  • Clip corners
  • Turn right side out and press
  • Top stitch the perimeter
  • Top stitch a couple of lines across the burp cloth, either straight across the width or length, or diagonally (which is what I did)

If you need a good tutorial for a burp cloth, see Dana made it

I saved the cute burlap Velcro band that came with the sheet and used it to package them up.

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A note about these: I used batting for some reason. I think they are a little too stiff. I hope they wash up nicely, but if I had to do it again I would definitely not use the batting. Mine seem like tiny rectangular quilts. But the good news is I have enough leftover sheet fabric to make washcloths to redeem myself once I find some nice, soft baby terry cloth.

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Another note: If your sheet and your backing are both cotton, use cotton thread and don’t worry about pre-washing anything because it will all shrink up about the same size. However, I have seen a lot of tutorials using polyester backing (Minky or chenille) and quilting cotton for the other side. Definitely pre-wash your cotton in that case because when they get washed for the first time the cotton will shrink up but the polyester won’t and it will look weird.

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Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Are You an IG Swap Virgin?

If you are new to swaps, and have questions, you are not alone! Today’s blog will cover the basic “how to’s” for the common swap on Instagram.

The first thing to know about swaps is that they are F-U-N and not with just a capital “F” but with all three of those letters capped. Yes, I’m yelling. They are FUN! But you kinda know that already with all the posts you’ve been seeing about them on Instagram. You know, things like, “Oh, I really shouldn’t but I just can NOT help myself” or “Another one! I’m in SQUEEEE” or perhaps “Are you in @soandso”? (my apologies if that’s a real IG name) and other gleeful, hopeful and excited swapper comments.

There are all kinds of different swaps. There really is something for everyone.

I can’t cover them all in this post (see my last post. We are moving! What business do I have sitting down to write a post, anyway? I should be organizing to move.) I’ll touch on a few just so you get a taste.

Want to collect different fabrics without having to hunt them all down yourself? Then be on the lookout for a color swap. Or a favorite designer swap. Or a pre-cut (charm, layer cake, 10″ square, etc.) These are efficient swaps to get your stash built up.

I am currently involved in the Liberty Stamp Swap, where participants are making 28 blocks of 16 2.5″ squares with no repeating Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics. This one has been dreamy. Truly. I love Liberty of London, London, fabric, sewing, quilts….right up my alley. Anyway, come June I’ll be mailing off my completed blocks and then receiving 27 back…all sewn by different people.

Then there is the themed swap, which my IG friend @dizzylittlekingdom introduced me to with her Paris Swap and Bee Still My Heart Swap. Both themed swaps will involve one sewn item, a treat, a FQ of fabric, and in the case of the Bee, honey or honey-related item (since shipping honey across the ocean or from country to country is problematic), as well as a sewing notion and a treat. It’s a great combo.

How do you find a swap, you may be asking? Well, stalk Instagram. I joined IG not too long ago and started following other quilters by doing a search for #quilt #quilts #sewing and before you know it you will jump into the incredible IG world of making new friends world-wide who have the same love for sewing you do. Soon you will see posts that involve swaps. These posts either come from the swap host or by people reposting from the host. The best thing to do is to find the originator, which is easily done by reading through comments. Usually the host’s IG name is in there somewhere. Then go to the host’s profile and there may be information on the profile or you can check through their feed to see where the post first pops up. It’s easier than it sounds and you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

There are a few ways hosts handle swaps. Sometimes you just have to leave your email in a comment. Other times you need to go to the host’s profile and click on a link for a Google form to complete. Take note that after you fill out the form you are brought to a screen that shows that you signed up. And the poof…it seems gone. You will not get an email confirmation or anything. So you might want to fill out the form again and the same thing happens. The worst that will happen is that you will have signed up twice but the host will catch it. Don’t worry.

Details for the swap are generally outlined in the beginning. What it will involve, if it’s secret or not and when the ship date is. If everything is vague, the host will be sending out more info soon or in an email after sign ups are complete. It all magically comes together.

If you’ve had enough info to get started, go on…hop on IG and see what you can find. If you want more info, another very basic post is coming.

I know there are no pretty pictures, quotes and so on that make a great blog post. But I can’t fiddle with that today. I’ve got to get my sewing stuff packed up safely so I know exactly what boxes to find in the new house. Thanks for reading and I hope it helped.

P.S. Swap experts-Please leave comments below to help out swappers!

SWAPS. What are they and how do I get in?

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Aha! I’ve found something that seems easier to understand than the online Quilting Bee, which is the IG world of the “Swap”. Since my post about how I was going to go and figure out the online quilting bee scenario, I started trolling around Instagram like crazy and found a couple of treasures. If you are new to this, like I am, read on and maybe some of this will help you out.

The first treasure I found is the wonderful online community of quilters like me. I feel like I’ve found my tribe, my people, my sisters in fabric hoarding and project overload. I love the way one Instagrammer puts it: “My friends that live in my phone.” I am glad to be one of her friends that live in her phone. She makes me laugh and inspires me, as do so many of my new “friends who live in my phone.” How did I find this community? I did some hashtag searches, such as: #quilting #quilt #fabrichoarding. I think you get the drift.

Several mornings and breaks in my day, I sit down and immerse myself in the world of other people’s sewing rooms, fabric stashes, new projects, “happy mail” (when new fabric orders arrive in the mail), finished projects and random life photos, quotes and maybe even find out what TV shows they watch. But my favorite discovery has been the SWAP, the second “treasure.”

In a matter of a week and a half, I went from “how to join a bee” confusion to officially signing up in four swaps. I’m crazy. I’m addicted. And I’m moving in about three weeks!!! The first space in my new house to set up will be my sewing area. I’ve got deadlines, people! That does bring up a good point, though. Make sure you can make the deadline, and don’t over extend yourself. Think of what it would be like if you were the organizer and people weren’t making deadlines. That’s a brand of stress no one needs. Having said that, there are those unfortunate circumstances where someone can not participate and for that there are “swap angels” or “sewing angels” or “block angels” (I think we get the picture!) who will sew instead. For more “swap etiquette”, check out this post on thesewingloftblog.com.

So, what is a swap? Well, the name kind of says it all, but in the world of quilting/crafting/sewing, an Instagrammer might put out a post asking if there is an interest in a particular item (fabric? tote bag? sewing supply bag? etc…). The “host” (organizer)  then creates a Google form and links it to their IG profile, where people can sign up, providing their name, email, mailing address and other pertinent info.

swap google docs

Some swaps ask the participant specific information, such as favorite colors, fabric designers, etc. In one swap I’m participating in, the organizer asked all the participants to post a collage of things they liked in that particular theme. Here is mine for the #Parisswap

paris swap collage

This particular swap involves secret partners so we are encouraged to stalk our partner’s feed for ideas about what they might like.

Another swap I’m in involves sewing 27 quilt squares from Liberty Tana Lawn fabric (Eeee! I’m so excited) and I’ll get the same number of squares back from other people.

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In another swap, I’ll be sewing an organizer bag and getting the same bag back. I can not wait to pick the fabrics and get sewing. This one does not have secret partners, so I’ll be able to find out before hand exactly what kind of fabric this partner enjoys.

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Maybe you are asking, how do I find a swap? Sometimes people will share/repost the picture of the swap so you can find out who is hosting and go join if you are in time. They fill up pretty quickly. Just keep trolling and snooping around until you find something you like. As you can tell from this assortment I’ve shown you, they are various and plenty! There are specific hashtags for swaps so you can quickly find photos of projects in progress, as well as other participants.  The organizer will advise what the hashtags are. It’s a good idea to follow the other participants in your swap to experience the fullness of the community experience! So fun!

I’ve been on Instagram before…as “myself” and kept it private..not as the sewer, quilter, swapper lady with a public account. I can say this experience has broadened my experience of the quilting world instantly (Insta-glee!). I get to see sewists in Australia and England and their beautiful projects and fabrics…and sewing rooms, and on and on. I’m hooked.

If you have your own swap tips, please share them! Or maybe a swapping story to share?