Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Trading in my Husqvarna for a Brother cs-6000i sewing machine

Why I'm trading in my Husqvarna sewing machine for a brother cs 6000i. 

Brother sewing machine
This is the post that I've been dying to write about why I'm kicking out my expensive Husqvarna sewing machine for a cheap Brother sewing machine.

Before I begin, I must say that brother is NOT paying me to write this post. I have purchased this machine on my own after loads of research and want to share my experience. 
If you use any affiliate links that I have included, you are helping me stay home with my sweet little ones - thank you in advance. :)

Back in 2008 I sold a sewing business, and I decided that with some of the proceeds I would buy a coveted Husqvarna sewing machine. I couldn't wait to see what the hype was about, and how amazing it must sew.

After using it for a while, I found that I had the same issues as my old machine, and learned that I simply wasn't caring for my machines properly. Such as changing needles to the correct size for my fabrics, constant cleaning, and using the right presser feet for the job.

Because it was such an expensive brand, I chose to buy one on black friday. Although I only spent $500 on a $1000 machine, it was still the lowest version of any Husqvarnas that I could afford. I only had 8 stitch options and the machine came without any bells and whistles.

Husqvarna is in the top 3 category of sewing machines. It's heavy duty, there are fantastic options on the expensive models, and it's a lot like sewing with a cadillac. That is, if you buy the expensive version.

After using the machine for 8 years, I finally confided in my husband that I didn't care for it. I almost felt like it was blasphemous to get something else! He was very supportive and got me thinking about my options. Although I could spend the money on an expensive brand, he encouraged me to look at the brands that most people are buying.

View of front controls on Brother cs 6000i

When I researched the things that I wanted a sewing machine to do, I decided very quickly that I wanted to do tutorials for my customers. So I knew I needed to buy one that they would be familiar with. I also realized that I don't need an industrial strength sewing machine anymore....and my customers would not typically have one either.
Thread Cutter on Brother cs 6000i
That's when I discovered my Brother cs-6000i. It's perfect. It has the most reviews of every sewing machine that I could find. It was top sold in 2016 and 2017. Top rated on amazon, walmart, and all of the big stores that sold it. At the time of my purchase, I found a total (conservative) of about 8000 reviews. That means alot to me!
Drop in bobbin. You don't even need to thread it through!
What had me baffled when I was searching was the price tag. This machine has every bell and whistle imaginable, yet cost less than $200. I ended up ordering from Amazon and it was here in 2 days. I love prime!
Presser foot and threader

After I opened the box, I started sewing right away. I read at least 600 reviews so I knew where to start, but I still felt like there was so much I didn't know. I had no idea what any of the extra presser feet did, or how to use them. So I did what any sensible person does....I read the manual. It took me a few nights laying in bed to get through it, but I am so glad that I did!

A snapshot of the stitches. Whew! Get out the manual!

Some of the things in the manual that are extremely valuable are:
  • Button holes  
    • How to use the foot and how to make them easy!
  • Twin needles - (I always called it a double needle)
    • How to use them and settings on the machine to use them with
  • Thread tension
    • What the fabric looks like if the tension is wacky and which way to adjust
  • Overcasting stitches
    • Which ones for various types of fabric
  • Basic stitches
    • Which ones for various types of fabric
  • How to sew a blind hem
  • How to attach a button with the machine
  • How to sew a zipper
  • How to sew stretch fabrics and elastic
  • How to attach appliques
  • How to use the quilt foot
  • How to use every stitch on the machine
  • How to clean the machine
Here's a video of me opening the box for the first time! :) It's like Christmas...

The sewing machine came with everything that it said it would....including a new walking foot! I already had one with my old machine and I loved it. I really think everyone should have one, regardless if their machine comes with one or not. This is the one that I was using previously.

This is my favorite walking foot
Another thing that this machine has going for it, is how it's so easy to thread and start sewing immediately. Do you see the top of the machine? I love the built in diagrams that are up there! When I first brought the machine down to my sewing room, I was excited that I didn't have to take the manual out immediately just to try it out.

A snapshot of the top of the threaded machine

I have yet to use the quilting table, but I will sometime! I love the large work area and I know I will love it even more when I'm using it.

This is what the quilting table looks like attached
Overall, I think that I got a great deal. I have a new machine that purrs when it sews; a plethora of stitches that I don't know if I'll ever use; a fantastic brand that has maximum support for it's customers, a machine that I can do tutorials with easily; I didn't break the bank and I get to share it with you. :)

A snapshot of the side of the machine
If you are interested in this sewing machine, Feel free to click any of the images in this post. It will take you directly to amazon. All of the links are monetized and help me stay home with my sweet little ones. Thank you in advance!

Free Bib Pattern

free bib pattern

Lets face it, keeping baby faces clean is a full time job. Keeping their clothes clean doesn't have to be though. OK, maybe that's not true, cleaning baby clothes is definitely a full time job; but keeping drool and food off of them can be a bit easier. That's where bibs come in.
Baby bibs are really a necessity when it comes to making supplies for our little ones. They can be pretty expensive to purchase, but when you make them yourself, they can cost next to nothing!
Lets get started.

bib patternbib pattern

To begin making baby bibs, you'll need to make a plan. 

Which bibs do you need to make? What phase is your baby in and going to be in soon? Take a look at the checklist below to see what you need to have in your bib arsenal.
  • The Drool Bib
    • 0-6 months (for when your baby is in the drooling phase)
  • The Cereal Bib
    • 4-8 months (for when your baby is starting baby food)
  • The Shoulder Snap Bib
    • 4-8 months (similar to the cereal bib, but snap is on the shoulder)
  • The Dinner Bib
    • 5 months - 4 years (for when your child is eating solid foods)
  • The Spaghetti Bib
    • 4 months - 4 years (A large bib with a snapping pocket for messy meals)

How many bibs do I need to have?

This is a real question that really depends on a few factors. 
First factor is your individual baby. If your baby is a drooler, and you make drool bibs, you might get away with having only one per day. But if your baby drools excessively, you'll want to change the bib 4-5 times a day. 
Second factor is how often are you washing? If you wash your baby's clothing and bedding separately from the rest of the family's, then you might only wash it once a week. In that case, you'll need more bibs than if you wash them with the rest of the family's laundry. 

What's someone to do who doesn't have a baby yet? 
I'd start with making 3 of each type of bib. Once the baby comes, you'll get a better idea of what your needs are. When you reach the stage where you want the baby to start using bibs, you'll have a desire and time to do something at your sewing machine. Don't feel like you need to rush to get it all done before the baby arrives.
bib pattern
5 baby bibs that coordinate make a great baby gift!

How to make baby bibs as a gift?

Making baby bibs as a gift is easy and fun! For a gift, I usually make one of each type. That's a bundle of 5 bibs that goes from birth to 4 years old. If you make the bibs in coordinating colors and fabrics, it is a pleasure to give the gift, and even more of a pleasure to open!

bib pattern

So how do I make a baby bib?

I have a sewing pattern for the baby bibs here
If you want even more of a visual, I have free bib making class with two of my daughters while we made a few of these bibs. View the free bib video below.

Don't forget to get the printable bib sewing pattern for the template and the step by step tutorial.

Happy sewing!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

How to make a baby Jumpsuit romper

There's nothing like creating something beautiful for my baby. But I dare say that when I create something that I know the entire world of crafty people can benefit from, it takes the cake.
This baby jumpsuit is exactly the cake taker on the subject. 

Lets get this out of the way.
This incredibly cute fabric that I used on this Jumpsuit is available here.

When my Joy bumped up in size, I realized very quickly that I needed to get designing. I simply had nothing in her dresser that was handmade, and nothing that wasn't verrrrry used from previous children. 

Joy is a crawler. By this I mean, I am pretty sure she will never walk. Haha - just kidding, but she has been crawling since she was 6 months old and she can crawl faster than most toddlers can run. I have a few "hang up" outfits like the reversible jumper (my favorite, go to dress), and some other frilly things, but they are so hard to crawl in that she gets frustrated. 

I needed an outfit that would be comfortable (not overly frilly) for our active lifestyle, and something she could crawl around in. I needed something that was light weight enough for summer, but could keep her warm in our approaching fall weather. Because lets face it, if the pants are light weight, they are always better in the summer to crawl in than shorts. Who wants skinned knees?


What I love about this one piece jumpsuit is that I can have her wear it to bed, without it riding up. She can crawl without it riding up, she can be lugged around by any of her sisters, her dad, or myself without worrying about her shirt covering her tummy. Speaking of which, does anyone else pull weeds with their baby on their hip? Or read books, or stir dinner, or wipe noses, or do dishes one handed? Yes, this is why one piece outfits are so incredibly wonderful. When I don't have to worry about a simple thing like creeping up shirts, it makes a busy mamma's world easier.

Another obstacle that I had to battle was the crotch. Since the jumpsuit is one piece, I needed something that I could have enough room in for the cloth diaper, but wouldn't be overly bulky. Um, hello multiple attempts that were horrible! Just because this little peanut wears cloth diapers does NOT mean that her clothes need to be giant and balloonish. This is where the "cloth diaper extender" comes in.
Now don't be alarmed, it's not a huge extension, but just enough to add extra room. In fact, I really recommend that everyone who makes this jumpsuit, use the optional extender. I gave directions that are optional in the tutorial, but unless you have a very trim baby, use it. If you have a trim baby, by all means, have a more form fitting jumpsuit by not using it - and you'll be glad for that option! You can see how the cloth diaper extender sits below the crotch just slightly. It's sleek and makes a perfect fit.

Length is a debate that I have with myself as a designer. I want to make things the perfect length. The length that will match Carters, and other name brands. However, what I have found is that pants that are barely long enough, ride up to the knees when my baby is sitting, or crawling. You'll find with this design, that I didn't skimp on the length. That the pants aren't too long, but they aren't too short. There isn't the riding up, and the legs are covered. The shape of the pants in this jumpsuit pattern are to attest for great fit, but an added smidge of length will keep you and your baby happier!

See what I mean in the pic below? It doesn't look longer, but there is totally an added bit to keep it from riding up. This is what I love about designing - that I can make better stuff than what you can buy. :)

Another thing that I wanted to mention is that I have an ONLINE CLASS VIDEO tutorial for this jumpsuit pattern. I call it a class, because although it's not technically a class, it's a 30 minute, step by step, taking my time instruction. I give hints and tricks along the way and teach you a few added things that you can do, that I don't mention in the tutorial. 

How easy is it to change a diaper in this baby jumpsuit? Amazing. Seriously. Can you imagine the uncomfortable feeling of wearing a diaper, wetting in it, then someone undressing you until you were almost entirely naked just to change said wetness? That's the reality if your baby is wearing zip up pjs, or anything with a front opening for diaper changes. Why do you think most babies cry during diaper changes? It's because they are cold!!
This jumpsuit pattern shows you how to add snaps to the only area they need to go: in the leg and crotch area. I didn't realize how much I loved doing it this way until recently. Why do I have to have 6 babies before I realize what I like the most?!

Did you know that I am starting to make physical booklets for my patterns? They are only available at Amazon or wholesale directly from me at the moment. I frequently have pattern shops contact me for wholesale discounts so that they can have a class with my booklets. I do have wholesale pricing and can send them to you if you wanted to get 15 or more. 
What I love about the booklets is that my customers can have a physical product mailed to them. Many times that's what people are looking for. I'm hoping that my honey can help me make some more books in the future. 

Lastly, lets discuss how much fabric this jumpsuit will actually use. We want to make cute things, but in all reality, we also want to make affordable things. At least that's what's important in my world. 
See the size chart below? Do you see how much fabric it takes? Hardly anything. And guess what? I have made multiple jumpsuits from recycled t-shirts!! 

I made this jumpsuit from two t-shirts! It's a great way to recycle!

 So are you ready to try this Baby Jumpsuit Pattern for yourself? I think you'll be glad that you did!

What about you? Do you have something that you love to sew, or have your baby wear? Share it!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reversible Baby Overalls pattern is available now!

There's nothing that I like better than homemade clothes for my son. It's hard to find boy sewing patterns that are any different than the last one. So here's my story on how I came to design the Reversible baby overalls pattern.

When I had requests for these baby overalls, I was excited to get on with it! I knew I could make some darling designs for my son - But my question was, what could I do to make them a staple pattern, yet different enough that someone would want THIS one.

My favorite part of this overall pattern is that they are reversible. Yes, I said it - reversible overalls. These can be turned inside out and you are essentially sewing two entire outfits in one shot. They are extra sturdy because of the double layer, and yet it's still light weight enough that I'm ok with wearing it on warmer days. 
Did I mention they were sturdy? That's good, because if your son is like mine, he goes through clothes like wildfire. This kid needs tough clothes. 

I love that the ankle has a 3" cuff so that it adds extra design, instead of the simple leg. It would be easy to simply eliminate it, but why would you want to?! It's so cute! I also like that the cuff isn't sewn into place, so that if your little one has long legs, you can simply roll or unroll the overalls to the proper length.

Who says these overalls can't be for girls too? I have ideas of putting ruffles on the rear of this overall pattern...but maybe it's an idea for a new day. :)

As you know, I test all of my designs repeatedly. I also measure and keep my sizes about the same as carters brand clothing. This is helpful because as you can see, my Elijah can twist and turn and play without leg snaps coming undone, or without feeling uncomfortable in any way. Trust me, these are designed to fit. 

When I designed these overalls, I wanted to make them to fit the rear area so that a diaper would fit, without seeming bulky or baggy. My kids always are on the "softer" side, so it needed to fit them, but I also wanted the overall pattern to look good on a thinner child. This pattern does the trick. 

 This overall pattern fits babies from newborn to 3T. Printable pattern pieces makes it easy to print each size at any time. I love technology!

 Whenever I make a new sewing pattern, I get alot of questions. That is partly why I write these articles about why I made something a certain way.
One question I get EVERY TIME I make a reversible pattern, is how the snaps work in the reverse. As you can see from the image below, the snaps work just fine in the reverse. :)

One last thing to mention: This baby romper pattern (overalls) uses WOVEN fabric. That's right - the beautiful fabric that you see in rows at the fabric shops - you can use it on this pattern! This is enough in itself to just fall in love with this pattern!

Thank you for your interest in my reversible overall pattern design. to view the pattern CLICK HERE to go to my website. Here you can purchase, and download the reversible baby overalls pattern at any time. Happy sewing!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Diaper cover for big kids

I was hoping to be out of diapers by now for Claire (age 4) and Elijah (age 2). Who am I kidding though? Some things you can't control.
So although I have a one size fits all diaper cover, and I love it, it wasn't quite fitting these two big kids. Claire is 40 lbs and Elijah is 35. Isn't that funny for an entire two year difference? Eli is just a very large boy! Regardless, I wanted ONE diaper cover that I could use for both of them all the time. Claire only needs it at nap and night time, but it still needs to fit. Elijah needs to run and roll around in it. 

I was already thinking about this when I got a request from someone to make a "big kids" diaper cover. A diaper cover that would fit OVER 35 lbs and a longer torso. My very first day back in the sewing room since Joy was born, was spent working on a new diaper over design!

I don't know if you know this, but every time I need some inspiration, I always come back to cloth diapers. I'm so thankful that God planned on someone asking me to work on it as I was coming back to work! 

I also was thinking about other ways that I could help you on my first day back. So I made a video about my favorite tool to sew knits (and cloth diaper fabrics)!

Back to the diaper cover pattern. 

This design fits from 35-about 50 lbs. Of course the 50 lbs is relative to the child's girth/length. If average length/girth it will fit for every bit of what you need it to.
I'm really pleased with this cloth diaper cover design and wish that I could have told myself 12 years ago that THIS style of diapering is the one that I would love. But I guess that 6 babies later, I can give myself grace. 12 years of cloth diapering is a long time.
You can go here for my big kids cloth diaper cover pattern.

 Do you have a favorite diaper design or style?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Preparing for Baby Checklist | Extensive & Realistic

What do you need to prepare for the new baby? Do you have everything done on your list? This is a list for parents who just need a bit of a checklist in the final stages of pregnancy! If you are like me, you'll still have plenty to do as you get close to the end of the pregnancy. That's ok. Try to dedicate the last 4 weeks to put together your baby supplies. It will remove the stress of not having it done early on.

I'm 9 weeks away from my newest baby's due date and I have done this a few times. Yet I STILL need a kick in the right direction! Some things on this list might NOT apply to you, but they do for me!

  • Put Birth Supplies Together
    I have my babies at home, so I need to order my birth supplies. However, if you are a hospital bound mamma, put together your hospital bag and the 'first few days at home' basket.
    • Birth pool
    • Hoses/connections for birth pool
    • Midwife supply box (gloves, blue pads, and whatever else she needs)
    • Bulb Syringe
    • Herbal baths (I buy mine here). 
      • I always buy two. Here's the directions: Boil a gallon of water with 1 cup of herbs (tied up in a nylon) for one hour(ish). pour it into the bath BEFORE you or your baby get in. Sit in the bath for at least 20 minutes. Reuse each cup of herbs once. I take 2 baths a day with each of my babies until the herbs are gone. This dries up their umbilical cords fast and gives you great skin on skin bonding time.
    • Nylons (for herbal baths) I just ordered this one
    • Goldenseal capsules
      • You don't need more than 5 capsules. If you know someone who has some, that would be better than buying an entire bottle. I always put a small bit on the wet parts of umbilical cord. It kills bacteria and helps cord dry out. It will stain clothes though, so you'll want to use onesies.
    • newborn disposable diapers I just ordered these
      • I just started ordering things like diapers on amazon. I love it! They cost the same and then I don't have to fill my cart with them! Win win for me!
    • newborn hat
    • first outfit for baby - If you make it yourself it's more special!
    • Hospital bag - toiletries, an outfit that you can take pictures in (but comfortable), a nursing shirt, a couple pairs of underwear & SOCKS (*this list is not extensive because I will hopefully NOT be going to the hospital!)
  • Stock up on Mamma items for after your baby is born
    You'll be taking care of yourself sensitively for a few weeks after your baby is born. 
    • One regular bag of the largest pads you can buy (or make your own postpartum pads)
      • I realize that I have a pattern for postpartum pads because some people are really sensitive and need them. However, I prefer disposable ones. I don't like to have to worry about anything other than my babies when they come. I just ordered these 
    • Regular pads for 3 weeks - think a bag per week I just ordered these ones 
    • Panty liners - get a large box I just ordered these ones.
    • Witch hazel - for tears and soreness I get this witch hazel 
    • Cramp bark - for afterbirth pains I get this kind
      • I always get a tincture. Get two bottles. Put a few drops under your tongue for 15 seconds. It helps with the pain within seconds.
    • Motrin - afterbirth pains I just bought this one
    • Mama's milk tea - getting the milk to come in This is the one I use
    • Nursing pads - for when your milk DOES come in These are what I ordered
    • A manual breast pump - trust me, you'll need this when your milk comes in This is what I have
    • Breast milk bags Like these ones 
    • BEER. Ok, don't freak out. They used to give this to you in the hospital to bring in your milk quicker. Really!! In all seriousness, if you just went through labor and delivery like a champ, you want a beer. Reward yourself and have your favorite kind sitting there for you after you get some rest! Your husband will think it's the coolest thing ever to celebrate your bundle with ONE beer. He will toast to you for sure!
    • Paper products. I'm considering this a mamma product, because who wants to wash dishes when baby is born? Get plenty of paper plates, disposable bowls, silverware, cups and disposable pans. Lots of paper towels too! *This is an excellent gift of any expectant parent that will ALWAYS be appreciated!!
    • New socks. Yes. Get them. It's a small way to pamper yourself because who doesn't love the feeling of new socks!
    • Lanolin for sore nipples This is what I ordered
    • Flushable wipes. You will be sore. You'll want them. Just ordered these ones 
  • Household supplies
    • Laundry soap (get your favorite kind or make a huge batch if you make it yourself!)
      • Don't forget to write a list/tutorial to tape above your washing machine of your laundry routine. Your husband will appreciate it and so will your visiting mother!
      • Did you know that amazon prices are about the same as most stores? Then you can have it delivered?! This is what I order 
    • Toilet paper
    • Paper towels
    • Dish soap (although you can use laundry soap in a pinch)
    • Dishwasher soap
    • Tin foil
    • Plastic wrap
    • Paper plates/bowls/cups/silverware
    • New tupperware - Are people bringing you dinners? You'll want a way to store it in the fridge or freezer I just ordered this and can't wait for it to come!
    • Gallon size freezer bags and disposable pans - most of the time when people are bringing dinners, they bring too much. Eat what you can for one meal, then put the rest in the freezer!
    • Shampoo/conditioner/bath soap/handsoap
    • WATER. I don't usually think about this because I have good water. If you don't, please please do yourself a favor and buy outrageous amounts. When your baby starts nursing, you will feel like it is going through you, and will down a quart of water in 2 minutes. Easily.
  • General Baby Supplies to buy (not including clothes)
    • One small bag of newborn disposable diapers - I never even go through a whole one. If you need more, your mother can get it.  I just ordered these
    • 2 decent size boxes of size 1 disposable diapers. You'll need more than this, but it's nice to have these on hand. Even if you plan to cloth diaper full time, you'll appreciate having these. I just ordered these 
    • 2 large boxes of size 2 disposable diapers. You won't need these for a while, but you'll be glad to have them. I just ordered these
    • 4 boxes of unscented disposable baby wipes
    • Baby Shampoo (Only buy one. Just in case baby is sensitive to brand) This is what I have 
    • Baby lotion (Only buy one. Just in case baby is sensitive to brand) This is what I just ordered
    • Baby Butt Cream  (Only buy one. Just in case baby is sensitive to brand) This is what I ordered
    • No oils/powders
    • Baby nail clippers
    • Bulb syringe (aka - booger sucker haha!)
    • Prefold diapers for burp cloths (unless you want to make them yourself!)
    • Diaper bag or backpack or large purse
    • Baby socks. Ok this is clothes. But when you buy them, you want them to be the "NOT SOFT" kind. They need to be longer tops that you can fold down without fleece/terry in them. Otherwise they come right off. All.Day.Long. These are the baby socks I buy 
  • Baby supplies to make - Trust me. Babies are expensive. You want to make things as often as you can to save money. Plus it gives you the added bonus of being creative in those last few weeks of pregnancy when you are nesting! These are the things that I make for my babies that are coming:
  • More things to do: a list that might not be your typical
    • Wash refrigerator and clean it out
      • You need room for meals brought to you
    • Wash clean out freezer
      • again, you need space for the meals you put away yourself and for what people bring you
    • Clean out pantry
      • Only keep things you are actually going to use. Wipe everything down and organize.
    • Make a few meals and organize them nicely in your freezer. Label and date them. You'll want them in the weeks after your baby comes. 
    • Get insurance info for your baby put together so you know what you need to do after he/she is born
    • Talk to your chiropractor about making sure your body is lined up properly...it'll make an easier labor
    • Talk to the chiropractor about whether he sees new babies or not. If your baby is fussy regularly, you might need a trip to see the chiropractor!
Well that's all I can think of right now! I have a lot left to do! Thankfully I did my amazon shopping yesterday, so now it's to the sewing machine I go! What did I miss? I'd love to hear your thoughts and add to my list!

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