Saturday, July 5, 2014

Nighty Night

I promised someone that I would make an infant sleep sack.  I was admonished to avoid pink and purple.  So I chose lavender.  That's not exactly true.  I didn't choose lavender purposefully.  I chose it because it was handy.  The fabric, which was a tube, not a piece with selvages and all, was part of a stash I brought home from Mom's last summer. 

"Well, that's the way it is made, you know.  In a circle. "  Mom declared.  "I had forgotten all about that fabric."

"I have never seen fabric come like this before.  I have some knit, but it isn't a tube.  It's just like all the other fabric I have."

"Oh, I suppose it is more convenient for home sewers to purchase fabric in a piece, not as a tube." My mother said with authority, as if she were anything but a home sewer.

"I don't know, Mom.  I sort of wish my other jersey knit had come as a tube. "

Betsy had loaned me a pattern.  McCall's.  I traced size medium onto some scrap packing paper and cut out the pieces.  The pattern directed you to sew the shoulder seams together first.  Not me.  I sewed in the zipper, first thing.  My mother taught me to do it that way.  It makes sense.  Why have all that bulk?

I have NO EXPERIENCE sewing with knits.  I have three, count them, three ball point needles.  I have three, count them, three boxes of Schmetz bulk microtex (100 each) needles for sewing cotton. I do have some universal needles, which I understand can be used on knits.  However, I have been told  that ball point needles are the way to go. The ball point needle pushes the fabric threads aside, rather than piercing them. 

I was doing pretty well until I bent the needle when I sewed across the zipper.  I thought I was sewing into the teeth of the nylon zipper.  Nope, I hit metal.  Now I am down to two ball point needles.

I successfully sewed in the zipper .  I then tried the serger for the shoulder seams.  It worked but the fabric stretched out at the end of the seam.  I decided to go back to the Kenmore.

Now, this Kenmore is a very nice 158.1931.  I switched it out for my 1760 which was relegated to the "studio" as a bobbin winder for the quilt frame.  It winds the best bobbins.  I had been having tension trouble with the 1931 but it was OK for utility sewing.  I had messed with that tension assy to no avail and had given up a few weeks ago.  Today, when I was clearing off the work table in the shop I found a brand new Kenmore tension assy.  It came with the South River parts.  I put it in the 1931 and with no other adjustment, perfect stitches. 

Some day I may tell you about the 90 minutes I spent farting around with the assy that I replaced.  Not now.

I had such success with that 1931 on that Jersey !  No problems at all.  I sewed the side seams together.  No stretching, skipped stitches or tension problems.  I didn't even have to pin!

I am used to a flat bed machine.  Remember, I have been treadling almost exclusively every time I sew these days.  Even though I pulled the bed off and exposed the open arm, I still sewed as if I were on a flat bed machine.
Does that fabric look pink?  Oh dear. 
Of course I realized it half way through the arm hole hem.  Second hem, proper use of machine.

This sleep sack is huge.  I thought it would be a good summer garment.  Maybe it will still be hot enough by the time the child fits it.  Sigh.
Sleep sack with Binkie snap
I attached the Binkie Snap to hide a hole in the fabric.   I have no idea if it will fit a binkie but it's the thought that counts.

I found a darling little size 3-6 mos sleeper at the thrift store. I think I can use it for a pattern for an appropriate sized sleep sack. 

Or I can go back to the McCall's pattern and trace a size small. (Boring)

 I have more lavender fabric.  I know that I  should honor the request to avoid pink or purple.  What does that leave?  Blue?  Green?  Brown?  Red?  Yellow?  Black?  Gray?  I do have some black, blue and gray in my fabric stash.  Not really good colors for this application.  Oh darn, I guess I will have to go fabric shopping.


  1. Yellow would be good. What about a fleece print? They have great kids prints.

  2. I've noticed that infant and toddler patterns seem to be much larger than the size they say they will fit. It makes it hard to know which size to sew! Maybe yours will fit the baby in the fall when it's cooler?

  3. I find commercial infant patterns huge too. Their newborn sizes wouldn't fit any infant younger than 5-6 months that I've ever seen. Seems to be McCalls and Simplicity. Years ago I don't remember this problem, just now with the grands.

  4. Is that a thing, Binky snaps?
    For jersey knits, yes ball point needles are the place to start. But it is not a hard and fast rule. If it produces skips, change the type. For a synthetic like the Pooh sleeper its more likely a sharp would produce a better result.
    If you are stretching out the fabric then the serger is not properly adjusted. First drop the differential to 1 or slightly below, next tweak the pressure foot presser and lastly adjust the tensions. Have you recently changed the needles there too? Not having sharp needles there will cause additional drag on the fabric and give a similar result (you may even hear a difference in the sound it makes when running through the machine). You may also wish to adjust the width of your seam finish.
    Lavender = purple. Oh, Grams- it would be a shame to do all that work, and then have the items set aside. Are your dark colors all the same weight? Maybe you can colorblock a design in the fabric and then cut it out, for something with pizzaz.
    Slowly the SR stash creeps toward being worth the investment- $1.25 at a time. Sigh.

  5. Blue is good. It's only been "for boys" since around 1940. Before that blue was for girls and red (and pink) was for boys, which is still true with bicycles (or used to be).

  6. I remember knit fabric that came in tubes. Did a lot of knit sewing back in the 70's but not much since. That lavender is very pretty.

  7. I suppose that kids grow!! So it doesn't matter if you make them abit bigger than their current size... Love the lavender!

  8. Go for the bright colors...I wish I knew why it's so much pastels for baby clothes, when it's been shown they see bright colors better. Unless it's more calming to the parents? Can't be - pastels show every bit of drool/spitup/leaks.

    The only knit I recall seeing recently in tubes is ribbing.

  9. Never heard of tension 'assy.' What does assy mean in reference to tensioners? Sounds/looks funny in reference to machines - works fine in reference to patterns/garments. I agree with your Mom - sew in the zipper first. I like to cut up old garments to use as patterns. They stick to the fabric you're cutting w/o pins. If the pattern pieces are large you can hold them in place with bean bags (learned at the garment factory where I used to work - where all patterns were made of flannel) And when you use an old proper fitting garment - there's no need for pattern adjustment. I hate to use paper patterns and pins.

    1. "assy" is short for assembly

  10. Also noticed that ever since you mentioned about getting spam from various Bernina dealers, my email puts your blog alerts into my spam box.

  11. My grand babies wear sleep sacks year round, even though we're in Texas. The air conditioning is a must but too cold for baby to sleep, and they can't safely have covers. They grow so dang fast it will soon be useable. And the ones I made look bigger than when they're on the child.