Friday, August 13, 2010

Repurposing: From Moses Basket Bedding to Lovey (Tutorial)

Let's start at the beginning.  When I was pregnant with Kailyn, we were living in a 630 sq ft house.  We had no space for an extra crib, so a friend loaned me a moses basket and stand.  Perfect, except that it had no accompanying bedding. So, I went to the local fabric store and purchased some minky and a cute cotton print to make my own bedding.  When Kailyn was about 3 or 4 months, she outgrew the moses basket (in length) and I just couldn't bear parting with the bedding I had worked so hard on.  So, I decided that someday I'd repurpose it into a lovey for her.  Well, here we are, almost 1 year later, and I've finally done it.

Here's how (note: I was using repurposed bedding for this, but you can certainly use these tips/techniques and start the project from scratch):

The first step, of course, was to deconstruct the bedding *sniff, sniff*

The next step was to cut out the largest rectangle possible.  This is where a rotary cutter and mat come is handy!!

Now, I had originally made 2 sheets/bedding for the moses basket, so I had 2 pieces to work with.  I cut rectangles out of them separately, then I placed them on top of one another (wrong sides together) and squared them out so that they would be the same size.  Unbelievably, they were almost exactly the same size.  I only had to do one cut to even them out - pretty amazing to me, considering that I didn't use a pattern to make the bedding and I made each one separately by laying the fabric in the basket the pinning and cutting.

Now, before moving the pieces, I pinned them together quilter's style.  It is important to pin before you move the fabric, otherwise you will have a heck of a time trying to line them up perfectly again later. If you are unfamiliar with how quilters pin their works, here's how:

Start by placing a safety pin in the center of the piece, then place pins out to the sides and up and down, making 4 quadrants on the piece.

Add pins quadrant by quadrant (here it is 1/2 completed)

Here is what it looks like when its fully pinned.  I know, I know, it looks like a LOT of pins, and it is, but these pins will keep everything in place as you proceed with the rest of the project.

Okay, once it's pinned, you are ready to proceed with the binding.  Because mine was ripped from the old bedding, I went ahead and re-pressed it to make it easier to work with.  If you are starting from scratch, here is how I constructed the binding.  Basically, I decided I wanted a 3 inch border, so I cut strips of fabric 6.5 inches wide and sewed them together to make one long strip (technically, the best way to do this is to cut the fabric along the bias so that it has some stretch, but its not necessary, and I didn't do that for this particular project).  Then, I folded the long strip in 1/2 and pressed.  Afterwards, I folded approx another 1/4 inch of each edge over and pressed so that the raw edge would be sewn into the inside of the border. Here's what it looks like after pressed (and then folded open again, for your benefit):

Next step: pin the binding to the lovey.  Note: do not start sewing the binding right at the corner or else you will have difficulty completing that corner at the end.  I like to start just a little ways down from a corner.

all pinned on and ready to sew

After pinning, sew down along the edge.  Now, if you are not accustomed to doing mitered corners, here's what I do that works for me:

Sew down to about 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric. I like to use the presser foot as a guide (as you can see here).  Then secure the end with a back stitch and cut your thread (sadly, you have to remove the project from the machine to get a good looking mitered edge)

I like to hold the work at the outer edge, then I fold the remaining binding over to make the mitered corner (If you look at the arrow, you can see where the stitching ends along that edge)

Here is what it looks like after I folded it over.  You can see my fingers still holding that outer edge in place so that it doesn't squirm around while folding the corner over.

Quickly and carefully pin it in place so that you don't lose your grip while placing in machine (trust me, you will get frustrated quickly if you have to refold the corners over and over again!)  Put this back in your machine and sew down along that side, repeating the above steps when you get to the next corner.  Viola!  You've mastered mitered corners!!
After attaching the binding onto the lovey, I decided to use the ties from the moses basket bedding to add some embellishments.  These embellishments serve 2 key functions: 1) to hold the 2 layers of fabric (minky in this case) together so they don't slip and slide around as it is handled and 2) give my girlie a little something to play with/worry as she is falling asleep.  I wanted to make sure they were super secured, for safety reasons, so I stitched, back stitched, stitched, back stitched, and stitched again.  So, each tie was stitched on a total of 5 passes through the machine (without ever breaking the thread).
I stitched it on in the center of the tie so that I could knot it to get the look I was going after
And here is the finished project.  I purposely sewed each tie on at a slightly different angle, so that they would lay in a random way.
All done!!

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