Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Latest Arrivals

 I have had many good intentions of photographing every donation this year and posting the photos.  Instead I have done 46 angel photosessions so far this year in addition to 30 other sessions (regular client sessions and around a dozen rainbow baby sessions), on top of daily life and the demands of my real job as a nurse.   I have had to just be content with keeping the donation room in some semblance of order.  I am SO GRATEFUL for all of the wonderful people that have taken this project and just run with it!  There is literally no way I could manage all of this without the amazing army of helpers behind me.  The families that receive these lovingly handmade items treasure them so much.

These outfits were designed by a local woman who makes doll clothing.  The boy's pants have velcro on the insides to make them completely open for ease of dressing.  The dress opens completely down the back.  I love the tiny booties and hat that match the blanket.  These are appropriate for about a 20 week gestation baby.
 These were also donated, along with several other similar sets in different colors.  The kimono pattern was shortened into a shirt with an accompanying diaper and 10" square blanket.  The shirt can either be closed by tying a ribbon belt all the way around, or with velcro attachments on the inside of the flap.  This set is also appropriate for about a 20 week gestation baby.
 A friend of mine modified the original kimono pattern that SHARE had posted.  The small size pattern had too wide and deep of a neck opening.  This new and improved version is much better!  I did find that using this microfleece and rolling very tiny seams, it came out a little wider than anticipated.  I plan on sewing a little bit wider side seams next time.  Chris has also posted a simple flannel bunting pattern that doesn't have a hood.  I really like it.  I find that often, the hood is bulky and gets in the way a bit - I prefer to just use a hat.
 The two larger size gowns are the large baby pattern posted on my main Angel Babies page under the "Patterns" tab.  The small size boy gown is the 1-3 pound size.  The pink kimono is the new pattern posted above.  This is just to give you a bit of a size comparison.  The two larger gowns were sewn by an 11 year old as a church service project.  I love hearing who made all of the items donated, and I love to be able to pass that on to the families I serve!
 This gorgeous knit dress was knit by Chris from Sew Much to Share.  She has promised a pattern some time in the near future.
 These items came from a church women's group in Utah County.  The boy outfits open down the back nearly to where the legs come together, and the pink gown opens entirely down the back.  I do not have patterns for these, but I would love one, so if you see a pattern, please contact me so I can post a link.
Last but not least, gorgeously crocheted gowns from one of my very favorite angel grandmas.  I have requested a pattern link from her as well.

In the meantime, visit Stacy's crocheting blog for some new and updated patterns on her diaper shirt design.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pattern links: Diaper Shirts, Hats, Headbands and Blankets

I met a couple of ladies from Idaho through the internet that are very talented with a ball of yarn and a crochet hook, and they have been an amazing resource for me.  I finally got to meet one of them last week as she was passing through and brought me a huge stack of outfits that the two of them had been working on.  She has very kindly typed up her patterns, along with photo tutorials, for diaper shirts, hats and blankets.  Click on the links below to see her posts:

Diaper Shirts



Adjustable Headband

Friday, March 16, 2012

Latest donations - super cute diaper and kimono sets

Tomorrow is a training session for new volunteers for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, the organization that I am affiliated with as an infant bereavement photographer.  I really wanted to have a stack of outfits on hand for the new photographers so that they'd feel a little more prepared to go do their first sessions.  I have been utterly amazed and humbled by the donations that have come pouring in, the countless hours of work and materials that have gone in to making this possible.  My sewing day regulars really stepped things up a notch and we had an insanely productive session earlier this month, plus several brought me gowns they'd finished on their own.  I also received some large donations from other groups of women that have been working on things for a few months, and the timing couldn't have been better.  I cannot say thank you enough - words are inadequate for how my heart feels.  Every time I look at the daunting needs and feel like I just can't do it all, my little legion of guardian angels gets busy and nudges all sorts of helpers into action.  I am blessed!

In no particular order, because Blogger is being frustrating this morning, here you go:

These darling little double sided flannel kimonos were made by a local women's group.  I don't have a pattern for them yet, but will work on it, because they're a great size for 20-23 week babies.  The hat and diaper makes an absolutely adorable set!  They have just the ties on the outside that you can see.

I have been mulling over various fabrics, and we've actually been experimenting with quite a variety on our larger gowns lately, and I am inclined to look for a thin microfleece to try this pattern on.  I did a photosession recently for a baby that had weepy skin (a very common problem with angels), and the hospital had a fleece outfit for him that contained the moisture very well.  Regular thickness fleece would probably be too bulky for the tiny size gowns, hence the microfleece idea.  A simple decorative blanket stitch around the edges would finish it off nicely.
 In addition to the kimono sets, this group made DOZENS of tiny diapers, hats, blankets, and also some of the keepsake boxes used by SHARE parent for hand and foot molds.
 Absolutely wonderful stuff!  It was clear that much careful effort and time went in to this, and I am grateful!

 My March sewing day worker bees.  We have a diverse and very fun group of regulars.  My abs hurt from laughing so much by the end of the day.  Good stuff :).

 We had a huge epiphany this month.  In the past we have used little clear snaps as the closure device on the back of the gowns.  They are a pain in the rear to manage - glue in place first, then hand stitch.  I have old lady eyes that have a terrible time seeing the teeny little hole in the middle of a clear snap to stitch, and it has been very labor intensive.  In the past, I tried sticky dot velcro, but it gummed up my sewing machine to stitch them in place.  I snagged a package of regular non-sticky velcro a few days before sewing day, and we cut each strip in half vertically, then 3/4" long pieces of that.  Two velcro fasteners on the back of each is about 10,000 times easier and faster than dealing with the snaps.  Why didn't I think of this earlier?  I don't know.  I'm a creature of habit.  Like I said before, we've been experimenting with different fabrics as well.  Sateen type fabrics can be tricky, and one in particular we were working with was very difficult to iron.  It looks fantastic at the end, but was time consuming to get it to that point.  A drapy polyester fabric proved to need serging around the edges to keep the fraying in check, but was otherwise not bad to work with and the final product was very nice and doesn't wrinkle.  The basic message is to feel free to experiment.  Just choose fabrics that are not see through or stiff/scratchy.

This isn't even all of the gowns I have at the moment!  I have another dozen that need a final pressing, but I was running out of space in the closet, so I'll reserve them for after Saturday.  AMAZING!

If you're not aware already, the pattern and step by step illustrated instructions for this basic tea towel gown is available on the main Angel Babies site.  Click on the "Patterns" tab.  I need to go in and modify a few things on the instructions, but am waiting for my webmaster to get home from his church mission in a few weeks because I invariably mess things up when I try to do it on my own :).

This absolutely gorgeous gown was hand smocked by a woman in Wyoming.  Every single person I showed it to immediately oooooohed and aaaahed.  Beautiful craftsmanship.  I am waiting for the perfect angel to give it to.

 These darling little kimonos were made by the daughter of the talented smocker.  The single button size is the original pattern size, and then she experimented with some other lengths.  I appreciate having different lengths on hand for different sizes of babies.  This pattern has a very clever little hole built in to it for the sash to pull through.

 Last but not least, a couple of very talented ladies up in Idaho are on their way to me as I type this with this amazing collection of Diaper Shirt outfits.  I nearly died of cuteness overload when I saw the wonderful details in the hats, and the coordinating sets.  Great stuff!
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart!  The families that receive carefully handmade items are so grateful.  Keep up the good work!  (And I will try to keep up with posting things more often here - I have a couple pattern posts I need to put up.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

New crochet pattern links

 Some new cute stuff arrived today, and I love the uniqueness!  The yellow and pink ruffley style hats on the top have a ribbon to cinch it down, allowing adjustability and greater ease in putting the hat on. The small blue stripe hat was actually made with elastic yarn, which makes it nicely stretchy.  The tiny little hat with pigtails is the size for a 16 weeker...very, very tiny.  I have indeed photographed a couple of babies that small.  My only comment on that pattern is that babies of that size are particularly fragile and difficult to put the hats on, so stretchiness is even more important.  The headband on the top row has a unique stitch to the band portion that makes it very stretchy, and once my friend Wendy gets the instructions written up, I will post them.  The fuzzy all white hat on the right was made on a round loom.  A lot of loomed hats don't work very well because they're gappy and not stretchy, but with the right kind of yarn and careful technique (like the one shown), a very cute and useable hat can be turned out.

The remaining four hats came from patterns found on this page.  Thank you, Wendy, for finding this great resource!  So many great patterns in one place, and many of them with multiple sizes for babies of different gestation.
 I fell in love with this little owl hat!  So unique, and so cute!  Click here to find the pattern.
 This hat is super cute as well, though according to Wendy, far more time consuming than the other patterns.  I love the stripe and curly boinger thingy details.  Click here for the pattern.
And this hat?  Adorable!!!  I can't wait to use it along with a little crocheted sleeper sack.  Absolutely precious!  Click here for the link.

Other patterns on the page that look particularly useful include these cute little shell pattern hats, this layette set, and this "Fly Boy" hat.  I have photographed three little angels with a condition called anencephaly, in which the brain and the upper portion of the skull do not develop.  A hat that ties around the chin is really important for these babies.  For the girl that I photographed, we were able to rig up a bonnet with ties that held it in place nicely, but for the two little boys...well, it was a problem.  So I would love to have a few of the Fly Boy hats in my stash in various sizes.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Local business shout out!

I have been limping by on barely and eventually non-functional sewing machines for the last few months, borrowing ones from my friends for sewing days.  One of my sewing day regulars offered to call around to see if she could get any of the local repairmen to donate their services to get a machine running for me.

The Sewing and Vacuum Center in West Jordan, Utah graciously offered to repair it, and I dropped it off today.  Very friendly folks over there, and I am thrilled to have their support.  Every little bit counts, and money that I would have spent on repairs can now go toward fabric to make more gowns.  If you have a sewing machine repair need, head on in and tell them that I sent you!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Diaper Shirt" outfits

 A lovely woman in Idaho contacted me a couple of months ago about donating some outfits, and she came up with some really darling and innovative things.  I had the best of intentions of taking photos of all of them to post, but needed to use some right away for angels.  I at least managed to save these three.  The original pattern for these "Diaper Shirts" can be found here.  This one is well proportioned for about a 20 week baby.
 Wanita says that this particular one used the full number of stitches as the original pattern, just with small yarn and an E sized hook.  She changed colors on rows 4, 5 and 7.
 This tiny little one is appropriate for about a 17-18 weeker.  It has been proportionally shrunk down from the original pattern.  She used yarn ties on this rather than ribbon.

 This one is the basic diaper shirt pattern modified to open more in the middle (and on the backside rather than the front), as well as to add a skirt.  The skirt pattern was modified from this dress pattern.
 Back side, with ties to keep it closed.
All opened up.  This size is pretty small, most likely to fit an 18-20 week baby.

If you'd like more details about any of these, send me an email and I can forward Wanita's notes to you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Recent donations

My friend and neighbor has made me lots of cute headbands with little felt flowers.  She makes all sorts of fun clippies and accessories as a business and I sincerely appreciate the items she donates to Angel Babies.  I find that families really like headbands for their little girls over hats most of the time.
 I also have had a number of cute gowns and sleeper sacks crocheted and knitted lately.  I love how unique each one of these is!  I have a special soft spot in my heart for the ones made by other angel mamas and grandmas - I love to be able to tell the families I serve a little about the people who created the outfits.

 Matching twin set!  My friend Jerri did these, and she simple didn't add as many stitches on the gown part of the boy one so that it would be a little straighter down and look more masculine.  You can't see it very well, but she added a simple ribbon belt just under the arms that ties in the back and a cute button on each.  The boy one has a little star that is just perfect.
 These were made by an angel grandma (with the exception of the smallest hat, which was made by my sister).  She does beautiful work!  Scroll down for a closer shot of the detail work on the small pink and white one.  I would like to point out that the larger hats are perhaps just a little bit bigger than the proportions of the gowns, so if you're trying to gauge sizes, I'd go just a little smaller.
Love the delicate pink edging and the little rosebud!