Countdown to Valentine’s Day and a Doll Carrier

A while back I was trying to think of something I could make for the kids as new sibling gifts for when the baby is born.  They love pretend play things, things that mimic Mommy and Daddy, and when I saw this doll carrier from Little Things to Sew I fell in love.  I can totally picture Gwen putting one of her dolls or stuffed animals in a carrier, just like Mommy with the new baby.  I’m hoping it will help them feel included even when they won’t be able to do everything with their new sister.

I’ve had the sewing book checked out from the library for a while now and have renewed it once already; everything else took priority!  I read the instructions for putting the pattern together, and while it seemed simple enough, there were a bunch of little steps and I kept putting it off (and I had yet to brave the buttonhole).  Well, seeing as I can’t sleep these days, I decided to stay up and see how it came together.  I started with Josiah’s first – he probably won’t be as excited about it as Gwendolyn and I already knew what fabric I wanted to use, so his was the guinea pig version.

Whaddya’ think?  I used linen muslin for the front and a cute blue barnyard fabric for the lining and pocket.  The straps are a piece I’ve had laying around for a while; not sure what it is but it’s similar in feel to the muslin.  I have two big canisters of buttons that used to belong to my grandmothers and I picked through those and found four orangey ones to use on the straps.  The directions say to try it on your child to figure out velcro placement further down the straps, but I want this to be a surprise, so I looked around at what other people did and put a couple pieces at different increments; I can always add more later.  I just happened to have a tan velcro that matches the straps nicely.  I’m very pleased with how it came out but already have some ideas for how to simplify the process when making the next one.

Some tips: The pocket lining pattern piece from the book doesn’t make any sense; when I first used it to make the pocket it didn’t really go along with the directions and made for a tiny pocket.  Instead, I cut out two pieces of the same size using the main fabric pattern piece – much better!  Oh, and I used denim for the lining for a bit of extra boyishness.

I’m not horrible at sewing around corners, but since I’m nowhere near professional there’s some puckering here and there.  Ironing does help, but next time I’m going to trace the pattern onto the fabric and sew along the tracing lines, leaving enough room for sewing on the straps and turning the carrier right-side out.

I didn’t like the suggestion for basting stitches near the top; it makes the end product look messier and next time I’ll just leave the opening without the guideline stitching.  Making it less curved might make for easier edgestitching, too.

I did in fact get to use my buttonhole foot, and while it was easy enough, it seems like the needle skipped some stitches… and then it broke in the middle of it all!  Is there a neat way to cut out the actual buttonhole?  It seems messy and I’m afraid the stitches will eventually come out.  In any case, it’s good enough!  For Gwen’s I may just use pearl snaps in place of the velcro and/or buttons – like in this version of the same carrier – though the buttons definitely add charm.

There seemed to be some debate as to whether the velcro gets placed on the button-side of the straps or the reverse.  Looking at the picture in the book I can’t really tell, and some people said it goes on the same side as the buttons… but it seemed to hang more naturally doing the opposite.  Guess I’ll see when I put it on him!  One down, one to go…

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I can’t believe it’s February already!  Since this is my due date month I’m telling myself “any day now.”  Josiah was born at 37 weeks and this weekend I’ll be at the same point.  So I wanted to have Valentine’s Day squared away just in case! I filled the kiddos mini mailboxes with jellybeans, clearance “ornaments” filled with scented bubble bath and name bracelets that I whipped up for them when I had the plastic beads out.  The kiddos will be at their grandmother’s for Valentine’s Day, but I already have the morning planned out with a paper heart trail leading the kiddos to the table where they can open their mailboxes and adopt my two Pretty Bit Popples, which I’ll have sitting on the table.  We’ve started doing the countdown to Valentine’s Day with Bible verses and acts of love for each day.

I’m always on the lookout for meaningful yet not-too-expensive gifts for Phil and went with one of The Dating Diva’s ideas: 14 Days of Love.  I’m not too crazy about how many of their ideas involve candy or dollar store crap, but I went with the idea and made it my own.  I rolled up each of the little sentiments, tied them with embroidery thread and put them in a little jar.  Each morning he has to find the one with the correct number (#1 for February 1st, #2 for February 2nd and so forth) then find the corresponding gift bag.  I just used all the bags I could find that had pink, red, purple or something similar, warning him that none of the Victoria’s Secret bags contain any actual Victoria’s Secret merchandise. *grin*

*For more ideas see my Valentine’s Day Pinterest board.

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