Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sew an Infant Car Seat Cover



So Selena hated the car seat when she was a baby. She would scream and scream and scream. Sometimes if I turned the radio onto white noise and turned it up really loud it would help. Finally when she was 4 months old I bought her a new car seat (a Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat) which helped immensely.

So with this baby I was going to skip the infant seat. Some people love the ability to carry their baby around in them it was too unwieldy and heavy for me to carry even if Selena wasn't screaming in it. But even though most convertible car seats say they are okay for 5lb babies, most don't have straps that are low enough. So this baby will be in the infant car seat for at least a little while. While I was looking at the car seat I decided that maybe Selena didn't like it because the cover is kind of rough, so I decided to give it a makeover and make a new cover out of some soft cotton.

I wanted to get some of the Eric Carle Brown Bear fabric that I had seen advertised at Pacific Fabrics, but when I went there they didn't have the exact one I wanted. So instead I got some from Michael Miller's First Sight collection.


  • I took some tracing tissue paper and laid it over the car seat and stuck pins in the corner's of the pieces I would make.
  • Took off the tracing paper and connected the dots made from the pins.
  • Added 1 inch seam allowances to the tissue paper and cut out a cover from some scrap fabric.
  • Machine basted the scrap fabric together and put it over the car seat. Amazingly the seams were good. I trimmed a bit on some edges here and there, but it was a pretty good fit.
  • Sewed some elastic on the top and bottom corners of one side of the cover to see how that fit and to estimate where I would need to put the elastic.
  • Used my seam ripper to undo the pieces, and trimmed off 1/2" of the seam allowances (they were 1 inch) and used the scrap fabric as my pattern.
  • Used the pattern to cut out the cover fabric. I also cut out a layer of microfleece for some slight padding. Below is what the pieces ended up being shaped like.

  • Serged together the pieces for the top of the cover (microfleece and cotton fabric together)
  • Serged together the pieces for the bottom of the cover
  • Serged the top and bottom together
  • Used fold over elastic to bind around the edges. Stretching the elastic in the places I had chosen earlier.
  • Put the cover on the car seat and used chalk and a ruler to mark the openings for the belts.
  • Made gigantic button holes for the belt openings.

That's it! If you wanted, instead of serging or sewing the pieces in one step you could sew them separately and then bind them together with the seams facing in and then it would be reversible. You could have a cozy fleece side for winter, and a nice light cotton for summer. But I didn't think of this until after I was done.

If I have enough time before the baby comes I might try to make a pretty shade protector to match.

WARNING: Making your own car seat cover may be unsafe due to the fact that the covers that come with the car seat are made of flame retardant material and ones you make may not be. However maybe you don't want your child absorbing toxic flame retardants through the largest organ on their body, the skin. Wool is a natural flame retardant material may be a good compromise.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Amy Butler Nappy Bag

So I just finished making a new diaper bag. I used a backpack with Selena and I liked it, but it almost has too many pockets so I would have to dig through 5 pockets to find what I needed, but it was nice to have when I would wear Selena in front in a baby carrier. But I got it stuck in my head that I really wanted this diaper bag so for my birthday I asked for the pattern. It was pretty easy to make, but takes a ton of fabric. Apparently I did not make this bag to save money as I spent $50 on fabric and interfacing plus the pattern cost $12. But it was all birthday gifts so I can justify it.

I tried it out yesterday and it worked pretty good. It is very comfortable on the shoulder and is a nice generous size. The bag has 3 pockets on one side and I put two pockets on the other side. One to fit the changing pad, and one for wipes. I added a loop inside the bag to attach my keys to, and that is very convenient. It is long enough that I can unlock the door (yes I still actually have to unlock my car doors and don't have a magical button to push) without detaching it and can even drive without detaching it as well. I also added a small credit card pocket so that when we go to the library or YMCA I can put my cards there so they are easy to find. The only kind of weird thing about the bag is that the top of the bag is connected so you can't take the handles and open the bag wide to look through it. There is plenty of room to get in it, but my first instinct was to open it up completely and then realized you can't do that.

Here is my official review of the pattern.

But I think the bag is very pretty and I am very pleased with it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

37 weeks pregnant

Yay, I made it. I was half expecting my water to break yesterday. But not really. However I have made calculations and if you count the number of days of gestation based on conception (since my due dates are a little off) Tuesday would be the day if this baby wants to be exactly like his/her sister. But the baby is still pretty high and I haven't had any signs of imminent labor.

At my appointment my blood pressure was good, baby's heart rate was 140. I might have gained 6lbs in a week and a half (eek), but it was a different scale so maybe it was off. Oh well I guess it doesn't really matter. I'm not getting my cervix checked because there really isn't any point as it doesn't give any indication if you are close or not, and it does cause a slight increase risk of infection.

So now I get to wait! I never got that chance with Selena as I really convinced myself I was going 41 weeks. I put the car seat in the car. I still need to pack my bag, but I think that's the last vital thing I need to do to get ready for the baby.

I finally connected the fact that I would feel really good after eating a hamburger to my low iron levels. I'm not anemic, but my iron levels were slightly low when they were last checked. So now I am making an effort to eat beef, or some other iron containing food every day and it seems to have increased my energy, and thus puts me in a better mood. I prefer to go the more natural course in solving my problems than popping pills. Thus I also have decided to persevere through the heartburn instead of taking a digestive enzyme supplement my midwife says works well. The bright side of the heartburn, as my midwife explains it, is that it means my hormones are doing a good job of relaxing all my sphincters. So I'm hoping that will aid in an easy birth. :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sew your own footed pajamas

I love footed pajamas with a zipper. Selena lived in them for the first three months of her life. Snaps are annoying because they always seem to get mismatched when you snap them up and socks never stayed on Selena's feet so I loved having the footsies built in.

Since we don't know if the baby is a boy or a girl I wanted to make some cute gender neutral pj's. I really like bright colors but most baby clothes are pastels. So I made the new baby two pairs of pj's. One in a luxurious organic bamboo velour, and one in a red cotton t-shirt knit. I wanted to dye the bamboo red, but most advice on the internet said it would most likely end up pink so I decided not to bother. I used Kwik Sew 2919. Click on the link to see my review of the pattern. There is something so satisfying about making teeny tiny baby things.

I also made Selena a pair out of a lightweight organic bamboo knit, but they are too big so she'll have to grow into them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I keep thinking I can't get any bigger

but I do! It is amazing. You think your huge early in your pregnancy and then you realize you really weren't that big and it is all relative. I am 36 weeks along right now, and am wondering when the baby will decide to make an appearance. This week I'm going to pack my bag, and put the car seat in the car. I have people lined up to take care of Selena. However I hope the baby decides to come during the middle of the day, and come quickly, so Selena could just hang out in the lobby at the Birthing Inn and be able to come see the baby right after its born.

Heartburn has really been my nemesis the past few days and my feet hurt at the end of the day. Selena is super busy and it is getting hard to keep up with her. The fact that everything is physically hard and I've grown out of almost all my maternity tops has been making me kind of grumpy. I really just feel like laying in bed all day reading a book, but unfortunately that isn't an option. The good thing is I can still squat or sit down and stand up without any help and in the mornings I usually feel fine. Unfortunately as uncomfortable as I am now I kinda remember post-partum being even more so. Nature sure makes it tough to have a baby.

My last appointment went great. Baby's heartbeat was at 150bpm, my blood pressure was nice and low. I did have some protein in my urine again, but the lab work came back fine. I am negative for Group B Strep, so no antibiotics for me. The baby was in a close to optimal position with it's back along my left side. Except I think it's still moving, and at the moment it's back is just to the right of my belly button. I am so thankful the baby doesn't seem to be chilling posterior anymore. I really didn't want to have to deal with back labor, especially when I've been so diligent about my posture and where I sit. That would be really unfair. My Hypnobabies practice is going good and I'm doing a good job of practicing at least 5 times a week.

Here is a poll if you want to guess the baby's birth date, sex, and weight.

And here are some belly pictures.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Jabber Box

We've been quite busy the last month. We have finally got some nice weather and getting to go outside and play. For her birthday Selena got a stroller to push her baby doll around in and she loves it. We spend quite a bit of time doing laps around the block with baby doll, Dyna, Douglas and Howlidays (her two stuffed puppies). She amazed me one day when we were sitting in the front yard playing with baby doll and she decided to take off her shoes and socks and start running. She ended up doing two laps around the block, in bare feet, and only stopping for a second when a big dog approached us who didn't like Dyna. A lap is roughly a quarter mile! She did end up taking a 3 hour nap that day.

She is really a jabber box and comes up with the cutest things. Some of my favorites have been:

  • Dada is tall like a giraffe.
  • Dada has a big nose like an oh elephant. (Oh Elephant comes from a song.)
  • Me need more jokes. Which she follows with. Mama has poopy knees.
  • Dada's name is Floyd. Mama's name is Laura. And so on, for everyone in the extended family.
  • Me love Mama SO much. (Of course she says this while she is getting into everything possible in sight and making me very tired, but how can I get annoyed when she is so stinking cute?)
  • Me have the best Dada.
  • I love to go potty. I go potty every day. (In my dreams she does.)
  • Oh Man. Dyna don't poop in the back yard. Go in the potty.
  • I need too many books.
  • Dada's name is him. Mama's name is her.

She is really into doing everything on her own and unfortunately is even starting to have small tantrums if she doesn't get to do something. So she helps me cook by helping stir, pour and push buttons. She has to put her own clothes on, but still needs a bit of help, so I have to be careful that I help just enough so that she doesn't get frustrated. She needs to buckle her own car seat. But she also has started to be able to do some real chores too. She can sort the silverware when I'm unloading the dishwasher, and sometimes I can get her to move all the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer, or from the dryer to the laundry basket.

I've also noticed that she is dreaming more often. She'll wake up in the morning or nap and start talking about something. One day she woke up and said, "I need sunglasses, and go out in Dyna's backyard and pick berries." One night she woke up crying and saying, "Me do it. Selena do it." Floyd was funny and said that she was having a nightmare, but then said it isn't a nightmare if all it is about is her not being able to do something. It's a pout-mare.

And the mystery has been solved about the meaning of Abadaba. She kept saying abadaba, ahmina, over and over so I asked her what they meant and she said, "They're just my words. Just Selena's words." So there you go.

Some favorite books for this month are The Blue Balloon and any other Kipper books, and Sunshine.

On a kind of interesting developmental note she doesn't draw much anymore and when she does it is not the stick people she was drawing a few months ago. She drew this picture a few months ago, but now when she picks up a pen or pencil she tends to not hold it "correctly" and only scribbles. I don't know if she forgot or if she just isn't into it any more. It'll be interesting to see if stick people will reappear in her art soon, or if it will be at a more normal age.