Fabric Design, Sewing, Spoonflower

Botanical Baby Blanket with Spoonflower Swaddle Gauze

With a new baby in the house, I’m back to trying all of the new baby patterns and fabrics. I can’t believe how many new things there are in 5 years! It was the same with maternity patterns…the sewing industry just keeps expanding and new independent designers and shops are popping up every day.

Those of you that have been following for a while know that I enjoy designing fabric for some of my sewing projects. Spoonflower allows designers to upload custom fabric designs and then prints the design on fabric. There are over a dozen different types of fabric now, plus wallpaper and gift wrap.

Recently, Spoonflower added Organic Sweet Pea Gauze to their fabric offerings. This is the same type of gauze (or muslin) your boutique baby blankets are made from. I ordered some printed with my Botanical Leaf Shadows design.

Botanical Baby Blanket with Spoonflower Swaddle Gauze | Radiant Home Studio

I didn’t get a chance to make blankets before our baby was born, so I bought a few swaddle blankets from Margaux & May (affiliate link). They are high-quality, beautiful blankets. I really did not expect the Spoonflower gauze to live up to that quality.

When I first opened my fabric, I was disappointed. My boutique blankets are double gauze (meaning there are two thin layers tacked together) and the Sweet Pea Gauze seemed flat and stiff. I knew I needed to wash it before I made a final judgment though. Washing made all the difference! The gauze wrinkled up and I could see the soft layers of the double gauze. It’s very similar, if not identical, to the boutique blankets.

Botanical Baby Blanket with Spoonflower Swaddle Gauze | Radiant Home Studio

Spoonflower does recommend keeping a white background for the softest results. My light pink background is slightly stiffer than the white blankets I have, but it’s still very soft and useable.

I used 1 1/2 yds. of fabric for one blanket. Since Spoonflower only sells in 1 yd. increments, it’s best to buy 3 yds. at a time. To cut the fabric, just fold a corner over to the opposite selvage to mark out your square. The fabric has a small grid running through it, with lines about 3/4″ apart. I used these lines as a cutting guide to make sure my fabric was square and on grain. This works well even after you wash the fabric and have a bunch of wrinkles to work around.

I used the grid squares to measure my hem around the edges as well. Just make a 3/4″ double fold toward the wrong side on each edge and stitch around. It took less than 15 minutes! If you are looking for an easy custom baby gift, this is a great option.

Botanical Baby Blanket with Spoonflower Swaddle Gauze | Radiant Home Studio

My only complaint is the cost. It ends up being about $30 to make one blanket. My boutique blankets were about $30 for 2 blankets. Since the quality is similar, I would only use the Spoonflower fabric again for custom/personalized projects. With so many beautiful designs in the shop, ready-made and for less money, I can’t justify making many swaddle blankets as gifts. But as I said above, for something personalized, this is a lovely fabric and I’d use it again.

P.S. Spoonflower is running a 2-for-1 fat quarter sale until Nov. 9th! All of my fat quarter tea towel designs have been recently updated and make beautiful handmade gifts!

Tutorials

How to Sew a Sling for a Broken Arm

Earlier this week, my 7-year-old daughter fell on the driveway while playing and broke her wrist. A couple of years ago, my other daughter broke her wrist falling off a swing. Thankfully, broken arms heal…so why not have some fun with the sling while it’s healing?

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

The hospital issued slings aren’t the best. After watching two little girls with broken arms using the slings, I have made a couple of improvements to the standard issue hospital sling. Both have complained about the scratchy strap cutting into their neck, so I padded the neck strap. On the current sling, the strap slide is too high and also cuts into the shoulder/neck area. I moved it down to fix that problem. Finally, the new sling is reversible—plain navy on one side and a fun pattern on the other!

I made a sling for an elementary-aged child, but you can easily adjust the size for a smaller or larger person. My kids asked if it would work for either arm, and the answer is yes!

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

(Some links may be affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business in this way!)

How to Sew a Sling for a Broken Arm:

Materials:

2 fat quarters of quilting cotton
2 d-rings (1″)
1/4 yd. fabric for a strap (OR 1 yd. of 1″ webbing)
1/4 yd. fusible fleece (to pad the strap)
1 yd. of 1/2″ double fold bias binding (make your own with this tutorial!)

(If making a larger size, you will need more webbing and more bias binding. You might also consider making a wider strap and using stronger o-rings in place of d-rings.)

Cut the Following:

(4) 14″ x 6″ rectangles, 2 from each fat quarter
(1) 36″ x 4″ rectangle from 1/4 yd. fabric
(1) 36″ x 2″ rectangle from fusible fleece (you can piece this together from scraps)

(For a larger size, measure from the elbow to the fingertips, add 1″, and replace the 14″ measurement on the first cut. Change the depth of the sling by changing the 6″ measurement on the first cut. For example, a sling for myself would be 18″ x 8″. Remember that you might also need a longer strap and more bias binding.)

Sewing Instructions:

1. Place one matching set of the large rectangles right sides together. Use a bowl (or another rounded object) mark rounded edges on the top right & bottom left corners. Trim the corners. Repeat for the second set of large rectangles.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

2. With the rounded rectangles still right sides together, stitch along the left and bottom edges with a 1/4″ seam allowance.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

3. Turn one piece right side out. Place the two sling pieces wrong sides together and set aside.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

4. To make the strap, fold the 36″ long fabric in half lengthwise and press. Fold each long, raw edge into the center seam, wrong sides together, and press again.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

5. Place the fusible fleece on the wrong side of the strap, centered between the fold lines. Fuse, refold, and press.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

6. Stitch along the long, folded edges of the strap with a 1/8″ seam allowance.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

7. Cut a 6″ length from the strap. On the right (open) end of the sling, baste one end of the strap, just at the edge of the curve on the front of the sling, as shown. Place the d-rings on the 6′ length of the strap. Baste the other end of the strap on the back of the sling. (Ignore the strap slide…I ended up switching hardware after finding that the strap slide was too slippery.)

8. Baste the remaining strap piece to the left side of the sling, centered over the seam.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

9. Next, open and place your bias binding right sides down on the raw edge of the sling. (It doesn’t really matter which side of the sling since it will be reversible.) Fold the end of the bias binding down about 1/2″ and begin sewing. Continue around the whole sling, stitching on the first fold line, and catching the strap ends in the stitching. Overlap the end by about 1/2″. Backstitch and trim excess binding.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

10. Clip the curves and press the binding toward the other side. Pin in place and stitch around the binding again, 1/8″ from the folded edge.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

11. Flip the straps to the right side and tack them onto the binding by stitching a couple of lines across them.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

12. Shorten the shoulder strap if needed and finish the end with a wide zig-zag stitch.

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

How to Sew a Sling for Broken Arm | Radiant Home Studio

While this is not a sewing tutorial I had planned on writing, I hope a handmade sling makes healing from a broken arm a little bit more comfortable and fun!

Also sharing this tutorial at: Sew Can She, Craftastic Monday, Made By You Monday, Modest Monday

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Sewing

Sewing a Woven Girls Tank Top

I did some summer sewing for my growing preteen daughter this week. She’s always loved my Wiksten Tanks and has asked for something like it several times.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank Top | Radiant Home Studio

I haven’t found a pattern like it in a preteen girl size. I’m sure one exists somewhere. Since it’s a relatively easy shape though, I decided to draft my own pattern for a woven girls tank top.

I used a bodice from another pattern to make sure the shoulder width and arm hole depth were right. From there I drew a slight scoop neck and gave the sides an A-line shape. The bottom hem is slightly rounded. I wasn’t sure if the head opening would be big enough to slip over her head, so I added a small slit opening and button loop on the back. (Here’s a tutorial for a similar back neck opening.)

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank Top | Radiant Home Studio

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

For fabric, I used 2 Art Gallery cotton prints. The blue is Bonnie Christine’s Blooming Brook in Moon from the Wonderful Things collection. The green and purple print is Bari J’s Sunswept Canyon in Sage from the Sage collection. 

I used french seams on the shoulders and sides. To finish the armholes and neckline, I used bias strips to make a bias facing, similar to the Wiksten Tank pattern and others. On the blue tank, I added a small chest pocket. It was really easy to put together and I only spent about an hour cutting and sewing. I might even let her try to make her own next time.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

She loves the tank tops and has gotten a lot of wear out of them already this week. I know some kids will only wear knits for comfort, but the woven fabric is much cooler in hot weather and also looks nice enough to wear to church and other events.

If you’d like to make something similar, you can trace the shoulders and armholes from a ready-to-wear shirt or another bodice pattern. Then just draw basic A-line tank. If you’ve put together similar tops for yourself, it’s really easy to make one in a girls size. I’d suggest a lightweight cotton or chambray for the best results.

Sewing a Girls Woven Tank | Radiant Home Studio

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Book Reviews

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup

For Christmas, I bought my 10-year-old daughter We Love to Sew Gifts, by Annabel Wrigley. I’ve been following Annabel’s Instagram feed for a while now and I love the projects she does with the kids that come to her sewing studio. It’s the right balance of modern style with fun details that little girls love.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for helping to support my business in this way!)

I’ve bought a few kids sewing books for my daughter. My biggest pet peeve with kids sewing books is when they don’t teach proper finishing techniques. The We Love to Sew books don’t do this. Annabel assumes that kids are smart enough to sew the “right” way and the projects are finished nicely, yet she still talks to them in a friendly way. One instruction starts, “Starting at the tippy top of the line…”.

The book starts with instructions for basic sewing techniques & terms. Then it includes 23 projects with varying degrees of difficulty. Annabel doesn’t shy away from teaching new techniques or using new materials in the projects. There is some appliqué, interfacing, & embroidery. She also uses felt, yarn, and oilcloth, in addition to quilting cotton and canvas fabric. The end of the book includes full-sized patterns for tracing or copying. (Check the Amazon preview. You can see several pages!)

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

My daughter has worked on a few projects by herself. She has a basic knowledge of sewing and was able to follow instructions on her own. This week, we worked on making the Scrappy Patchy Pencil Cups with a couple of friends.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We started with 3 girls, but one had to leave early. I think it took about 1 1/2 hours for them to finish sewing. That’s about as long as a 10-year-old attention span lasts while sewing, so it was just right for them. I pulled out a bunch of scraps that coordinated, but I think they added a few that weren’t exactly in the color scheme. 🙂

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

I helped with some of the cutting (they can do it, but it’s neater and faster when I do). The girls did all the sewing of the fabric strips. They also did all of the decorative stitching, which was their favorite part of the project. It allowed them to experiment with all of the fun leaf and flower stitching patterns. I did the edge sewing on the top and bottom, which they also could have done. They wanted neat lines and knew I could sew straighter.

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

Overall, we enjoyed the project. There was a lot of room for creativity in choosing fabrics and fancy stitches. And the girls were proud of what they made!

We Love to Sew Gifts Review & Pencil Cup | Radiant Home Studio

Based on my experience, I think a 7 to 10-year-old could do these projects with mom assisting. A 10 to 12-year-old with some basic sewing skills can manage the projects alone, and an older girl can most likely teach herself to sew using this book, the sewing machine manual, and some determination. There are several books in the We Love to Sew series, and we will definitely be purchasing more in the future!

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Sewing

Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S

Hooray! It’s finally Spring! As I was sorting and planning my girls’ Spring wardrobes, I realized my youngest daughter could use a couple of dresses. I could have used a pattern I’ve already made, but where’s the fun in that?

As I browsed through the Oliver + S pattern shop, looking for something new to try, I was drawn to the Butterfly Blouse. Those sleeve ruffles and peplum are so sweet. Even though it is a blouse, I thought it could be easily modified to make a dress…

Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio Butterfly Blouse Dress for Oliver + S | Radiant Home Studio

The modification was easy! For more photos and instructions for making a dress from the Butterfly Blouse, read the rest of my post over on the Oliver + S blog today.