The Estrada Family

A Nica-Canadian family, living in Nicaragua and starting a family!

DIY: Do It Yourself

on November 11, 2011

*Note: Please don´t think this post makes me a DIY expert…I´m a rookie when it comes to making my own stuff.

I´ve never really been a DIY-er, but with a baby on the way, a very tight budget, my spare time, and so many CUTE projects, I´m becoming an addict.

It started with searching for baby products that people say are “MUST HAVES”. I came across the Moby Wrap.  It looks like a really cool baby carrier. But the price… way too much for a piece of fabric! So I googled “make your own Moby Wrap” and I found tons of blogs with instructions. It really is just one long piece of fabric that you wrap and tie. So the “Moby” Wrap is the first thing on my list of DIY projects. I figure, if I hate it, at least I can recycle the material to make other things.

So that´s how my search for DIY projects began. Things that I either can´t find in Nicaragua, or are too big/expensive to ask someone to bring for me quickly made it to the top of my list. Like a Nursing Pillow. I would love to have one, but I don´t really want to spend the money on buying one. Especially since anything with the label “baby” or “pregnancy” on it is automatically more expensive (I swear, the Baby product industry is second only to the wedding industry…). So a quick google search and I found some simple instructions for a Nursing Pillow and many variations of a Nursing Cover which I will also be utilizing.

Now all I need is a sewing machine…

One day I was making my list of DIY dreams (I called them “dreams” instead of “plans” because I don´t have a sewing machine, and the thought of hand sewing all of these things make me cringe), and in the middle of my list making, I happened to update my facebook status:

“My list of Do It Yourself projects for baby is growing and growing, but I don’t have a sewing machine, so I can’t do any of them!”

Quickly, I received a response from my good friend Tamara, who lives in Leon (She loves Nicaragua, just like I do) offering to host me at her house for a sewing weekend, since she owns “a sewing machine, or two”. Yay! I can actually MAKE some of my DIY dreams come true! (Wow, that´s MUY cheesy). Anyway, we have the weekend planned, and I am VERY excited to finally be able to make and few of these things!

A few hours after my facebook post, I received a message from another friend, Morgan, who lives in the US and came down last November on a medical team. She is already bringing down diapers for me in January, and she offered to also bring me an old sewing machine that she has! Wow, how fantastic is that?! I have wanted a sewing machine for a LONG time- since before David and I moved into our house, actually. We´ve talked about it a bunch of times, but every time we have the money, there is some other project (house, vehicles etc) that we need to put the money towards. I was starting to think that my dream of sewing was never going to happen. And now, in January, I will be able to sew to my heart´s content. (*Sigh….)

So the realization that I will actually have my own sewing machine sparked a new thirst for finding cute baby DIY projects. I can spend hours, no, DAYS looking through DIY blogs.

So now, my dream list has become a lot longer:

-“Moby” Wrap
-Nursing pillow
-Nursing Cover
-Cloth baby wipes (to go with my cloth diapers – yes, I will be cloth diapering, and no, it´s not going to be disgusting…I´ll blog about that another day.)
-Hooded towels
-Baby bibs
-Baby blanket (You know, that special one that she´s going to love for years and years…)
-Cute little Fabric Baby Shoes (kind of like these ones)
-Cute hair bows and head bands

And then there´s all the cute toys I can make:
-Fabric beach balls (I´m thinking of maybe throwing a cat bell in the middle to make it extra entertaining for baby)
-Stuffed fabric turtle
-Crib mobile
…just to name a few…

Looking for projects has become so addictive because most bloggers post links to other blogs. When I find a new blog, I bookmark it, and then I wind up going through those projects next (which will eventually lead me to another linked blog, and the cycle continues!)

Last week I got a bit impatient. I didn´t want to wait another two weeks to do a sewing project, and I especially don´t want to have to wait until January to start! So I found a few projects online that I figured I could do by hand, I found two of my own tank tops that were ripped, and repurposed them for the these projects.

First I chose an easy project that basically just involved cutting and braiding here. All of the sewing I did by hand, and I didn´t have the length that the tutorial suggested, so they turned out to be a little small (only one fits me!) but they turned out great, so I´ll be giving them away to some smaller headed people.

Then I moved onto another project from the same site, the Crushed Fabric Flower. I varied the instructions a little bit, and started off easy by using the hemmed edges of the tank tops that I was re-purposing. Once I got the hang of it I make a few more, and since my niece Sol´s birthday was last week (Nov 1st), I used the elastic (which also came from one of the tanktops), and sewed three of the flowers on to make a cute little head band for her.

Then, on Wednesday I was killing some time browsing online and I came across this site: Make your own baby shoes: 32 FREE DIY Tutorials!!!

Ahhhhhh, I´m in DIY heaven.

So I took a look. About half are crocheted or knits, so those are out, but some of them are super-duper cute, so I started saving patterns to my computer. Then I went home. Instead of cleaning I couldn’t stop thinking about how cute those shoes are. I still have some left over fabric from my hairband/crushed flower experiment… maybe I have enough for a pair of hand sewn test shoes? So I opened up the pdf for these shoes, size the page to actual size, traced the pattern right off my computer screen onto a piece of paper, and then check to see if I have enough fabric. I do!! I decided to go very basic, so I left off the ruffles. I am hand sewing here, and it´s my first try, I didn´t want to make it any more complicated than it had to be.

So at 4pm I started cutting the pattern and tracing it onto the fabric. Quick stop for dinner, and I was back at it while David and I watched TV. I finished sewing the first shoe at about 10pm. When David saw it he said,
“Where´s the other one?”
I showed him the cut fabric, “I haven´t even started it yet!”
“What? It took you THAT long!?! hahahaha”
I laughed too…with a sewing machine (and better scissors) I would have finished the whole project in an hour, but I was so pleased with my work that it doesn´t matter.

 All the fabric needed for one shoe.

Cute Shoes!

Check out the blue soles!

and my sweet hand-sewing job!

I´m not sure what I´m going to do with them. They actually turned out cute enough that I wouldn´t be embarrassed to give them to Kelly (another niece- almost 4 months old). But David thinks we should keep them for our little princess. I figure, I have a whole 4½ more months to make tons of pairs of cute shoes… so I don´t mind giving the first ones away. But at the same time… it’s the FIRST pair of shoes that I made, and I HAND SEWED them…sentimental value?

I think I may even have enough fabric left over (still from those first two tank tops) to make another pair of cute shoes- maybe with a ruffle this time! Who knows… it´s a long wait until January…

And so begins my DIY Adventures. Stay tuned for pictures of all the cute things I make!


One response to “DIY: Do It Yourself

  1. Jamie says:

    Those shoes are SUPER cute, good job Julia! I haven’t quite picked up on the DIY projects (although I was lucky and got a sewing machine as a wedding present). I have become quite the little baker though.

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