Featured Friday: Sewing Tip and Tricks

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Since I am just getting back from vacation to Boston and DC, and leaving again next week to Florida for a week (Click here to check out my Vacation) . I didn’t have time to review a pattern for today. I hope to get on done this weekend for next week. So this week I am giving you my favorite tips and tricks for diaper making plus a mini product review.

  • My first tip is to buy needles in bulk. Needles need to be changed after every 8 hours of sewing time. To help me remember I use a post it and I log my start and stop times. Making sure your needle is new and sharp will help alleviate some machine error issues.
  • Learn how to clean your machines. The manual will tell you how. If you don’t have the manual try googling for a youtube video on how. If all else fails try asking in a Forum or your local dealer. to get a really good clean on my machines I use a old fluffy paintbrush or eye-shadow brush. I also recommend getting the computer mini vac attachments for your vacuum. Canned Air can be used in a pinch but its not recommend for every cleaning as you can end up causing a major dust bunny that can break your machine.
  • Copy your pattern to a heavier material than paper. It will make copying and cutting easier.
  • Washable Markers are a wonderful alternative to water soluble pens. they are cheaper too! do test them on a scrap piece of your material beforehand. I have experienced a few that don’t like to wash out all the way. Its mostly the Blues and greens.
  • Washable glue sticks are handy for basting layers together. the trick is to let the glue dry before sewing so you don’t gum up your machine and needle. Trick: If you hit a spot that didn’t dry all the way or if you using the sequined fabric and your needle gets sticky. Just take a cotton ball soaked in alcohol and wipe it off. It will dry quickly without harming your machine.
  • Keep a seam ripper handy and make sure its sharp. Dull tools lead to accidents. Don’t be afraid to use the ripper.
  • A zipper or 1/4″ piecing foot is great for top-stitching around snaps.
  • Also don’t be afraid to adjust your needle position to clear snaps.


Another great way to manage layer is by using Ball Point straight Pins. They are just like using a ballpoint needle as they don’t cut the fabrics. Its best to pin in your seam allowance. I have been testing them out for 2 months now and they are great. The don’t cause leaks in PUL and they work amazingly with knits. They are made by Dritz and are about $5 a pack. They can be found with the notions at most fabric stores OR online (Click Here). Pin really well and remove pins as you sew. Make sure not to sew over pins.

 

This post does contain affiliate links and items sent for review. All opinions and suggestions are my own.

How to use Hyena Cart Shared Login- Tutorial

Each month we get several questions on how to use the Hyena Cart SO heres a tutorial on logging in and listing an Item.

 

Signing In

 Step 1. GO to www.hyenacart.com Click Login.

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Step 2. Click Shared Store Login.

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Step 3. Log in. The username and your password will be emailed to you. you haven’t got it please check your spam folder and/or email us!

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Adding your Listing

Step 4. Complete steps 1-3 first then click Add Listing

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Step 5.

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Step 6. Press Enter info at the bottom of the page

 

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Cloth Diapering on a Sposie budget.

When I first decided that I was going to cloth diaper, the major deciding factor was the cost savings. Now 3 years in and on my second baby, I wouldn’t change my decision. While I have converted several friends and strangers to cloth (some of which don’t yet have babies!) more often than not the response I hear is I just can’t afford to switch. While at first thought it seems like you may have to spend hundreds of dollars upfront to build your stash or even that you have to start right when you have a newbie, but really you don’t. When I started I had 5 china made covers that I hated and 1dozen prefolds.  I decided to put together a practical guide to getting started cloth diapering on the cheapest of budgets. $60 a month. Thats about what most would spend on disposables for a week give or take a few dollars. My goal is to show those who want to a way to get started without breaking the bank. Since I want to support WAHParents as much as possible. My guide shows prices from them instead of major brands, though you could certainly sub them out for other brands.

 

First Month:

1- pack of 96ct Parents Choice (walmart brand) Disposables= $13.97 or $0.14 each

2- 6pack of Osocozy flats= $9.95

2- covers from Jabberbean= $10each

first months total= $54.00   (This does not included shipping.)

Flats and Covers are used throughout the day, while sposies are used at nap and nighttime. Thats 62 disposables used for the month. Expect to wash every day. Flats are super easy to clean and dry. They can also be hand-washed (For tips on handwashing check out Dirty Diaper Laundry)

 

Month 2:

I would add:

2 Fleece Covers from ODeeO Designs- $8- $12each or $16-$24 total

1dz Prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers- $32

This month I would forgo the disposables and keep the extra’s from last month just in case they are needed. I would start using the Fleece covers at nap and night. 2doz flats/prefolds are usually the bare minimum. You could order more flats if you wanted but I to add some convenience of not having to fold them down all the time. You may be able to start washing every other day depending on how often your covers are soiled. The Fleece covers will need to be washed daily still. Those are simple enough to wash in the sink and hang to dry in the shower.

 

3rd month:

By now you have a pretty basic stash and routine going. This month I am adding more covers and fitteds.

3 Fitted Diapers from Happy Little Lama- $12.50each

2 Covers from Dapper Derriers- $15each

Total for the month= 67.50

This month we spent a bit more but we have saved about $360 in the last 2 months.

 

4th month and beyond:

Now that you have a basic stash going, you can continue to add diapers as you see fit. I would most likely add another dozen prefolds and possibly more covers just so I could stretch my laundry a bit more.  If you’re looking for WAH brand diapers that won’t break the bank I’ve made a list of sites for you!

ODeeO Designs

SewAnnaButton Designs

Happy Little Lama

Teeny Tiny Hiney

Dapper Derrieres 

Jabberbean

String Beans

Fluffy Bottoms

Sew Silly

Lovey Chic Boutique

CC Dipes

Timbutt2oos

Tiny Tushes

Little Bee creations

 

 

 

 

Cloth Diapers 101- Understanding the Lingo

Many of you reading this might already be diaper pros so this is old news to you.  For those of you that are new to the cloth diaper (CD) world I thought it would be great to help you out by explaining some of the types of diapers you may see here on Diaper Wars.   These are not the only types of diapers available, but are the ones you will most likely be seeing in our battles.  

 
Fitted: Just like other modern cloth diapers but without a layer of PUL (waterproof fabric). Fitteds can be found in different styles:  1) absorbency can be sewn in like an AIO 2) a pocket style 3) a snap in (like an AI2). Fitteds may have snaps, aplex or they can be closureless (to be used with pins or a snappi.)  Fitted diapers are great for night time use as they allow maximum airflow, therefor reducing risk of diaper rash.  You need a cover made out of either PUL, fleece, wool or acrylic to make these diapers waterproof.

Hybrid fitted: Just like a fitted except with a hidden layer of Fleece (or other types of water resistant fabric.)  This type of diaper will generally last longer than a regular fitted, but is still not waterproof.  These (along with a cover) have become a favorite for overnight wear.  You need to use a cover to make these diapers waterproof.

Pocket: A diaper with a layer of PUL either as an outer or a hidden layer.  Pockets will have either snaps or an aplix closure. These diapers have a stay-dry inner such as microchamois, minky, velour or fleece. They have an opening (pocket) that allows you to stuff as little or as much absorbency as you feel is needed.  You do not need a cover to make these diapers waterproof.

All In One (AIO): These are often described as the easiest diapers as they are most like disposable diapers. They have all the layers of absorbency sewn right into one single diaper. They require no stuffing but they often do not clean as well as a diaper with openings and they take much longer to dry.  You do not need a cover to make these diapers waterproof.

All In Two (AI2): Similar to an AIO, but with a removable absorbent layer for easier washing and faster drying. Absorbent layer is usually snapped into the diaper, sitting directly against baby’s skin.  You do not need a cover to make these diapers waterproof. 

Diaper Covers: A shell typically made with Polyurethane Laminate AKA – PUL (a waterproof fabric.) Diaper covers can be put over fitted diapers, prefolds or flats to make them waterproof.  Diaper covers can be made in many different ways.  Some of the most popular are 1) with an outer of a cute fabric and inner exposed PUL this makes it reusable throughout the day.  2) Cute outer fabric, hidden layer of PUL and a inner layer of   microchamois, minky, velour or fleece. 3) Just PUL.  4) Fleece.  Diaper covers can have Aplex (aka Velcro) or Snap closures.

 

Other helpful information.  

One size (OS) diapers – a diaper that may fit from birth up to 35-40 LBs although many fit best from about 10-15 Lbs and up. 

Newborn (NB) diapers – typically fit from about 5-12 lbs some go as high as 15 Lbs.  

Front snapping diapers – snaps along the front of the diaper (most popular style)

Side snapping diapers – snaps are at the hip.  Many prefer this style for babies with chunkier legs. 

 

Some acronyms you may see

OBF – Organic Bamboo Fleece 

OBV – Organic Bamboo Velour

CV – Cotton Velour

WAHM – Work at home mom

SAHM – Stay at home mom

PPD – Postage payed – meaning postage is included in purchase price.

T&T – turned and topstiched (a way to finish CDs)

And a tip from a veteran CDer.  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  You may think you will like one type of diaper and get excited and buy up every diaper of that style that you see, its happens easily and before you know it you are awaiting 2 dozen diapers in the mail, no kidding.  Not every type of diaper will work for every baby.  What works wonders for your BFFs baby may not work at all for yours.  There are many reasons this may be true including but not limited to fit (some diapers fit skinny minnies much better than chunky monkeys and vise versa), types of material used (some babies have sensitivities to certain fabrics,) and some babies may need more absorbency than others so there needs to be an easy way to add more.  

 

Erin

How To: Take better Photos.

 

 

PhotographicIt’s no big secret that bad photo’s can ruin your prospective sale. While you are most likely thinking that you need a $3,000 DSLR camera with studio lights and fancy Photo editing software to take great pictures. Well your wrong, you don’t need any of that. Just a camera, Natural Light and a clean solid background.

Lets start with your backdrop. You’ll want to pick some thing clean, without wrinkles or creases. You don’t want anything to take away from your diaper or what your photographing. Poster board, Presentation boards,craft paper and fabric yardage are all great options. If you are taking photo’s for your Diaper War’s entry, you are going to want to chose either White or Black for your background. For any thing else just make sure that it is a solid color. You don’t want a busy print or pattern to take away from your item.

What really makes or breaks your photo’s are the lighting. Natural light is best. Pay attention to which way your windows face. You want nice bright indirect light. Another way to get “natural” light is to use Ott lights or Natural Light light bulbs in flexible desk lamps. Its best to position your light source behind you camera (and/or you).

Cameras are important but honestly even with a cheaper end camera you can still take great pictures. Practice taking your photo’s in different times of day and light. keep track and see which is best for you. The best way to get nice steady unblurry photo’s is to use a tripod or to set it on a flat level surface. Another way to get great photo’s is to take A LOT. Take way more than you need to give yourself a choice.

Photo editing seems to be the one thing people think of when talking about great photo’s. Most assume that a great photo must be shopped or edited. That is not always the case, but incase of emergancy its nice to know a little about it. There are ton’s of free software available. Gimp, Foto Fuze, PicMonkey, Smartphone Apps, and etc…  PicMonkey can actually be used to make collages as well.

Hopefully some of you find this helpful, if you have any questions Please comment blow with them and I will answer the best I can.