Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Non-traditional nursing cover tutorial, both sewing and no sew

I found something like this online and even though they are very affordable, they are still outside of my budget, so I decided to make one of my own. Here is where you can buy one...it is called a baby bond.
Disclaimer:This is my attempt at a diy cover similar to the baby bond nursing cover for those who can't afford the baby bond, or want a more customized fabric, the design, however, is patented by baby bond. Items created using this tutorial are to be for personal use only, not to be made for profit.

Yes it is made out of knit fabric but you don't have to be scared to sew with knit if you've never done so before, you don't need anything special just a bit of patience. I suggest snatching an old t-shirt from the rag bag and practice with tension and speed if you've never worked with knit before, then go at it! Here is a great post written by Dana from the Made blog, should give you some great tips and hopefully the courage to jump in to this great project!

Here is how I figured out how to make it myself.
Knit Fabric preferably with a high cotton or other natural fiber content.
Some kind of hand sewing needle or Sewing Machine, you don't need a serger, or a walking foot, or a ball point needle, those things are nice but unnecessary. Or you could try a really good fabric tac(glue) or seam witchery*, if you do let me know how it works.
some way to measure, it doesn't have to be a measuring tape if you don't have one, a scarf or yarn would work.

Step 1) Find your fabric
I had some beautiful knit fabric lying around waiting to be made into something useful. But you don't have to buy new fabric, you could cut up a t-shirt, use an old moby that is starting to get too stretched out, etc. If you use new fabric wash it before cutting.

Step 2) Measure
I took a jersey knit scarf I had lying around and used that to measure. I actually made mine to big and I'm gonna have to go back and make it smaller.  Make sure that the fabric or measuring tape is firm against your body all around not sagging anywhere but also not stretched if your using a stretchy scarf or yarn to measure.
Measure from the outside of your right shoulder, over the nipple of the left breast under your left arm, around your back and up to the starting point. making sure the tape isn't so loose it is sagging.
I made my cover 10" wide but anywhere between 8" and 12" should be fine. If you have larger breasts you may want the width wider to cover as much skin as possible, if your an A or B you may feel swaddled if you make it too wide, so take that into consideration when choosing the width.

Step 4) Cut your fabric
If your fabric only stretches one way make sure it stretches along the length not the width of the band. If you are just using a t-shirt you can just cut 2 tubes from the body of the shirt in the right width and skip down to step #6 , Other wise cut 2 rectangles of fabric that is the length you measured and the width you chose, and one small rectangle, the strap, that is 1" longer then the width you chose and 2 inches wide (optional, look at step 7).

Step 5) Sewing
If you have a serger you can finish the edges if you wish but it isn't necessary, knit doesn't fray.
Take the first pannel and fold in half making a loop right sides together and sew across then turn right side out.
Take the other panel and with WRONG sides together sew the seam.
You now have 2 loops of fabric.

Step 6) More sewing
Put the loop with the seam on the right side of the fabric inside the circle of the fabric with the seem on the inside (wrong side like a normal seam). So that the seams are between the two loops. Lay the seams opposite directions and zigzag over the seam (click on picture below for a little more clearity).

Step 7) The strap
Take the small strip of fabric you cut turn in right sides together length wise and sew to make a tube, turn it right side out, tuck the last 1/4 to 1/2 inch inside on both sides, until it is the same length as the cover is wide place over the seam and tack it down at the ends on either side. This holds a burp cloth in place, but is totally optional.

*Fabric Glue/Seam Witchery option:If you don't have a sewing machine and don't want to hand sew you probably could use fabric glue, though, I haven't tried it myself here is what I'll be trying when I can attempt the glue method.
If your using fabric tac I suggest just using a t-shirt so you don't have to rely on the glue to hold seams (or you could use seam witch). Cut the body in 2 loops  in whatever width you want, don't cut the loops into panels just leave them, put one inside the other and put a line or 2 of fabric tac across it's width and press the loops together. Let dry and your done!
If your using seam witchery then follow the directions laying the strip across width wise between the two loops.

You are done!!! Enjoy nursing your baby anywhere, discretely, with eye to eye contact, able to see the latch is correct, and comfortably cool for both of you!

Sorry the action picture isn't good, Michael refused to cooperate after this picture.

If you are confused on any part of this just leave a comment and I'll try to clear it up for you!

Disclaimer:This is my attempt at a diy cover similar to the baby bond nursing cover for those who can't afford the baby bond, or want a more customized fabric, the design, however, is patented by baby bond. Items created using this tutorial are to be for personal use only, not to be made for profit.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Natural, Toxin Free Periods + Tutorial

I know this can be a delicate and embarrassing topic for some which is why I'm posting it after the April A-Z Challenge.

Just before I restarted my period after giving birth, I started seeing posts all over the internet about disposable pads and tampons, and the problems they cause because of the chemicals in them. It answered a lot of questions I didn't even realize I was asking.
Why am I always getting a rash when I don't use a tampon?
Why am I always dry and uncomfortable when I do use a tampon?
I had to choose which was the better of two evils, not even knowing there were other options.

The other options:
The extreme option - hystorectomy, will end periods forever no need for any of the above or below products...I don't advise it except for medical reasons. But my humor is such that I couldn't resist adding it.
Less extreme options:
Menstrual cup - like the Diva Cup, Lunette Cup, Mooncup, etc. I primarily use the Diva cup with back up mama cloth and LOVE it!!! There is a bit of a learning curve but so worth it, it lasts from 1 year (suggested time to replace) to 10(from a couple of women whose posts I've read). They are sized in 2 sizes, one for women under 30 and who have never given birth, and two for women who are over 30 or have given birth. Each one is created different so if the one you buy never fits comforting don't give menstrual cups up as a lost cause, research some more and find a different one that fits more comfortably.

Cloth Tampons - These are good, I've used a few and they work good. They are much more comfortable the disposables but the menstrual cup is much more comfortable still. Here is an etsy shop where you can buy them, or you can make them yourself.
Knit Tampons
Sewn Tampons

Cloth Pads - I love these, I use them as back up for the menstrual cup, I also used them after my postpartum bleeding was through, 5 weeks postpartum, before the numbness was completely gone and my bladder issues resolved at 9 weeks postpartum, I hadn't time to make any before giving birth and I had a large stash of disposables that I needed to finish. So I made them when I had time that first month. This is the pattern I used. Here are a few places to buy ready made pads if you have the inclination and money:
Domino Pads
Moocowmomma Postpartum/Overnight Pads 
PoshPads - Panty Liners
Pixadoodles - Moon-thly Pantyliners
This next set of links is from the WAHM section in www.diaperswappers.com. you do have to be a member to buy but it is free and easy so don't let that stop you from buying from these great mamas!!
Tree Hugger Mama Cloth
Mother Moon Pads
The Naked Pomegranate
GEM Cloth
Willow Pads

However, Not everyone has the means to buy ready made pads, and neither do they have a sewing machine and the skills to sew a strait seem if they did. If you fall in this category the rest of this post is for you.

I was thinking about women who are struggling so much with the economy so bad and the difficulty finding any money even for necessities. So this is what I came up with as I was unsuccessfully trying to go to sleep.

Supplies needed:

Fleece, you can cut up an old fleece jacket either from your closet or acquired from a yard sale/Goodwill. Also you can find fleece in the 'end of bolt'/clearance bin in any fabric store for about 50% off.
Wash Clothes,  Again from your own linen closet if you have an abundance, or from yard sales, goodwill, most department stores have 8-12 packs for under $10 that would work perfectly. If you happen to be cloth diapering your child and have them, I often use newborn prefolds for night time, or extra boosters/inserts (not microfiber unless it is topped with something else) then they would work perfectly as the 'soaker' layer.
Needle and 100% polyester thread, no cotton as it could wick blood through and get it on what your wearing where polyester won't.
Or Fabric Tac Glue.
Favorite disposable pad in the sizes you wear. I'm using a long regular and a panty liner here.

Unless your using snaps or velcro to secure your wings I would either fold the wings under or cut them off, as I'll be using different wings.

Lay them on your fleece, and cut out as many as you want/need, We are using these as waterproof liners and you will be able to change out the soaker layer leaving the fleece in place until it is to damp to protect anymore. So you won't need as many as you will soakers. I would suggest 2 over nights (however many nights you plan on going before you wash your pads) and 3-4 day time if you have enough fleece, don't forget to leave enough for the wings and the straps on top to keep soaker in place. 

I cut the straps about 3/4" wide and as long as the pad is wide where you plan on placing it.
I made the wings the same width and long enough to tie underneath, to show you one option, another option is no wings fleece doesn't slide, or snaps most craft stores have snap pliers, Velcro either sew on or glued. you could even use buttons.

I sewed one and glued the other.

I hand sewed the smaller with 100% polyester thread and glued the larger.

Simply tri - fold or fold in quarters and secure understraps and you have a cheep and natural mama cloth solution. You can also fold then sew the washcloths into a pad so you don't have to worry about folding them later, but it will also take a little more time and effort to get them clean and dry then leaving them a single layer. for over night/postpartum you could use 2 cloths or even 3 if your flow is heavy enough to warrant it.
You might want to make sure that your panty liner is as long as your wash cloth, I had to fold down my cloth and then trifold to get it to fit which made it bulky and a little uncomfortable.

I hope this is helpful to someone out there!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

It is coming slowly

I'm working on a new blog post, don't worry I haven't forgotten you, but things have been hectic, helping my parents move from next door to over 100 miles away. And we are about to start packing ourselves, so I'm trying to fit in a tutorial on how to start mama cloth with almost no money, like literally I think this could be done with $12. But I need to go to walmart and check the prices before I can be certain.
I have not forgotten you!!! Good night!