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Op Shop Bargains!

10 Feb

Last Saturday my mother-in-law stumbled into a Baptish Church opshop. Knowing my love for bargains, she went in and saw clothes, fabrics, baby things, and she hurried home to tell me about it. And both rushed back there a half hour before it closed. There were racks of clothes being sold at 50cents a piece, as well as rooms devoted to women’s wear, baby wear, menswear and odd bric-a-brac.

The first thing that caught my eye were 2 pairs of Jeanswest Maternity jeans-50 cents each!

Jeanswest Maternity Jeans

They were practically brand new and in my size!  I wouldn’t wear them in summer, but I’ll wear them in winter for a winter baby. Wink!

I was excited when I saw that they had a cupboardful of fabrics. Here’s what I picked out for a dollar a bundle.

My op shop fabric.

The top fabric is a large yardage of blue-green linen.

Pink polyester tricot.

A pretty light green checked cotton blend.

Would probably make a nice boy’s shirt.

A beautiful silver grey material.

Can’t figure out what it is. It’s wonderfully soft and silky, but I think it’s probably a synthetic blend.

A really pretty vintage print cotton

A mustard-brown linen.

And last but not least…

A really interesting heavy weight cotton print

I also browsed through they sewing notions and found this.

A shoebox full of zippers

And they weren’t old vintage ones either.

Some of the zippers were new.

The lady said there were some sewing books-but somebody had already made off with them. Darn!

But the prize of the day was this.

An almost brand new bassinet

It came in about 10 minutes after we did. And I just fell in love with it. Even though we already had one given to us…this on was just so hard to resist. It was absolutely beautiful. Retail it would be at least AUD150 or more. This one was AUD 25.  It was probably a spare one from the grandparents when they babysat the little one. But it really looks new. And the cream-coloured frills! To die for.

I also got this.

It's not a golf bag.

Take off the cover and you get this.

It's not a shopping trolley.

It unfolds to.....

A Portacot!

Really handy for travelling. Or even as a playpen! Got this one knocked down from AUD40 to AUD 20.

It was a wonderful day.


Baby Sling Tutorial

31 Jan

I’ve been looking online at baby slings, and I’ve decided that they would come in very handy for carrying baby around with me and keeping my hands free. However, commercial baby carriers cost upwards of AUD60-and I’ve seen some really nice handmade ones for about AUD40 too-also more than I’ve willing to spend for something which I can make myself. So I made one this arvo (Aussie slang for ‘afternoon’) out of a red cotton print given to me from that nice church lady this morning. I had thought to make one with adjustable straps, but I wanted something quick today, so I only made a fitted sling, non-adjustable, and to my measurements. So Wyld Man probably won’t be able to use it.

The red fabric that I had was of a 45 inch width, which was perfect folded in half for the project, since you’d need the sling to be reversible and double sided. In total, I used about 1.5 metres of fabric.

Red cotton print

First, I loop a measuring tape over one shoulder and under the opposite arm loosely, maybe adding about 3-4 inches of wearing ease into that measurement.  Imagine that the tape measure is a sling, and decide how loose or tight you want it to be.  Mine came to 47 inches in length.

I drew a pattern on the newspaper.

It looks like a misshapen kite.

On the left end is a gentle curve-that’s where you want the baby’s bum to sit. The width of the widest end is 45 inches divided by two-just fold your 45-inch fabric lengthwise.  On the right is the strap that will go over your shoulder-that straight line is cut on a fold-and can be any width-I made mine about 7-8 inches wide. And the length of the pattern is that measurement over the shoulder and under the arm divided in half-mine was 47 x 1/2 inches=23.5 inches.

I added a seam allowance of about 5/8 inch all around the pattern except for the shortest line on the right-that line is cut on the fold.

My pattern all cut out with seam allowances

I pressed the fabric before cutting

I folded the fabric lengthwise once, and then again in half crosswise, so that I had 4 layers of fabric. I laid the pattern onto the fabric, with the “CUT ON FOLD” line placed directly on the fold of the cloth.

Pinning my fabric onto the pattern before cutting out

And then my scissors came out. Snip snip.

The fabric all cut out

Here, I have 2 pieces of fabric folded on the left end, and with curved raw edges on the right end. Time to sew!

I separate the 2 pieces of fabric, put them right sides together, and pin all alongside the long edge.

Right sides together and pin

I sew a seam down the 2 long edges of the sling, but not the curved edges.

This is because we want to turn it inside out later.

Here, I’m pressing the seams flat and open

I turn the sling inside out, and press the outside edges flat

Time to sew the curved edges together.

Here, I pin fold the sling, and bring to two curved edges together and pin

Sew a seam down the curved edge.

Press the curved seam open with a folded towel underneath.

I find that a folded thick towel is an excellent substitute for a tailor’s ham.

Just put your fist under the towel to form a curved surface to iron a curved seam, like a princess seam

Enclose the first curved seam with another seam from the opposite side.

Stitch the standing seam down to one side.

This is called a flat-felled seam, whereby a seam is sewn on one side, then turned over, with another seam sewn on the opposite side to enclose the first seam, and then the standing seam is stitched to one side. This forms a very strong seam.

The finished baby sling

A one-hour project.

That’s the rhino-in-a-nappy in the sling. Front view.

Back view

Edited on 1/12/2014: I’ve published maternity and nursing patterns on Craftsy! Be sure to check them out!

Baby Rocker Makeover

30 Jan

Somebody at my mother-in-law’s workplace gave her an old baby rocker to give to me. I liked that you could put a baby in there and rock it to sleep, as well as set it up so that it stays stationary. However, this is what it looked like-

It looked rather old and stained.

The fabric was sewn into the frame of the rocker, so couldn’t be taken out and washed.

I wasn't crazy about the dirty teddy bears

But it was a good brand-Mother’s Choice, and a freebie is a freebie. So I decided to give it a facelift.

I had some really soft cotton that I picked up at the opshop that I decide would look really good as a cover.

Some blue cotton fabric from the op shop

I also went to Spotlight today and picked up a metre of prepacked polyester wadding.

Polyester Wadding

But before I did anything, I wanted to make sure that the fabric would look right on the rocker.

A mock up of what the final product will look like.

Looks just fine. So, I proceeded to make a pattern with newspaper.

Using newspaper to make a pattern.

Marking all the spots on the newspaper

Cutting out the fabric with the newspaper as a guide and adding seam allowances.

Laying the wadding on newspaper.

Cutting the wadding without seam allowances

Pressing the fabric flat to prevent puckers when sewing.

I planned to sew the wadding onto the wrong side of the fabric, and then turning it inside out. So-I pinned the fabric rights sides together, with the wadding on top of the wrong side.

Pinning the wadding on the wrong side of the fabric

I sewed directly onto the wadding all around the sides.

However, I left a hole in one of the short sides for turning the cover inside out.

The Hole

I anchored the four ends of the wadding unto the fabric before turning inside out

Then I proceed to pull the fabric and wadding through the hole.

This is what it looks like the right way up. See that little hole?

I’m going to close it up with iron-on hemming tape.

Inserting hemming tape into the hole

Iron-on hemming tape is a fusible adhesive which bonds 2 pieces of fabric together when heat is applied. It is usually used for making invisible hems. I only discovered it in Adelaide-I’m not sure if I’ve come across it in Malaysia.

Ironing the hole with the fusible hemming tape in it.

The original rocker seat has a strap sewn unto it to hold the baby in. I wanted to transfer it to the new cover. So I cut it off. Snip snip.

Cutting off the safety strap

I wanted the cover to have a quilted look, so…

Here I transfer all the markings from the newspaper to the cover.

I sewed along those markings to define the seat of the cover

I sewed a curvy line down the length of the cover

Here I used the quilting bar to guide the second line of stitching

The quilted look

Sewing the safety strap on with a bartack stith

I handsewed snaps on black tape on all four corners to anchor the cover into position.


I also made a little padded holder for the straps.

This was a very quick and rewarding project-no precision needed, yet the finished product looked quite professional.

Here’s a before and after picture.

BIG improvement!

A Maternity Tour, Op Shops and Baby Things

19 Jan

Wyld Man and I went to the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital for the maternity tour today. I should have gone earlier, but things just got delayed till now. Pregnant women booked to give birth at the Women’s and Children are encouraged early on to go on the tour so that we know where to go when labour starts, or in case of an emergency.

We thought we wouldn’t be able to make it at 9am on time, but we did, AND we found a free park for an hour right across the hospital.  The tour started a little late, but the guide, Cynthia gave us quite a thorough round of the place. I had thought that if I went into labour to go to emergency, but the correct place to go was Triage at the Women’s Assessment Unit where the midwife assesses which stage of labour a woman was in and then sends her to the the correct department.  We were shown the labour rooms and birthing centre, postnatal wards, nursery, the women’s antenatal clinic, ultrasound department, etc. It was an impressive hospital, very clean and up-to-date with the latest technology. The labour rooms were like hotel suites! They even had spas for a new mum to pamper herself after birth, or for having a water birth.

In the middle of the tour we saw a newborn baby being wheeled to the nursery, and all the people in the tour group started cooing and ah-ing over it. I had hoped that we would be able to see some babies in the nursery, but security was very tight, and only parents and family were allowed in-as it should be.

(I stopped my blog here and saved it on the 18th on Monday-and I only continued the rest of the entry on the 19th, so any “todays” you see in this post is the 18th.)

Anyways, it was a busy day for me. I went to several opshops today and found a few gems. I had planned to go to Baby Target at Golden Grove Village to get some things on sale. But there were several opshops on the way. The first one I went to was at Salvos at Payneham on Payneham Road. I bought a white checked men’s shirt at size 40.

White Men's Checked Shirt

I thought that Wyld Man might like it. But if he didn’t, I’ll use it as a breastfeeding top. Aud 6.99 from Salvos.

I also got a Reader’s Digest Microwave Cookbook at AUD4.99-lovely colour pictures and step by step instructions.

Reader's Digest Microwave Cookbook

Picture Recipe Index-all the recipes are listed on the first few pages in pictures.

I had gotten a 1971 edition of the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing at an op shop in Victor Harbor and was very impressed by the content. So I’m on the lookout for more RD Complete Guides  To books.

There was an Anne of Ingleside book by Lucy Maud Montgomery going for AUD1.99 which I also got. I’m a huge Anne of Green Gables fan.

The best things from that Salvos shop though was a stack of fabric they had in their remnant basket-and it wasn’t tiny scraps of remnants either. Minimum 1.5 m of fabric in a bundle-all for AUD1.99. I bought a whole stack to add to my growing stash.

Op Shop Fabric Stash

That’s at least 20 m of fabric, for a total of only AUD 20! There was floral corduroy, cotton jersey, stretchy 2-way knits (which are expensive at Spotlight), floral seersucker, marine blue cotton drill, white crepe/georgette, and white nylon woven.

My next stop was at Vinnies at Felixstow on Payneham Road. Here I snagged a bargain on pregnancy and baby books. I had a What to Expect When You’re Expecting book by Heidi Murkoff which I bought at AUD39.99. I didn’t know that there was a subsequent book called What to Expect The First Year, which I assume would also retail at about that price, but here was selling at AUD3.50! Really stoked about it.

What To Expect The First Year

Another book I got at AUD 3.50 was Your Baby and Child by Penelope Leach, which I read through later when I got home and really liked. It’s written in a conversational tone and is quite unlike the one above, which is arranged in a question and answer form with textboxes of information.

Your Baby and You by Penelope Leach

Here also I got a couple of cot sheets fro AUD 3.50 (a pair), and a whole lot of clothes I intend to breastfeed in. The clothes were in wonderful condition and all were selling for AUd 6.99-which I thought was rather pricey for an opshop, but still- I liked the style and condition they were in and it’s still a fraction of what I would pay retail.

SuzanneGrace Lavender Wrap top

This is a perfect top for breastfeeding. And it looked like it has never been worn too! Just fell in love with it the minute I saw it.

Blue-Green breezy top in chiffon fabric.

Loved this top as well-but I had to make a tiny alteration to the straps that held up the light blue fabric inside the top-it was dropping down too much.

Yellow button up blouse

This top is made of burnout fabric with buttons. A bit see through-here I’m wearing a cami underneath. But I just love the fabric. And it’s perfect  for breasfeeding too! Here’s what I plan to do to dress it up a bit.

Yellow Top Embelished with Brown Satin Ribbon

Here’s a Miller’s yellow shirt what I plan to use as jammies at the hospital. It’s super comfy.

Miller's Yellow Shirt

And I got this pink men’s shirt too as a breastfeeding top.

Pink Men's Shirt

Hmm…spent a bit more than I planned at op shops. But I figure I won’t be opshopping much when the baby’s here. Better to get things now than later.

Here’s what I got from Baby Target at Golgen Grove Village.

Fisher Price Sounds and Lights Baby Monitor

On sale at AUD 65.00 from a RRP of AUD99.

Baby Grooming Set.

Baby bottles, sippy cups and extra teats

The bottles are made of glass, which are hard to find, as everything is made of plastic nowadays.

Baby Bath Ramp

I’m terrified of letting the baby slip into the water.  Hopefully this will help.

Nappy pail with lid. Very important for all those cloth nappies.

And here’s my overnight bag which I packed a few days ago, all ready to go.

Overnight Bag

Hopefully I won’t be using it too late or too early. Hey Wyld Child, mama needs you to come on time ok?

Baby Shower

17 Jan

A few weeks ago, a friend offered to host a baby shower for me. Sharon had my write out a list of friends I wanted to invite, and a list of items I need for the little Wyld one. The baby shower happened yesterday and we had loads of fun!

I woke up late yesterday-nearly 11.30am-I’ve been feeling my pregnancy symptoms more and more-swelling in my feet and hands, tiredness and general malaise.  I’d gone to the midwife earlier this week and had no symptoms then and I thought I had escaped it. Seems like I spoke too soon. Anyways, I woke up late and realised that I had nothing prepared! The house had not been cleaned, the carrot and celery sticks I had intended to serve had not been cut, things were still strewn around in the lounge and kitchen, the dishes were not done, we hadn’t had lunch, and the nursery was not fit to be seen and the baby shower was supposed to start at 2!

So I went into a frenzy of preparation to get things ready.  Wyld Man helped me loads. He had planned to scoot off with his brother to a brew shop to spend his voucher (which I had given to him as a Christmas present-what was I thinking? More booze!), but he stayed to help me get ready-like the darling he is.

Darling husband before he escaped the hoards of females for some male-bonding time with his brother.

I was undecided as to what to wear-mum had sent me some lovely summer shirred skirts that doubled with a dress, and I had previously thought to wear it with a little crochet shrug, but then I decided to wear my newly sewn denim maternity skirt and broderie smock top with a velvet ribbon. (G0t that top from a Salvos op shop at Goodwood Road-love it!)

My lovely hostess, Sharon, arrived early to help me set up.

Hey Sharon!

Sharon baked the colourful muffins!

So did my wonderful in-laws. Grandma and Carol brought more food! Phew-I had only prepared carrot and celery sticks and a dip. Thank goodness for them!

Taking a rest after doing all the things to help me set up.

Then the other ladies arrived.

We played some games that Sharon organized. First we had a list game-we made a list of all the baby things we could think of-the one who thought of the most items won. Bethany won hands down with 47 items in 4 minutes. She had things like colic powder and lavender oil, things I had no idea a baby would need-but she has 5 younger brothers and sisters, so she would know.

Second game we had was to make a list of words starting with all the letters in my and Wyld Man’s name- and those who had the most number of same words that I thought of wins. The words could be anything baby related-but I had baby THINGS on my mind, so my list was rather noun oriented. I wrote:

J: Joy-others wrote  jumpsuit, jumping jack

O: Onesies-others wrote Ogling baby, Obstetrician

Y: hmm…can’t remember what I wrote for this one. Others wrote Yelling (baby), Youth

C: Cot. Others wrote Cotton Buds

E: Elephant softie. Others wrote earache.

D: Dummy

A:  ….I’ve forgotten what I wrote. Pregnancy does that to you.

M: …

I: Ipecac.  Somebody said yuck when they heard this one.

A: Apply Puree.

N: Nappy.

Everybody took a break from games and I opened my presents.

Baby basket with bath stuff from from Grandma.

Baby fleece jumpuit from Carol.

Next game up was nursery rhymes. I started with Sing a Song of Sixpence. Then everybody had a go-Mary Had a Little Lamb, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star… We had fun singing.

We had a group photo before we wrapped up things.

Nina took this photo, so she is in the next one.

Sharon had also prepared door gifts for the ladies to take some-chocolate! Always a winner.

I had good time arranging my baby shower gifts today in the nursery.

Piles of baby things to sort out.

Sharon's gift basket with safety plugs and snack cups and bottle brushes for me.

Grandma's gift. That basket will be getting lots of use as a baby bath things basket to keep next to the bath tub.

I got muslin wraps and squares, baby onesies and jumpsuits, a baby album, a nursing cover...

Baby singlet-I can't get over how tiny it is!

I got lots and lots of bibs. I'll never run out of bibs. Ever.

One of the ladies sewed me a Winnie the Pooh floor blanket, and I also got a beautiful luxury blanket for the cot. Other things I got were organic cotton blanket, fleece blanket, Neways Generations  Baby Lotion and Body Wash.  I have some lovely friends and family!

And today at church, a lovely old lady gave me her grandson’s clothes-some of which are brandnew. She also gave me some cot sheets and bassinet sheets, as well as a lovely 50-year-old Italian-made shawl in near perfect condition.

I’m so grateful.