Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Worth Every Penny

I may not have inherited the gene to feel the need to decorate for holidays from my Mom, but I definitely inherited the gene that makes me feel obligated to be cheap. It doesn't help that we work on a resident's salary either...but sometimes I look at prices and think (you will never guess this), "I can do that for that price." Oh lawd, here we go again.

Crib bedding...word to the wise - it is expensive. Whether you are looking in Pottery Barn or looking to have it done custom, it is pricey. With Louisa's nursery - I found some bedding I loved on clearance (dirt cheap) at Pottery Barn when I first found out I was preggo. I had no clue if it was a boy or girl, but I knew at the price I couldn't resist. And you know, I actually did the same thing this time - only I found cute bedding at Target (had been returned from online sale) at a S-T-E-A-L that was pink and green and I bought it...NOT even pregnant, but figuring I would never have anything other than a girl. Well, here we are with me incubating some testosterone.

Anyways, I never felt the urge to make crib bedding since I had always heard people cuss about it. But, when I went looking for boy nursery stuff I was grossed out. I refused to buy anything that was out there and somehow found myself looking at fabrics and talking myself into making it all myself. You know, one of those good-ole lack of O2 to the brain moments. Well, I ran across one of my ALL time fave discontinued Joel Dewberry (I heart him by the way for those that have yet to pick up on that) prints at a steal and grabbed it. When it came in the mail I drooled over it and then it sat in a bag hidden under lots of crizzity in my sewing room until recently. Well, today...I undertook it all. And, I must say - I won.

Now, just for an idea - on etsy custom bedding ranges from $150 to about $300. Something I thought was crazar until now. Well, after today I have realized you would have to pay me around $500-$1,000 to do it. Not my cup of tea. It wasn't awful, but just not the sewing I enjoy. And just since I think you care, I will walk you through it all.

First of all, I decided that I would just slip-cover Louisa's old bumper pad. I figured I already had it, so that way I wouldn't have to buy the stuffing and I could use it as a measuring guide. Genius and cheap. Are you proud Mom?

Then to the measuring. Since I had only 2 yards of a very, very out of print and hard to find for a reasonable price fabric - I really did have to employ the whole "measure twice cut once" way of working which is never really fun for me. The math hurt my head. So, I got more coffee and worked my way through it all. However, I cringed every time I cut through the Joel Dewberry fabulousness.

And this is the part in which I thought for sure the bad words would come. I do not like, repeat, do not like cording, piping whatever the heck you want to call it. For some reason, it makes me sweat. And swear, imagine that.

Now for the ties - which I ALMOST forgot. Yikes. 16 biased pieces later and a thumb I could no longer feel from being steam-singed I remembered where my bias-tape-maker thingy was. Murphy.

And for the ends of these 16 ties (which in all actuality is 32, but who is counting right?) I pulled out the big guns.

My ginghers. Oh how I am scared to pooey of these things. I mean, they cut my fingers just looking at them wrong. I honestly cringe just looking at them, but I knew that 4 layers of decorator-weight fabric would go south really quick if not for some uber-sharp shears. I know that their original owners (my Grandmother Morgan) was helping me hold my mouth just right as I chomped through all 32 ends scared to death of losing a digit. I made it, with all 10 fingers accounted for and then started to put it all together and get really nervous that I was either forgetting something or doing something wrong as I decided to fore-go a pattern or reading a tutorial, and instead went with the words of my friend Phoebe, "I've got this."

So, once it was all sewn together and I flipped it right-side out and everything was where it was supposed to be and I had YET to say a bad word, I was some kind of proud of myself. I mean, I wasn't having fun by any means...but there were no temper tantrums or swearing or throwing of any sort of sewing utensil. I was very impressed. Go me.

Now for the stuffing...this was not fun. At all. I had to put one arm all the way in one side to grab the bumper padding on the other and pull. This is when I was asking for go-go-Gadget arms to no avail. And I was sweating and had just eaten lunch so any exertion quickly brought on some reflux of my lunch and I was starting to get over it all. But, I got it. It wasn't until sewing up the ends that the first bad word came. Hand-sewing has never been a strength of mine. Ever. I practice and practice and I have even read books and tutorials - but I just sort of wing it and do it my own way no matter what anyone else says. I think that is half the problem...but then again, methinks that might be the whole control-freak in me?? But, as I was sewing up the ends it happened, that darned needle went straight into my finger and I swear it almost came out the other side. I swore like it was my job. And then my finger bled like it was it's job. Of course now you cannot even tell where the puncture occurred - but it hurt like the dickens to say the least. So, bad word numero uno...but I think I did very well up until that point.

So, once I got the ends all sewn up I decided to over-achieve and to look into "quilting" it all so that it would be easier for me to wash and not worry about the innards bunching up all over the place. I got out the manual for ole Myrtle and read up on the quilting foot and skipped over the whole part about my feed dogs

(who knew that is what they were called anyways?) and thankfully, OH SO thankfully talked myself out of the intricate pattern I wanted to go with and opted instead for straight lines. GOOD THING because this is where it all went south. And I mean, like South Pole.

First of all, I never realized how stinking heavy this thing was until I was trying to support it all and make it work in the small amount of room in my machine that will quilt but should not. Or, maybe I was over-estimating Myrtle's ability to sew through about 10 layers of batting. Let us just say that one broken needle, one bad, bad, bad cuss word, 50 lbs of bumper pad and buckets of sweat later.....it was quilted. I will refrain from details on this, but will show you a picture of a size 16 (yes, a heavy duty) needle and maybe that will give you more of an idea of how the "quilting" went.

But, it is done. And I love it.

Now, I still have to do the bed-skirt which worries me none since I have done a few before, and then a bolster pillow across the back since it is a solid wood-backed crib with no place for ties...I found with Lou the bumper in the back always fell over. So, this time I will make a big-fat bolster pillow with ties to tie in on the sides to stay in place. Maybe...we shall see. Just a small sneaker - since the nursery is in no way, shape or form in order. In fact, it is a home office with a crib in it right now. :)

But, for what this post was about in the first place - to all of you out there that sew custom bedding for people...props to you. I cannot imagine doing this day-in and day-out. You are my heroes. And for those of you that pay for custom bedding - rock on, I may have to join you if I ever decide on chirren numero tres. Of course, I am almost positive that by then - there will be NO oxygen flowing to my brain so I will probably find myself uttering those words that are beginning to haunt me...

"I can do that."

Now off to make some shrimp and grits for dinner. Please, please feel free to drink a glass of vino for me tonight. It would be much appreciated.

Until next time...


Sara said...

Great post! The bumper is simply beautiful and needed no intricate quilting pattern to stand out. Good choices. You've definitely got plenty of blood flow to that brain still.

aubreymeryl said...

What a clever idea about the bolster pillow on the back! Lillian has a solid back crib as well and we fight with the back all the time. The bedding is beautiful and you should be very proud! I've been toying with the idea of trying out my quilting foot on my machine but I must say I am quite afraid of that sucker. Love your creation!

Jennie said...

the bumper looks great, Amy! I made Mac's bedding, and I swore I would never do it again....or, I would do it and not pipe the silly thing and use ribbon for the ties instead of cutting all those bias strips...yuck. I'm with you - props to people who do this all the time. I cannot even imagine!

Jessa said...

I too home sewed my second born son's bedding. And I too chose that fabulous print, but in green. Is it a bit presumptuous of me to claim that great minds think alike?

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