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Posts tagged ‘flannel’

Infertility Awareness Week – Princess Pads

I’ve mentioned them before here – they’re the thing that no woman wants to think about and no man wants to hear about. If you don’t even like to be subjected to tampon commercials, look away now. “Princess Pads” are what I’ve coined my own design of feminine pads. Ever since I started in fertility treatments two and a half years ago (has it really been that long???), I’ve found them to be both a comfort and a necessity, as well as a huge cost saver while feeling pretty darn good about my ecological footprint.

They’ve evolved from where I started – just a couple pieces of flannel with something waterproof in there – to a fine-tuned range of sizes, shapes, and materials to fit the need of the moment.

The Hell-raiser

This pad is the reason I started making my own. Before starting fertility treatments I had what I not-so-lovingly referred to as “8 days of hell”. Since the doctors have screwed with my hormones for years now, that’s changed, but my 8 days of hell was nothing compared to the 5 weeks I endured last year after a cancelled cycle left me with an imbalance that had me in such pain and such horrible bleeding that I was put on 4x normal dosage of estrogen/progesterone and iron supplements in an effort to stop the bleeding and make sure I stayed healthy while we waited for it to stop.

It's a beast, but at least it's on your side!

It’s a beast, but at least it’s on your side!

This pad was the only thing that saved me, and even then some days it was insufficient. I think the biggest one I have is 4 layers of flannel, 3 layers of batting, and a layer of vinyl. It’s about 6 inches inches wide at the widest point, almost a foot long, and with an 8 inch wingspan, the wings are big enough to allow this beast to be completely self contained after use. Not only is there no commercial pad on the market that I’ve found that comes close to the coverage of this monster, it just feels so gosh-darn good against the skin. I’ve recently started experimenting with cotton velvets which are just SO SOFT!

The Normie

This is the normal every-day sort of pad solution. I have about 20 of these, they’re 2-3 layers of flannel, a layer or two of batting, and a vinyl barrier. I like the fact that the vinyl goes right from wing-tip to wing-tip because it prevents leaks that occurred in some of my first tries. I like to try to pick flannels that feel very soft, the not-so-fluffy ones don’t seem to be as absorbent. When you’re washing the flannel (and I pre-shrink all of mine so I don’t have any surprises later), don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets – it severely inhibits the absorbancy of the flannel.

At least it's something to look forward to!

At least it’s something to look forward to!

My favorite memory of these pads was when I was in the hospital last year. I went in for a laparoscopy/hysteroscopy where my dr surgically inspected the insides and outsides of all of my reproductive organs. This is done under a general anesthetic and they recommend you bring pads of your own if you don’t want to be stuck with icky hospital pads. Nothing felt better when I was coherent enough to get up, go pee, and get dressed than my pretty, comfy, familiar Princess Pad – I even remember the one I had with me was a dark blue with stars and cows jumping over moons.

The Spotter

Like I said, I’m REALLY screwed up from the last few years of hormones. I don’t know if I prefer my former “8 days of hell” or my current status of “cramp and spot for a week or two at a time for no apparent reason or purpose”. This pad is basically more than a liner but less than a pad. After a week with regular commercial pads I used to get a horrible rash… if I have a several week bout of this spotting garbage I would have been in severe pain. Because these still have wings, there’s still coverage to go on about your normal activities like hot yoga or rollerblading that would normally have destroyed a liner with the sweat and movement.

They're completely contained when you're finished.

They’re completely contained when you’re finished.

Perhaps my favorite thing about all of these snap-wing designed pads is that they’re not sticky on the back, meaning you can move them around as you need to, but because they’re flannel on the back, they don’t slide unless you want them to.

The Progesteroner

This is really a specialty pad for fertility treatments. During injectable cycles (IUI or IVF) your hormones are strictly controlled by medication and so progesterone will be replaced during the second half of your cycle. This involves a suppository 3x a day which makes a sticky mess – like you didn’t already have enough fun stabbing yourself several times a day for 2 weeks, now this?

They're "fun sized"

They’re “fun sized”

Normal pads are best covered by majority in a dark color, just because of the natural tendency to stain over time. Progesteroners are the opposite – they’ll take all the color out of your pretty little flannel, so I’ve opted now to use light colors. They’re also designed a little bit differently because unlike all of the former designs that account for “leakage”, this isn’t really an issue with Progesterone because it has more of a paste-like consistency.

So there you have it, everything from the Hell-raiser to the specialty designs, a pad for all occasions. So are they really worth it? Well I did some calculations last summer when I was sure I was going to bleed to death – I was on day 33.

“Almost all the materials that i’ve used have been from the remnant bins including flannel outers, flannel inners, and batting, but also leftover pieces from my own stash. The smallest piece I’ve used was about 6 or 8 inches (and full width) which allows a front center and a back center, and then i used a solid remnant for the sides (left overs from my sewing buddy project). Remnants from fabricland are usually 50% off (or more depending on if there’s any damage or staining) PLUS when you buy one you get another one free – and it used to be that you would get two free. I’ve also bought most of my snaps on significant clearance because I don’t care what color or really what size they are, so I just grab them for literally pennies. So I just bought some flannel with the express purpose of making pads, and it was on sale for between 4 and 5 dollars a yard. It takes less than 1/2 a yard to make 1 pad total, so even not getting the material for free, it costs about 2$ to make a pad (snaps and thread are negligible as they each cost pennies, even PUL was pretty cheap, I’ve bought it once ever). Considering the pads I purchased from the store were about 50 cents each and STILL SUCKED and I was going through up to 10 of my non-sucky pads a day in the worst part of the month, but at least 3 a day in the slowest parts, so lets say an average of 6.5 a day.

Prospective cost: 6.5 pads/day x .50 $/pad x 33 days = $107.25 but likely more because 10 pads a day couldn’t handle the flow I was having with the clots.

Actual cost: 20 pads x 2 $/pad = $40 but likely less because probably about 3/4 of the materials were free or remnant, some of them were pre-existing from before this month, and most can still be used later (a couple didn’t make it as my construction techniques were still evolving and they were in heavy rotation being washed 2-3 times a week).”

That was last June and I haven’t purchased commercial pads at all since then. I like to keep a couple around in my desk and in my overnight-bag, just in case but I still have most of that package left. Also remember, it’s Earth Day today! that’s $107.25 of plastic pads that didn’t go into the garbage, and a year more since then.

I just want to mention now that it’s Infertility Awareness Week this week. You can find out more about the disease of infertility, infertility etiquette, and what you can do to help at RESOLVE, or the Canadian support site IAAC (even though Canadian Infertility Awareness Week isn’t until May!)

Sewing Buddy 2012 Challenge #1

Whipstitch has this wonderful thing every year called the “Sewing Buddy Project” where you’re (seemingly randomly) matched with another participant and they’re your “buddy” for the year. Somehow I’ve gotten matched with a buddy from Georgia for 2 years in a row!

This year there are going to be challenges for buddies to complete jointly – the first one ended today.***ETA: it looks like it’s been extended until Monday!*** The challenge #1 was to create 2 projects, one a “boy” version and one a “girl” version. Since children’s clothing is pretty much out the window for me, we had to come up with something else that could be portrayed in a “girl” and “boy” fashion, but that was still obviously connected.

We decided on a self-contained picnic blanket in the greenhouse apple chevron print. I did mine in flannel and laminate – she chose to go with cotton instead of flannel for the heat factor! I love that these designers are producing on so many different types of fabric, it really allows you to be some much more flexible with what you can create!

So anyways (I finished it at close to midnight last night so I couldn’t take it outside for pics, but it’s been raining here anyways.) I chose 4 solid flannels to co-ordinate with my apples. She provided the pattern (which I managed to screw up anyways) and I came up with a block scheme for the pocket.. well, 2 schemes. I couldn’t decide on just one.

I decided that since both sides of the pocket show, that I’d do one on the inside and one on the outside.

What do you think? Does it look like the sketches at all? You might notice that the middle row is on top and the top row is in the middle. And please don’t look at the puckers where the designer flannel didn’t stretch and the cheaper solids did stretch. Just gaze in awe that in the first try at assembling it, it all ended up fitting inside the pocket!

But what they say about quilting is true… you really have to love the fabric that you’re working with. And at the end of it I still love all of the fabrics!

can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

I can.

me… on Sesame Street!

When I first heard that I was going to be an “Auntie” again, I found this perfect Sesame Street flannel to make some baby stuff. When I heard about 6 months later that I WAS an Auntie again, I thought I should probably get started on said baby stuff.

This picture was actually taken after I gave them the blanket… I’d been up late finishing it and hadn’t had time to photograph it, so the picture is really quite horrid.  But I think you get the picture – it’s a flannel rag quilt with a giant center panel.

This might just be the coolest part of the quilt. Centered at the bottom of the panel in the selvage it reads “C 2011 Sesame Workshop”.  My nephew was due to be born in early 2012 but due to some complications he ended up being born right at the end of 2011.  When I saw the selvage I thought it was just too perfect and I left it in.  Most of the time it gets covered by the rag seam, but I know it’s there.

Don’t you just love that nail polish too?  To me it looks like a 50’s kitchen appliance.

Anyways, here’s the back of the quilt. Nothing fancy, but there was a LOT of square cutting involved…

Then bibs, cloths, and a stuffed taggy block… and yes, it jingles. 😀

another taggie block

I made a block kind of like this before and it was so adored by the recipient (read: hurled across the room and slammed around in great joy!) that the parents requested another for a friend of theirs that was having a baby. They didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl, so this is what I came up with!

Lots of polka dots and lots of monkeys!

Flannel stuffed with fiberfill with a rattle in the middle… give it a little bit of weight for optimal flight trajectory 😀

geeky baby stuff

A friend of my husband just had a baby on 11-11-11… I know, so cool, huh? He wanted me to make a diaper cake and “maybe some of those clippy things?” hahaha.

I dug through my fabric pile and found the space invaders and pac man ghosts, and thought it was totally perfect for this baby of a geek, which in turn will most definitely be a geeky baby.

Space Invaders bib with matching minky clips

Pac Man bib with matching minky clips

I don’t know how I scrounged up enough scraps to do all of these clips AND back the bibs, but I did some creative placement! I think it’s safe to say that the minky is not necessarily all on the grain…

For a 5th clip, I used some of my treasured Tetris fabric that I got from Spoonflower last year.

And lastly, a receiving blanket to tie the entire cake together… bicycle flannel… I didn’t have anything geeky and Michael Miller flannel is just so soft after it’s washed!

flannel flannel flannel…

I ordered some cute michael miller flannels and I’ve been having a whole lot of fun with them.  Good quality flannel is just so soft after you wash it, I just love it!

I made this taggie block from 3 different prints and 3 different types of ribbon that I’d managed to collect that matched the block. I stuffed it lightly and inserted a plastic egg taped up with a couple of pennies inside to make a rattle.

I made this block for a friend of mine with a 6 month old that was in town… but I forgot it at home! Arrrrg! So while at breakfast with her I was trying to describe it to her, she said what she REALLY wanted was to score some more of those pacifier clips.

Done.

Check out all the cool fabrics! The little cars worked so well (and it’s a boy too!). The guitars didn’t work… I should have cut the other way, or on the bias. The green universe on black looks really hot! The words are all children’s toys and games – I found it in the remnant bin. Some of them have clips at both ends, good for attaching blankets, books, and plush toys. Some of them have a snap on one end, good for going through toys with loops, easier to clip small pacifiers.  I whipped these all off in a single night!

i’m an animal!

Further to my prior post “viewer discretion is advised” I have another one! This one is a muppet-based creation.

Flannel and flannelette are great fabrics to use for this because they’re stable (ie: they don’t stretch) but also because they’re soft and fuzzy and usually 100% cotton. Just make sure you always wash and dry your fabric before you use it! I dry my clothes on delicate and dry my cotton fabrics on HIGH – sometimes twice! – just to get as much shrinkage as I can out of them.

viewer discretion is advised

This is a topic that could make men uneasy… scratch that, this is a topic that generally makes men run screaming. It has many names: “my best friend”, “my aunt Flo”, “that time of the month”, “a moon-week”… I was watching a comedian on TV last week and he said that “women are like oceans: beautiful, deep, mysterious… and once a month is shark week!”. My husband just calls me “broken”, as if I’m damaged goods. Anyways, whatever you call it, as freaky as it is to men, it’s quiet important to women.

When my sewing buddy G told me that she wanted to try using reusable menstrual pads, I thought she was insane. I listed off the reasons that I thought that was a bad idea, at least for me:

  • I work all day, where the heck would I “store” these?
  • How many times a day would I have to change them?
  • My high tech name-brand-ers leak CONSTANTLY, how could a measly little homemade one do better than that?
  • How the heck much would it cost?
  • Do I have to do laundry every day?

But as many problems as I had with the idea, she had benefits:

  • Just think of all the garbage you’d be keeping out of the landfill!
  • They’re pretty, and cute, and soft!
  • She reacts to the bleach or something they use in commercial products

That last one was the biggy for her, and the driving force for her to try them out.  She found a website that sold the finished products AND patterns to make your own: ***insert link here when I find it***.  But I still wasn’t totally convinced that this was a good idea… I decided to give it a whirl on my own.

I found this website: http://clothpads.wikidot.com/patterns with many MANY free patterns in almost every style you could possibly imagine and started reading.  What they seem to indicate is that a few layers of an absorbent fabric, optionally with batting quilted into the middle, with a waterproof layer underneath will do the trick.  So away I went… this is what I did:

  • First, I grabbed a “real” pad to get an idea of the shape.  Then I fixed everything that is wrong with that shape (ie, everywhere that LEAKS!)
  • I used some cute, soft tinkerbell flannel.  I cut about 6 inches with the entire width (like 42 ish inches?) and folded that into thirds (conveniently giving one piece facing one way and two facing the other, just like this layering diagram I’m about to give you

  • I stacked the flannels (the purples above) and sliced a slit down the middle of ONLY the top one (there’s a picture a little further down).
  • I cut another few inches of the flannel with the entire width and folded it into quarters – this makes 4 pieces for the wings, two facing in either direction.  Actually, I folded it into eighths to make them symmetrical, but that starts to get pretty thick!
  • Sew right sides of each wing together on the curve, leaving the flat side open, then flip and top stitch that seam.
  • Slide the wings into your flannel sandwich facing in so when you turn everything, they end up facing out.  Here’s a picture… you can see the wings coming up through the slit in the middle so that I could align them properly and not sew over top of them.  The entire thing is sitting on the waterproof fabric but NOT PINNED YET!

  • I pinned just a teensy little bit very very close to the edge of the flannel, just to keep the waterproof fabric from sliding around. You don’t want to pin too far into the flannel because you’ll poke holes in the waterproof fabric and it won’t be waterproof anymore!
  • Now that we have all the fabric stacked up like the layering diagram, sew once all the way around the outside of the flannel.  This will attach all the layers in one go, but it’s still inside out.
  • Turn the piece right side out through the slit you made in the top piece of fabric.  This will put the slit on the bottom, underneath the waterproofing, with two right-side up pieces on top and wings right side out on the sides, like this:

  • Sew on the snaps and then you’re done!

life, death, and rebirth…

Perhaps this is a very appropriate subject for my first post.  I good ninja must learn the cycle of life, death, and rebirth, to be open to change. “Do what works for you only as long as it works for you.”

A few days ago my husband got a new pillow.  I heard him call down from upstairs, “do we have any pillowcaseeeeees?”  I replied, “give me a day, tomorrow I’ll have a pillowcase for you”.  This was my super stealthy ninja way of getting to go back to the fabric store and purchase the ultra-adorable superman fabric that I had passed up the day before because I didn’t have an immediate project for which to use it.  I found the bolt right where I had left it and gleefully had them cut a meter.  I was only briefly distracted by this gorgeous piece of fabric

this gorgeous fabric...

this gorgeous fabric...

but I’ll get back to that later.  All the way home all I could think about was “it’s so snuggly and flannel-y”, picturing him cozying right down into the pillow and floating softly off to dreamland.

So I got home, took about 15 minutes and whipped up a little pillowcase, shoved the pillow inside, and when bedtime came we traipsed up the stairs with the new magical pillow of sleepiness!

magical pillow of sleepiness...

magical pillow of sleepiness...

He got into bed and positioned the pillow as I watched intently. “It’s good…” he said… but I could hear the ellipsis even in his voice. “It’s really nice but… it’s a bit too warm.  But it would be good for a winter pillowcase…”  It was a 30C July day today, wtf was I thinking making a flannel pillowcase?  He very gentlemanly tried to save my feelings, but I outright asked him, “do you want this to be a winter pillowcase, or do you want me to take it apart and make something else?”.

“Maybe something else?…”

*sigh* Back to the drawing board.  I went back downstairs and ripped it all out.  I didn’t even cry a little bit!

So I sat there and stared at the fabric.  And stared and stared and stared.  I have a new little nephew coming September, so I got the idea to make something for him.  I didn’t have any blue cotton, but I remembered some red that I had gotten as a remnant for super cheap. I had a  meter of superman and a yard of red, so I cut the difference, sewed the two main pieces together and remarked to myself how much the solid red invokes the feeling of a superman cape! The difference between a yard and a meter is about .1m (give or take a little because fabric I get on the internet is usually very exact and the fabric I get at Fabricland usually has a little extra which may or may not be usable because of the way it is cut) so I dug my bib patterns back out. I cut all the pieces out of superman, and edged the pocket in red… very snazzy if I do say so myself!

pretty snazzy...

pretty snazzy...

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