Thursday, 22 March 2012

mmmmminky

Ok so maybe I've gone a bit mental (and at 39 weeks pregnant I think I'm entitled to!) but I just can't pronounce the word 'minky' properly without drawing it out.  Even before I had kids and had never bought a scrap of it I couldn't walk past the minky table in the fabric store without giving it a good fondle before moving on to buy more fabrics I didn't really need either.

Anyway a few months ago I was searching for some minky fabric to make a change mat cover and some cloth nappies for the new baby.  When Lincraft had a 50% off sale I bought some of that bobbly minky in a pale yellow for the change mat (which is very high on my to do list), but even at 50% it was still quite expensive and the range of colours and prints was very limited.  I started to do some online searching when coincidentally the lovely Lisa from the OnlineFabricStore sent me an email asking whether I would like some minky and fleece fabric in exchange for a review here on my blog.

Now I haven't done any sponsored reviews before, mainly because I'm growing tired of those blogs that have either sponsored reviews or giveaways as the majority of their content with very little else interesting to read about.  Plus the offers I've received for sponsored reviews in the past have had absolutely nothing to do with what I blog about, so I've ignored or declined the offers.  But this offer was for free fabric! And fabric that I was actually searching for to make something that I would have posted about anyway, so I hope you'll all forgive me this once.

So I moseyed on over to the OnlineFabricStore and selected a minky fabric in a deep red colour and a fleece fabric in a chocolate brown with aqua polka dots, figuring that both were quite unisex so that it would suit Anna and the new baby no matter what it turns out to be.  There's quite a lot of choice in colours and prints, plus at $8.85/yd US ($8.50/91cm AU ) for the red minky and $6.85/yd US ($6.50/91cm AU ) for the fleece fabric their prices are better than what we can get here in Australia (yay for the very strong Aussie dollar!).

When the fabrics arrived I realised the red minky was far too lovely a shade of red to be hidden away on a baby's bottom so I decided instead to make little matching jackets for Anna and the new baby.

Fabric preparation:
I simply chucked both the red minky and chocolate fleece fabric into the washing machine on my normal cold wash before I sewed, remembering to overlock the cut edge of the minky because it does tend to shed little fibres a lot.  The fabric lost very little colour and didn't have any discernible shrinkage so it was a good start.  Another bonus is that these fabrics don't wrinkle, so I didn't need to press them either.

Sewing:
I was worried that the minky layers would stick to each and not feed through the feed dogs properly like I sometimes experience with velvet and corduroy, but the minkee sewed up with no problems at all.  I actually used my overlocker for 90% of the sewing on these and just used a stretch twin needle for some toptstitching.  Minky does have a nap so you do need to cut the pieces out with the grain in the same direction, which luckily I remembered to do, even in my baby brain state.

For the new baby I made a little raglan sleeved cardigan from McCalls 9407 which is OOP, which I got from an opshop some time ago.  Seriously is there anything easier than sewing a raglan sleeved cardigan? This took me about 1.5 hours maximum, from go to whoa. 

This pattern calls for a facing around the neckline and the front edges, but that seemed too fiddly to me and instead I lined the cardigan completely with a contrasting cotton knit fabric from the stash.  I just made two identical cardigans from the two fabrics, sewed them together with right sides facing, turned them inside out, stuck on a couple of snaps and all done!  Here's the finished product, sans baby of course:




I love the contrast of the black and white stripe knit against the deep red colour of the minky.  I decided to topstitch around the edge with a blanket stitch for decorative reasons, but I think a single stitch line would have been a better idea because the blanket stitch just made the minky look a bit ragged.  It looks better from the inside though (probably more so if I had sewn a little straighter of course):
 



I'm rapidly learning the politics of being a parent to more than one child: making sure the second child doesn't only get all hand me downs, trying to take as many photos of the second as the first and also balancing the attention evenly between them all.  So big sister Anna also needed something new and luckily the cut of minkee that Lisa sent was generous enough to make a hooded jumper.  I used trusty old Kwik Sew 2025, which is an ancient pattern long OOP that I picked up one time in a op shop. But again it's just a simple raglan sleeve style with a hood which never goes out of fashion for the toddler set. 
And here's what I made for Anna:


For the pocket, cuffs and inner hood I used some ribbing from the stash again bought from an opshop ages ago that is a pale pink and red stripe. 


Luckily this was an easy style to make because the instructions were missing from the pattern envelope, but I think I got it right.  Too bad my model decided to be funny and ham it up when I was trying to take to her photo, but she did profess to love this:



So far I've found the sizing of Kwik Sew patterns to be pretty good, much better than the other commercial pattern companies, but on this one I found that the sleeves and the body were a little too short. It did fit over her head and around the body so I guess I could just replace those cuffs with some wider cuffs.  Or I could just make her walk around with her hands in her pockets which would be extremely helpful when out shopping in those annoying stores with all the easter eggs on display at floor level....


The final verdict? The fabric is good quality with a lovely feel to it that didn't go away after washing, the colours are very close to what appears on screen and the fabric was easy to cut and sew with.  Because I didn't buy these fabrics I don't have any experience with their customer service or shipping, but I do think their prices are reasonable and the fabrics arrived fairly quickly even with international postage.  I'll definitely be looking at their website to get some more fabric once the next baby is out and I know whether I'm in for more pink butterfly fabric or some blue pirate fabric!

14 comments:

  1. They both look gorgeous, but the babies one in particular is great! The lining just makes it pop.

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  2. Free fabric for a review = awesome! Great tops too.

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  3. Hi, I haven't commented before. I'm doing a clear out and have a Neue Mode magazine called "everything for babies" with clothing for 1-2 year olds. Would you like it (for free of course).

    It's been packed away or *cough* years and never been used.

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  4. Kristy, they turned out cute...I'm with you... that Minky is pretty addictive stuff! I've only bought a couple pieces of it (like you the cost is terrible sometimes) but I love the feel... I'm thinking the next best thing would be "real mink".
    Anna makes me laugh! The 3 older kids figure our youngest was pretty spoiled...ahem... that's only cause sometimes when we went into a store I would get her a gum ball, it kept her mind and hands off of other things while I shopped! Of course, if the other kids were with, they too got gum... they just don't remember that part! LoL

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  5. How cute is Anna, and how she's grown! I love both the garments, but especially Anna's hoodie!

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  6. Cute cute cute! I do not have any teeny children in my life for whom to sew, right now. Am glad to hear a "real person" opine on using this fabric. It looks to be a staple in stores for a long time, so will probably still be around if/when I ever have grandchildren. Enjoy your last week(s) of pregnancy.

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  7. Thank you for sharing this!! Your two outfits came out wonderfully. I love the combinations you used with the red minky, and the linings and accent colors. In fact, I have a friend who is expecting a girl in May, and I will definitely take a closer look at this pattern.

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  8. Ohh, I see the pattern is OOP! Oh well! I still like it anyhow.

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  9. Love the tops and I love that you did the review. Like any of us would turn that offer down! Lol

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  10. Cute cardigan for the new baby and a fun hoodie for Anna, lovely.

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  11. Sweet! Anna's adorable as ever, and such a big girl now. Best wishes for an easy and healthy delivery.

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  12. Oh my do you have a little character there! The hoodie is really cute and I like the mix of solid and striped fabric!

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