Sunday, April 30, 2006

Preemies - Our littlest population

There's been a bit of discussion on message boards about sewing for premature infants. I'm the mother of two premature infants who are now 21-year-old adults. Yep, twins. I didn't do much sewing for them when they were below 7 pounds because my time was taken up caring for them. Premature babies require close attention, transportation to a lot of appointments, lots of small feedings, monitoring, etc., etc., etc., that is in addition to that you would provide for a full term infant. Many premature infants don't make it, and there's the added grief of a baby's death. And here's where we can help.

Parents of premature infants don't have a lot of time to do anything other than take care of their children. Organizations that provide clothing for the little ones abound on the web. Do a quick Google search for "patterns for premature babies" or "sewing for preemies" or any permutation of the phrase. There are free patterns on the web for tee shirts, sleeping gowns, blankets that fold and swathe a baby, as well as clothing and burial gowns. Any thing you can do for your community or for an organization line is more than appreciated by the parents who receive the items.
If you do sew for premature infants, remember to keep the fabric extra soft. Their skin is not as developed as a full term infant.

The best "help" I received when my twins were infants was anything that helped save me time. Many parents, such as myself, have another child as well as their preemie. That child needs to be remembered too. Stitch up a small stuffed animal or something unique for the sibling of the preemie if you have some time. You can use scraps you already have and stuffing you have stashed away.
Sewing for preemies is relatively simple and it's definitely something we call can do.
Feel free to browse around Google's free preemie sewing listings and try out an item or two. You'll feel really good that you've done something positive for the littlest babies.

Update 11/2018: My twins are now in their 30s and doing fine. 

Monday, April 10, 2006

Buttonhole, buttonhole, who ' s got the buttonhole?

We're looking for the perfect buttonholer. I have an older Bernina machine. I love it. I adore it. I wouldn't be without it. But it makes icky buttonholes. My second sewing machine, one from Montgomery Wards, made excellent buttonholes with an attachment. I let a friend borrow said attachment some years ago and haven't seen it since. I've also been chasing the perfect buttonhole since then!
Alas, the ultimate buttonholer is an elusive creature. It hasn't come knocking at my door and the internet seems to only sell machines on an industrial basis, and they're huge and expensive. I'm thinking I may have to suffer through buying a second sewing machine. Could it be? Oh the horror and the torture. Okay, I said that part for my husband. He doesn't "get" why I would want more machines. I have four already! (Two sergers, neither of which are plugged in right now, the Bernina, and an older Montgomery Ward machine that I keep around in case my friend returns my buttonhole attachment.)
All kidding aside, the buttonhole is an important detail on a lot of items. I'm making a wrap skirt for a friend and it requires two buttons. I have done everything but that. I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and make so-so (or is that sew-sew?) buttonholes on the skirt with the Bernina. Unless someone sends me the perfect buttonholer today.
Rounded, bar tacked, or keyholed - the buttonhole is a treasure.

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Sewing for charity

I've been thinking of sewing for charity lately. We have so many talents that can be put to good use. After Katrina, every year around Christmas, and other times throughout the year, we hear about people who need our help. What we may fail to remember is that there are people every day of the year who could use an item or two that we could make as individuals or in groups. While the community manager at, I posted some links, just a few, about sewing for charity in the hope that others will follow suit. I plan on making some items for premature babies. I had two of those, yep, twins, who have grown to be strapping adults, but I do remember when they were both four pounds and below and there were very few items available for them to wear. I was too busy being mom to twins to have time to sew for them. A few things here and there for a new mom or dad could be a wonderful gift to receive, and it could also be a way for me to "give back."

Battered women's shelters. Ever think about the people there? Moms and kids. They could use blankies for the little ones or even just a nice pillowcase of their own. Some people end up in the shelters with nothing other than what they could carry when they left home. The same goes for homeless shelters. Blankets are a big need. Scarfs for a cold neck. Anything at all. I know that some sewing guilds make gift bags as a project, fill them with toiletries, and give them to faith-based charities for distribution.

There will always be someone who needs something. We have a talent. Shouldn't we share what we can do with others? Oh, and don't forget our furry friends in animal shelters. They need comfort blankies too.

Here are a few links to get you started:

Newborns In Need - Sewing for the smallest of babies, including patterns.
Project Linus - Providing security through blankets.
Ugly Quilts - Sewing for our homeless population.
Cancer caps/turbans from
Sew Much Comfort - "to provide custom-made adaptive clothing at no cost, to injured service members from all branches of the military and national guard, injured while serving in our current conflicts."

There are many more - Google "sewing for charity" or "sewing for our troops" or whatever interests you. There are many people who need our talents.

(Updated 08/08/10)

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Sewing is everywhere.

I had the opportunity to go out this morning for a meeting that was totally not sewing related. As I began to talk to some of the folks also waiting for the meeting to begin, it turned out that the person sitting directly in front of me is running the local American Sewing Guild. Who knew? We talked for quite a while about sewing in general, body styles that suit particular clothing types, and over a short period of time, I signed myself up to go to the next ASG meeting! I had no idea we had a local guild. I'm excited. I'll be meeting people locally who share my love of sewing. They also do some charity projects that I'm interested in being involved with. And, I'll be around people who understand that I could never part with a single piece of fabric! Kinda like you and my friends on I told the woman that my license plate cays "I love Sewing" (using a heart for "love") and she got a chuckle out of that. Like I said, who knew? Sewing is indeed everywhere. Talk it up. You never know who is sitting right next to you when you're out and about.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Gotta start somewhere! Intro!

Originally posted in 2006. - Let us begin with an introduction. I'm Donna. I'm the content manager of Doug and Lisa own the site. I started sewing as a young child and re-discovered it when my children were born. I've never stopped. I like making something out of nothing, recycling old fabrics and jeans, and making things from new fabrics as well. I make clothes, quilts, doll clothes, pillows, whatever strikes my fancy. I even made a bandana baby recently just to try it. This is not just a place for my thoughts; it's also a place for yours. Bring your sewing thoughts and ideas and join me. Reminisce. Plan. "Talk" out loud. It's a sewing kind of blog.
05/31/10 - Time to update this introduction. I'm still Donna. I haven't been the content manager for for some time now. I've been through several iterations of sewing sites and have settled on none. I keep the ZenSewing blog to show projects, talk about sewing, show off what I'm doing, and kind of to keep myself "out there" in the sewosphere. I still sew almost every day and just today posted pictures of some recycled denim pillows I've made. Some of the posts need to be updated and photos added as when they were imported from various places, the content didn't make it in full, but it'll get done. Comment anytime you like. It's my sewing world and  you're invited to join it.
01/16/11 - And another update.  The site has evolved once more. I am transitioning site information to the blog (now the ScrapStitching and ScrapSewing blog) and keeping projects and tutorials and organized photos on itself. The goals are simple - pass along sewing knowledge, continue to show and encourage people to "sew green" (funny, I've been "green" for a lot longer than I even knew the term!), and providing free projects and information to anyone who wants it. I still maintain and it's one of the only comprehensive sewing glossaries on the web. And with that, know that I'll get photos up on the old blog entries that need them re-added, and that you'll always find something minutely interesting out here in ScrapStitching land!