Cami–>Nursing Cami–>Cami

This little post is quite simply to explain how to turn this

Plain Black Cami

into this

Black Nursing Cami

and back again.

I love camis. I wear camis with EVERYTHING. As undershirts, pj tops, regular tops, exercise tops, etc. If I’m not wearing a cami, I’m probably in the shower or in a swimsuit. So when I became pregnant with my current little bun in the oven, I started browsing around for nursing camis. To be perfectly honest, I hated all of them! Everything I looked at felt funny or had really bulky straps or looked frumpy. So I started browsing around for DIY nursing camis, and found this wonderful post by RefashionMama on turning a cami into a nursing cami. I loved the idea and held onto it up until very recently when the idea of actually needing to nurse in a few weeks prompted me to start sewing. Then I realized… wait, I want to be able to use my camis again as regular camis, not just as nursing camis! Help! What do I do! And that’s when it occured to me: take RefashionMama’s idea and turn it up a notch. A bit more work, but for my much-loved camis, totally worth it! Here’s what I did:

What You Need:

  • Cami (I use Arizona Favorite Stretch-Cotton Camis from JCPenney)
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine (or you could hand sew it, but…)
  • Thread (TIP: You might want to use a *slightly* different color than your cami’s elastic so that you can clearly see the stitching for when you turn it back into a regular cami.)
  • Nursing bra to practice with (optional)

Step 1: Measure about 1.5 inches from the start of the strap.

Measure about 1.5 inches from the base of the strap.

Measure about 1.5 inches from the base of the strap.

Step 2: Fold the strap down, curving it around so that the “front” of the elastic is showing on both sides of the loop. If you have a nursing bra on hand, make sure that the loop will fit over the snap, practice closing it, and adjust the length of the loop as needed.

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Make a loop. Curve it so that you can see the “front” of the elastic on both sides of the loop.

Step 3: Pin the strap so that it’s somewhat centered at the top of where it began, but angled so that it will follow the underarm of the cami elastic.

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Pin the loop so that it’s somewhat centered at the base.

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Angle the strap so that it will line up with the underarm elastic.

Step 4: Pulling the strap slightly to match the natural curve of the underarm elastic, pin the strap down. You might need to readjust these pins a few times.

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Pull the strap slightly so that it follows the natural curve of the underarm elastic. The end result will be that it makes the underarm elastic bunch up when you let go.

Step 5: After you’ve pinned the strap down, you might want to try it on to make sure that the strap and underarm elastic line up properly when you’re wearing it. Be careful not to poke yourself with those pins!!!

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Try it on to make sure your pins are in the proper locations. You might need a friend to help you adjust the pins while it’s on you. Be careful not to poke yourself!

Step 6: Making sure that both layers of elastic are lined up, start just under the loop you made and sew with a wide, loose zigzag stitch. Make sure to double up your stitching for a super secure hold at the base of the loop. Pull the elastic ever so slightly so that the strap and the underarm elastic stay lined up. Don’t pull too hard! Just enough to get that strap aligned!

Use a wide, loose zigzag stitch. Pull the elastic slightly as you sew to keep the strap in line with the underarm elastic. Double up your stitching at the base of the loop for extra support.

Use a wide, loose zigzag stitch. Pull the elastic slightly as you sew to keep the strap in line with the underarm elastic. Double up your stitching at the base of the loop for extra support.

Step 7: Repeat on other side.

Step 8: Wear it! Love it!

Step 9: When you’re all done nursing and want that cami back, CAREFULLY tear out the stitching with a stitch remover.

Be very careful not to tear up the elastic! This is why it's probably a good idea to use a slightly different color thread...

Be very careful not to tear up the elastic! This is why it’s probably a good idea to use a slightly different color thread…

Step 10: Enjoy having your regular cami back!


Coming up in a few weeks: DIY Nursing Bra from your favorite bra! (Waiting on my friend to come visit… She has a tool I need.)

DIY Baby Clothes from T-shirts

A challenge unto myself:

How many baby clothing items can I make from one men’s large t-shirt? Let’s find out!!!

My hopes are that I’ll be able to make all of the following 0-6 mo layette items with ONE t-shirt:

My baby is due in late May, so most of the stuff I’m planning on making for him needs to be lightweight so he doesn’t overheat. Therefore, I’ll be using only one layer for each project. If I were to make clothing for colder times, I’d use two layers (so two t-shirts) or substitute one layer for flannel. Keep in mind that each of these patterns was designed by someone, and I will do my best to give credit to each and every project designer if that info is available. Remember, if you make any of these projects, they are for personal use only and not to be sold.

Plain White T

Hanes Men’s Large plain white T

I’m starting out with a plain white T, the kind you buy in packages of multiples that men often use as undershirts. Why? Well, firstly, I’m trying to save money, and these are dirt cheap! Secondly, I want to try out making as many items as possible on a boring T, not on a totally awesome one like I would normally do. If the individual projects all go well, then we’ll break out the awesome shirts!

Now I’ll lay out my patterns to make sure everything fits:

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OMG it all fits! I actually wasn’t expecting that… 😀 Win! As you can see, there is quite a bit of “blank space” in the right side of the picture, along with a measuring tape. I’ll have to extend my pattern by 14 inches for the sleep gown, as well as make expand it with a 3/4″ flare on either side. You may have noticed that the two pieces of the pattern are slightly different. They are identical except for the very top, where the neckline is slightly different for the back than the front. What I’ll end up doing is cutting both layers (one for back and one for front) at the same time and cut a bit extra around the neckline so I can cut each side as necessary. There are also a few things that need to have 4 pieces cut instead of 2, which I saved a bit of room for in the spaces that have the patterns’ original designers info stuck in.

Quick Update: Project #1 completed! I’ve finished the Sleep Gown!!! with some obvious but who-cares mistakes. 😛

It seems I've sewn the left arm on backwards! :P I used a drawstring instead of elastic--cheaper and just as easy to use!

It seems I’ve sewn the left arm on backwards! 😛 I used a drawstring instead of elastic–cheaper and just as easy to use!

Test baby Mary modelling the sleep gown. I think it'll work. ;D

Test baby Mary modelling the sleep gown. I think it’ll work. ;D

Another t-shirt sleep gown I made out of a boys large shirt (this time with elastic and no fold over mitts):

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I skipped onto the shoes, knowing they’d be a bit trickier than the hat and mitts… Turns out, I was right! They’re super cute and not too difficult to make, but more time consuming than I expected. I altered the pattern ever so slightly to make it work with T shirt material (added a second layer for the sole), and used a strip of T shirt instead of elastic. Not quite sure how I’ll feel about that choice in the end, but so far, I’m pleased with the results! Crib shoe number 1 complete! I think I’ll take a mini break before moving on to the 2nd!

Crib shoe #1

Mary Modelling Crib Shoe #1

More to come soon!

Standing Out in a Small Way

As I’ve been piecing together my little guy’s nursery, I’ve realized that baby forest animal nursery items are either non-existent, hard-to-come-by, super expensive, or just not what I want. They simply are not popular at this time. Even so, I did manage to find some cute curtains/valances that I liked… but not well enough. I hated the prices, and the greens in all of them simply did not want to go with the greens in my nursery. Finally it dawned on me: “Duh, Jess! You know how to sew. You can draw(ish). Come up with your own valance and make it unique.” *facepalm* Why don’t I ask myself about these things earlier so I can save myself some time and effort?!

Here’s what I came up with: a tree branch valance. Nope, not a tree branch curtain rod, though those are totally awesome… A valance SHAPED like a tree branch. So I came up with this rough pc-drawn idea of what my valance would look like (do you like my owl? my own design!):

© Jess Fritzler 2013

© Jess Fritzler 2013

Check back later for an update to see how making a dream into reality is working out!

DIY Moby Wrap for Super Cheap

One of the most important things to me as an expectant mother is prepping to have my baby close at hand. I don’t want to be one of those moms who’s always babying their baby, but I do want my little guy to be able to snuggle comfortably with me when I’m around the house doing dishes and such if he needs to be.

SO… I dicovered the Moby Wrap… along with its outrageous price! I like to keep things thrifty, especially if it’s something I want but don’t necessarily NEED. If you were to look online for Moby Wrap prices, you’d see that they’re about $50-60, unless you get a clearance one, which could be around $40-50 instead. To me, those prices were a bit unreasonable, considering that the Moby wrap is made up of pretty much nothing but a really long, wide strip of flexible fabric. I started looking around, knowing that I’d never be able to get one for that price without hating myself for it.

That’s when I found this awesome DIY tutorial I found on Pinterest (along with many others, but this one is so very simple and saves the most money):

I’m a big fan of Jo~Ann Fabrics, so I waited for a good 50% off coupon, found the fabric I needed (it was regular-priced at $12.99), got the 2.5 yards my tutorial friend suggested, and used my 50% off coupon. In the end, I spent a few cents over $17 and used random thread I had lying around the house to sew up the center seam. Seriously the cheapest, easiest infant carrier you could possibly make to wear. PLUS, the Moby Wrap can be used for older babies, too, and my husband doesn’t seem too horribly offended by the idea of possibly having to wear it. 😛

my diy moby

Me and Mary (my test baby) modeling our DIY Moby Wrap.

In conclusion, DIY Moby Wrap for super cheap. At most, you’ll spend around $35, but seriously, use coupons. Coupons are meant to be used, otherwise manufacturers and stores wouldn’t print, email, or app them.