Car Seat Ponchos Are Getting Bigger!

We’ve probably all had the misfortune of ordering a clothing item online only to find that when it arrives, it’s smaller than we expected it to be. This situation is especially frustrating when ordering for a child because children grow so quickly. An item that just fits today may be too small in three months! I’ve always been up front about the fact that my fleece car seat ponchos run small. I’ve spent a fair amount of time during my busy season urging customers to size up. But I’ve still had some customers who were disappointed in the size when their order arrived.

That is why, after selling my handmade car seat ponchos for four years, I’ve decided to make a change in the sizing of my ponchos. This decision was not made on a whim, but is the result of careful consideration and concern for my customers.

The ponchos will be exactly the same design — a circular poncho with a two-way zipper and hand slits — made from premium anti-pill fleece. I will continue to offer ponchos with hoods and ponchos without hoods. The difference is that effective March 1, 2019, the ponchos will all be one size larger than before. This means that my car seat ponchos will now more closely correspond with typical children’s clothing sizes.

Last year’s size 8 will be this year’s size 6. Last year’s size 6 will be this year’s size 4T, and so on. Ponchos will still be available in five sizes, but this year, the sizes and front zipper measurements will be as follows:

3-6 months 12″
12 months 13.5″
2T 16″
4T 18″
6 20″

I’m certain that this change is going to be a positive one for my business and for my customers. I look forward to offering a generously sized car seat poncho in my Etsy shop beginning March 1, 2019.

What are your thoughts on this change to my car seat ponchos?

Car Seat Ponchos Without Hoods

Car Seat Ponchos Without Hoods

Help! My Kid Hates Hoods!

Last year, during the 2018 poncho selling season, I had a few customers contact me asking if I could make car seat ponchos without hoods. It seems that some kids don’t like hoods. Who knew?
Several moms who asked for ponchos without hoods said that their kids didn’t like the feel of the hood behind their heads while they were riding in their car seats. I agreed to consider adapting my poncho pattern after my busy season was over.

Let the design process begin.

Over the course of summer 2018, I made several attempts at a poncho without a hood. All of my prototypes lacked a neck finish that I would be happy to offer to my customers. I just couldn’t seem to get that neckband right!

I was determined to offer a poncho without a hood, but it had to look good. I knew that if I just removed the hood and finished the poncho with no neckband, the neck opening would be too large. I spent quite a lot of time contemplating how to make this work.

My light bulb moment

By August, I still hadn’t come up with a workable solution to my design problem. I had just one last option….I prayed. Yes, I’m a praying woman who believes firmly that it is God who has given me a talent for sewing and creating. I don’t know why it hadn’t occurred to me earlier in the summer to ask Him to help me with my dilemma. Not long after praying, I was lying in bed one morning, and a thought came to me about finishing the poncho neck edge with a method I had used before for finishing knit shirts. It worked!

A successful product!

At the beginning of September 2018, I offered car seat ponchos without hoods. As an add-on purchase, I also offered the option of a detachable hood that snaps onto the neckband with six sets of plastic snaps.

During the last four months of 2018, my busiest time of year, I was surprised by the number of customers who chose ponchos without hoods. My ponchos with hoods still outsold the new hood-free ponchos, but not by a huge margin. Forty-two percent of the ponchos that I sold in those four months were ordered without hoods. I was pleasantly surprised by the success of this addition to my shop!

All of the feedback so far has been positive. Customers have appreciated the option to choose their fleece car seat poncho with or without a hood. I’ve even added hats to my shop, and they work beautifully with the hood-free ponchos.

The moral of the story

If you’ve got a need that a shop owner may be able to meet, don’t be afraid to reach out to a business owner. I’m very thankful that those customers made me aware of their need for a car seat poncho without a hood.

All of the improvements that I’ve made to my poncho design over the past few years have been made because of requests that I’ve received from past or potential customers.

If you’re not wearing a car seat poncho on your child instead of a bulky winter coat, you can head on over to my Etsy shop right now. I’ll be happy to work with you on a custom order.

Sewing for Fun

Sewing for Fun

On the 4th of July, I decided to take a break from sewing fleece car seat ponchos and do a little sewing for fun.  I already had a project in mind.  I wanted to make a swimsuit and beach bag for my granddaughter’s 18″ My Life doll.  Aaliyah is six years old, and she loves playing with My Life dolls!  I enjoy watching her change their clothes and create scenarios for them while she’s playing.  I knew that she didn’t have any swimwear for her dolls, so the project choice was an easy one.

This is Aaliyah with one of her dolls that looks a lot like her.  The doll is modeling her new swimsuit and swimming goggles.

Aaliyah is modeling her pink cast that she’s been wearing for the past three weeks.

 

 

Project Inspiration

 

My inspiration for the fabric selection for this project came from a kitchen towel that I found on clearance at Walmart.  When I saw the towel, it reminded me of a beach towel.  It was a little larger than most doll beach towels, but I knew Aaliyah wouldn’t mind.

I chose a yellow floral swimsuit fabric for the main part of the swimsuit.  I used a black and white polka dot fold over elastic for the edges of the swimsuit.  The polka dots in the elastic mimic the black and white pattern on the towel.

For the beach bag, I chose yellow with a black and white trim again.  But this time, I added a coral color print for the pocket to coordinate with the coral letters on the towel.  I chose blue jelly bracelets for the beach bag handles.

Swimsuit Details

Everyone’s favorite part of the swimsuit is the bum ruffles!  This detail on this particular pattern is just adorable!  The pattern is from Lee & Pearl.  It’s their Retro Ruffled Swimsuit Pattern.

I chose a black and white check swimsuit fabric for the bottom ruffle with a solid yellow for the top ruffle.  These particular fabrics were available from Lee & Pearl, too, and I’ve had them in my stash for a few years.

This project reminded me how much I enjoy making doll clothes.  I love the process of choosing a pattern and fabrics with no complicated fitting issues to work around.

It’s pretty awesome to hear Aaliyah tell me how amazing I am, too!

I hope you all had some holiday fun yesterday, too!

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Mesh Zipper Pouches

Mesh Zipper Pouches

I have a good friend whose mom is an accomplished seamstress and quilter.  I’m always admiring the things that my friend’s mom makes for her.  For a few years now, I’ve been admiring her collection of mesh zipper pouches in a wide variety of sizes.

The thing that makes these zipper pouches different from all other zipper pouches is, of course, the mesh.  I love being able to see what is inside the pouch without having to open it.  For someone who uses zipper pouches to carry and store all kinds of things, the mesh see-through property is a huge time-saver!

Most of the supplies needed to create these mesh zipper pouches are things that I have on hand:  cotton fabric, fusible fleece, zippers, and thread.  The only thing that I needed to buy was the mesh.

I really wanted white mesh, but I wasn’t able to find any.  I had to settle for mesh in black and red.
I have lots of cotton fabrics that coordinate with black and red, so this worked for me.

The vinyl mesh is available in some quilting shops.  Another name for it is “pet mesh” since its original use was to create breathable bags for small pets.

I decided to try out my red mesh by making a zipper pouch that measures approximately 6″x 9″.  I chose a simple black and white print that contrasts beautifully with the red mesh.  I also chose a red zipper.

I’m pleased with the way this zipper pouch turned out.  As you can see it’s large enough to hold a pair of sewing shears.

This pouch could be used to hold makeup, craft supplies, first aid items, a cell phone, office supplies, etc.

The second mesh zipper pouch I made is this almost square pouch.  I chose the black mesh this time and a cotton print with shades of pink and lime green.  The lime green zipper really pops on this one!

I will continue to use this one for charging cables and ear phones as I’m constantly searching for those things around the house.  While I keep them in a zipper pouch, I often forget which pouch holds which cords.  Gotta love that mesh!

I have ten more of these zipper pouches cut and ready to sew.  I’m planning to offer them as a collection of items for sale later this summer.  If you’d like to know when these will be available and how much they will cost, I recommend signing up for my email list so you won’t miss any announcements.  You can use this link to sign up right now:  http://eepurl.com/Qhi8b

Mesh zipper pouches make great gifts!  I don’t anyone who wouldn’t benefit from owning a few of these.  Even kids would love these! Imagine how great these would be for kids’ toys during a road trip.  They could keep things together yet know exactly where things are.

I’ve got some fun prints to put together for the mesh zipper pouches that are coming up soon!  Don’t miss ’em!

 

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Car Seat Ponchos Changes for 2018

Car Seat Ponchos Changes for 2018

Change can be scary!

In spite of our fear of change, sometimes change is good.  That’s certainly the case with the car seat poncho changes that I’m making for 2018.

Ever since I began sewing and selling car seat ponchos in 2015, I have used the same pattern.  That pattern has been well received by my customers.  On occasion, I have had customers tell me that they wish their poncho was just a bit longer.

That’s why, when late last year, my pattern designer made a few minor changes to her pattern, I knew I wanted to make the same changes to the car seat ponchos that I offer in my shop.

The new ponchos will be slightly longer in the front and back and slightly shorter at the sides.  The new ponchos have an elongated shape with the extra length where needed.

The photo on the left above is a “old” size 2T poncho that I made using the pattern that I’ve been using for the past few years.

The poncho on the right is a new size 2T in a beautiful gray and purple feather print.  You can see the slight difference in the shape of the ponchos.

For comparison, check out the photos below.

 

On the left, you can see the old poncho is approximately two inches shorter than the new poncho in the front and back.

In the photo on the right, notice that the new poncho is not as wide at the shoulders as the old poncho.  This allows for a better fit with less bunching at the hands when using the wrist snaps.

Admittedly, these changes are not earth-shattering, but both of the changes are positive improvements in the car seat ponchos that you can purchase in my Etsy shop.  Anyone who purchased a poncho after February 2018 already received this style.  The measurements in the listing descriptions in my shop will reflect these changes.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on these changes to the car seat ponchos.  Rest assured that the features that set my ponchos apart from the rest — the two-way zipper, hand slits, and wrist snaps — will not change.  I will continue to make ponchos that you and your children can enjoy for years!

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Summer Sewing Challenge

Summer Sewing Challenge

This quote is one of my favorites from the book,  The How of Happiness.  I firmly believe in the premise of this quote: a challenging project can increase our happiness.

With that in mind, I have decided to embark on a sewing challenge for this summer.  My plan is to step away from the fleece periodically and work with some different fabrics from my fabric stash.  New projects and decreasing my fabric stash is a win-win for me!

To give you the opportunity for a win, I’ve decided to give away some of the items that I create for this challenge.

I’ve selected five different types of fabrics from my stash: outdoor fabric, quilting cotton, home dec fabric, cotton/lycra blends, and plastic mesh.  These represent some of the fabrics I’ve got in my stash.  I’m going to choose at least four of these over the summer to use for projects.  For the most part, I’ll be deciding what to make from these fabrics. In some cases, I may be asking members of my Facebook group to choose the project or the specific fabrics for me.  If you’re not a member of my Facebook group, I invite you to join today so you won’t miss a moment of the Summer Sewing Challenge!
I’ll be showing the projects in my Facebook group and blogging about them here.

The rules for the giveaways will also be found here and in my Facebook group. The winners for the giveaways will be notified by email.

If you haven’t yet signed up for free updates, you can do that below.

I hope you will enjoy this Summer Sewing Challenge. It will be an opportunity for you to see different kinds of projects using various fabrics.

Perhaps you will also consider a summer challenge of your own. Do you have a particular hobby that would lend itself to a summer challenge? Is there a new skill that you would like to learn or some old or new supplies or materials that you’d like to try out or use up?

Please share your ideas for a summer challenge in the comments below!  And don’t forget to sign up for email updates!

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