I know I said I’d be doing these Freak-Down posts every day, but sometimes stuff gets in the way. Take yesterday, for example. I’ve mentioned before how Karli has Fridays off during the summer. Well, days off during the Freak-Down aren’t exactly days off. Those are days we Get Things Done. And when I say “we,” I mean I do things while Karli directs.
Some things, however, are a little more important to her, so we do them together. One of those important things we needed to do yesterday was make a crib skirt for Squatch. It actually didn’t take as much time as we thought it would, which is why we’d been putting it off for a while.
Since I know people go bananas for blogs that show the crafty process, I had the presence of mind to take crappy pictures as we went along so people can see the “Making Of” part. This won’t be a full-on How-To, since this isn’t really that type of blog, but if you’re crafty enough, you can probably get the gist and do it yourself.
To begin, here was the issue:
Karli wanted to hide the little bins underneath where we’re storing Squatch’s clothes that are too big and some other goodies. The solution was to create the crib skirt. She decided the best plan of action was to do it in three separate panels that tied onto the mattress support. It also makes it adjustable for when we lower the mattress as Squatch gets older. No need to go getting too carried away with remaking crib skirts every few months.
She had her fabric picked out, only there was one problem. The stripes were going the wrong way. She wanted to have vertical stripes, but to have a piece long enough to go around, they’d be horizontal. We had two options. We could ask everyone who came into the Squatch Den to tilt their heads and look at the crib sideways. Or we could use separate panels to make it vertical.
We chose option two. The front, however, would still be problematic, so she decided to do join together two panels with a panel of a different pattern peeking through a little triangle.
Another hurdle she overcame was that she didn’t really want to do any sewing. At 37 weeks, sewing is out as an option. Instead, to create the seams and join together the front panels, we used this stuff called Heat-N-Bond. Many of you have probably heard of this. I hadn’t. It comes in a roll like tape and you iron it to make it sticky. Brilliant. What will they think of next?
So the first step (besides picking out the fabric and getting the materials together was to measure the crib. If you’re playing along at home, a good idea is to add a few inches onto each of the measurements for the seams and to have some wiggle room for overlap and such. You don’t need to get the height exactly right, either, because we’re attaching this thing by ribbons, which you can adjust to the height you want.
Once you’ve got the panels cut (we had five—one each of the main stripy fabric for the sides, two of the stripy fabric for the front, and one of the other fabric for the peek-through part) you’re going to create the seams. We did the side panels first since they were smaller and easier.
This part is probably pretty self explanatory, but I’ll put a little in about it for the newbies. You lay the fabric on the ironing board, line up the Heat-N-Bond near the edge to create a straight line across, iron that to the fabric, remove the backing, then fold it over and iron it again to stick it together. The instructions are on the package, dummy. Anyway, you do that around each of the four edges.
The front part is a little trickier because of that triangle cut-out part. We got a little frustrated at that point, and I didn’t really get any pictures of that process as a result of that. What we did learn, however was that there are a couple tricks to make it easier.
First, figure out how wide you want the triangle at the bottom. Take one of your front panels, measure out half of that distance at the bottom edge and fold it back at that spot, creating a diagonal line up to the top corner. Next, iron that edge so that it creates a crease (this makes it easier to lay down your Heat-N-Bond in the right spot. After you’ve done that, pin the faces of your two fabrics together on the three straight sides, then fold the diagonal side to match the fold on the first panel*. This helps ensure a symmetrical triangle.
*This actually took us a few minutes to figure out, believe it or not. Poor Squatch is doomed.
Apply your Heat-N-Bond to those diagonal creases (after you separate your panels, dummy) and cut away the excess fabric. Line those panels up straight across and overlap them a little at the point. Use a little piece of the Heat-N-Bond to join them together at that part, or you can give in and break out the needle and thread to keep them together if you want. Then line up your other fabric piece so it’s centered over the triangle. This is when you create the top seam out of the three pieces as if they were all one sheet of fabric. It’s not very hard. Just do a little bit at a time.
The bottom seams were a little tricker because we wanted them to be even. Since someone* doesn’t know how to cut fabric evenly, one piece was a little longer than the other. To fix this, we just created the seam on the shorter one first, then folded the whole shebang in half, pinned it in place, and folded the other panel to match. Obviously, we learned from our previous lesson.
To make sure the peek-through panel was even, Karli marked where each of the other panels hit by sticking a pin into the fabric and folding a straight line across there, ironing a crease, and doing the Heat-N-Bond. Magic. Then you just finish up the outer edges and you’re done with the ironing. Don’t worry about the sides of the peek-through panel. Nobody will see it, and if you’re following along with this and have already done the top edge (like we did) those sides are a lost cause.
The next (and easiest part) is to attach some ribbon to the tops of the panels so you can attach it. However many ribbons you want to use is up to you. We put three on each of the sides and seven on the front. But if you want to use 150 of those little bastards, that’s up to you. Just make sure they’re long enough that you can tie them into knots around the wires in the mattress support.
Obviously, you’re going to have to take the crib mattress out to do the next part. If you couldn’t figure that out, I’m amazed you’ve read this many words up to this point. Those things are pretty light, but they can get really wedged in there, so you might need some help getting it out. If you’re a pansy, that is.
Now you tie the things off to the wire mattress support. Do the front panel first, and it helps to have another person there with you to make sure it’s even and at the height you want. You might find (like we did) that some last-minute alterations need to be made because of the way the crib is built. We had to cut some slits in our side panels to accommodate a crossbar support that we neglected to take into account. Don’t give us that look. You’d have forgotten, too.
Once it’s all tied on, you can pop the mattress (and the baby if you’ve got one of those) back into the crib and step back to admire your handiwork.
After this, you’ll probably never want me to tell you how to do anything ever again. Martha Stewart, I ain’t.
But now that the crib skirt’s done, the Squatch Den is ready. Well, ready as it will get for now, since we’re packing it all up in a month and moving. But ready.