Thursday, January 6, 2011

The One Where Elizabeth Makes Adult Bibs

We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers. –Seneca

Mid-summer Mr. Bug's parents, who are currently serving an LDS mission, called and asked if I would make them bibs. My mother-in-law's birthday is at the end of August and she wanted me to do them as birthday gifts. As politely as I could, I asked if perhaps they might prefer aprons {of course, I was thinking of the fancy ones for my mother-in-law but something a little more butch for my father-in-law}, but they insisted that they wanted bibs. When I told Mr. Bug, we were both like, um, :paranoid: seriously?

In a completely separate, but related incident, my mom passed along word from my Grandpa {who is 83, legally blind and lives in an assisted living facility} requesting that I make him some bibs. Three, to be exact. Of course, he makes a better case for it. But when it comes down to it, Mr. Bug's dad is only just 10 years younger than my grandpa. In any case, I found this task a bit boggling to my imagination. I really couldn't picture it and to be honest, I just didn't want to do it :blushing:. Yes. My attitude about it was pretty bad.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law's father passed away. Mr. Bug's parents obtained permission to come home for the funeral. They stayed for a week and spent time visiting with all of their kids and grandkids. While they visited with us, they told us about the apartment they are living in while on their mission. They don't have an in-house washer and dryer. They have to tote their laundry across the courtyard to the laundromat. On top of that, they are wearing nice, dressy clothes most of the time, some of which require dry cleaning. And so their request for bibs started to make a little more sense. Or at least had a little more merit and I began to feel like the schmuck that I am for not getting on the ball and getting them finished. I decided that I would make them bibs for Christmas. Better late than never, right?

The thing about Christmas is that there is never enough time to do everything that I want to. That is partly because I have a huge list and like to make something for everyone on it, but also partly because I procrastinate all that crafting. This year, my procrastination skills were in top form, as I barely finished the shopping on the 23rd and was still finishing up a few things 10 minutes before we were supposed to leave for our party on the 24th. I won't even tell you how late I was up wrapping presents for the Little Bugs after we got home that night. And I didn't get the bibs finished. I didn't even get the bibs started.

Fast forward to the week after Christmas. I had high hopes for lots of time spent sewing. But my work hours increased by 50% {I even had to work New Year's Eve and New Year's Day} and so there was much less time and energy for sewing. Then I got hit with that nasty stomach bug that is going around and still had to maintain my work hours {lucky for me — or maybe it was them — that I got to work from home on Monday and Tuesday}. And even though I knew I needed to get these bibs finished, my heart just wasn't in it. So, here they are, five adult bibs that I hope are just a little bit classier than they sound {yeah, I probably still need an attitude adjustment}.

I decided to use terry cloth on the front and homespun on the back. Grandpa requested white 'toweling' with green 'piping' around the edges. So, I headed to my local JoAnn's, armed with my trusty 50% off coupons {you know I love a good deal}. I got white terry cloth for Grandpa and picked a pretty cream colored terry for the in-laws. I decided that I'd use the same homespun fabric for both men and that 2½ yards would be plenty. Then I came home and made up my pattern and realized exactly how big they were going to be. Grandpa requested that his be 30" long from the neck down. That seemed really long to me — excessively long. I talked with my mom and she said that my grandpa had estimated in the length. So I shortened it a bit and then a bit more and it ended up at 25" from the neck down.

Having Grandpa's be so big, I didn't have enough of the green homespun left for my father-in-law, so I rounded up some more 50% off coupons and headed back to the JoAnn's. I found a lovely navy blue homespun that went really well with the homespun I had for my mother-in-law's already. I'd bought it quite a while ago with something else in mind, but I loved the colors in it and thought she might like the pretty print. I made theirs even a little bit shorter than the bibs I made for my Grandpa and I like the length on theirs better. I think it will be just right.

I wasn't quite sure how to put these together, whether I should put batting between the layers and how I should quilt them. I decided not to put batting in, using only the homespun on the back and the terry on the front, but I think if I ever did these again, I'd probably put a layer of flannel between them. I quilted the fabrics together using straight lines 2" apart on the 45˚ diagonal. I used painter's tape to mark it and discovered that I don't like that very much. If you're not careful, it puckers the fabric a little underneath it. I did the quilting before I cut the bibs out. I thought there would be less distortion that way. My terry cloth pieces were bigger than the homespun pieces, so I quilted everything from the back {homespun side up}. After I cut the bibs out, I bound them the same way I would a quilt. Then I appliquéd a little monogram on each, using my free-motion foot and a little messy outline stitching ala Little Miss Shabby {scroll down to see her cute birds} and put velcro on at the neck {my least favorite part — I hate sewing velcro on, but I used my free motion foot this time and it was a lot easier that way}.

I think that the total cost for each bib was around $4 , plus about four hours each. As soon as I finished them tonight, I made a special trip to the post office that has a 10:00 pm pick-up and an automated postage machine so that they'd be on their way to their lucky new owners. And that makes five finishes for me in January!

Today's post brought to you by:

My 2011 Finishes


pinksuedeshoe said...

Number one, BLAH on the stomach flu, and the working on federally recognized holidays. Blah Blah BLAH! Second of all, these look great! And so much better than what I think I envisioned when I read the title. SO much better! And good for you in getting right over to the post office. That part is always the worst for me, I can put it off for weeks!

Dogmom Diva said...

Elizabeth, mom could use these..did you make a pattern or just wing it..I am a fairly beginning seamstress but I do have some paper I could copy a pattern this idea!

Barb said...

Your bigs looks wonderful.....and it is good to get the story behind the asking. Enjoyed the post.

Paulette said...

You did a wonderful job on the bibs, Elizabeth. My parents started eating meals in their recliners as they got older, so I can definitely see a need for something like this. Good for you for coming through on these!

Shay said...

They turned out looking as terrific as they possibly could. Good job and well done on finishing something you werent crazy about !

Shay said...

PS. Love the new blog background. Classy!

Anonymous said...

Simplicity 2687 is a great pattern for "Adult shirt protectors". They have a variety of styles that are very attractive.