When I'm able to figure out a way to make something for free or cheap instead of buying something new, I feel a little like I'm sticking it to the man. I get that from my dad. He was, at times, embarassing as a kid for his relentless commitment to making everything himself.
I remember one Christmas when our block decided on candles as the unifying theme for our street's holiday decorations (there was a competition of sorts, which we actually won. The prize was a barbecue party for all the families the following summer). Everyone else bought those jumbo plastic red and yellow candles that plug in and glow. Meanwhile my dad spraypainted blue a piece of plywood, used tinfoil to make a "candleholder" and drilled holes through which he strung white lights. He then attached it to the side of our house -- much to our family's horror.
His ethos was, "Why would I buy it when I can make it myself?"
I feel that way about those expensive, but brilliant Bundlemes, which are a nessesary evil of living in New York City: when it's Eastern-Seaboard-cold outside, how do you keep your kid warm in her stroller? Barely anyone I know has a car, and taking your baby out in sub-zero temps is unavoidable. (It's against the law, apparently, to just leave your kid at home while you go to the store for milk). Last winter we just carried her, which made it easy to keep our little bear warm. But now she's 25 pounds and much too tall to zip into my jacket with me. Wearing your one-year-old in winter is no easy feat.
Anyway, back to the Bundleme. They're amazing in their simplicity -- essentially a short sleeping bag that attaches to your stroller. You zip your baby in, keeping them toasty warm while they're shuttled about the city. They're totally awesome. They're over $100. And everyone has one. Someone out there is so rich. I hope it was a smartypants mom who had the idea.
While $100 is not an enormous sum to ask for keeping your darling baby snugly warm the whole winter through, we don't have $100 to burn. What we did have is a down-filled sleeping bag that has been used once in the past four years. Chopping it up for Lucy's sake seemed like a no-brainer.
So here's how I did it:
-a few yards of seam binding
1. Lay the open sleeping bag along the length of your stroller, positioning the bottom end on the foot rest, and use a piece of chalk or some masking tape to mark the curve along the top of the seat, and the height of the front of the bag. I then pinned my seam binding tape along that line:
2. Straight-stitch along the bottom edge of the seam binding tape. You are sewing BEFORE you cut the sleeping bag to size to avoid an explosion of down in your home. There will be some down flying around no matter what you do, but to keep it to a minimum, straight-stitch ANOTHER line following the curve of your binding tape an inch higher. This will keep the down contained in both halves of the bag before you cut it.
3. Then grab your scissors and cut 1/2-inch seam allowance along your strip of binding tape. Reserve the other half of the bag for making a carrier cover or something else useful. Pull out any excess down that may have been exposed, and fold your seam binding tape over the cut edge and pin:
4. Straight-stitch down the seam binding tape, which will hide the cut edge and reinforce the seam:
5. Lay your sleeping bag along the length of your stroller again, and use pins or some masking tape to mark where the shoulder straps, waist straps and crotch strap will need to go. Essentially, you will make big buttonholes for the five-point harness to go through. That way you can use your new "Bundleme" while your child is safely strapped in.
6. Use the zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine to make 2-inch buttonholes, and cut the hole. Pull the straps through and fasten:
I think we could take Lucy out naked in this thing, it's so warm. Not that we would. I'm just sayin'...if we HAD to, we could.
Now if only I could get the girl's finger out of her nose: