Saturday, August 14, 2010
Vintage Apron Sew-a-Long Day 2: Sewing part 1
Now we get into the fun (and easy) part. For me, cutting is the worst part of sewing! It can be confusing, it takes up so much space, makes a mess and is hard on me with my baby girl, Olivia who LOVES to shred paper! I also have 3 ridiculous cats who love to sit on paper and stampede through the living room, shredding my pattern while I'm trying to lay it out. Sometimes, I cut out 3 projects in one day just to get it over with so I can sew all week!
Before you begin
If you sew frequently (or haven't changed your needle in a while) start each project with a nice new needle. As you sew, your needle becomes dull and even bent or snagged. A fresh new needle will help prevent annoying thread breaking and snags on your fabric. This is particularly important when sewing sheer fabrics. Also, begin your project with a full bobbin. It always makes me crazy when I start with a half-full bobbin and have to stop in the middle of my sewing groove to re-fill.
Transfer Pattern Markings
Before we begin actually sewing the fabric, we need to transfer pattern markings on the fabric.
So, what are pattern markings? You will notice on some pattern pieces that there are circles, squares, "v" shapes, dotted lines and things that say "gather" "pleat" "placement line" and what-not.
These are all pattern markings and they tell you how far to sew, where to place things, where to put a dart or tuck in the fabric and so on. Transferring the pattern markings to your fabric is very important. They will guide your entire sewing project and make the garment fit correctly. I remember sewing a replica Elizabethan corset last year and transferring the pattern markings was a COMPLETE nightmare! There were so many boning channels that it took well over an hour just to get it all right. *shudders*
There are many methods for transferring pattern markings and your method of choice depends on what type of marking is being transferred and personal preference. You can use fabric pencils (which wash out) fabric pens (which either wash out or have disappearing ink) fabric chalk or chalk paper and a tracing wheel, tailor's tacks and so on. Personally, I have a REALLY bad habit of misplacing pens and such so I use chalk paper and a tracing wheel most of the time. A lot of people hate chalk paper because they say it's messy and doesn't transfer well, but I've never had any issues, so I still go with it. It never dries out, fits nicely in my sewing box and is cheap! Any of these tools can be found at your local craft/fabric store and sometimes you can even find transfer tools at walmart and target. Quilters use transfer tools very frequently, so check in the quilting section of your fabric store. For more details on transferring pattern markings, click here
For this pattern, there are lots of circles to be transferred as well as a few lines. Like I said, there are -many- ways to transfer markings. I really believe that there is no wrong way to do it. If your method gets your markings on the fabric in the right spot, that's what counts. This is how I like to do it....
To Transfer Circles
With your pattern piece still pinned to the fabric, put a pin in the center of the circle.
Lift up the pattern piece and use a fabric pen, marker or pencil to mark the circle where the fabric was pierced.
To mark lines
Insert a sheet of fabric tracing paper between the pattern and fabric, with the chalk side down. Pin the paper to the fabric and trace the pattern marking with a tracing wheel.
Press down firmly enough to get a good transfer. When using tracing paper or any kind of fabric chalk, make sure to use a color that will be easily visible on your chosen fabric.
So, go ahead and mark all of the small and large circles, placement lines and so on.
Now we're ready to sew!!
Bust out your pattern instructions and let's begin.....
1.) "Reinforce inner corners on lower edge of Apron 6, pivoting at small circle, as shown. Clip to small circles.
To do this, lift your presser foot and slide the fabric under it into position.
We will be sewing a "V" shape, with the corner of the "v" at the circle that you marked earlier. With your presser foot down, sew a straight line all the way to the circle.
Next, Lower the needle into the fabric and raise the presser foot.
Pivot the fabric so you can sew the other line, all this time the needle is holding the fabric down. Lower your presser foot and sew the next line.
The yellow is the line you just stitched, the red is where you will stitch next.
When complete, raise the presser foot, raise the needle out of the fabric and remove the fabric from the machine. You do not need to back-stitch these "v" shapes, unless of course, you really want to. These stitches are just to strengthen this area. Repeat on all circles. Next, clip the fabric to the circle like this:
2.) Make a 5/8" (1.5cm) Narrow hem on sides of apron. Before we do this, I'd like everyone to use their pinking shears and clip just a tiny strip off of each edge of the apron. This will prevent your apron from fraying in the wash.
With the WRONG side of the fabric facing up, fold the sides in 5/8 inch and pin it in place, making sure the head of the pin is facing down, points facing up like this:
To make your life a bit easier, you can press this fold with your iron. This is not a must-do step but it will help your fabric from slipping out of the fold and you will get a nice, even hem.
Next, insert your fabric, lower your presser foot and sew a straight line, all the way down to the bottom. When you begin this line of stitching, back-stitch after the first few stitches. back-stitch settings vary on all machines so check your sewing machine's manual to see how to back-stitch. Back-stitching makes the stitching strong and permanent. When the line of stitching is complete, back stitch the last 1/2 inch of the line of stitching. Repeat on the other side.
3.)Gather upper edge of apron. Next, we will learn to make gathers! Gathers tend to be scary to beginner sewers but they really are a lot of fun and are very easy to make! If you can sew gathers, you can whip up really cute vintage skirts! (take 3 or more yards of fabric, gather the top, sew the two side together, attach a waistband and hem up the bottom. Presto- a skirt!)
On your pattern piece for number 6, you will see along the top, it says "gather". We will gather this entire edge. I found this helpful article about gathers from www.getcreativeshow.com this information is by Sally Cowan:
" ...To make perfect gathers, sew a row of basting stitches 4/8 and 6/8 inches from the edge and then you will sew on the 5/8 inch line to join the gathers to your garment. (notice diagram).
Remove the two rows and you will be left with a perfect row of gathers! (to remove the 2 rows, use a seam ripper or simply pull the threads right out by grabbing the thread and giving it a tug. Be gentle or your thread will break.)
Naturally, use the longest stitch on the machine and sew from the right side. The two threads you pull are the bobbin threads which will be on the wrong side of the cloth. Pull them at the same time and push the cloth along the threads at the same time. Nothing is more upsetting than to have everything just about in place and the threads break. So push gently. "
4.)Make a 5/8" (1.5cm) narrow hem on center and outer points on lower edge of apron, as shown. To do this, make sure the fabric has the WRONG side facing up (that's the side without print) and fold one side of the point in 5/8 inch. Pin the fabric down, and stitch it! You may also press the fabric down so that you don't have to worry with poking yourself with pins. It should look like this:
Next, take the other side of the point and fold it over 5/8 of an inch, press or pin it in place and stitch. When you do this, you want to fold it over so that the corners overlap slightly. It should look like this:
If you don't overlap the corner, it will be all wonky on the end like this:
When you're finished, your apron should look something like this:
5.) Turn in 1/4" (6mm) on upper edge of each POCKET &, press. Stitch close to pressed edge. On your pattern instructions, step number 5, you will notice that pattern piece number 7 is white. Remember the key from yesterday? White means that the WRONG side is facing up, the side without print.It will look like this:
So, with the wrong side facing up, fold the upper left edge over 1/4inch just like the image in the pattern instructions and press it like this
next, stitch it close to the edge:
6.)Turn upper edge of pocket to outside along foldline; stitch upper end. Trim as shown.
Now, our pattern instructions show a gray pattern piece. This means that the RIGHT side, is facing up. So, flip your fabric over so that the edge that you stitched is one the left. Fold the stitches edge over so that it meets up with the foldline mark (that's the line you transferred earlier.) Press it and stitch it. It will look like this:
Now, you will notice a little pointy bit on the edge of your fabric. Just snip it off like so:
7.)Turn upper edge of pocket to inside along foldline, turning in seam allowance on inner side edge, as shown, press. Baste ends.
Now, the pattern instructions show a white piece again. You know what that means? Flip it over again, so the WRONG side is facing up. Fold the stitched line over so it meets up with the foldline on the inside and press it down with your iron.
Next, take the right upper edge and fold it over, overlapping the top corner just a tad so it's smooth. Press it in place.
Now, our pattern tells us to "baste". When you baste something, you are putting in long, loose stitches. Basting is a temporary stitch to hold the fabric in place until later. To baste, simply turn your stitch length to the longest setting and sew a straight line. We basted earlier when we made gathers! When you're finished, the RIGHT side of the fabric (the side with print) will look like this:
Trim all of the excess threads off and you're ready for the nest steps!
Now, it's time to get out our rickrack! Steps 8-10 will be posted in a few hours!
Please leave your questions in the comments box below. See you soon!!