Monday, February 11, 2013

My first sewing tutorial!!! eek

Okay here goes!!! This will be my first and hopefully not last sewing tutorial! This whole idea of a sewing tutorial is quite scary to me but I'm going to complete this post whether it takes me 10 minutes or 10 years! I've been doing lots of sewing since I got my new sewing machine back in November! Its been tons of fun! I've made cute little clutches, hats, skirts, apliqued shirts, toys, tote bags and some other random things however I usually use everyone elses tutorials and never really create something all my own! Well I've finally created something that I'm proud to say is not something I found on someone elses website and I will teach you how to do it!!!

Its a Peasant Baby Skirt they are super fun and easy to make as you can whip up 3 or 4 during nap time and actually feel like you've accomplished something! Some of those bigger and more daunting projects seem to take lots of time and I'm one of those people who likes to see lots of fast results! So from start to finish this project took me between 30 and 40 minutes!

fabric size 8 in. x 40 in.
tear and wash stablizer
wing tip needle
bobbin thread or embroidery thread

Peasant Baby Skirt Tutorial
First and foremost you will start out with a piece of cotton fabric (prewashed...I learned the hard way) and it should be 8 inches by 40 inches (you can play with the 40 inches as this can be smaller or larger and not make much of a difference)! You are going to sew down both of the long sides to create a edge that does not need to be hemed. I'm not a fan of heming things and I like the way this looks so this is my go to stitch to keep things from fraying and have a finished edge! My new sewing machine is all fancy shmancy and you can pick what type of fabric you are using (woven light) and it sets things accordingly (tells you the tension, which needle and which presser foot)! You are going to be doing a zig-zag stitch down the long edge and you are going to adjust the stitch length of the zig-zag to 1.0 which is in the bottom left of the picture!
After you've adjusted your stitch length you are going to sew straight down both edges. This can be tricky because when you start sewing on your fabric it sometimes likes to bunch all up and jam your machine so I usually put 1/4-1/2 in of my fabric on the other side of my needle so that this doesnt happen!
You can see in the picture below how your edge is suposed to look (and you can see that the first part of my edge isn't sewn so that I didn't jam my machine). If your machine is just creating a zig zag and not encasing the edge completely then you do not have your fabric positiond in the right spot so adjust and try again...Maybe it would be best to try this technique with a scrap of fabric to figure out what you are doing and once you've figured it out go from there.

Continue sewing all the way down both long sides of your fabric until you have pretty little edges like so! Next you are going to get out your wing tip needle and bobin thread or embroidery thread. The wing tip needles looks super indimidating and slightly like a midevil torcher device but I promise it's really easy to use and can create some Ahhhhmazzzing details that you wouldn't be able to have without the needle!  The wing tip needles cost about $3 and the bobin thread is $0.50 a bobbin (you will need 2 one for your bobbin and one for the top of your machine).  I bought both the needle and bobbin thread in the Viking Sewing Gallery at my local Joann Fabrics.

So insert your needle and make sure to securely insert it with the handy dandy screw driver your machine should have come with...I learned the hard way that if you just insert it by hand it will come out and destroy your project which then makes you really angry...and we don't want angry ladies and gents with scary wig-tipped needles walking around! Then thread your machine with the bobbin thread and insert the bobbin thread into your bobbin case and there you have it!

Mid-evil torcher device...AKA Wing Tip Needle
Bobbin Thread
My machine comes with so many snazy features its super hard to decide which ones to use and which ones you can use with your wing tip needle! So for this partiular project I've chosen row three number 27 (it looks slightly like a flower on the fabric) I've also used Row two numbers 29-36 and Row three numbers 24-36 for different effects.  
P.S. when using a wing tip needle its supposedly called heirloom sewing....Fancy huh???

Different stitches my sewing machine comes with.

Examples of things your wing tip needle can do! How exciting!!!
Please, please, please get a scrap of fabric and play around with your newfound needle and thread to see which designs you like and how it feels using this different needle.  The needle basically punches holes in your fabric making super cool designs. There are some examples above and below on pieces of scrap fabric I had!
The left stitch alows you to insert a lovely little ribbon as an additional detail!!!
After threading your needle and playing around with your machine you are going to line up the bottom edge of your fabric with the presserfoot OHHH and you are going to need some tear and wash stablizer behind your fabric (if you don't use the stablizer it doesn't look nearly as pretty...I tried doing that and I wouldn't recommend it). After putting your stablizer and fabric together go ahead and pick which fancy stitch you are going to use and sew all the way down your fabric...thus creating a beautiful edge for your tiny baby skirt.

After sewing all the way down tear off the stablizer! The rest will come off in the wash...hense the name tear and wash! Genuis I know!!!

Next you are going to fold your fabric in half short sides together and the wrong sides of the fabric will be facing one another. Sew down the wrong sides of the fabric using a 1/4 in. seam allowance. (so in other words you are sewing on top of the right side of the fabric...its hard to tell in my pictures because my fabric is lightly colored and doesn't show up all that well)

I then usually cut really close to my seam just because I'm weird like that...actually its because then when I turn it I can sew another 1/4 in. seam without any problem. Then turn your fabric inside out so that the right sides are facing one another and then sew all the way down again with a 1/4 in. seam allowance which creates a really nice french seam and you have no fly away strings and shedding! If you are not a fan of french seams then by all means please skip the french seam part and just sew right sides together and either surge or zig zag your ugly edge!

The above picture is my pretty finished french seam...also the french seam makes it look a little less messy! So now you have a rectagle of fabric with pretty finished edges and a french seam!

Take the top of your fabric and fold over 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch to create a casing for your elastic. Since the top edge of your seam is already finished you don't have to fold down and iron and then fold down again and iron...I don't like to iron...I actually really dislike hate therefore I create the pretty edge and then only fold down once and I know I'm bad but I don't iron the edge and I just guesstimate it and hope for the best...if you feel so inclined to iron be my guest! Then you will sew right above your finished edge all the way around your skirt!

Leave around a 2 inch opening so that you can thread in your elastic! As a general rule of thumb I've been told to measure the childs waist to determine how big you would like the skirt to be however my elastic is super super stretchy...I think its defective... so I made my elastic smaller than the waist...I think I cut my elastic to be around 13 inches or so and its a very stretchy skirt and fits well on my one year old...who is a boy and who is large for his age! So it really depends on the elastic you are using! Try it out first to make sure it will be stretchy enough!

After threading through your elastic (use a safety pin) then sew both sides of your elastic together using a zig zag stitch or go over it numerous times using a straight stitch! I do both sometimes...I'm a little paranoid my elastic will come apart)! Now the last step is to sew your hole shut and clip off all your strings and there you have it! An adorable baby skirk with a cool detailed edge! These light weight skirts are perfect for summer and I think I might make myself one...or something similar! We shall see!

This tutorial can be adjusted to fit smaller or larger children! Just adjust the size of your fabric based off the size of your child! Good luck and happy sewing!!! Hopefully I will soon put up a picture of a cute cubby baby wearing said skirt! :-)