tutorial

I’m using a pattern I’ve made at least twice before, McCall’s 2233, Uniform Essentials.

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The fabric is from Fabric.com, Michael Miller Nevermore Collection Old Script Urban Grit Black.  That’s a mouthful.

 

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Way back when, I was smart and glued the pattern to some sturdier brown paper, knowing I’d reuse the pattern in the future.  Only problem, I lost the pocket pattern piece somewhere in my many moves!  I had some brown paper and using the image in the instructions, cobbled together a makeshift pocket. Worked fine.

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I always forget to take pix while I’m sewing.  Since I use the Serger for my seams, I had to do a little finish work with the regular sewing machine.  Here I’m making a mess of the pockets.

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One of the things I like to do is to finish all raw edges with the serger.  Below I’m serging the edges of the waist.  This gets turned under and made into the casing for the elastic, but I still like to finish it.  In my mind it tends to unravel less.

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I’m putting the elastic in the casing below.  How do you do that?  Tried and true method: Use a safety pin.

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Now for the tutorial. I hope I can explain this half as well as I would like.

How to use the blind hem stitch on your sewing machine.

First of all, you have to press your hem nice and neat.  Here I just made a tiny ~1/2 inch hem because the pattern is kind of short for my husband (I found out on the previous pants I made).  I could lengthen the pattern, sure.  But I am lazy and that is a topic for another blog post!  So…turn under your nicely serged hem.

PressAHemThen you need to select the correct stitch on your machine.  It should look like a zig zag with straight stitches in between. In my case, it’s #18 on the Pfaff Creative 2144.

ChooseThisStitch

Be sure to lengthen the stitch a bit, otherwise it’s too close together.

ThenMakeItLarger

Then you bring over you nicely serged and turned pant leg, ready to be sewn:

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And you Flip The turned hem UNDER, to make a little lip of the pant leg on the left, and the hem on the right.

FlipHemUnder See the little fold there right under the presser foot? THAT’S the key.  You want to imagine the fabric in a Z shape under the presser foot.  When the need is doing the straight stitch, in the right-most position, it will enter the bottom layer which is the hem.  When the needle “zags” over to the left, it will catch the pant leg briefly, then return back over to the hem.  The results are beautiful.

Here is the finished hem.

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And here is what the “zigs” look like (had to search to find a visible spot, they really are blind stitches with the right thread color!).

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Here’s the finished product.  Even the goof up on the pocket is hard to see.

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I made a small video of the sewing machine actually stitching the blind hem stitch.  Need hubby to help me get past the 2mb size limit on uploading media. Grrr.  Maybe if I bribe him with some fancy new chef’s pants…?

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This quilt is for my Cousins Gil and Julie.  They have a quilt they love, called Sick Blankie (long story), and wanted to know if I could try to make something that had a similar weight.  They love Camping, so I picked out some great camping themed Fabric from Fabric.com.

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Because these are curved pieces, they are a pain in the rear to sew together.  Pinning is the key to success!  First I fold each one of the pieces in half, finding the middle and marking it with a pin. For rotary cutting the fabric, I used the Crazy Curves Ruler from Elisa’s Backporch Designs.

 

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Then I match up the middle pins, then pin the edges, and ease the rest of the curves together.  I sew over the pins because I sew very slowly.  Then clip the curves in the seam allowance and press press press!!!

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Here you can see I have a stack waiting to go under the presser foot! 😀

 

 

 

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There’s still a long way to go on this quilt.  I’m going to quilt it with wool batting, trying to imitate the heft of the original Sick Blankie.  I’ll keep posting updates as it comes along.

 

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I probably haven’t mentioned we have some land with a cabin on it down south of us. It’s about 45 minutes away.  We wanted land to mountain bike on, grow bamboo on, and otherwise just relax.

Relaxing by campfire

We love camping, so the fact that this place didn’t have a toilet or shower wasn’t an immediate deterrent. Here’s my husband digging the outhouse hole:

Has to be 6 ft deep

 

 

I’ve worked on a couple of projects down there. One I’m pretty proud of is the loft bed in my son’s room.  Literally the room was wide enough just for the bed to fit.  So I used the walls as the support! It holds him perfectly. Here’s some pictures of the process.

Small bedroom also used to store bikes.

This is the before picture.  Notice how narrow the room is. This became an advantage!

Putting up the supports

The picture to the right shows how we bolted the supports directly to the studs in the wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lip for the bed slats to rest on

Not sure if you can see in this picture, but there is a small lip of wood at the bottom of the support where the bunk slats rest on.

Bed assembled.

I didn’t take pictures of the process of putting the front on. Hubby had to help me by holding one end up, so there was no one to take pictures.  See how there is still storage for mountain bikes?

So my son doesn’t roll out, railings going up.

Here we are putting up the railing.

Railing Finished

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is the final product:

All done!

Look at all the crap that collected under there already!

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Perhaps you recall the post “My tribe lifts up my daughter through quilting.” I can’t read that post without tearing up…and I wrote it. How sad is that…?  On second thought, don’t answer that!

Well, the grandson arrived and the quilt sat unfinished on the Handi Quilter for several months.  Thanksgiving was fast approaching and Grandma, who generously donated her dining room for the project months before, was getting antsy to get her dining room back.  So I asked my Daughter if I could finish the quilt for her.  She was sleep deprived and agreed! Yay!

I finished up the quilting (took about 30 minutes since we were so close to being done).  Then I brought the quilt back to my house (disassembled the handi quilter so mom could host Thanksgiving!), and got to work on finishing the quilt.

The first thing you do is square off the corners and trim the edges.  I did this with my rotary cutter and a square ruler.

The second thing you do is measure the perimeter to know how much binding you need.  Then you create the binding.  Usually bias tape is used.  Bias tape is simply strips of fabric that are cut diagonal (45 degrees) to the grain of the fabric.  I didn’t take a picture of making the strips, but the fourth step is to sew the strips into one big long  strip like so:

Notice how the strips are perpendicular. This is for pattern continuity.

 

The next step is to iron all of the long strip into what’s called TRI-FOLD bias tape. First fold the strip in half lengthwise, then iron this crease.  Then open up the strip, and fold in each side until the sides touch the long crease. Like so:

 

A trick is to use a pin on the iron board to make a little bar the strip has to go under, then put the iron just over this. Pull the tape out the end slowly.

 

Notice my adorable little iron. I can’t remember where I got it, but this thing is invaluable.  When I sew, I iron everything. In fact, I would go so far as to say that IRONING is the key to good sewing. (It’s the only time I use an iron, to be fair…)  When you follow pattern directions, they will say “Press the seams” in one direction or the other.  Do not skip this step.  In quilting…the key to perfect pinwheels…Ironing!  Really perfect sewing requires ironing. Period.  This little iron means I don’t have to heat up a big iron for small seams. I don’t risk burning myself trying to navigate 1/4″ seams either.  Pick one up if you can. It cost all of like $10 if memory serves. Definitely worth the investment!

 

So where was I…ok, yes…the next step once you have your Tri-Fold Bias tape is to pin the binding to the quilt.  There’s some choice here.  I start on the front.  Here’s why.  The side you start on will have the cleaner look.  That’s just my opinion.  Also, I hand sew the second side. Some people machine sew the second side, which then shows up on the first side.  If you are going to machine sew, then make the back your first side. You don’t want the thread showing up on your front.

Just my $0.02.

I think hand sewing the back is the proper way to do it, even if it takes a bit longer.

The right sides together, pin the binding around the quilt.

Looks like a really ugly tie from the 70’s does it?

 

Now. I’ve debated whether or not to have the discussion about “perfectly mitered corners or not.  I don’t think I will. Instead, here are some links that are helpful:

 

This post is awesome.  Has great pictures, etc.  I didn’t take the dozens of pictures necessary to really convey the process, and since someone already has…voila.  Go read that then come back here :D.

The next step is to sew the binding on, following the crease made by the first fold going right to left.

You will see this clearly when you place your quilt and binding on the sewing machine and are ready to start sewing

Follow the crease.

 

See how obvious the crease is?  I would say, don’t sew directly on the crease, but one or two threads INSIDE the crease.  That way, when you fold it over, your threads are kind of hidden.

 

Ok, so we are cooking with gas now!  Follow the tutorial above when you get to the corners, but sew all the way around the quilt.  Then take out all your pins (unless you did when you were sewing, I’m not a fan of sewing over pins – have broken too many needles that way), flip the binding over and IRON your binding down.

You’ll then bend the binding over to the other side and pin all the way around the quilt.

 

 

 

 

Here’s the back binding being hand sewn. Notice how the thread disappears? This is called a whip stitch.  I just got lucky and my thread matches.  You could do a blind stitch here if you didn’t have thread that matched as well.

 

And finally, here are the awesome corners:

Pretty good corners if I do say so myself!

 

 

This is the binding fabric that came in the kit. I’m not sure I would have picked it myself.  It was hard to keep the pattern going in the same direction. I miss-sewed a couple of times and had to pick out the stitches. But in the end it came out pretty good.  Here’s the finished thing.  And the backing we just happened to get lucky and found matching caterpillar fabric at a totally different store:

Finished!

So that’s that.  I bought this kit when my son was like 2.  Now it was made for my GRANDSON.  We started making it when my daughter was about 6 months pregnant, and finished when the baby was about 4 months old.  So, to be honest, one of the fastest quilts I’ve made.  The quilting has words hidden like “Teddy,” “Mommy loves you” and numbers.  My daughter was so proud at how good it came out. And I’m proud of her first quilt!  I’m thrilled with all my wonderful friends and family that helped in making this quilt as well.  Feels like an old fashioned quilting-bee kind of quilt.

Other Craft Projects:

I was thinking the other day that my posts on making the capris really didn’t go into specific details of sewing the pattern.  This was done purposefully under the assumption that ya’ll know how to sew a pattern.  My husband pointed out that such assumptions are presumptuous.  So, I thought, I’ll do a step by step how to sew a sewing pattern!  Brilliant!
So brilliant, it’s been done before!

Fiskars How to Use a Pattern

Why reinvent the wheel. This is the go to guide you should start with if you are unfamiliar with how to cut out a pattern. The author actually appears to have sewn before, unlike some of these how-to blog sites that seem to hire freelance writers with no other talent beyond writing (or not). My only complaint is that she drops off before actually sewing anything. Mostly it’s about cutting out the patterns (makes sense on a scissor website). But following ALL the directions of the pattern is obviously important, and can be intimidating. Let’s see the whole process!

Sew Mama Sew Patterns…Demystified

This is a great tutorial with detailed pictures. I would recommend this one highly.  Again, only gets you through cutting the pattern then stops. Maybe it’s just not feasible to do a tutorial of the whole process? Do I ask too much?

Adventures in Dressmaking How to use a sewing pattern

This tutorial isn’t. It has descriptions but I like to see pictures of the steps, personally.  This is more like a discussion about using patterns vs not with some details of how to use a pattern strewn about.

Reading a Sewing Pattern for Dummies
Where are the pictures? Man, I like me some pictures! This tutorial has ZERO.  I just skimmed it. Yeah, I’m that lazy. If you didn’t know that you must be new to my blog.

MimsMusings 25 Steps to Sew From a Pattern

Love this one, but would have liked to have seen more pictures. Love that step one is to measure. Yeah, do this before you leave for the fabric store, please! Again, someone who actually sews.  More like 25 tricks when using a sewing pattern, though (like not all patterns have zippers, but great tip on how to install them).  Still some good advice.

Ok, so there are tons of “How to sew from a Pattern” Tutorials or rather, blog posts, out there. I’m not going to waste your time writing what’s already out there dozens of times (if not more).  You can obviously use the googles or the search engine of your choice to find more.  If you find anything worthwhile, please post in the comments. I would love to see it!
I am however going to blog step by step my attempt to teach my husband to sew from a pattern. That would be educational AND entertaining. So stay tuned for that.

Other Craft Projects: