Learn to sew with Bluebird! Helping you on your way by providing the best patterns and kits and by running sewing classes in Belfast. Whether you love sewing or are just learning, you'll find great tips at Bluebird's sewing blog. Based in the UK.
It's already October and this month for #SewMyStyle we are making pants! The pattern is the Hampshire Trouser by Cali Faye Collection. I'm delighted that this month's post is coming from the fabulously talented Kellene Hunter.
I would definitely recommend making a muslin for this pattern or at least basting the pants together before sewing if you are confident you have chosen the correct size. The seam allowance is only 3/8" so there is not a lot of wiggle room to make adjustments after cutting your fabric. You may consider adding additional seam allowance to your pattern pieces so you have more room for adjustments. My measurements put me into a size Small but after looking at the finished garment measurement chart and because my fabric has some stretch I decided to try the XS. I made a muslin and was pretty happy with the fit. I fixed a little gaping in the back of the waistband, added 2" to the length (I'm 5' 11" for reference), and slimmed the legs down. I did have a few fit issues show up in my final pair of pants that I did not have when I made my muslin. I should have basted the pants together to check the fit again but I didn't think about it until I already had my welt pockets done and zipper inserted. I was not going to rip out my zipper to make changes to the front of the pants!
This pattern includes a helpful alteration guide that explains why you may need a certain adjustment and then shows you how to make it. Other fitting resources include: a post on the Closet Case Patterns blog- 14 Common Fitting Adjustments for Jeans and Pants and the book Pants for Real People.
A medium weight woven fabric is recommended for this pattern. I used Kaufman Jetsetter Stretch Twill from fabric.com. It is very nice to work with but is a bit on the stiff side. A stretch fabric can be used for this pattern but is not required. If I didn't already have this fabric I would have gotten some Tencel Twill II from Blackbird Fabrics. It is a wonderful fabric that works great for trousers and is nice to work with and wear. Corduroy is another great option or linen if you are headed into warmer weather. A lighter weight woven fabric can be used for the waistband linings and pocket bags. This is a great way to use up some scraps and add a fun print to the inside of your pants.
You don't need much aside from your sewing machine to make these pants. A serger/overlocker is great for finishing your seams but you can also use a zigzag stitch on your regular machine. If you are adding a button to your waistband (you can also use a hook and eye) a buttonhole foot is a good thing to have. A zipper foot is needed when you are inserting your zipper.
The difficulty rating for this pattern is advanced which I think is accurate because of the welt pockets and zipper. Both can be very intimidating, just take it one step at a time, it is very satisfying when they are finished! On the Cali Faye Collection website there is a visual tutorial to help with the welt pockets and the zipper. I think it is very helpful to see a picture of each step and would definitely recommend using these tutorials. If this is your first time making welt pockets it would be a good idea to practice on some fabric scraps first. I followed the instructions pretty closely to make my pants. One thing I did differently was top stitch my fly from the right side of the pants instead of doing it on the wrong side. Anytime I have stitching that will show on the outside of a garment, I stitch from the right side if at all possible. I think the stitches on the top always look better than the stitches on the bottom. I drew a line on the right side of the fabric to help get a nice line of topstitching. You can feel the fly facing underneath and draw just inside the edge or create a topstitching template by using the fly facing pattern piece and taking approx. 1/8" off of the curved edge and then trace around it on your pants. I also prefer to hand sew my waistband on the inside instead of stitching in the ditch. One other thing to think about: when sewing the two back legs together the directions do not specify which way to press your seam allowance before topstitching it in place. If you want it to match up with the topstitching on the front pieces, press it to the left side (this is the left side when you are wearing the pants).
I look forward to seeing everyone's trousers at the end of the month!
THANKS FOR TUNING INTO ANOTHER MONTH OF #SEWMYSTYLE. THIS MONTH IS ALL ABOUT THE DARLING RANGES DRESS BY MEGAN NIELSEN!
The Darling Ranges pattern comes in 3 versions: a dress with waist darts and a gathered skirt, a dartless blouse and a dartless dress. All of them come with the same button front and three quarter sleeves.
It's a simple relaxed look for those casual days out and a great alternative to the traditional shirt dress.
This dress needs a woven fabric. A light to medium weight is best, which means pretty much anything will work. Chambrays, linens, cotton poplins and lawns would be great choices for beginners as these are pretty firm. Those of you who are feeling a bit more adventurous might want to try a silk or crepe de chine. I made mine with a viscose twill from Stoff & Stil. It's got a lovely soft drape to it which worked really nicely.
If you've used a very lightweight fabric it may be worth interfacing your button plackets to make it more stable for the buttons and buttonholes.
The pattern is quite relaxed in fit so as long as you make sure you've picked the right size for yourself on the bust/waist, you'll be unlikely to run into trouble.
I made version 1: the one with the waist darts and gathered skirt. I found the waist darts went up too high on my bust and I lowered them by 2.5cm and could probably have gotten away with lowering them further.
I also shortened my skirt pattern by 10cm and used a 4cm hem and it's still a decent length on me (bear in mind I'm only 5' 2).
This is a great time to get out those buttonhole feet and practice folks! Your dress/ tunic/ blouse will need a few buttons up the front and the easiest way to do that is with a buttonhole foot in your sewing machine (if your machine is capable that is). Alternatively you can hand stitch them in to get a really beautiful finish on them.
I'll be honest, I struggled a little easing the sleeves into the bodice of this dress. I ended up making little gathers to take out the excess and made it into a design feature! It's not really that noticeable though!
The rest of the dress I thought came together quite easily and if you're making the dartless version, it'll be even easier and quicker to do!
I opted to forgo the elasticated sleeves and the back-tie detail on my dress. I've seen them both used to great effect on the samples and I'd say go for it if you like that style but it wasn't for me!
This has been a fun make! I'll be looking out for what you guys do with this pattern. I think there's lots of scope for altering it to suit your style!
Thanks to the amazing Emily Tan from Self Assembly Required for giving us tips on this months project! Visit her instagram account here and her website here.
This month’s Project #Sewmystyle make is the Briar t-shirt by Megan Nielsen. It's an absolute wardrobe essential with variations to match all seasons.
The Briar tee comes with a multitude of different options - long or cropped length, short sleeves, long sleeves. You could pretty much change those hems to whatever you want to get the look you want!
The standard version would be the dipped hem hip length t-shirt I guess. At least that's the version I sewed up! I like the curved hem that hits the hips just right at the front and dips for more butt coverage behind.
On me, the back hem was much too long to suit my frame. (Though it did give me and idea for making this into a dress in future!). I ended up trimming off about 10cm from the back hem and blending it into the sides. I'd recommended trying it on before hemming to check the length is right for you.
I've made a second one with 3/4 length sleeves and chose to cut the hem straight across the front and back.
Jersey! You need a stretch knit for this project. It doesn't need to be very stretchy, in fact the instructions recommend at least 20% stretch and not more than 40%. The less stretch, the easier the jersey will be to sew. So, if you're new to knits pick out a stable firm knit if you can!
You can also choose to make a sweater version of this pattern! Just use a heavier weight knit and check the stretch.
One of mine was sewn up on a overlocker and the other one wasn't. Can you tell the difference? No? That's because there isn’t one. At least not externally anyway. So, don't be afraid of using your regular sewing machine for this project! Make sure you've got a nice even zigzag stitch (I like to keep my stitch width and length somewhere between 1.5-2) and do a few practice seams to check your tension. Another thing to be careful with is to not to pull your fabric through the machine as this can stretch it out as you go and the result will be a wavy misshapen seam. Just let the machine’s feed dogs do their work and all you’ll need to do is gently push the fabric under the foot.
You can finish the hem of this tee with a twin needle or zigzag stitch, or if you have it, a coverstitch machine for a really professional finish.
You'll find this t-shirt and lovely easy sew that will help you fill out your wardrobe with handmade basics!
Y'all. How late am I with this month's sewing advice?! Sorry!
Anyway, I'm delighted to have Alexa from Brooklyn Sewcial giving us tips on the Pocket Skirt by Cali Faye Collections. Follow Alexa on Instagram by clicking here.
Here's what Alexa had to say about the fit, fabric, equipment and about sewing the pocket skirt up.
I'm petite with a pair of hips; Usually I wear a Small/Medium. For the Cali Faye Pocket Skirt, my hips were a Large and waist between Medium and Large. I made a trial skirt first, and decided to make the Large to see if it fit. It was too big for me. I took in the elastic so it fit the way I wanted, and remade it in a Medium. This fit much better. If you prefer a slimmer fit, I would size down. There is a bit of wiggle room with the sizing because of the elastic waist in the back. I also added 1" to the length because I don't like wearing anything too short; especially running up and down on the subway stairs!
I made my first version with a green lightweight cotton with a really nice drape. This was perfect, but I wanted to dye fabric for this skirt so I chose a medium weight white canvas. The dye came out perfect, but the fabric was a bit too thick for the shape and drape I wanted. It also was difficult to gather the fabric when there was more then one layer of fabric. I think a lightweight linen, cotton, or silk are the best options for this. To dye my fabric I used Rit Dye, Navy Blue. I soaked it for 30 minutes in boiling hot water, let it dry completely, then washed out the dye in cold water.
I used the home sewing machines I teach all my classes on. I did french seams for the side seams, double folded hem, and everything else was tucked away into the waist band. It would be a little easier to overlock the side seams if you don't feel up for french seams. I was just too lazy to unpack the overlock.
SEWING THE POCKET SKIRT
At first glance the Cali Faye Pocket Skirt looks like a beginner project, but is appropriately categorized as intermediate. The zipper elastic combination can be a little tricky. Take your time with it and definitely baste into place first. I used both an exposed, and invisible zipper. They both work great. I also added 1/4" to the thickness of the waistband on my second skirt. This made it a bit easier to stitch my elastic in without catching the elastic. This way I could go back and easily make the waist a bit tighter if I needed.
Now get stitching, and tag your makes on Instagram so we can see them all!!!
A huge thanks to everyone who posted their Virginia Leggings at the weekend! What a fun and versatile pattern- we saw lots of tastes from active wear to dressy pants all made with the same pattern. So great!This month... our first dress pattern! Yay!
I am delighted to have Emily from Self Assembly Required blog advising us on how to sew the Bridgetown Dress. Here's what she had to say about fit, fabric, equipment and about sewing it up.
The Bridgetown comes in sizes 0-20. You can make it ether a dress or a tunic with an optional band at the hem.
I made the View C dress.
If you are in between sizes in the hip, I recommend you go up one size as there isn’t a huge amount of ease in the skirt. There is plenty of ease in the bust though so if you’re the other way around (big bust/ small hips), you may want to size down. Because of the construction method in creating the elastic channel in the waist seam, it’s not a great idea to grade between sizes through the waist as this will affect how well that channel will sit. If you really need to grade up at size at the hip, it would be best to start grading 5cm below the top edge of the skirt pattern.
The dress needs fabric with a lot of drape due to the design of the back of the dress. I made mine in a rayon challis and it hangs beautifully. It would also work in t-shirt weight jerseys or anything lightweight and drapey.
Nothing special is needed to make this dress - a standard sewing machine will do! I chose to use an overlocker to finish my seams but that’s totally a personal choice and you can finish them any way you want to. My only tip would be to use a new needle! These fine fabrics tend to snag a little more easily and a fresh needle will help with that! Don’t forget to switch to a ballpoint needle if you’re making yours in jersey.
SEWING THE BRIDGETOWN
The way the fabric is cut means that the entire neckline is going to be prone to stretching out when you put the facing in. Stay stitching this will help prevent that from happening. Also, I found the back facings came out a lot longer than the bodice pieces. Don’t try to force them together! It’s ok if the facings are a bit too long - I think mine went a couple of inches past the edge!
Other than that, this is a really simple and straightforward sew. I’m sure you’ll all whizz through it in no time!
It’s a fun and floaty dress that’ll be perfect for the summer. I’ll be wearing mine with sandals and a belt for a great casual outfit. Don’t forget, you can wear this dress back to front as well! 2 looks in 1!
I hope you all enjoy making this dress as much as I have. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s creations in the coming month!
A huge thanks to everyone who posted their Saunio cardigans at the weekend! It seems as though lots of you were pleasantly surprised by the versatility of the pattern. I'm excited to see how everyone uses their fabric choices to make this pattern their own in March.
I am delighted to have Beth from the hugely popular SewDIY blog advising us on how to sew the Virginia Leggings. Here's what she had to say about fit, fabric, equipment and about sewing them up.
The Virginia Leggings pattern has two views, version 1 sits at the natural waist and version 2 is low-rise and maternity friendly. Plus, there are tall and petite inseam lengths. The size range is XS to XL and you’ll need to know your waist and hip measurement. My hip measurement is between a S and M so I cut the pattern right in between the two. The great thing about a simple pattern like these leggings is that there’s not a lot of fitting to worry about. Plus the fabric is stretchy and forgiving.
I’ve made leggings about five times before and in my experience the most important thing is the fabric selection. More than once, I’ve selected fabric that looked really cool but just did not have enough stretch. I still wear those leggings sometimes but they are nowhere near as comfortable as the pairs that have sufficient stretch.
So, why do leggings need to be so stretchy? Well, they are designed with negative ease, meaning that the fabric is cut smaller than your body and when worn stretches for a skintight fit. The pattern recommends fabric with 40% stretch. That means if you have a piece of fabric 10” wide, it needs to be able to stretch to 14” wide. I also recommend a fabric with 4-way stretch, meaning it stretches crosswise and lengthwise. If you’re determined to use a fabric that has less stretch than is recommended, you might consider going up a size. You can always take in the seam allowance if they are too big.
When fabric shopping, I recommend feeling the fabric and doing a few tests. I like to put my hand under one layer of fabric and hold it up to the light to see if there’s any see-through. For leggings, you’re going to want something a little thicker than you would for a t-shirt. Pull the fabric crosswise and widthwise to see if it stretches and hopefully you remembered to bring a measuring tape to check the percentage of stretch. Also note how well the fabric recovers from that stretching. If it doesn’t return to its “before” state, your leggings may end up with baggy knees after a few wears.
I’ve been sewing for a lot of years and one of the most challenging lessons to learn has been how to select the right fabric for a particular project. If I’m really unsure about a fabric, I think about ready to wear (RTW) garments (in this case leggings) I’ve seen and ask myself if the fabric has similar qualities. If it doesn’t, then I’ll look for something that is better suited. Obviously, don’t let RTW trends stifle your creativity but you can learn a lot about what works or doesn’t from studying other garments. The way I look at it, the fashion industry has spent a lot of time on fabric selection, so we might as well observe what they’ve done and take note.
Sewing knits is a little different than sewing woven fabric. If you made the Toaster Sweater and Saunio Cardigan for months one and two of the challenge, then you’re probably already up to speed but it doesn’t hurt to say it again. The most important thing when sewing knits is that you want the stitches to be able to stretch with the fabric. A regular old straight stitch won’t stretch so you’ll need to use something a bit more fancy.
If you have a serger/overlocker, lucky you! You can use it for all of the seams of the leggings and they will have plenty of stretch. If you don’t have a serger/overlocker though, don’t fret. You can still use your conventional machine. You’ll want to use a ballpoint or jersey needle and (if you have one) a walking foot. If you don’t have a walking foot and are having trouble feeding the fabric under the needle, you can place strips of tissue paper between the fabric and the feed dogs as you sew. Stitch right over the fabric and paper and gently tear away the paper after stitching.
When using your conventional machine, you can use a narrow zig-zag stitch or a stretch stitch (aka lightning stitch). The lightning stitch is very sturdy stitch that still has lots of stretch. The only drawbacks to it are that it’s kind of slow to sew and VERY hard to unpick. Refer to your machine manual and do a few test stitches on a scrap of fabric to find the stitch that works best for you. Remember to stretch the test stitches and see how they behave before making your selection.
SEWING THE VIRGINIA LEGGINGS
The pattern provides great instructions so I only have a couple of things to add. After you thread the elastic through the casing, secure the ends together with a safety pin and try on your leggings. This will let you test how you like the fit of the elastic before sewing it in place. Some elastics stretch differently than others, so I always like to test it and see if it should be shortened or lengthened.
After the elastic ends are stitched together and your casing closed up, you can topstitch your elastic. This will help prevent the elastic from twisting and bunching. Usually we don’t want to stretch our fabric while stitching but this is one exception. The waistband and topstitching will need to stretch over your hips when you put on your leggings so if you don’t stretch it while topstitching you’ll end up with broken threads (I know this one from experience). Try to stretch the elastic and fabric as evenly as you can as you stitch around. Uneven stretching will result in uneven stitching (I also know this one from experience too). You can use your left hand to stretch from the back and your right hand to stretch from the front.
I’m really excited to see everyone’s Virginia Leggings this month. I really love this pattern and wear my leggings all the time. In fact, I made a second pair to prepare for this post and have not taken them off since I finished sewing them.
What a fantastic start we've had to Project #SewMyStyle. From what we've seen on Instagram you guys absolutely loved the Toaster Sweater!
I am delighted that Jessica Pridmore from Little Miss Lorraine is giving us tips this month on sewing the Saunio. Those of who who don't already know her- why not connect with Jessica on Instagram? Here's what she had to say about fit, fabric, equipment and sewing up the Saunio.
The Saunio Cardigan comes in 3 different sizes, 32 – 36 / 38 – 42 / 44 – 46. I made mine up in the smallest size, 32 – 36.
Because it is only three sizes, it does mean that if you are at the smallest size like I am (32) it will be quite baggy on you.
I ended up taking a couple of inches off of both sides of the cardigan.
I’ve also added a belt which you can find a tutorial for over on my blog in the coming weeks.
I chose this gorgeous jacquard knit from Spotlight. The pattern calls for a sturdy fabric with 30 – 60% stretch to it.
Whilst the jacquard does make it sturdier than a normal knit, it is still quite thin, but I think it still works really well with the pattern.
Other fabric suggestions include boiled wool, cable knit or even a ponte.
I am so proud of myself because I actually sewed this cardigan on my overlocker! The fabric I chose does have a tendency to fray, and I really wanted to start to use my overlocker. The simple lines in this pattern made it the perfect practice piece.
TIPS FOR SEWING ON YOUR OVERLOCKER
Here are a few things I have learnt from the sewing community about successfully sewing on your overlocker.
Go slow! Overlockers have a tendency to go quite fast and it can be easy to lose control of the fabric. Keep your pressure light on the overlocking foot and stop to adjust your fabric as required.
Make it straight. Sewing curves are one of my biggest issues when it comes to sewing with my overlocker. I was given some simple yet so effective advice recently…straighten out the curves before you sew. I cannot tell you how much this advice has helped and made sewing with my overlocker much easier. Gently twist the fabric to the left slightly as you sew to straighten out the curve.
SEWING THE SAUNIO
Construction of this garment is so easy. Make sure you press all your hems after sewing to decrease the bulk (especially important if you are using a bulky fabric.) The facings finish off the raw edges beautifully. I decided to hand stitch my hems for a clean finish, although I could have gotten away with it with this fabric.
Woohoo! It's 2017 and that means Project #SewMyStyle has begun!
I could not be more thrilled to have two amazing blog contributors on this month's project... Both Sara from thesaraproject_ and the pattern designer herself Peggy from Sew House Seven have kindly offered us their top tips for sewing the Toaster 2.
FIRST, DETERMINING THE FIT.. AND THAT CROPPED HEM
Toaster Sweater designer, Peggy Mead says, 'The base size pattern was fit on a 5' 6" model with a full B cup. If you have a larger bust, you may want to think about adding length. The bust width is quite roomy but check the finished measurements to be sure.'
Sara added, 'I sewed the Toaster 2 with no adjustments in a size small. The hem has a slightly cropped style. I like this length paired with high waisted jeans, layered over a button up shirt. However, I am planning on adding a few inches in length to my next version.'
Let's also get some advice on buying fabric, if you haven't already done this. Peggy said, 'You need 20% stretch around the body (some fabrics don't have much stretch in the other direction and that's fine as long as the stretch is around the body and not vertical). Don't choose fabrics that are too fluid, such as rayon knits, as you need some structure to your fabric to keep the neck from collapsing.'
Sara added, 'I used a grey french terry for mine, but I have two more Toaster Sweaters planned for this month using a sweater knit and a waffle thermal knit. There's lots of options for this pattern.' Scroll to the bottom of the page for Sara's suggestions on online fabric choices for the Toaster 2.
On equipment, you'll be glad to know that both Sara and Peggy are working on a domestic sewing machine, rather than an overlocker (or, serger, as they're called in the US). (Yes, even though it's a knit!) Here's what they had to say on the matter:
Sara said, 'I personally do not own a serger (overlocker) and I sew with knits all the time. You can use a regular sewing machine with knit fabrics but make sure to use a ballpoint needle.’
Sara and Peggy use slightly different stitches when sewing the Toaster Sweater, but the principle behind both methods is the same: a zig-zag or stretch stitch is required to prevent breakage and unraveling. Sara said, 'Use some kind of stretch stitch instead of a straight stitch, otherwise all of the your stitches will break if you (or your child, this has happened to me) happen to tug too hard at the seam while wearing your garment. I prefer to use a lightning stitch or a zig zag stitch. Peggy agreed with Sara on the matter of stitch type when sewing with knits. She said, 'Straight stitches can easily break when the is pulled however, I do a straight stitch with a medium stitch size (not too small a stitch) so that the seam is smooth and then a zig-zag or stretch stitch (if your machine has one) right next to the straight stitch.This is called double stitch. The zig-zag or stretch stitch is the most important stitch that holds the garment together more securely, the straight stitch is just to keep the seam looking flat and even.’
SEWING THE TOASTER SWEATER
Peggy also kindly gave us some advice she's gathered up over the years of making the Toaster Sweater. Here are her top tips:
ON GETTING THE NECK FACING RIGHT THE FIRST TIME...
Avoid neck facing rolling on tricky fabrics by edging the facing with a zig-zag stitch.If the neck facing continues to roll despite edge stitching, you might want to try attaching iron-on interfacing along the edge of the facing.
When working on the neck facing, do not skip step one. It's important to fold down the neck facing before sewing. On step seven, if you don't feel confident stitching in the ditch, or if you want an extremely clean finish, you might consider hand stitching the neck facings down from the inside instead.
ON NAILING THE HEM DETAIL...
I think a zig-zag hem looks nice on the Toaster Sweater, but if you want to use a twin needle to hem the sweater, sew slowly around the corners and use the machine's hand wheel to walk the stitches slowly. Remember: you won't be ale to rotate the fabric to turn around those edges when sewing with twin needles. Instead, you'll have to carefully line the stitching up around the corners.
Sewing for babies is a great way to start dressmaking.
Since my little lady has been born I've decided to take the opportunity to get more comfortable with dressmaking. Sewing for babies is a great way to do this; projects are generally small and therefore leas time consuming and less demanding in general, and the fit of the finished garment matters a lot less. So you can pick up some really great dressmaking techniques without totally overwhelming yourself.
Baby/Kids Pattern Brands
Two baby/kids pattern brands I've been really impressed with are Minikrea and Oliver and S. Both of these brands produce really patterns for really pretty garments, and I've generally found their patterns to be straight forward to follow. You can buy both brands here.
'Lullaby Layette' by Oliver and S
Below is my take on Oliver and S 'Lullaby Layette' pattern. I chose the shirt option in 0-3 months because I thought it would work really well with this gorgeous fabric from Bonnie Christine's Forest Floor collection for Art Gallery fabrics.
In retrospect I think the shirt is a little less practical for a baby of this age. If I was doing it again I'd choose the bodysuit for the 0-3 month stage. The long sleeves on the shirt are going to be harder to squeeze Lara's wee arms into, and with Lara being a bit of a squirmer the shirt will most likely ride up and annoy her more than the body suit would.
When it came to sewing the shirt up, it was pretty straight forward. The pattern calls for you to make your own bias binding for the neckline, but I chose to buy ready-made binding. This saved me some time looking for the right fabric match and cutting it up and re-sewing to make the binding. It probably saved some money too. The only downside to doing it this wag was that the width I bought was slightly narrower than the pattern called for, which meant it was trickier to sew when it came to topstitching the back of the binding down along the back of the neckline.
Installing Press Fasteners
Baby clothes generally have press fasteners or 'poppers' because buttons are seen as a choke hazard/health and safety risk. Sewing for Lara meant I had to become acquainted with attaching poppers to a garment for the first time. I used Prym's 'Jersey' 10mm Press Fasteners. Prym provide a handy guide for attaching this type of non-sew fasteners here.
They were straight forward to attach, although I did find that the first fastener I accidentally attached crookedly. I carefully prized the front and back of the fastener apart and managed to rectify my mistake, but to avoid you having to do this I suggest you spend as long as you need practicing attaching the fastener to scrap fabric. (I'm known for being impatient with my trial runs and often jump the gun in the hope that I can fix my mistakes.) No matter how many times you practice, be careful when installing these for real.
Want an extra special tip? I bought the Prym plain silver press fasteners and painted them the colour I needed with nail varnish! It worked really well. The varnish got a bit damaged as I hammered the fasteners on, but I applied another coat (really carefully) once they were installed. I love that they match the neck binding. I generally hate compromising on these kind of design decisions, because why sew if the garments aren't going to look good in the end?
The exact fabric I used is Wild Posy in Rose by Bonnie Christine for Art Gallery Fabrics. To get inspired, follow along on the Forest Floor blog hop, where a selection makers worldwide are sewing up pretty projects with Bonnie's latest fabrics and taking turns to post about it daily. Yesterday Jodi Goddfrey inspired us with a hexie quilt, and tomorrow Bonnie is joining in on the fun herself!
Last week I decided to make my own changing mat ahead of baby's arrival. I wanted to make my own so that I could have a bit more control over the design- what it can hold, how it looks, etc, and because I thought I could make it cheaper than I could buy it.
The idea behind the design is that as well as being a place to set baby while changing, it contains everything I'll need to carry with me to do so. It's designed to close up when its full by folding around itself and closing with a button.
Inside the mat there are two sets of pockets. One zip pocket on the inside and two open topped pockets on the back. In the mat itself I can fit...
A full packet of baby wipes
About 5 nappies
A tube of nappy cream
About 10 cotton pads
A packet of nappy bags
The changing area measures 15 1/2 by 22 1/2 inches (which is bigger than some of the others I looked at). I measured it out so that the mat will fit in my changing bag widthwise. I also popped 80/20 wadding between the plastic front and back and some extra wadding around where the baby's head will be.
I haven't sewn much with wipe clean/plastic fabrics in the past and thought it might be helpful to some of you to share what I learned while sewing this little number up. So here are a few tips:
This fabric really isn't all that pinnable. Firstly, its just really hard to pin multiple layers of it. By the time I was binding this item, I had two layers of the plastic fabric, wadding and binding to try to pin, and it really wasn't easy. I bent a lot of pins in the process. Also, pins make permanent marks and they're not as effective in keeping the fabric in place as they are with cotton. This is a bit of a problem because you can't iron the fabric either, so keeping it in line as you construct and sew can be a bit of a nightmare.
So after going through the trauma of sewing this project up, I finally bought wonder clips. Until now I always thought they were a bit superfluous when you can pin or use kirby grips to hold cotton binding in place, but now I understand that there are some things my alternatives just can't do as well. So sewing this fabric has finally made me invest in them. (Not much, they're not very expensive.)
Do not even think about trying to hand stitch that binding on the back.
There is also a Teflon foot which you can buy for your machine. This helps prevent the plastic from sticking to the bottom of the metal foot. I haven't bought one of those yet but I think I'll try it for my next plastic project!
Hope this helps and that it answers some questions about sewing with plastic fabric! If there's anything else you'd like to know, feel free to ask a question.