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Kindle Case

I don’t know if you remember this post; ya know, the one where I made an attempt at a Kindle Case.  Well, I finally made one that works for my Kindle 3.  I am very pleased with the outcome.

Kindle Case

I still used this tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew to get the basic design, but made a few changes.

Instead of doing the buttonholes for the magnetic snap, I just used fray check, like in this tutorial by Keyka Lou.  I made the measurements 20 x 6.5 with a 3/8 seam allowance on all sides and it fits perfectly.

Kindle Case

I learned that you have to iron more than you think is necessary when top stitching.  It will help to keep everything in place.  You will also always see part of the inside fabric.

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First off, take a beginning sewing class!  It’s a lot of fun to sew with others that are at about the same skill level as you.  I learned more from my class than I thought I would, since I don’t really plan on making a lot of clothes.  It’s also helpful that the teacher knows tricks on how to do certain things and willingly shares them with you.

Pajama Pants

I took the “Learn to Sew” class at Royce Quilting (our local store).  We made these pajama pants from Kwik Sew, which I hear is a great first project to make because you learn many different aspects of sewing.

There were only 6 of us in the class, which was really nice because it was comfortable asking questions.  I felt like I learned more than if there would have been more people.

Everyone learns differently, but I suggest taking advantage of having someone around that knows what they are doing and ask questions any time you are not sure of what you are doing.  It’s very likely that someone else in the class will have the same question.

Things I learned

Machine

Protecting Feed Dogs

When transporting your machine, put a piece of fabric under the foot and put the foot down.  This helps to protect the feed dogs.  For those of you that do not know what feed dogs are they are the small metal pieces under the foot and needle that help to pull the fabric through the machine.

Pattern

Pattern, Paper, and Pencil

In order to reuse your pattern, buy tracing paper and trace the size that you are going to be using onto the paper and cut that out instead of the actual pattern.  That way if you ever need to make a different size (say you lost weight!) you will still have your whole pattern.

Our pattern had general sizes with measurements, but if you don’t fit into one exactly you can just take measurements and adjust the pattern as needed.  For example, if you have long legs just cut the material longer than what the pattern says, but still follow the same curves as the original pattern.

Sewing

Try not to hold the fabric too tight…just let the machine guide it through.  Also, don’t try to push or pull the fabric through the machine, it should take the fabric through the machine with little guidance.

Honestly, I think this is something most beginners tend to do but I also think the machine has some to do with it as well.  The reason I say this is because I felt like I had to really pull the fabric through the Kenmore.  It seemed to always pull the fabric in one direction.  I felt like I was always moving the fabric in order to keep it straight.  On the other hand, with my Bernina I have no problem with this.

Our teacher said that a lot of times that the faster you sew, the straighter you can sew.  I know I tend to feel like if I slow down that I will get a straighter stitch, but I don’t think that is really the case.

Elastic

To get the right length for elastic pants, wrap the elastic around the part of the waist where you want the pants to lay.  Then take off two inches and that is the length that should work the best; not too tight but tight enough for your pants to stay up.

Sewing Elastic

Instead of overlapping the elastic and sewing together, put a piece of preshrunk cotton fabric under the ends of the elastic and sew the elastic to it.  Be sure to attach it securely, such as sewing a square around the edges and then an “X” in the middle.  Then just trim the fabric so that the sides are even with the width of your elastic (not done in the picture).

This technique can also be done if you have multiple pieces of short elastic.  That way you never have to waste elastic.  I hate wasting things so I was very excited to hear this, especially when I only had less than ten inches of leftover elastic.

General

A serger is AMAZING!!!!  Our instructor brought in her serger so that we could use it.  Not only to get us hooked, but also to make the project quicker and just so we could have experience with the serger.  Wow; it’s fast, it cuts the edges so that they are even, and is just in general a neat machine.  If I were planning on making a lot of clothes I would probably start saving for one.

Really, a serger is not needed at all.  You can easily finish the edges with a zigzag stitch or your overlock foot.  It may take a little more time, but in the end you will basically get the same result.

Pajama Pants

I really enjoy seeing a project come together.  It’s so exciting to start seeing what the finished project is going to look like, piece by piece.  I think the most exciting part was when we finally stitched the two legs of the pajama pants together.  That was the first sign that I was really making a pair of pants successfully.

I can not cut in a straight line, even when cutting along a pattern!  Some of my pieces were so far off it was ridiculous.  But thankfully a 5/8 seam allowance allows for this and the serger quickly made the pieces seem even.  If we didn’t use a serger I would have had to cut everything after sewing them together but before doing an overlock stitch or after a zigzag stitch.

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At daycare, Lillian sleeps on a small cot with a sleeping bag.  We had an old one that I had growing up so we have just been using that.  It’s warm and doesn’t have the slick outside, which to me makes it more comfortable than the slick ones.  The zipper has become increasingly worse, so I figured that since I have a little experience with sewing, I will go ahead and try to fix it.

Fixing a Sleeping Bag

It was just a small area that was coming loose but if I didn’t fix it the whole zipper would eventually come off.  I was a little worried that the sleeping bag would be too thick to easily sew the zipper back on.

Fixing a Sleeping Bag

So I put on my zipper foot and black thread and sewed away.

Fixing a Sleeping Bag

Low and behold, it worked!!  We now have a fully attached zipper, with zero issues while fixing it.

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I made my in-laws a potholder and oven mitt from the Prudent Baby tutorials.   Last year they were able to purchase a summer home on a lake so I thought it would be fitting to use fishing material.

Oven Mitt & Hot Pad

Potholder

On to the process of making them.  I started out with the potholder and was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out, considering what it looked like before putting all of the pieces together.  (I wish I would have taken a picture to show you).

I used 2 layers of insul-brite and since I do not have a walking foot the material shifted like crazy!  Well, at least I’m assuming a walking foot would help.  I made sure to face the shiny side of the insul-brite toward the fabric so that it would actually reflect the heat away from the potholder.

This was also my first experience with using double fold bias tape and two step binding.  I also used Prudent Baby’s tutorial on how to sew with bias tape.  It wasn’t the easiest thing to use over the thick fabric so next time I will probably get the wider bias tape.  Eventually, I would like to make my own but right now it’s easier to just buy it.

Of course, I forgot to add the ring of bias tape to hang the potholder.  Oh well, how many people actually hang their potholders, right?

Oven Mitt & Hot Pad

Oven Mitt

A few days later, I decided I was going to attempt the oven mitt.  I was a little confused with the directions at first but then realized that for the back of their oven mitt they were using two different fabrics plus the lining.  So on page two of the downloadable pattern you can go ahead and tape the two pieces together if you are only using one fabric.  You can also skip number 4 of the directions because you won’t have anything to sew together.

Since I did not have matching fabric for the lining, I needed to differentiate the lining fabric from the outer fabric.  In my sewing class, we made pajama pants and the teacher suggested to put pins in an X on the back fabric pieces.  So I used this suggestion and put X’s on what would be my lining pieces.  It worked out really great and helped me to know which was the lining and the outer fabric.  Normally it wouldn’t matter but since I used insul-brite I had to which way to face it.

Since I do not have a serger I skipped that part and later realized it was not a good idea because the material was kind of scratchy.  So I went back and zigzag stitched what I could.  After stitching I cut the excess fabric off.  It worked out fine this time but next time I will be sure not to skip this step.

I also messed up the hanging loop but got it to work out.  So needless to say, I have a lot of work to do when it comes to sewing on bias tape.

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For Lillian’s daycare class I decided to make Valentine’s since there are only a total of eight kids and two teachers.  I made these from noodlehead’s blog.

2011 Valentines for Classmates

First, I printed the image onto white cardstock, then I let Lillian “sign” all of them.

2011 Valentines for Classmates

After that I cut out the cardstock and vellum and then sewed them together.

2011 Valentines for Classmates

Since the kids are all under two years old, I put peach puffs in them instead of M&M’s.  I still made a few with M&M’s for the teachers.

2011 Valentines for Classmates

Here is the vellum that I used.  So cute!

2011 Valentines for Classmates

 

 

And the finished product!  I had fun making them and Lillian even enjoyed watching me.  Eventually, she will be able to help.