Friday, May 25, 2012

Sewing 102: Actually making something!

So at Fabricland, I had purchased some material to try my hand at actually making something- and outfit for my niece! Lisa and I oohed and ahhed over all the cute fabrics for little girls, but eventually we settled on this lovely navy polka-dot material. I purchased double the required amount, just in case. It was on sale for 30% off so I got 2 metres for $16.

I figured it would be smart to start with something simple, as I hadn't sewed from a pattern in about , oh, nine years?! At that time I had made an amazing pair of pajamas with elastic draw string, pockets, piping, etc...I figured I would pick it up fast. So I picked up a pattern at Fabricland that said it was "very easy".


I planned on making version A- the red one on this pattern. I chose to use the 9 month old size, since my niece is a big girl, and I wanted to make sure it would fit!

First thing first, I had to wash the material to make sure it was pre-shrunk (it was cotton) and happily the colour didn't bleed in the wash!

While it was washing, I got to work cutting out my pattern pieces. This outfit only involved 5 pieces (but I ended up not doing the ties, so it was more like 4 pieces).

What a cute outfit!!

Once the materials was washed and dried, I needed to iron the material to make it crisp again, and iron the pattern pieces so that they lie flat (make sure you iron these on low, with no steam!) I set up my ironing station in the hall near where I was working, because you have to iron a lot when sewing.

After this, I laid out my pieces, as per the instructions, on my material. This pattern required you to fold the fabric and cut some pieces on the fold. It also helps to use folded material because most patterns call for two of everything. The pattern also said to pin the patterns upside down on the wrong side of the fabric. I was careful to follow the directions so that I wouldn't screw up (FAMOUS LAST WORDS).

The placing here looks a little weird and "waste of space" but it is because I was trying to work with the pattern.

I would later find out that I did the pattern on the pants upside down. Even thought I spent probably an hour on laying it out, I still screwed up. sigh. This is why I didn't want to buy material that had to go in a certain direction. Solid prints or prints with randomness are the best choices for beginners! Also, check out my sexy new pink fabric scissors! I just cut along the size I wanted...I may go back to get this pattern again so that I can reuse it when my niece is older. I am not sure how to cut a smaller size out of a bigger size without ruining the pattern- can someone fill me in?

Next I had to actually sew something!! Here I am sewing the sides of the top:

After you sew a seam, you have to iron the seam open so that it will lie flat later on:

Around this point is when the pattern stopped making sense. I was so lost until I figured out I needed two more pieces of the top.

These were honestly the instructions for the top. It should be noted that I do not know what "baste" or "top stitch" means. It was at this point that I realized I had never sewn anything without my teacher there to help! uh-oh!

Eventually I figured out that I was supposed to have TWO tops and then the instructions made more sense. haha

But then I got to pants.

It just gives you one photo and a short sentence and somehow this turns into pants??

Then I realized that I had the pants upside down the whole time! The wider part at the top is actually the pant legs and the thinner part was the giant crotch. Despite staring at the photo on the package many times, this never occurred to me. Hence why my pattern will end up upside down from how I wanted it. I could have recut it, but it was midnight by this point and I just wanted to get 'er done.


Then I had to sew the hems. I got very lazy and just eyeballed it. I figure the baby can't walk, so no one will notice- right? haha. I just made sure to keep the stitching even from the hemline, and you really can't tell.

The last step was to put on the snaps for the shoulders. This involved a hammer, and I sure felt bad for my neighbours since I was hammering in the middle of the night, but oh well :) To add the snaps, you need to use this little tool that I picked up and Fabricland. Once end helps punch the sharp bits though the fabric (pictured) and then you place the snap over the pointy things, turn the device upside down, and hammer away!

I took out my aggression for this project on this unfortunate snap:

Then finally, FINALLY, I had finished. Yes, I had thrown the pattern to the wind near the end and just attached the top to the pants in a way that made sense to me, but I have to say I am DARN proud of this outfit, even with the upside down pattern. I sure hope it holds up!!

It is laying a little funny because I wanted to show that it was pants and not a skirt! I just LOVE it. I need to make an auntie-sized one to wear with her! haha. I actually have tons of material left over, so I think I may attempt a dress version of this one day! First thing to do, though, would be to see if this will fit. The baby's butt has to fit through the top because it has no zippers or snaps on the back. 

Finally, I used a baggie to collect all the pieces of the pattern (it comes with a few versions so all those pattern pieces needed to be saved too) cause there was no way I would fit it all back in the original package.

Man, this post doesn't even describe the headache of making this "very easy" pattern. I think I might have to sign up for a sewing course, if only to learn to translate the patterns!! This whole project took about 4 hours from start to finish- all for someone who will just throw up on it :)


  1. I was actually laughing while I read this, because I am not a sewer either, or at least not without the teacher ;), I can just imagine the struggles I would have gone through! I am impressed with the final result!! It is so cute :) but about that pattern question...what if you fold the pattern for a smaller size and pin it so you can unfold it and still have the bigger size?

    1. I thought of that, but the edges arent straight, so i think it would be difficult. I dunno... hahah

  2. Super cute outfit! I actually kinda like the direction the spots ended up going... can you not make a photocopy of the pattern before you cut it? Then you could always transcribe it later?


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