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Starting Embroidery: What You Need To Know

Hopefully I have now convinced you to make crafting one of your New Year’s Resolutions, I have also let you know what questions I ask myself when I am picking a craft to try, So what about the answers to those questions, (for example what do you need to know when starting embroidery)?  If you have never tried a craft before it may be a bewildering mess with no clear place to start so or my next few posts (and at semi regular points throughout the year) I am going to provide a “fact file” with the answers to the most common questions.

First up, Starting Embroidery…

Starting embroidery? - Get the low down on what's involved at Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

What Is Embroidery?:

Embroidery is decorating fabrics with patterns and pictures sewn in coloured threads. Unlike cross stitch or tapestry it is usually done on ordinary fabrics without holes woven in to guide size and shape of stitch. A line drawing of an image is transferred onto the fabric using one of several methods and different stitches are used to make up different shapes and cover area, such as in the toadstool below.

Starting embroidery? - Get the low down on what's involved at Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

 

How Much Time Per Week Will Embroidery Take Up?:

To be honest, starting embroidery can take as little or as much time as you want. A small project, like monogramming hankies will only take a couple of hours to complete and can be picked up and put down as much as you like.

Starting embroidery? - Get the low down on what's involved at Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

A bigger project like Aimee Ray’s gorgeous cuckoo clock will take a lot longer, is a lot bigger and obviously that makes it less portable!

Gorgeous Cuckoo Clock Embroidered by Aimee Ray of Doodle Stitching

By the way, if you are thinking of taking up embroidery you should seriously check out Aimee’s books on Doodle Stitching. So cute and easy to follow, I love them!

Do I Follow Patterns Or Do I Have To Make Up My Own Designs?:

That is entirely up to you! If you check out Aimee’s Instagram feed you will see that she takes her own line drawings and turns them into transfers for embroidery. However you can buy ready made transfers that simply iron on or create your own from line drawing images found on the internet or books.

As I am no Leonardo Da Vinci I tend to use the images of others but I have used my own handwriting to embroider quotes for quilts etc.

How Much Money Does It Take To Start Up?:

To begin you really only need some fabric or a garment to stitch onto (100% Linen retails for about £7.50 per half metre). I quite often just use men’s hankies from Primark (£3.00 for five!).

That said if your fabric is too thin you will need to use a stabiliser to stop stitches ruckling it up. I use a water soluble one which means that you place it under your fabric in the hoop, sew into it and then wet the fabric so that it dissolves away (it’s like magic, I love it!). I paid £0.74 for a piece 20cm x 90cm in my local haberdashers recently.

An embroidery hoop is not an essential but I find it incredibly useful as it holds the fabric taut and makes it MUCH easier to position the needle accurately for the stitch. As I mentioned above it is also really useful for holding fabric and stabiliser together while you sew.  I prefer a small hoop that I move around if I am working on a bigger design. A 10cm wooden embroidery hoop recently cost me £2.99

Embroidery threads (also known as Stranded Cotton) start at around £0.90 per 8 metre skein from Hobbycraft or any of your local Haberdashers. Metallic or variegated colour threads cost between £0.40-£0.50 more. There are two main manufacturers, DMC (pictured) and Anchor. I recommend sticking to them as many patterns use their colour numbering systems to tell you what colours you will need.

Starting embroidery? - Get the low down on what's involved at Il Magpie Miscellanea Di S

If you choose something like a simple Redwork design you will only need one colour of thread. Redwork is simple and rather beautiful and Mandy Shaw of Dandelion Designs does it beautifully. A packet of embroidery needles will set you back about £1.50.

To get your design onto the fabric you can trace in ordinary pencil (cost will probably only be some tracing paper), you can buy iron on transfers (cost depends on who has designed them but start at around £3.50) if you search for “iron on embroidery transfers” on Etsy some great results come up!

Total cost to produce a simple first design is around £12.68 (around $18.41).  Not a huge cost and this would give you several hankies to personalise as you wish.

How Quickly Will I See Results?:

A simple monogram like the one in the picture above usually takes about 30 minutes to get the transfer onto the fabric in the right place.  Sewing it usually takes a maximum of two hours. Obviously the more colours and different types of stitch involved the longer it is likely to take. The toadstool took me about three hours, start to finish but there was a lot of solid colour to fill in.

I like to see results quickly so small projects like hankies work well for me plus they make wonderful presents for people.

What Previous Knowledge Do I Need?:

If you can sew a running stitch you can learn embroidery. I say this because running stitch is also an embroidery stitch! Craftsy have some wonderful guides for hand embroidery that are free to download if you sign up (free of charge to do that as well).

How Dexterous Do I Need To Be?:

Honestly? Pretty dexterous. I have improved A LOT with practice but the ability to wield a needle has to be there to begin with.  Accuracy in placing the stitches can make a lot of difference to the final result. I will add that good lighting also makes a significant difference.

How Much Brain Power Does It Take?:

Starting embroidery takes a bit of brain power to  learn a new stitch but once you get past the first few stitches you settle into a rhythm and it becomes soothing. To be honest I never memorise how to do some of the harder stitches (like French Knots) but re-learn them via You Tube whenever I need them. You can see one example below (thanks to Needleknowledge.com) but there are LOADS.

This stitch is one of the more complicated ones, so don’t be put off!

If video learning isn’t  for you find a local beginners class, like the one I run, and take it. There are quite a few around and learning in a group is always less intimidating.

I’d love to know if this post is useful to you and I am more than happy to answer any questions you have via the comments, Facebook or Twitter.

Happy Crafting!

Patchwork Laptop Cosy Project – Phase Two

So, if you followed Phase One of this tutorial you should have a piece of patch work that is around 48cm x 83cm in size. If you didn’t follow Phase One, go back and do so now 😉

Phase Two is about with actually adding the quilting (to provide the cushioning for your precious tech) and turning the whole thing into a patchwork laptop cosy.

First of all. Here’s a Reminder of the Equipment and Materials that you will need:

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - all the equipment needed for this project

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - all the materials necessary for this project

  • 1 Cot Panel or other Patchwork cotton fabric to cover approx. 50cm x 80cm (for a 17″ Laptop) – I used the Petit Fleur.
  • Coordinating fabrics to make patches for spots where the colours do not quite match up.
  • Quilt Batting (I used this Polyester Wadding but decided to use it double thickness)
  • General purpose sewing thread
  • Backing Fabric of your choice – I used a coordinating fabric from the same range. 50cm x 80cm.
  • Coordinating Bias Binding – 3metres
  • Iron On Vinyl ( I used Thermoweb Gloss Heat ‘n’ Bond).
  • 2 x 5cm squares of interfacing in three weights – I used iron on standard medium vilene, peltex 71f fusible one side heavyweight interfacing and a fusible cotton interfacing. Basically any scraps I had left over!

Step Fourteen:

Layout your patchwork on top of your backing fabric.

The patchwork for the laptop cosy laid out on backing fabric ready for marking out

Beginners do best to avoid using stripes or checks as backing fabrics as they look wonky VERY easily. Click To Tweet

Use an air erasable fabric marker and your quilting ruler to mark out the backing fabric.

Step Fifteen:

Using the quilting ruler and rotary cutter cut out your backing fabric. It’s possible that you may have to join pieces of backing fabric together to make a large enough piece.  As you  can see from my photos, I did!

Remember to press the seam if before carrying on if you do join pieces.

Yet another reason why stripes and checks are not a good idea when you are starting out – hard to match up well!

Step Sixteen:

Place your backing fabric onto your wadding and pin into position.

Start pinning in the middle of the fabric and work outwards toward the edges to avoid either getting wrinkled. Click To Tweet

Use fabric scissors to cut around the wadding and backing sandwich.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Cutting the wadding to size ready for quilting

Step Seventeen:

Put together a sandwich of the layers. The laminated patchwork goes on the top, the wadding in the middle and the backing fabric on the bottom with the wrong side facing the wadding.

Use clips (I used small bulldog clips) to hold the three pieces together. You don’t want to use pins as they will put holes in the laminated patchwork.

I started at the middle and worked towards each end to avoid wrinkles and I positioned the clips on the seams as  these are the spots most likely to shift during quilting.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Three layers clipped together for quilting

Step Eighteen:

Sew across rows “in the ditch”. It’s important to start with the middle row of the piece and work out towards each end. If you don’t know what “in the ditch” means there is a great illustration here.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Stitching in the ditch to quilt the laptop cosy

Some quilters use a special walking foot on their machine to do this but this project is small enough and thin enough that you shouldn’t need to worry about that.

Step Nineteen:

Add your magnetic popper fastening.

I followed this fantastic tutorial from Anna at Noodlehead.  I could not put it any better than she does, so I won’t try!
Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Adding a magnetic popper means this laptop cosy stays securely shut

I think a magnetic fastener is the best form of fastening for this cosy as it closes securely with minimum of fuss, always handy if you’re on the move.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy - Magnetic Popper for fastening with no fuss

 Step Twenty:

Next I cut 50mm wide strips of fabric from a co-ordinating fabric and sewed them together into one long strip.  As this cosy wont be put in a washing machine (it would wreck the laminate) I cut the fabric straight and not on the bias.  This is more efficient for not wasting fabric but it would not stretch and give with the item if it was washed.

I pressed the joins in the fabric flat and then used a bias tape maker to turn the strip into binding for the edges of the cosy.

Homemade binding in a co-ordinating fabric adds a special touch to the quilted laptop cosy

I trimmed the edges so they were straight and not too bulky.  Then used pins to pin one edge of the binding along the top edge of the cosy (the one that would be folded inside the cosy when complete), as you can see in the picture below. As you can see the pins are put into the seams between the patches so as not to create holes in the laminate.

Adding binding to the top edge of the cosy so that the inside edge is finished attractively

Step Twenty-One:

Sew along the flattened out fold of the binding on the outside (laminated side) of the cosy following the crease of the fold. This should give a seam around 5mm in from the edge of the cosy. You don’t need to worry about making the ends neat as they will be covered.

Using a sewing machine to attach the binding to the edge of the cosy.

Step Twenty-Two:

I then used the clips again to fold the tape over the top edge and hold it taut (see below).

Using binder clips to fold the binding over the top edge of the cosy.

Step Twenty-Three:

When you sew the binding into place you sew on the front of the cosy (the laminated side) again. You sew “in the ditch” between the front edge of the binding and the laminated area.  When you folded the binding over there should be sufficient to overlap the area you will be sewing, securing it.

Using the sewing machine to sew along the edge of the folded over binding, securing it.

Step Twenty-Four:

I folded the piece of quilted fabric into the cosy shape and used the clips to attach the binding to the front of the folded cosy and hold the edges together while I sewed. This time I folded the ends under so that they would give a neat finish.

Use binder clips to hold the edges of the folded cosy together with the binding ready fo sewing.

Continue this process around the point of the flap and down the other side of the folded piece. and stitch into place.

Clipping the binding into position around the edge of the cosy

Step Twenty-Five:

Then use the clips again to fold the binding across to the back and hold into place.

Clipping the binding into position around the edge of the cosy

Sew again with the back and outside of the flap  facing upwards on the machine and sewing “in the ditch” as you did before. Trim all ends of thread and you should have your completed cosy!

The finished Patchwork Laptop Cosy in use!

I hope that you find these tutorials easy to follow but if you have any questions just get in touch with me via email or social media and I am happy to help in anyway I can and I would REALLY love to see any of your projects if you feel like sharing.

Patchwork Laptop Cosy Project – For Newbies or Relaxation

I don’t relax, I almost relax and find something to stress about.  That means it is time for a project.  Simple projects are my form of mindfulness.  This is a good beginner’s patchwork project and for me means that I can keep my mind occupied but still relaxed.

When I discovered the Petit Fleur Alphabet Cot Quilt Panel (see below) at my favourite fabric store The Eternal Maker I fell in love with it.  The snag? I don’t have young children and my nieces and nephews all have their nurseries sorted

Image of the Petit Fleur Patchwork Quilt Panel and Four Coordinating Fabrics

No inspiration struck until we were packing to go on holiday this year.  I wanted to pack my laptop but not in the large (and if I’m honest ugly) case that we had.  However I couldn’t leave it unprotected whilst travelling through France. There are plenty of simple laptop sleeve or cosy sewing patterns out there on the internet but it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t need to spend money on fabric. I simply needed to make the fabric from the patchwork panel I already had.

The final laptop cosy is waterproof & padded. I think it ticks all the boxes for a cute and very serviceable product. Click To Tweet

As with most patchwork projects, this project has three phases; Phase one is piecing the fabric together to a size and shape to suit the project, phase two is quilting it to provide padding for the computer and phase three is making the actual sleeve. This first post covers Phase One only as it it pretty detailed.

The Patchwork is very straightforward and suitable for a first project.  The quilting is also straightforward.  Putting the cosy together is a bit more awkward as it is dealing with vinyl and thick quilting but I managed it all on a normal domestic sewing machine with a standard general purpose needle.

Phase One – Patchwork:

Grid showing all the equipment needed for this project

 

Collage picture showing all the materials necessary for this project

  • 1 Cot Panel or other Patchwork cotton fabric to cover approx. 50cm x 80cm (for a 17″ Laptop) – I used the Petit Fleur.
  • Coordinating fabrics to make patches for spots where the colours do not quite match up.
  • Quilt Batting (I used this Polyester Wadding but decided to use it double thickness)
  • General purpose sewing thread
  • Backing Fabric of your choice – I used a coordinating fabric from the same range. 50cm x 80cm.
  • Coordinating Bias Binding – 3metres
  • Iron On Vinyl ( I used Thermoweb Gloss Heat ‘n’ Bond).
  • 2 x 5cm squares of interfacing in three weights – I used iron on standard medium vilene, peltex 71f fusible one side heavyweight interfacing and a fusible cotton interfacing. Basically any scraps I had left over!

Step One:

Pre wash the fabric you intend to use in a net or pillow case to stop it fraying too badly.  If it is patchwork fabric then put it on a cotton wash with no fabric softener.

Step Two:

Iron the panel flat. It is important to get all creases out of the fabric before the next stage.

Step Three:

Using paper scissors cut a length of iron on vinyl that will fit part of the panel (it isn’t wide enough to do the whole panel in one go!) Peel the backing paper off and put the sticky side onto the front (picture side) of the panel. Smooth it into place with your hands.

Image showing lengths of iron on vinyl placed across the panel in the most efficient manner

Step Four:

Put the backing paper shiny side down on top of the vinyl and use the iron (on a medium heat setting, with NO steam) to put pressure on each area in turn for eight seconds (You should have seen my husbands face at me standing there counting “one – Mississippi – two – Mississippi” over and over!)  Make sure all areas have been heated and DON’T put the iron on any uncovered areas of vinyl or you will end up with a messy iron sole plate to clean (ugh).

Step Five:

Flip the fabric over and press all areas on the back of the fabric for around four seconds for each part.  This should finish adhering the vinyl to the patchwork panel.

Step Six:

Using a cutting mat, quilting ruler and rotary cutter cut up the patches of the panel with a half inch seam allowance all the way around.

Patchwork usually works with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. That makes me nervous so I make it wider when I can! Click To Tweet

This short clip shows you how to use a rotary cutter to cut a straight line on Cotton fabric. There is no sound, therefore no language barriers.

Standing up to do the cutting gives you the most reliable pressure and be sure to roll the rotary cutter away from your body.  The picture below shows you how to line up the quilting ruler to get the correct seam allowance.

Image showing how to line up a quilting ruler to obtain a half inch seam allowance on the patchwork block

Step Seven:

Layout your cut pieces to decide what order you want to patchwork them together in (I wanted alphabetical order for this panel but it might be as simple as what looks pretty!)

Step Eight:

If there are any “gaps” in the layout (for example where you don’t want two patches of the same colour next to each other) cut panels to fill the gaps. I used plain coloured quilting cotton in coordinating colours and laminated each piece as before.

In order to make the envelope type flap you will need to add four extra “patches” that are cut diagonally to create the shape

I used one of the printed panels as a template to cut the rectangles.

Three image collage showing the steps of cutting the diagonal patches

I then lined the quilting ruler up so that the line half an inch in from the edge rested on the exact diagonal.  When you cut with the rotary cutter you then have a panel the correct size with a seam allowance.

Step Nine:

At this point I usually take a photo with my phone so that I can remember what the order was that I liked.

Pay Attention - if your pattern only makes sense in one direction lay out your patches to accommodate this. Click To Tweet

Image of patchwork squares being photographed with a mobile phone

Step Ten:

Using the sewing machine (set to a medium length straight stitch) sew together rows of patches (you will sew the columns together later)

Step Eleven:

From the back of the fabric press the seam allowances left on one row and and to the right on the next (why, will become clear!) Use a pressing movement, rather than a normal ironing one.  If the iron moves around too much it curls the edges of the fabric/vinyl mix and that is really annoying!

Photo of iron pressing seam allowances of patchwork blocks in one direction

Close up image showing seam allowances pressed in opposite directions on next door rows

Step Twelve:

Trim all the ends of thread off of your sewn rows so that they don’t get in the way and tangle up in the next stage of the patchwork.

Image showing scissors trimming ends of threads from patchwork rows

Step Thirteen:

“Nest” the patches of the rows together (this was why you pressed the seam allowances in opposite directions) and then use clips to hold the two rows together whilst you stitch.

Close up shot showing the seams of the patches being nested into accurate positions.

Using clips (pins will make holes in the vinyl) clip the row into position and sew. (If you need to, use an air vanishing maker to mark your stitching line across plain panels). Use the photo for reference to make sure that you get the rows in the right order and the right way up!

Collage showing preparing the rows for sewing together

That is it! Phase One is complete!

Photograph of the completed patchwork section

Next week  Phase Two – Quilting and Assembly.

My Strategy For Framing Clothing

I have a confession to make. I’m not proud of it but…

I brought my “attractive” pink  hi-vis jacket from the stint I did volunteering at the Handmade Fair home with me.  The whole event made SUCH an impression on me. I wanted a connection to it as a permanent reminder how much it had inspired and motivated me (after all I would not be embarking on the adventure that I am now if not for that weekend!)

Framing Clothing- Me wearing the Hi Vis Vest Alongside Kirsty Allsopp

 

I decided to frame the jacket and display it in my office/craft room.  This was a bit daunting. Framing clothing looked awkward and I wanted it to hang flat and level.

It seemed sensible to be able to remove the jacket with minimal damage if I ever wanted to, so this ruled out glue or tape.

The easiest option seemed to be using “stitches” at strategic points around the jacket. The jacket could then “hang” from these whilst remaining in situ.

Framing Clothing - Close up of tools used to make holes in the mount board.

 

I used a sharp point to make holes in the mount board where I wanted to put stitches (I think this is some sort of modeller’s tool that I got at Hobbycraft a while ago but cannot find on their website now!)

I then used sewing thread (doubled) to “sew” single large stitches, tied off behind the mount board.

You can see on the image below where I located the “stitches”.

Image showing the location of the stitches put to hold the vest in place.

 

It worked a treat, but  I think heavier weight fabrics would need  more “stitches” to support the weight and possibly heavier thread.

It is amazing to have such a constant reminder of why I do what I do whilst I work and evokes such happy memories.

Image of the final framed item of clothing in situ

 

How To Use PDF Sewing Patterns – A Beginners Guide

 

I LOVE the internet for crafting, specifically I love the fact that it has given us access to a much wider range of sewing patterns from all over the globe. Pattern designers upload their patterns as PDF files.  I have downloaded any number of PDF sewing patterns over the last few years. Some I paid for and some were free of charge.  I have learnt a few things along the way that might just be useful to you in starting out with PDF sewing patterns.

Note: Please take all your usual precautions when downloading pattern files in checking that they are from a reputable source and that you are ONLY downloading the file not a virus!

What to expect when you open a file and printing:
Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)

Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)

Each page of the sewing pattern is there in front of you, you simply need to connect up your printer and print it.  However when you are printing there are a couple of things you need to watch out for:

How to Print

Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)

It is crucial that you select “actual size” or “print 100%” or the printer will try to be helpful and fit all the pieces onto less paper and you will end up with pattern pieces that might fit your dog or cat once made up (if you are lucky) and it wont make sense when you try to put all the pages together!

If the pattern is from an experienced or professional designer they will have a checking mechanism built into the pattern design so that you can check it has printed to size.  The square below appeared on the first page of the wonderful pattern I bought from Tilly and the Buttons. So I could check the size as soon as it printed and not waste paper printing the rest of the pattern if it was the wrong size!

Test Square

Pattern Source: Tilly and the Buttons (http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/make-it-yourself.html)

If the pattern is less modern or sometimes if it is free of charge you may have to make an educated guess.  I recently downloaded a free apron pattern and it had no way to check if the print size was accurate.As this was a simple pattern with very little in the way of tailoring I resorted to holding it up against myself to check and adjust the fit.

Checking Pattern Sizing-1

What you get once the file has printed:

The program usually splits the pattern into A4 pages that start with the number 1 in the top left corner of the pattern and, page 2 is the next in the top two rows assembled. (to see exactly what I mean look at the red text I have added to the assembled pattern picture below).

Assembly - Final Assembled Piece-2

Most patterns have “markers” to help you line up the pieces.  You can see some examples of these in the image below.

Different Methods For Aligning Pattern Pieces

Assembling the pattern for me involves a glue stick, paper scissors and a large cup of tea! I trim the borders off of each page, one at a time and glue them into position as I go.  That way I do not muddle the pages up and have loose ones floating around!

Pattern Assembly Collage

I won’t lie, lining up can be a little tricky and I work on the “more is best” principle.  That means, if the main outline lines on the pieces line up pretty well I can sort out darts and notches in the pattern once it is assembled!

I’ve Glued It Together – Now What?

You have the same two basic options that you do with a store bought pattern.

  1. Use tracing paper/dressmaker’s carbon paper to trace it from the main sheet(s) – this preserves the pattern for other uses in other sizes.
  2. Cut it out with paper scissors and use it on your fabric.

I don’t get on very well with tracing and to be honest I don’t have the patience when I can print it again if I want a different size (the beauty of PDF patterns, create a folder on your computer labelled patterns and keep them all in there!). I use them directly onto the fabric.

Pinned Pattern-1

Some people do find that printer paper is too think and immobile for them though.  Tracing paper is certainly lighter.

A word of warning though; if they arrive saved with an obscure name save them as something you recognise or you will never remember which pattern is which!

In picture 1. You will see my pattern file layout (a folder for “Patterns”, and one each for Sewing, Knitting and Embroidery) in picture 2. you will see the original pattern name, in picture 3 I have changed it to something I will recognise

Renaming Patterns Collage

Well, those are my top tips and I would love to hear from anyone who has something else to make PDF patterns less daunting – I am a true magpie, always on the look out for bright ideas!

Pattern Review: Japanese Style Cross Backed Apron

Aprons should cover, they should protect but not restrict your movement, that is my opinion.  I find that many you can buy today are too small to cover much (on me at least!) and they are a pain to put on with ties that have to tie behind you and basically I wouldn’t want to answer my front door wearing one!

I found this free cross backed apron pattern via Pinterest and thought that all my prayers had been answered. No ties, covers almost everything, loose enough to have free movement without getting in the way and could be made in a fabric that I liked. This is my pattern review so that you can hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls that I encountered!

During a trip to the “Eternal Maker”, (an amazing fabric shop just on the outskirts of Chichester that I could move into tomorrow, given half a chance!) i fell in love with this “Garden” Linen blend (in the Green colourway) by Ellen Luckett Baker for Kokka. I wanted a linen or linen blend because I love the way that it just looks more “lived in” after washing and I think this garment is going to be washed a lot!

I printed out the PDF pattern on my printer in adult size – there were a few issues with it.  Some pattern lines didn’t line up between pieces of A4 paper and I had to free hand a line to connect them in a more sensible way.

Close up image showing pattern lines drawn in

 

Also, whoever drew out the pattern on the drafting software had not noticed that some of the construction lines printed on the pattern.  This meant it was tricky to figure out which line to cut on. This pattern was a very simple one and as long as I kept in mind the shape I was going for it wasn’t hard to figure it out. You can see in the picture where I have scribbled though the construction line – and hey, the pattern WAS free!

Close up image showing scribbled through construction lines on pattern

 

When I pinned the front pattern piece to me to check sizing it was a bit small (It did not reach half way across my chest!) so I added on eight centimetres to the centre line of the front to make it a bit wider.

Image of pattern piece pinned to author to check size

 

Cutting out was pretty straight forward, I used the kitchen table, fabric scissors, pins and the pattern pieces, nothing fancy required.  As I sewed the side pieces to the front piece I discovered that the pattern sizing was slightly out.

 

This was easily corrected with scissors though.

Before anyone says it.  I know I should have pattern matched properly like the do on the “Great British Sewing Bee” but it seemed to waste so much fabric that I was put off!

Image showing pattern pieces sewn together in a misaligned way

Adding the bias binding around the edge was the bit I was dreading, sewing around internal and external curves accurately?!?!  I found two tutorials from The Haby Goddess that were easy to follow and got me through both adding the bias binding properly and sewing the curves! It took over five metres of Bias to get all the way around the outside but it didn’t leave me wanting to throw in the towel (a feeling I quite often get when attempting fiddly things).

The binding isn’t perfect but I was quite pleased with the job!

Close up image of bias binding on edge of crossed back

I had some fabric left over and approximately 30cm of binding so I “stole” a pocket pattern from an apron pattern in “Sewing Machine Basics” by Jane Bolsover (a fab book that does exactly what it says in the title) and added a pocket for my inevitable tissues and other bits of junk!

Close up image of pocket added to front of apron

 

The hardest bit was gathering the curve on the corners of the pocket but the instructions in the book were very clear.  I was just a bit awkward in the execution! There is a really good tutorial on how to do something similar on Guthrie and Ghani’s Blog.

When I tried it on it did gape around the bosom/armpit area a bit (probably where I altered the pattern with not enough knowledge!) so I sewed one dart at the bust each side.  I forgot to take a “before” photo but the “after” was that the apron fit much more snugly.

Close up image of bust dart added into pattern

 

Really pleased with the resulting apron.  It is easy to get in and out of, fun to wear and (I think) it looks stylish. I can’t wait to get dirty!

If you have never downloaded a PDF sewing pattern and find the idea intimidating, watch out for this Sunday’s post where I try to make it more friendly for you with some of the things I have learnt.

Two views of apron being worn, front and back

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