Soft Stuffed Fabric Balls Scrap Busting Pattern + Tutorial

These Soft Stuffed Fabric Balls are an excellent scrap busting project!  Not only can you use the littlest pieces of scrap fabric you can stuff them with scraps too.  And also a great little gift to sew for boys or girls and I think a baby would love one too!  You could even add a few folded pieces of ribbon as in my Baby Taggie Blanket/Comforter Tutorial for that texture little ones love exploring.

Soft Stuffed Fabric Balls Scrap Busting Pattern + Tutorial Nina Makes (2)

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Adding Sleeves to a T-Shirt Tutorial

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For some reason Harry has an entire drawer crammed full of short sleeve T-shirts, but only four or five long sleeve tees. Since we are going into winter on this side of the world (bottom really!) I think a few more long sleeves will come in handy.  So I had a light bulb moment and thought why not add sleeves!  Harry has a couple long sleeve tees that look like short sleeve tees with long sleeves underneath, but are in fact only one layer.  So why not add sleeves myself?  With a tutorial for you all of course!

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My kids seem to be forever growing out of their clothes. Sure plenty get worn out too, and it’s not all bad there are plenty of grateful nieces and nephews to hand them down to!  Hannah is very lucky and gets plenty of hand-me-downs from friends and family. Harry on the other hand not quite as much, it’s not that there aren’t as many bigger boys but I think they must just ruin their clothes more often! So I love a little upcycle that can get a little more wear out of something we already have.

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I like ticking things off my to do list permanently so I did six T-shirts all at once.  A little tedious yes but at least that is a job completely finished! I wish I had some pictures of Harry wearing these but alas school has started back today.  The kids and I have had a great two weeks of holidays, and I didn’t want to keep you waiting till he was home after school today.  Keep an eye on my Instagram I am sure he will pop up there wearing one of them soon!

What you will need

  • Short Sleeve T-Shirts to add the sleeves on too
  • Fabric for the sleeves
  • Matching/contrast thread
  • Sewing machine, pins, scissors
  • Overlocker (optional)
  • Pencil and paper to make your pattern – full instructions below!

Step 1 – Making Your Sleeve Pattern

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Take a long sleeve tee your already have that is the right size, and lay it flat on a table. Lay the t-shirt you are wanting to add sleeves to on top of it, lining it up at the shoulder and under arm.

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Draw around the sleeve to create your pattern, use a ruler it will make it much easier and ensure the folded edge is straight.  I added an inch (2.54cm) at the top seam and at the cuff, this is quite a small cuff if you want a larger one add a little more.  The top will be on the fold so you don’t need to leave a seam allowance there. For the under arm seam (the long side) I added a 3/8” (1cm) seam allowance as I will just be overlocking this seam.  It is better for the sleeve to be slightly smaller than the opening, as they are both stretch fabrics there is quite a bit of give so don’t panic!

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Once you have drawn your pattern you can cut it out and cut your fabric!  Your fabric will need to be a stretch fabric, the grainline will run parallel to the folded side and the stretch in the other direction (see arrows in the photo above).

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You will need to cut two pattern pieces per T-shirt, both sides are exactly the same.

Step 2 – Sew Sleeves

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This is a nice and simple step!  Just fold your sleeve with the right sides facing each other (inside out) and sew the long side together.  I have overlocked mine for speed, but since we are using stretch fabric is shouldn’t fray so can just use a regular straight stitch, or a zigzag to sew this seam too.  That’s it the sleeve is sewn together…told you it was easy!

Step 3 –Attaching Sleeves

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I am going to show you two ways to attach the sleeves.  This first one will only work if the sleeve is big enough to fit around your machine (you are not using a flatbed sewing machine!).

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Tuck the sleeve into position both with the right sides facing out.  Make sure you line up the under arm seam!

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Pin in place, I used the stitch line on the t-shirt to make sure it stayed even and that I would catch it when I sew.  I lined mine up with the second stitch line and will sew close to the first.

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Feed the sleeve onto your machine taking care that the sleeve doesn’t roll up on the underside.

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Zigzag or straight stitch right the way around.  This is the only one I zigzagged, the others are all straight stitch but either works fine.  Now repeat on the other sleeve!

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Sleeve didn’t fit?  Don’t worry there is another way! Turn your T-shirt inside our and feed it inside the sleeve.  Your sleeve needs to be right side facing out.  You want to end up with the sleeve and the upper sleeve opening lining up.

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Again use the stitching as a guide and pin your sleeve in place (remember to line up the under arm seam).  You want your short sleeve to stick out a little from the sleeve.

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Sew in place using a straight stitch and follow the stitching line on the sleeve.

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It should look like this once it is finished.

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And here it is turned around the right way.  The short sleeve may want to curl up depending on your fabric types.  You can press this with your iron to hold it down or you may like to hand stitch it in place.

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Since mine fits around my machine I sewed around mine again, following the second line of stitching to hold it flat.

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If you are a bit of a neat freak or perfectionist (I’m working on it!) this method does give a lovely neat finish on the inside too!

Step 4 – Finishing Cuffs

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I went very basic with mine and just folded them over by 1/2 an inch and zigzagged them in place. I only pinned the one to show you, the others I just held in place as I sewed.  A very quick way to do finish it…especially when you decide to sew six at once!

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You could use any stretch stitch you like or even add cuffs, like on these baby leggings.

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Enjoy getting some more use out of those short sleeve tees!

Sewing for Boys – Baby Taggie Blanket + Tutorial

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I have been wanting to sew more boys things, and baby boy’s are no exception!  I have always liked the look of the cute little taggie blankets.  A few friend’s kids have them and they seem to love their little taggies.  With all those different textures and colours why wouldn’t they!  So here is my baby taggie blanket tutorial with the usual step by step photos and instructions.

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The shape options are endless but I thought I would go with a rectangle to give them plenty of corners to hold onto.  Babies seem to be sucking on the corners of everything so they might feel a little hard done by with a circle!  I also decided to leave one long side ribbon/taggie free so that it has a snuggly side too.  These little taggies would make an excellent baby or baby shower gift.

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I have used microfleece which has a corduroy look and is super snuggly and soft.  For the second side I chose a cotton stripe print with a high contrast black and light tan.  Babies love looking at black and white pictures when they are young, I believe they can see the contrast better.

Now the tutorial to make your own!

What you will need

  • Fabric Scraps – I used microfleece and cotton print.  I think a snuggly side is nice minky would work well too, or even a shiny soft satin.  I cut a rectangle of both fabrics measuring 28cm (11”) by 19cm (7 1/2”).  Don’t feel you have to make this size, you can do whatever works with the fabric you have available!
  • Ribbon – I cut my ribbons pieces 6.25cm (2 1/2”) long, this makes nice small tags that stick out by roughly 2cm (3/4”).  If you want longer tabs cut longer pieces of ribbon.  How many to cut it totally up to you!
  • Thread and a regular sewing machine

 

Step 1 – Cut Fabric & Ribbon

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Cut out your two rectangles (or whatever shape you want to use!) and cut your ribbon tags.  I laid mine out to decide how many of which colour I would use.  Measurements are in the ‘what you will need’ bullet points!

 

Step 2 – Attach Tags

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Make sure your fabric is laying with the right side facing up, fold your ribbon tag in half and pin in place with the raw edges lining up.

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I decided to arrange the colours in a pattern, but the pattern is different on each of the three sides.  I don’t you about you but I don’t like to have two the same colours next to each other…why???

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Once you are happy with your arrangement and colours it is time to sew them in place!  Please note I did not measure any of the ribbon placements I just eyeballed it.  I find the best way to get it fairly even is to pin the two ribbons nearest the corners first, then the middle and so on!

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Sew with the right side facing up using a 1/4” seam allowance.  You need to keep a good eye on those tags to make sure they don’t get pushed out of line by your presser foot…unless skewed is the look your are going for!

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There they are all sewn in place.  The thread colour is not important as you won’t see it once your baby taggie blanket is all put together.

 

Step 3 – Joining the two halves together

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Oops I may have opened the curtains!  It got a little bright in here!  Lay your second side on top of the side you attached the ribbons to.  They need to be right sides facing each other (inside out).

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Line up all the sides and pin together.  I have used a lot of pins as one layer is stretch (the microfibre corduroy) and the other is not.  I don’t want it to skew as I sew!  Don’t forget the double pins at the top, they mark a 2” gap so that you can turn it around the right way!  Note: When possible leave the opening (gap) on a straight side not on a curve or a corner, it is much easier to fold in and sew neatly on a straight edge.

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On a wee tangent, I love this little pink ruler!  My Oma (Grandma) sent a set of four to my two kids a few years ago…I may have ‘borrowed’ this one from Hannah!  It is so handy having a small ruler right by you for those little measurements ♥

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Back to sewing the taggie blanket!  Starting from one set of double pins sew all the way around to the second set of double pins using a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance.  This will make sure those ribbons are caught twice and unlikely to pull out later, and hide the first line of sewing neatly inside.

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Trim off the sharp corners so that they will sit neatly once turned around.

 

Step 4 – Turn and finish

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Turn the baby taggie blanket around the right way by feeding it through the gap you left open.  The little ribbon tabs are quite handy to help pull the seam gently out.  I used my finger to press from the inside to make the corners sit neatly.

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Making sure it is sitting nice and flat pin all the sides again.  You will need to fold in the raw edges of the opening (gap) and pin so that it matches the rest of that side.

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I have used a few extra pins at the opening to make sure it stays closed and sits nicely.

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Again sew around the outside edge, as you can see I used the edge of my presser foot as the seam allowance.  That is between 1/4” and 3/8”, you definitely want to make it less than 1cm (3/8”) or you won’t catch the opening.  I think a 1/4” seam allowance would work well too.

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And there you have it all done!  A gorgeous little taggie baby blanket!  Which baby boy wouldn’t love this colour combo, just about every boy I know loves blue, green and orange!

 

Step 5 – Close Opening Edge (Optional)

Depending on how wide your seam allowance was you might want to close the opening a little more securely.  I used a ladder stitch to close mine.  There is a great tutorial for that here!

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Now just to decide who to give this one too…

Boy's Dress Shirt Pattern and Tutorial Free

Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern + Tutorial (FREE!)

Boy's Dress Shirt Pattern and Tutorial Free
Welcome to my Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern and Tutorial! I have been putting in the hard yards these last few days to get this boy’s dress shirt ready for you all!  If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen the updates, if not follow me!
Simple this shirt maybe but there is still quite a bit of work involved in making a pattern and turning it into a PDF.  Luckily I enjoy the process!
Boy's Dress Shirt Pattern and Tutorial Nina Makes
This shirt is a classic style dress shirt for a little boy.  The Pdf pattern is in Size 7/8 which is a little on the large side for Harry but will last him a little while.  So far I have only made the one size but feel free to adjust it to make it work for you!  I also have plans for a more fitting version…I’ll let you know when that makes it on to the current to do list!
Boy's Shirt Pattern Free Nina Makes
I love that it is so simple to dress boys up.  Just a nice pair of shorts/pants and a dress shirt and you’re away!  You can add a sweater vest for cooler times or even make a long sleeved version.  Use contrast stitching for a more modern look, although I’m not sure I’m the person to be asking about cool…34 (nearly 35) years old surely I’m way too old to know whats ‘cool’ anymore!  In fact the word cool probably isn’t cool anymore!

 

What you will need to make the Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern

  • Fabric – Take your pick as long as it’s fairly lightweight it should be fine.
  • Bias Binding – 1cm Single Fold
    • Neckline – 44cm (17 1/4”)
    • Hem – 100cm (39 1/2”)
  • Pattern – You can download my Boy’s Dress Shirt Pattern here.  As always my patterns are hand drawn (yes I’m talking pencils, paper, erasers and fine tip sharpies) so they are not computer software perfect but they are most importantly free!
  • Note: Seam Allowance is 1cm (3/8”) unless otherwise stated

Step 1 – Print and Assemble your pattern and cut your pieces

You will need to print the pattern in actual size (no scaling), it will print on both A4 or letter size paper.  Print out just the first page if you are unsure and measure the test square before printing the rest.

Boy's Dress Shirt Tutorial Step by Step

The pattern has arrows to show the grainline and instructions on how to cut your pieces.  I cut my pocket and back yoke pieces on the bias because I liked the look of the plaid going at an angle.  That is totally optional you can cut those pieces on the grainline too if you prefer.

NOTE: If you are using interfacing cut the collar piece as noted on the pattern, and cut two strips of interfacing 2.5cm (1”) wide and 51cm (20”) long.  These are for the button placket and are optional but a good idea on thin fabrics.

Step 2 – Create Button Placket

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I like to get this step out of the way and create the button placket first.  This will keep these edges neat and prevent them from fraying making harder to do at the end.  Above you can see what they will look like once finished!
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You can decide which side you want the buttons on (most men’s shirts have the buttons on the right side and the left lays on top).  Which is what I have done here.
Lay your left side front right side facing down and lay the interfacing in place right against the raw center edge of the fabric.  Trim the curve at the neckline to match that of the fabric piece.
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Head over to your iron and press in place.
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While you are at the ironing board fold the interfacing over and press.  If you are not using interfacing fold over by 2.5cm (1”) and press.
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Fold over and press again.
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Sew down the folded side using a 0.5cm (3/16”) seam allowance, remember to lock stitch or reverse over a few stitches at the start and end.
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Fold the placket back out one fold, it is laying right side facing up in the photo above.  Press again.
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With the right side facing up topstitch both edges nice and close to the edge.  This will keep it sitting flat rather than folding back under.  And that is the left side finished.
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Now for the right side place and press your interfacing 0.5cm (3/16”) in from the raw center edge.
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Press the raw edge over on top of the interfacing (or just press over the same width if not using interfacing).
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Fold over and press again to completely encase the raw edge and interfacing.
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Sewing on the wrong side of the fabric, stitch close to the folded edge to keep the folds in place.
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And topstitch the folded edge too.
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And now you should have two pieces that look like these!!

Step 3 – Join Back Pieces

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You should have two back yoke pieces and one back piece.  You will see that the two back pieces don’t quite line up, this is to allow for two small pleats, so lets pin these first.
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Measure in 5cm (2”) from the armhole edge on both the left and right of one of the yoke pieces.  Mark with a pencil or a pin.  Also mark the centres of both the back and the back yoke pieces, it will make the next step easier.
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With the right sides facing pin the back piece on top of one of the yoke pieces, one pin at each end and one in the middle.
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Place small darts folding over towards the outside edge at each pencil mark (or pin).  Now the raw edges line up nicely as the back and the yoke piece are the same width.
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Lay your second back yoke piece on top with the right side facing down.
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Pin in place, making sure that the darts stay in place.  You should now have your back piece sandwiched in between two back yoke pieces.
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Sew with a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, just using a regular straight stitch.
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When folded back open the seam is hidden inbetween the two layers of the back yoke.
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Press well!!!  I can’t stress enough it is all about the pressing if you want a neat and tidy finish at the end!
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Then topstitch the pressed seam so that it stays neatly in place.  Beautiful!

Step 4 – Attaching Shoulders

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Lay your pieces with the right sides facing out (the right way around!) as we will be french seaming the shoulder seams.  Pin the shoulders in place, lining up raw edges.
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Sew with a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, and then trim half of this allowance off as shown above.
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Fold over to encase the raw edges.  Press the seam and sew again with  a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, the raw edge is hidden inside just like with the back pieces.  For more detailed steps on french seams check out my post on that here.
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Press the seam flat and top stitch in place, this is optional but I like the look!  Make sure both sides fold the same way.

Step 5 – Attaching the sleeves

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This would have to be my least favourite part but it must be done so better get on with it!  Mark the center of the sleeve as shown above.
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Mark the center of the shoulder (NOTE: it is not the shoulder seam, that sits slightly to the front) by holding the two armpit ends together.
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With the right sides facing join these two points together lining up the raw edges.
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Carry on pinning from the center down each side till the sleeve is pinned in place.  As you can see above the edges don’t line up perfectly.  I have left the sleeves slightly larger to allow for any differences in shoulder seams, it would be much worse if they were too small at this point!  We will tidy that up when we sew the side seams.
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Sew the pinned seam using a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, taking care that the both layers of fabric are sitting flat.
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Overlock or zigzag this seam and press towards the shoulder using your iron.
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Then you can top stitch in place.  Again this is optional but it gives a nice look and keeps the seams in place.

Step 6 – Sew Side Seams

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This is a nice simple step and it is coming together nicely now!  With the right sides of the fabric facing each other pin the sides and sleeves starting at the armpit.  Take care to line up any patterns.
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As you can see the little additional tab of the sleeve sticks out but we can trim that off after sewing.  Sew with a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance.
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Once sewn overlock and press the seams.

Step 7 – Prepare Collar

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You should have two collar pieces (and possibly one matching piece of interfacing).
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Lay your interfacing on the wrong side of one of the collar pieces and press in place.
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With right sides facing pin the two collar pieces together on three edges.  The interfacing is touching the table in the above photo, so that when turned the right way around it will be on the inside.
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Sew around the three sides.  Then trim off the two pointed corners and clip into the curve as shown above.  Do not cut the stitching!
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Turn right way around and press.  You make like to use a tool to push out the points from the inside.  I use my fabric pencils as the have pointed lids, knitting needles work well too, but be gentle.
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Time to top stitch again!  1cm (3/8”) in from the edge this time.
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Now we need to join the neck band onto the collar.  Sandwich the collar in between the two neck band pieces with the right sides facing each other.  Line up the raw edges and pin in place.
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Sew the neckband in place, starting at one curve and going right around to the other.
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Turn around the right way and press.

Step 8 – Attaching Collar to Shirt

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With the right sides facing each other pin the collar in place.  Mark and line up the centres of both pieces as you did with the sleeves first (or match up any patterns).
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The edges may be a little long.
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You can adjust the curve so that they line up!  Don’t forget to pin that in place too.  To hide this seam on the inside we are going to use the single fold bias.
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Add the bias on the inside (will touch the neck of the wearer).  You need to pin it folded open.  The crease closest to the raw edge should be 1cm (3/8”) away from the same raw edge.
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Here you can see it a little closer!  You will need a little overhang of bias too, this allows you to fold it in at the end.
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Sew in place.  Do not sew past the edge of the collar to the end of the bias, just stop and lock stitch at the edge.
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Now it is time to re fold the bias and fold it over to hide the raw edges.  If your raw edge is too wide to fit inside the bias you can trim it back to fit using scissors.  Make sure the back side sits flat as you are going.
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Here is how I folded in the ends of the bias.  Gives a lovely neat and super easy finish!
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Don’t forget to tuck in your tag!
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Time to sew it in place.  I like to sew this and topstitch the neckband in one go, just sew close to the edge of the bias (yes I got my pins backwards…happens all the time!) and when you get to the end pivot with the needle in the fabric and topstitch right around the neck band back to the bias at the other side.
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Here you can see how I went around in one go!
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Not perfect but not too bad either!  Letting go of my perfectionist tendencies!
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Woo hoo it’s attached!  Only hemming, pocket and finishing the sleeves to go.
Update: And Domes or buttons!

Step 9 – Finish Sleeves

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Fold the sleeves in by 1cm (3/8”) and press in place.
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Fold in again by 2.5cm (1”) and press.  Take care where your patterns or stripes end up, you can always make the fold slightly larger or smaller it won’t matter.
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Sew from the inside close to the folded edge, and there you have a neatly finished sleeve.  Repeat on the other sleeve.

Step 10 – Hem

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In place of double folding the hem I am using single fold bias for a nice neat finish.  Pin the bias folded out onto the right side of the fabric, with the crease 1cm (3/8”) in from the raw edge.  Just as you did when attaching the collar.
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Trim the raw edge so the frayed strings are removed and it will fit easily inside the folded bias.
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Fold over the bias tucking in the ends just like for the collar.  You need to fold it so that a little of the shirt fabric is visible on the inside, that way the bias won’t be visible on the outside.
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Oops almost forgot, it’s a good idea to press it first!
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Then pin it all in place, take extra care pinning the side seams so that they will sit nicely once sewn.
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Take it nice and slow using a regular presser foot, or if you have one you can use a bias binding foot too.  I don’t so slowly it is!

Step 11 – Add a Pocket (Optional)

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Fold all the sides in 0.5cm (3/16”) and press.  Fold the top over again by 2.5cm (1”) and press.  Mitre the bottom corners so you don’t end up with a bulky spot making it difficult to sew in place neatly.
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To mitre the corners, use the fold creases as a guide line them up when folding the corner in and press (left photo).  Then fold sides back over and press again, and there you have a mitred corner!
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Sew the folded top down.  Sew just in from the edge so you can line up with the seam when sewing around the out side edge.
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Decide where you want it and pin in place.  Sewing the triangles at the top will prevent it ripping out or coming undone as easily.

Step 12 – Add Buttons or Domes/Snaps

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Mark the top closure 5cm (2”) down from the edge of the collar.  Then the others every 8cm (3 3/16”) after that.  That should make 5 in total.  I didn’t put one right at the top on the neckband as I never do those up, but if you do then go ahead and add one!
You can add buttons and button holes at this point instead of domes if you like too.
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For domes I do all the top domes first, then using a couple of pins to hold the shirt closed I use the top domes to mark the spots for their bottom halves.
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AND Congratulations you are all finished!!!  Harry is well over it by now…too tired he said!
I would love to see your creations please tag me on social media (links in the green circles on the right side of the page, up a wee way from this super long tutorial!)
Enjoy ♥

Sewing for Boys

Boys Colour Block Shorts a

I have noticed I have way more tutorials for girls than for boys.  There are so many patterns and gorgeous things to sew for little girls but not nearly as much for boys.  Well I suppose the Baby section is all unisex but I definitely need to do a few more boys tutorials!  I love these Colour Block Rugby Shorts and will definitely be making more next summer.  Harry wears them all the time! 

Superhero Cape d

Dress ups are always fun and who doesn’t want to be a superhero (Cape Tutorial Here)!  I think Harry likes dressing at least as much as Hannah, if not more.  We have Batman, Spiderman, Optimus Prime, Cowboy and Pirate costumes all home made to some degree.  Well except Optimus Prime he got that one for his birthday.

20151103_074556Simple Raglan Tee (33a)

The Simple Raglan Tee is another great wardrobe staple.  So easy to make and easy to wear.  I love being able to contrast the shoulder fabric, but you could leave it all the same for a plain colour tee.  I have some more versions of this one coming up soon!

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I just made Harry a new pair of Swim Trunks as he has outgrown this pair already.  Since they are made in exactly the same fabric just a little larger I didn’t see the point in photographing them again!  But these are super simple to make and I got them made in the hour before a birthday party where he was going swimming.

But I think what I really need to do is to make a few more ‘good clothes’, the kind you wear out for dinner or to a party.  I was thinking a simple dress shirt and I have to admit I am a little partial to a sweater vest too!  That will have to wait till the weather cools down and I’m not too keen to get the knitting needles out anytime soon so maybe a knit fabric version…

In my searches for cute boy’s clothes I did find that Dana from Made has a series called Celebrate the Boy which is definitely worth a look too!

Are there any boy’s items you would like to see a tutorial for?

Charity Sewing – Shorts for Africa

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My partner Robert’s Aunt is a school teacher and her school has a relationship with a school in Africa.  She has been over there a few times and takes lots of things with her for both the school and the children.  I asked her a while back if I could sew something for her to take, and she said shorts!  Which is great I love making shorts!
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It turns out there are many many dresses donated, so the girls are well dressed but there is a shortage of shorts.  Hi hi shortage of shorts!  By the time she gets back to the school there are many boys wearing left over girls clothes as the boys ones have run out.
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I have decided 10 is good number, I should probably check with her!  But they are nice and light and will pack down small.  The boys (and probably girls) love Bob Marley, which I didn’t expect…I don’t know what I did expect but that wasn’t it!  I didn’t have any red/yellow/green/black fabric but I did have some ribbon.
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It wasn’t quite the right colour, looked a little more Italian flag to me.  But my new Crayola fabric markers (affiliate link) came in handy.  Nice to add a little something extra rather than just plain shorts.
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I have thought about making these shorts in a way that they are the most durable rather than pretty.  I know pretty very practical of me but there is no point sending pretty things that won’t last.  I have sewn every seem with strong Gutermann thread, and overlocked every single one.  For the hems I overlocked the raw edge, folded them over and sewn them in place.  That way if they come undone the edges are still overlocked and they can carry on wearing them without them fraying to bits.
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Even the waistbands are completely sewn in.  I overlocked the elastic to the fabric then folded them over and zigzagged in place.  Just like I did for the Colour block rugby shorts tutorial.  These shorts are made from the same pattern, an edited version of Kid Shorts by Dana from Made, all the links are in post linked above.
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Well this is really only the start!  I have made three pairs now so only seven to go!  I have another two cut and ready, I have made a size 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8.  And then I’ll start over for the next five so there will be two of each size.
I am thoroughly enjoying this charity sew, nothing like the feel good factor of giving something back.  The first charity sew I did was 50 skirts for a Kindergarten Kapa Haka (Maori Performance), after 25 black girls skirts and 25 black boys skirts with splits up the side I didn’t want to sew any black anything for quite a while!  At least this time any colour goes!

Pirate Party Gifts

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Harry has been invited to a 5th Birthday Pirate Party.  To say he’s a bit excited is an understatement!  I asked the boys Mother what he would like for his birthday and she suggested a colouring in book and some felts.  Which I think are great gifts and I will try and find him a pirate colouring in book soon.  But knowing I had some pirate fabric left over from my Reversible Celebration Bunting, I just couldn’t resist making something too!

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So I decided that every little pirate needed a pirate drawstring bag to keep all his treasure safe, and what’s better than chocolate treasure! It really is a very simple bag sewn out of a recangle of fabric.  Mine was 8” (20cm) x 10.5” (26.5cm) but really anything goes!

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I just folded my rectangle double with the right sides facing each other, and overlocked the sides together.  You can just as easily sew these and zigzag the raw edges to prevent fraying.

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I then overlocked the top edge again zigzag is fine too.  Then fold over the top 1” (2.5cm) and sew in place, leaving a 1” (2.5cm) gap for the drawstring.  Remember to reverse a few stitches at the start and finish to prevent it coming undone.

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Thread through your drawstring using a safety pin.  I happened to have a piece of drawstring lying around but a shoe lace works brilliantly too!  Tie the ends in a knot as in the photo above.  And there you have it a pirate drawsting treasure bag!

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But I had a little more fabric left over and couldn’t resist a Triangle Folding Pouch too!  I used more chocolate coins for the photos but while I’m looking for a colouring in book I think I might need to find some precious gem stones too!

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Well my little pirate was feeling a little left out and decided he needed a headband made out of the other pirate fabric I had!

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Again super simple, one long rectangle folded double, sewn down the side turned around the right way and the ends folded in.  Then all that is left to do is topstitch right the way around to prevent it twisting and close up the ends.  If you want more details it is very similair to the Tote Style Handbag straps!

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Here is Harry’s best pirate face!

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Home made presents for a 5 year old boy ready to go.  I hope he likes them!

Do you have any go to sewn/home made gift ideas?

Boys Colour Block Rugby Shorts

Update: Windows live writer and open live writer are still not able to log onto blogger due to authentication problems at login.  Hopefully this will be fixed soon!  Please excuse the less than perfect formatting but it’s the best I can do at the moment!
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In NZ these type of shorts are known as rugby shorts or stubbies.  They are usually a little shorter than these but at the rate this boy grows I wanted a little future proofing!
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And after making the test pair I though I better make another with a tutorial to share!

What you will need

  • Fabric – Medium to heavy(ish) cotton duck, denim etc
  • 1” Elastic (waist – 3”) so for Harry this was 20”
  • Thread, scissors, general sewing supplies.
  • Pattern I edited my most used pattern of all, Kids Shorts by Dana from www.danamadeit.com.  This is not a free pattern but it is well worth buying I have used it so much.  You could alter a shorts pattern you already have but the fit wouldn’t be the same.
Notes:  Seam allowances are 3/8” (1cm) unless otherwise stated.  Always lockstitch (or sew and reverse over it a few times) to prevent stitching coming undone.  I will just call it lockstitch in the tutorial!

Step 1 – Print out your shorts pattern and assemble

Note: You will not need to print the last two pages of the pattern for that size.

Do not trim off the external edges!!  Cut off the pieces you need to piece the pattern together but leave the top edges on.  This will allow the room to alter them.

For Harry I used a size 7 even though he is only 5.  He is very tall and I like to have a chance of him still wearing them by the end of summer!
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Excuse the crude diagram but I didn’t want to place any photos of the original pattern and risk breaching copyright!  As shown place your pieces right sides up with the straight edges lined up, the top and bottom should line up too.  On the back piece which should be on the left extend the left hand side (centre back) by 1 inch.  From that point draw a line straight to the far right line (centre front).  These lines are shown in red.  So essentially you are adding more length in the back of the shorts.
Now you can trim up as normal!
For the length use the ‘Girls Racer Short’ length.  If you wanted to do a double fold on the hem you will need to add a little on probably about 3/8” (1cm).

Step 2 – Cut your Fabric

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You will need to take care to get the fabric up the right way!  I laid the two different fabrics on top of one another and cut both pieces at the same time.  If the front pieces are cut right sides facing each other than the back pieces need to be cut wrong sides facing each other.  Otherwise you will end up with shorts that have one leg check and one leg blue.

Step 3 – Sew Centers

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Pin the two back pieces together with the right sides facing each other as in the photo above (not the inseam!).  Sew with a 3/8” (1cm) seam allowance.
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And it should turn out like above!
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Overlock the raw edge or zigzag if you don’t have an overlocker (serger).
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Get that iron earning it’s keep and press out those seems.  It’s winter for most of you but here it is 28°C in my sewing room today, had to turn the heatpump (aircon) on to counteract the iron!

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Pin and sew the inseam (crotch) in the same way.  Take care to pin the centre seams together accurately so that this happens…

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Yay they line up perfectly!  Don’t panic if yours don’t, it’s the crotch no one is really going to see it.

Step 4 – Sew Sides

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Overlock (or zigzag) both layers of the side seam separately.  I could have done with reminding myself of that…had to do one after seaming not ideal!  Then pin in place making sure the BOTTOM lines up.  Measure 2.5” (6.5cm) up from the bottom and mark with a different colour pin (or double pin).  This is for the split on the sides and will need to be left open.
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Since we have removed part of the seam allowance by overlocking first I like to use my presser foot as the guide in place of 3/8”.  Sew down to the odd (or double) pin.  Don’t forget to lockstitch.
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Again it should look like above!
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Head back over to that trusty iron and press the seam open.  When you get to split press each side over so it sits flat just as if it was sewn the whole way down.
Repeat on the other side!

Step 5 – Waistband

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Measure and cut your elastic.  Harry has a 23” waist, so 23 – 3 is 20” for him.  The way it is stitched in, it will stretch slightly so it won’t be to tight.
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Join the elastic by butting the ends together and zigzagging over it.  I have a tutorial on joining elastic if you would like more detailed instructions.  You can see in the photos that I have marked the middles with pins.  This will make it much easier to pin it in the waistband evenly.
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Match up the join in the elastic with the center back seam, and the other three pins with their matching seam (two side and the front).  Pin them in place leaving a little fabric sticking out (if you are not overlocking then zigzag the raw edge first and leave a very small 1/8” over the edge of the elastic).  Then stretch the elastic in between two pins so that the fabric sits flat and pin in the middle of the gap.  This way you will end up with 8 pins in total.
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Overlock with the elastic side facing up start at the center back seam, lift the presser foot and place underneath.  You can zigzag along this top edge instead if you aren’t overlocking!
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As you overlock stretch the elastic up to the next pin and sew right at the edge of the elastic.  That way the fabric overhang will be trimmed off but you don’t want to cut the elastic!  (Note:  I would normally hold the fabric on the pin and pull to stretch, sometimes you just need three hands to take photos at the same time!)

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Here you have the finished piece…I hope yours looks the same!

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Fold the elastic over and pin in place at all four seams.  Then just like before stretch out between two pins and pin the center in place.  Make sure the waistband stays the same width, your don’t want it wider in places.

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If you want to add a label do it now before pinning the centre back over.  It is much easier to use a couple of stitches to hold it in place now than try and get it sitting nicely when we sew the waistband in.  It will be caught by the waist seam so a few stitches will be fine.

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Time to sew!  Starting at the center back sew along the overlock edge (or zigzag), don’t forget to lockstitch first!

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Just like with the overlocker pull the waistband so that the fabric is sitting flat while you sew.  Carry on all the way around till you are back at the start, then lockstitch.

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That is the waistband finished!!!

Step 6 – Hem

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All that is left to do now is hem the legs.  With the splits folded out (see photo above) over lock the raw edges.  You can fold over twice instead of overlocking just skip this bit.

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And now you have overlocked edges!

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Press the overlocked edge over by about 1/2” and press in place.  Take care that the folds do not stick out over the split edge.

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Pin in place.  If you are doing a double fold instead of overlocking you will need to fold it over once with a small 1/4” fold and then again with a 1/2” fold to encase the raw edge.  You can make these larger but then your shorts will end up shorter.

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Sew on the right side of the fabric with a 1/4” seam allowance, starting at the bottom of the side seam as pictured above.  Sew all the way around to the same point on the other side seam.

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Once you get to this point, leave the needle in the fabric and pivot the fabric around so that you will sew up the side of the split.  Lower the presser foot and sew to just above the split.

 

Once just above the split leave the needle in and pivot again to sew across the side seam.  You will want to sew an even amount of stitches on both sides of the seam.  Example: if it takes 3 stitches to reach the seam then sew three more on the other side.  Sew over this piece a few times (reverse over it and sew back again).

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Then pivot again and sew down the other side of the split, down to the seam and lockstitch.

Repeat on the other leg!

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There you are a great project completed!  Some rather cute colour block boys (or girls) rugby shorts.

Let me know if you have any questions!