5 Ways to Finish a Seam Without an Overlocker (Serger)

I remember when I first started sewing how frustrated I used to get at finishing seams.  This was before I had an overlocker/serger and I really really really wanted one!  I didn’t know much about finishing seams and wish I had known more of the techniques below.  So, here they are specially for the new or beginner sewists!  I love some of these techniques so much that I prefer them to an overlocked finish!

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There are many ways to finish a seam without an overlocker (serger) and here are the two most basic methods and my three favourites!  My favourites are French Seams, Flat Felled Seams and Hong Kong Seams.  You will only need a sewing machine and an iron to be able to sew all of these seams.  If you  do have an overlocker you can definitely use it in place of the zigzag stitch on the two basic seams.

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I have used fabric off cuts for this tutorial with different colour/patterns for each side of the seam so that it is easier to see what’s going on.  I also used black thread with really doesn’t give the best finish on these light fabrics but is much easier for you all to see!

What You Will Need

  • A seam in what ever you might be sewing
  • Matching Thread (or near enough)
  • Iron – This is really important, it will give you a much better finish than not using one
  • Double Fold Bias Binding for Hong Kong Seams

Seam 1 – Basic Seam with zigzag

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This is the simplest of them all.  You sew a straight seam using whatever seam allowance that your project has specified.  Standard is 3/8 inch (1cm) but a little bigger is fine too.

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Here are my two off cuts.

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Lay one on top of the other with the right sides of the fabric facing each other (inside out).  Pin the two raw edges you are joining together.

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Sew your seam using a regular straight stitch.

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Sew a zigzag stitch on the outside of the straight seam you sewed just before.  Once that is done you can trim off the excess of the raw edge.  The fabric may fray a little but only as far as the zigzagged seam.  Press flat with the seam to one side and you are finished!

Seam 2 – Basic Seam Opened Out

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This seam is very handy for keeping the bulk down and when there is a wide seam allowance.  The first part is sewn in the same way as the first seam.

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Make sure that you leave a wider seam allowance, I sewed this one with a 5/8” (15mm) allowance.  Straight stitch with the raw edges lined up, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.

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Instead of pressing the seam to one side you press it open one piece to each side.

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Now zigzag down each side of the seam as you did before.  Take care to only sew one layer of fabric at a time.  The other pieces should fold out of the way easily.

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And after you have trimmed of the excess raw edges it should look like this!

Seam 3 – French Seams

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French seams have been one of my favourites for quite a while now!  You can check out the Skirt and Diaper (Nappy) Cover I made using french seams.  They look way more complicated then they are, they are really simple, easy and look great!  I think they would make the perfect seam for a beginner wanting to branch out a little.

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Pin your seam together with the WRONG sides of the fabrics facing each other (right way around) and sew with a narrow seam allowance, I am using the side of my presser foot.  Depending on the seam allowance your project has you may need to add a little to allow for this type of seam.  You can sew with a wider seam allowance if you like as we will be trimming it anyway.

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I trimmed mine down to roughly 1/4”.

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Time to press!  I find the easiest way to do this is to press the raw edges over in one direction.

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Then fold one side on top of the other.

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Until the seam is at the edge like in the photo above.

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Then press again making sure the seam stays at the edge of the fold.

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You should be left with an edge that looks like this.

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Sew a second straight seam 3/8” (1cm) in from the folded edge.  This encases the raw edges inside and gives you the sleek look of the french seam.  All that is left to do is press the seam over to one side.

Seam 4 – Flat Felled Seams

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Flat felled seams are another great seam that is nice and simple to sew.  You will have the seam and one line of stitching on the right side, and two lines of stitching on the wrong side.  This is one of those seams that I like the wrong side of as much as the right side.  There would be no harm in doing this wrong side facing out if that is the look you’re going for!

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You will need a larger 5/8” (15mm) seam allowance for this oen too.  Sew a straight seam with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.

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Trim one side of the seam allowance down to half of what is was.

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Fold and press the longer side over top of the newly cut side.

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Flatten out your seam and press the folded seam over again to hide the raw edge.

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It should look like above, that is the original black seam.

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Sew on top of this fold as close to the edge as you can.  You will need to be careful to catch the edge though!  And that’s it, pretty simple really!

Seam 5 – Hong Kong Seams

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These seams are super neat and tidy and very gorgeous!  The bias does add a bit of bulk so I wouldn’t be doing these on any lightweight floaty fabrics.

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You will need some double fold bias binding which you can buy from any sewing store or you can even make you own.  Check out my making bias binding tutorial.  To start with sew your seam with a straight stitch using a 5/8” (15mm) seam allowance, with the right sides of the fabric facing each other.  Press the seam open just like for Seam 2 – Basic Seam Opened Out.

Fold out your bias, I like to press mine lightly so that is stays open nicely.  Don’t press so much that you remove the creases!

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The bias will have one side that is a little wider than the other, you can see above that it sticks out from underneath the top layer.   Make sure in the next step that you pin the smaller side.  If your bias doesn’t don’t worry sew either side and I will explain how to sort it below!

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Pin the smaller side of the bias to the raw edge on one side of the seam.  For more information on sewing with bias binding here is the link for my Struggling with Bias Tutorial.

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Sew in place using a straight stitch in the crease closest to the raw edge.

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It should look like above.

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Fold the bias back up and it will completely encase the raw edges.  Since you used the smaller side first, once folded back up the longer side should line up perfectly with where the stitching will go (see photo below).  Press the bias folded so it stays nicely in place.  If your bias didn’t have a wide side, fold it over a little past the original fold and press in place, to create one.  If this isn’t making sense…my Banadana-ish Bib Tutorial shows all the steps and there is even a video!

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Now you can pin for this next step if you like but since I have pressed it well I didn’t bother.  Sew a straight seam right in close next to your bias ‘stitch in the ditch’.  Checking to make sure you are catching the underneath layer.

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Here is what the underside of the bias will look like, the stitching just catches the edge to hold it in place.

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Repeat on the other side of the seam and you have a Hong Kong seam!  Nice and neat on the right and wrong sides.

I hope you’ve found this tutorial useful!  I would have loved to have known about these options at the start of my sewing journey, so hopefully you will appreciate them too!

Happy Sewing x

Upcycled Washandjes…way cooler than Face Cloths!

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Growing up we had ‘washandjes’ which translates to washing hands.  These were so much easier to hold on to and the absolute norm in The Netherlands!
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I must have been about 10 years old when as part of my birthday present a friend gave me a face cloth.  A very pretty yellow one with flowers on it…I had to ask what it was!  Just in case I believe face cloths are also called, wash cloths, face washers or flannels.
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I have never made washandjes before I can’t really think of a good reason why!  I have an old favourite towel given to Hannah by my Aunt visiting from The Netherlands when she was 4 months old.  It has the cute fabric softener bear on it, huggie, snuggle or Robijn depending on where you are!  Hannah has loved this towel over the years and after a trip or two to the beach, river and swimming pool it has a few marks that won’t come out.  But I just couldn’t bear to throw it out.  Even working around the marks I managed to make eleven washandjes out of one towel!

What you will need to make your own Washandje

  • A towel (or towelling fabric)
  • Ribbon or Cord (for hanging loops)
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine – You can overlock if you like but definitely not needed!

Step 1 – Measure and Cut

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It just so happens that a piece of A4 paper is just the right size to make a large washandje.  Line up one long side with the finished edge of the towel, and cut out.  It doesn’t matter if it is a wide or narrow finished edge.
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You won’t need to hem the top edge this way.  I will show the steps to finish the top edge too, check out Step 5.  If you are not familiar with A4 paper it measures 21cm (8.3”) x 29.7cm (11.7”), it is a little longer and narrower than letter paper.

Step 2 – Fold, Pin and Sew

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It really is that simple fold in half with the right sides facing and pin in place.  Sew using a straight stitch using roughly a 1/4” seam allowance.  I just use the edge of my presser foot as the guide.
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Go around the raw edge with a zigzag stich to prevent them from fraying.
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Step 3 – Turn and Finished!

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Yep that really is it!  All you need to do is turn it around the right way and you are finished!
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These make great gifts and are nice and easy to use especially for little hands.  With your hand inside it is much easier to wash then trying to hold onto the face cloth at the same time.  To get a little more creative you can make these into animal shapes or make them with two different colour towels…who doesn’t love colour blocks!

Step 4 – Adding a Hanging Loop

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You can also cut a piece of ribbon or cord for the hanging loop.  This needs to be about 10cm (4”) long.
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This will need to lay inside the folded fabric so it ends up on the outside of the washandje.  Pin in place and sew as normal.
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Step 5 – Finishing top raw edge

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To make without using a finished top edge you need to leave a little extra at the top for folding over.  I left about 2cm (4/5”) and that was plenty.
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Zigzag the top edge (one of the long sides).  You can overlock if you like…mine had black thread in it and I couldn’t be bothered re-threading it!
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Fold over the zigzagged edge and pin in place.  Mine is folded by about 1cm (3/8”).
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Again I used the presser foot as a guide, sewing over the zigzag stitching near the edge of the fold.  Make sure you are catching both layers!
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And there you have a finished edge for the top!  The rest sews just the same so follow the steps above.
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Enjoy your washandjes!

Make your own Hot or Cold Pack

I have seen so many hot/cold packs being used but never did get around to getting one.  Now I have a bit of a sore back from lifting a rather heavy 1 year old, I though it might be time I got on with it!  But of course I wasn’t going to go buy one…

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Everything I look at in a shop I check out how it is made and think to myself ‘I could make that’, then decide I can’t buy it because I should be making it!  When I see someone wearing a dress or interesting clothing of any sort I have to restrain myself from asking if I can check out how it was made!

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Back to the hot/cold packs, these are very simple and easy to make.  You can make any shape you like.  You could make all kinds of cool shapes but this one is going to be a plain old rectangle for me.  Boring I know but seems the most practical shape for a lower back!

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Ok so once I started I couldn’t help but make some fun shapes for the kids!  This would make a great beginners or children’s project, super simple and easy but so useful.  If you are a beginner start with a simple shape first!

What you’ll need

  • Fabric – 100% Cotton ( I haven’t tried synthetics in the microwave but I’m predicting that there will be some melting involved!)  Perfect for scraps or remnants.
  • Fabric – Cotton Flannel for the lining layer
  • Rice – Plain white rice
  • Thread

 

Step 1 – Cut Your Fabric

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Decide what size and shape you would like to make, and cut out two pieces of outer fabric and two pieces of lining fabric.  There is no set size just remember that the finished pack will end up about 1cm (3/8”) smaller on all sides.

 

Step 2 – Sew Outside Seam

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Lay your fabric in the right order first (lining, outer, outer, lining).  Have your outer fabric with the right sided facing each other and sandwich it in between the flannel layers.  If like mine your flannel is patterned you might like to lay the plain side against the outer fabric so that the pictures don’t shine through once it is turned around.

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Pin all the sides making sure to catch all four layers.  Leave a 5cm (2”) gap at one end.  I mark this with double pins (see photo above).

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Starting from one set of double pins (don’t sew in between the double pins) leaving a 1cm (3/8”) seam allowance, sew right around the whole pack in one go.  Then stop again at the other set of double pins.  You need to sew and reverse a few stitches at the beginning and end, or lock stitch if your machine has this function.

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To get around sharp corners, sew up to the corner then stop, leave the needle in the fabric lift the presser foot turn (pivot) the fabric into the right position lower the presser foot and carry on!  If you would like more information on this step check out the Celebration Bunting Tutorial.

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Now you need to trim the corners so this it will sit nicely once turned around the right way.  For right angle corners you can just cut the excess off like above.  Do not cut the stitching!!

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For rounded corners you will need to cut into the seam allowance like shown on the heart above.   You will also need to cut in for the internal corners (the upper V shape of the heart).

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Now it is time to turn it round the right way.  Feed the fabric through the gap you left, making sure you are feeding two layers on each side.  Like I am holding it open in the photo above.

 

Step 3 – Topstitch, Fill with Rice and Close Seam

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Here it is all turned around the right way.  There are some tips to get this sitting nicely in the Celebration Bunting Tutorial.

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Topstitch (sew through all layers close to the edge of the seam) right around the edge, but remember to leave the gap open!  I used a 1/8” seam allowance but as long as you are close to the edge it doesn’t matter too much the exact width.

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I used a funnel to fill with it with rice.  You don’t want to over fill it as the rice needs to have room to move.  This allows you to mould it into the perfect shape for your use.  This is a personal preference but I would fill it between half and two thirds full.

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Pin the gap closed and topstitch from the end of one seam to the other, to stitch it securely shut.  You will want to do a lockstitch (sew and reverse a few stitches) at the beginning and end.  I don’t imagine it will be much fun to clean up if it comes undone!

 

Step 5 – Heating or Cooling your Rice Pack

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As a hot pack you can heat it in the microwave.  As there are so many variables (quantity of rice, size of bag, thickness of the fabric, microwave wattage) I can’t tell you how long to microwave it for!  You will need to test it out for yourself in your own microwave.  For mine I tried 1 minute and this produced a nice warm pack but not a hot one, next time I will try a little longer.  Remember to wait for it too cool if you are trying to work out the perfect time!

As a cold pack, you just store it in the freezer.  You will need to store your rice pack inside a plastic bag (ziplock, freezer bag etc), you don’t want it getting damp!

Enjoy your rice hot cold pack!

Book Bags + Waterproof Lining = Easy As!

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I don’t know about yours but my kids seem to ruin book bags at an astonishing rate!  The plastic backing peels off in places in about three seconds flat.  So why not make my own!  And I’ll give you the usual step by step instructions so even the newest beginner can make one too!

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What you will need

  • Fabric
    • Outer – a medium weight fabric is ideal.  Like Cotton duck or lightweight denim.  As it is double layered you don’t want to go too thick.
    • Lining – PUL waterproof fabric.  This is often used for making modern cloth nappies, and can be found online and in fabric stores (mine came from spotlight).
  • Thread
  • Bias Binding – You will need two pieces one of 33cm (13”) and one of 120cm (47.25”)
  • Domes – 2 sets (or you can use Velcro)

This design is based on the school book bags my kids already use.

 

Step 1 – Cut fabric

Book Bag Rectangle Pattern

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All you need is a rectangle of outer fabric and one exactly the same size for the lining.  Make sure if you have a pattern (like my elephants) that they are up the right way.

 

Step 2 – Attach Bias Binding to bottom edge

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Lay your pieces with the wrong sides facing each other.  This means that the right sides of the fabric are on the outsides.

NOTE:  Please read ahead if this isn’t making sense!  Then you will be able to see how the fabric folds to make the book bag!

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Now we need attach the bias to the bottom, this piece of bias will be the inside part of the opening later once folded.  Insert both layers of fabric into the middle fold of the bias.

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Then peg in place.  You can use fabric clips or bulldog clips too.  You can also pin if you prefer, the reason I haven’t pinned is to prevent any unnecessary holes in the waterproof lining.

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Once the whole edge is pegged/clipped/pinned we can sew it on.  If your bias is slightly narrower on one side than on the other, sew with the narrow side up so that you don’t risk missing the underneath layer.

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I don’t recommend sewing over pins, but well pegs I’m sure I don’t have to mention to remove them as you go!  Sew nice and close to the edge of the bias.

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And it should look like above!

 

Step 3 – Sew Layers Together

I prefer to sew the two layers together before adding the next bias as it will be folded and four layers thick.  You would be very likely to not catch every layer, especially since the PUL lining is quite slippery on one side.

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So peg/clip/pin all the way around the fabric.  All except the bias edge that is already joined.

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Sew with a very narrow 1/8” seam allowance.  This seam will not be visible after you attach the bias binding, so don’t worry if it is not perfect!

 

Step 4 – Round the Top Corners

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You will need to fold the bias edge up as shown in photo above.  Adjust it till the folded piece is 35.3cm (14”), as you can see on the measuring tape in the photo.

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Grab something big and round!  The closest thing near me was my roll of elastic, you could use a saucer, ribbon reel etc.  And mark out the curve on the lining side.

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Repeat on the other side, so that both sides are roughly even.

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Stitch along the drawn line.

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Now you can trim away the excess and you have a nice curve!

 

Step 5 – Attaching Bias Binding to Remain Seams

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Recheck that the fold is still in the correct position

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Pin the bias in place.  Leaving a tab at each end for folding in later.  I have used this method for attaching bias many times, the first part is the same as in my Bandana-ish Bib Tutorial.

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Yes I did use pins this time, as you can see I have made sure to stay inside the seam line (fold closest to the raw edge) to prevent extra holes.  Attaching bias around corners needs pins!

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Starting at one end sew all the way around in the fold closest to the raw edge.

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When you get to the top of the pocket where the bias sits in your seam, sew over it then reverse and sew over it again.  Then carry on the rest as normal.  These few extra stitches will give this area a bit of extra strength, when the kids pull on it trying to get their book in there!

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Folding the ends of the bias is a little fiddly but can give a great result!  Sometimes photos just describe it so much better.  So that are the four steps in photos.

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Now back to the pegs I go!  This is quite thick now so I find it easier with the pegs, than trying to pin through so many layers.

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Time to sew!  You sew this just the same way as the first bias.  Start from one end and sew all the way around to the other end.

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Don’t forget to or over the opening area an extra time!

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Step 6 – Attach Domes or Velcro

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I won’t show you all the dome steps this time.  I have detailed instructions in my Baby Doll Nappy (Diaper) Tutorial if you would like to read those.

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If you are using Velcro you can use one piece in the centre if you wish.  Just position and sew around the edge to hold in place.

 

Step 7 – Add a Label

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If you want to add a label you can!  If you have an in-seam label then hopefully you tucked it into the bias binding earlier!

* Great tip!!!  Use glue stick to hold your label in place while sewing.  Just put the glue on the back of your label and stick in place.  Then sew around the edges, and you are finished.  When I remember where I saw this I will credit accordingly!

Triangle Folding Pouch

I used to have this cute little triangle red leather coin purse as a child.  I have no idea where it has ended up, but with more than 30 house moves in my first 20 years of life it probably got lost somewhere along the way!  Making my kids a coin purse out of the pockets I use for the Diabetic Insulin Pump Bands reminded me of the little triangle one.

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Why not fabric instead of leather?

Well I couldn’t think of a reason and if I’d had any leather I probably would’ve used it.  But there are just so many more patterns and colours available in fabric!

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It opens the same pocket from both sides so you don’t need to work out which way is up.  I was quite intrigued as a child to try and work out how it worked!

As long as your fabric is not too thin (or thick for that matter!) it should work fine.  There is nothing to stop you using interfacing or layer up a few layers either.

What you’ll need,

 

Step 1 – Print Pattern

This pattern is in A4 size but should print on any size paper as long as you use the ‘print in actual size’ option, or uncheck the ‘scale to fit’ option.  Measure the 2.54cm (1”) square to be sure.  The finished size is 13cm (5”) on each edge.

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Using a craft knife or scissors, cut around the pattern.

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Step 2 – Cut Fabric

There are two ways to do this, with a fold on one long side or two separate pieces of fabric.  For this tutorial I will show you the folded option, but I’ll add a few photos and explain the separate pieces option too.

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Fold your fabric right sides facing (I know mine is right side facing out but my daughter liked the wrong side better!) and lay one long edge on the fold, then trim around the pattern leaving a 1cm (3/8”) edge around the outside.  This doesn’t need to be accurate so just eyeball it!

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For the separate pieces you need to leave the 1cm (3/8”) edge all round the pattern.

 

Step 3 – Mark the edge of the pattern

Using fabric markers (I use dressmakers pencils) draw your pattern onto your fabric.

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I used a ruler and drew just around the edges of my pattern piece.

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You can see the blue lines on the folded version above.

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On one short side mark 2.54cm (1”) in from the ends.  This is the opening to turn it right side out.  The pencils are pointing to the marks, they are a little hard to see!

 

Step 4 – Sew Outside Edge

Time to sew along your drawn line.

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Remember to leave the gap between your marks open, so you will need to sew the small piece separately.  For the separate piece option you can just sew from one side of the opening right round to the other side.

 

Step 5 – Turn Around

We just need to trim the corners to get a nice fold in the corners.

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Time to turn it right side out!

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I like to use my dressmakers pencil (with the lid on!!!) to push out the corners from the inside.

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All that’s left is to press it flat with your iron.  Fold the opening in to match the rest of the side.

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Step 6 – Topstitch

You all need to topstitch the right round the edge, this will also close the hole used to turn it around.  Fairly close to the edge is best.

The diagonal seams are optional.  You only really need to do these if your fabric is thin.  This helps stiffen the fold and stops it sagging allowing you coins to fall out!  If you have fairly thick or stiff fabric then you can skip this step.

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Mark the points or the triangles on the long sides (one on each side).  Then draw the lines on using a ruler.

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A little hard to see!  But the blue lines are there, now you just need to stitch over them.  I do this in one go starting from the top left (in the photo) and follow the zigzag to the bottom right.

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Step 7 – Folding it up

It is really very simple to fold up.  With the inside facing up fold on the line the pencil is laying on.  I pressed mine first to make it easier to show you!

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Now head to your iron and press in the creases.

 

Step 8 – The Domes

The last step is to attach the domes.  I have detailed instructions for these in my Baby Doll Nappy (Diaper) Tutorial if you’d like more info.

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My dome set came with a pointed tool to make the holes for the domes.  I use this to make the first hole in the centre near the end of the point.

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Then I mark the place the point lands on the layer underneath.

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Place the first dome on the outside.

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Then the matching internal one.  You will need to fold open your pouch to do this one.

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Repeat on the other side and folded out it will look like this.

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Enjoy your new pouch!  I hope you like them as much I do!

Baby Doll Nappy (Diaper)

After much nagging from my 6 year old I finally got around to making a nappy for her baby doll.

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The main motivating factor was…I got to use domes!  I love using domes!  So bright, colourful and easy!

Let’s get started!

You can download the pattern I used, right here.  It is for a fairly smallish baby doll, so cut out the pattern and try it on to be sure.

What you will need,

  • Scrap fabric, I used some left over fleece from my superhero cape tutorial & an off cut from a skirt from long ago.
  • Domes, 2 sets or Velcro would work great too.  Or even buttons and button holes.

And that’s it!  Nice and simple.

Baby Doll Nappy a

Print and cut out the pattern, or draw your own.  Place the straight edge on the fold, draw/cut around your pattern.  Repeat this step for both types of fabric.

Baby Doll Nappy 018

They should look like this.  Don’t panic if they are not perfect, you won’t see it once they are sewn together!

Baby Doll Nappy 020

Pin your two pieces together with the right sides facing each other.  I like to pin in the middle so I can sew around the outside without having to stop for pins.  Note the two pins at the top (back of nappy), leave the gap between them to be able to turn the nappy the right way around.

Baby Doll Nappy b

Sew around the edge making sure you catch both layers, do a little reverse at the beginning and end to prevent it coming apart when turning it around.

Baby Doll Nappy c

That is how it should look now (top left).  Now cut little nicks out of the curves so that they will sit flat when turned the right way.  Making sure you don’t cut the stitch line!  Also cut the top and bottom right angle corners off, again so it will sit flat.  Now you can turn it the right way around!

Baby Doll Nappy 029

Sew close to the edge right around the outside of the nappy.  Do this with the right side facing up so you can see how it will look when finished!

Baby Doll Nappy 031

Try the nappy on your darling little doll and decide where you want the domes (or Velcro/buttons) to go.

  You can mark the positions with a marker or pin.  With a patterned fabric I just remember roughly where it needed to be and eyeball it!

It is more important to get the two lined up so that it will close nicely.

And here comes my favourite bit, the domes!  I have decided to go with nice bright red domes to match the inside fabric of the nappy.

Baby Doll Nappy 032

This is my dome set, I bought this direct from aliExpress.  They have loads of different options and come from china, freight free.  The prices are way better than any I have found in New Zealand, but you do have to wait a while for it to arrive.

Baby Doll Nappy dI think the photos pretty much say all, but just in case…

Use the pointed tool to make the hole in the fabric, and place dome in said hole.  Place the other half over the pin and use the tool to set dome in place.

Baby Doll Nappy e

The same thing again for the other side (remember to use the right dome pieces!).  I lined it up to be sure the top would sit level when done up.  Then repeat the last two steps again on the other side.

Baby Doll Nappy f

Hey presto! You are done!

Baby Doll Nappy 044

Enjoy your baby doll nappy making!

Baby Track Pants

This is a bit of a follow on from the Upcycling Footed Pants tutorial.  The now footless pants were such a hit, I made two more pairs from scratch.
Trackpants a
Pink and light grey marle stripes with a matching grey marle cuff.
Trackpants b
Grey marle with a turquoise cuff.
You can check out the basic instructions for these in my Contrast Baby Pants Tutorial.  I have used the previously footed baby track pants as a pattern for these.  They are a wider fit than the contrast baby pants as they are not stretch.  Here are the photos,
Trackpants c
I did change the waistband to a sewn in elastic rather than sew the tube and feed the elastic through.  This has the advantage of not getting twisted in the wash.  You can do the other way if you prefer!  You can always sew the elastic down in a couple of places to prevent it twisting.
Trackpants d
I used the flat method of joining my elastic to prevent the double layer, check out my joining elastic tutorial here.
Trackpants e
Turn you pants the right side facing out and place elastic inside it.  I start with the seam matching it to the back of the track pants.  I want to line the edge of the fabric up with the edge of the elastic so that I catch both when sewing it together.
Trackpants f
Now to make sure you get the elastic evenly spread, I fold it in half and mark it with a pin.  Then line this pin up with the centre seam in the front of the pants, and pin in place just like the back.  Then spread the rest evenly and pin in place.  As you can see below I like to use a few pins (8 this time) to ensure I get an even gather.
Trackpants g
Time to sew it together!
Trackpants h
If you want to add a tag, pop that in place before you sew the waistband.  Take care to keep the elastic edge and the edge of fabric lined up to ensure you catch both when you sew.  I like to use zigzag for this.  For a few reasons, I like how it looks, it retains the stretch really well and it doesn’t stop the elastic relaxing back as much as a straight stitch.
Trackpants i

See!  I love the look of the zigzag, just finishes it nicely!
All that is left to do is sew on the cuffs, you can see how to do that in the Contrast Baby Pants Tutorial.
Trackpants j
Happy Sewing!

Quick & Easy – Simple Head Bands

 

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I hate wasting those little off cuts of cute fabric that aren’t big enough for anything…or are they?

 

Beach Walk 010

After a morning walk at the beach checking out the new boardwalk, I wanted to get a decent photo of the two mischief monkeys.  A little hefty breeze and Hannah has a face full of hair in all of them…grrr!  I thought to myself she needs a headband.  Then the light bulb moment, use up some of those off cuts and make head bands!  My daughter Hannah (6) loves them!

 

Head band banner

 

What you will need

  • Off cut Fabric – I used printed cotton – (If you used stretch you could leave out the elastic all together.  I will add an update with a tutorial for that later)
  • 25mm (1”) Elastic – I used black to match the fabric

I decided on a 2.5cm (1”) width, I doubled this for both sides and added half an inch for a very small seam allowance. I measured around Hannah’s head where the headband would go, I left 8cm (3”) gap at the back for the elastic.  So my fabric piece was 44cm (17 1/4”).

Head band b

 

Once you have cut out you fabric you need to fold it in half length wise and iron (right sides facing).  Ironing really is the key here, it will ensure nice straight edges and no twisting or gathers.

head bands cNow sew along the open edge, quite close to the edge.  I just sewed with a straight stitch and did not zigzag or overlock the edge.  Here come the hardest part of the whole headband, turning it right way around!  I used a safety pin and slowly worked it through, if you struggle with that I have used a knitting needle to help push it through in the past (not the pointy end ☺).  Once you have managed that it’s back to the old trusty iron to make it nice and flat.

Head band c

Turn in the ends as shown above and…iron again!  Then cut your piece of elastic.  I like to zigzag the ends of the elastic to prevent them fraying and pulling out of the head band.

Head Band d

After zigzagging the elastic, I zigzag the edge forwards and reverse a few times to be sure I’ve caught it all.  Now tuck the elastic in to the end.

Head band e

Sew along the edge to secure the elastic.  Sew one way then leaving the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and spin you head band around and sew back again. Do a little reverse/forward to secure the end.

head band f

You can leave it as is or sew around the outside edge if you like.  Sewing round the outside edge will stop it twisting in the wash, and I like the look too.  Can always use a contrasting colour for added detail.

All the best with your head band making!