My Husband "Subvet" says that when our first son "Sonshine" was born the sun rose on our world, when our second son "Gator" was born the sun laughed and when our daughter "Sugars" was born all the flowers bloomed. That says it all.

"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
It's about learning how to dance in the rain."

Your mind is the garden, your
thoughts are the seeds, the harvest can either be flowers or weeds. — William

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sarah's Simple Sewing Secrets.

Sewing for Beginners Lesson 2

Keep it simple, Keep it fun, Keep successes coming.

"Only God can make something that is perfect."
Remember that! It's important!!

To wash or not to wash, that is the question.

There is a debate among the powers that be whether or not it is preferable to prewash your fabric before you start making something with it. Here are a couple of pros and cons, plus a tip if you do wash:

if it's gonna shrink it will already be pre-shrunk before you make your project.
if it's gonna bleed that will be done too.
washing takes out the "sizing" in the fabric which makes it softer and not as stiff, some say this makes it easier to work with

you have to iron it.
some say they prefer to work with fabric with the "sizing" in as it is stiffer and easier to hold in place.
it may fray or unravel in the washer/dryer


should you choose to wash the fabric, cut a small bit off each corner and a triangle out of the middle of the longest side. This will minimize the amount of unraveling the fabric will do in the wash.

Ok now, decide how big you want your pillow to be and get ready to lay your fabric out on a hard surface.

You want the fabric to be double layered with the "right sides together" or front of the fabrics facing each other. Almost everything you will ever sew you make inside out.
(a great "job" for younger kids is the job of turner. They get to turn a finished piece right side out for you.)

Lay the 2 layers of fabric on your hard surface, (a table top or floor work great) and smooth out any wrinkles. If you're working on your table top I'd recommend putting a layer of cardboard on the table first as this will protect your table and tablecloth from any wayward scissors or pin scratches later.

Using your ruler/straight edge and marker/pen/pencil draw the square or rectangle that is to be the size and shape of your pillow on the top piece of fabric. (you'll be writing on the back side of the fabric). This is your sewing line.

Now, your more exact sewers will tell you that when you sew you should always use a 5/8 inch seam allowance, 1/4 inch seam allowance for quilts

"What the heck is a seam allowance????"

This is the amount of fabric between the stitches and the raw edge. If you sew too close to the edge you run the risk of the material fraying and your stitches pulling out. But, 5/8 inch is hard for my brain to work with. It's hard to add and subtract, it's hard to measure. So I use either 1/2 inch or 1 inch. My brain likes these numbers much better!

For this project you don't need to measure any particular seam allowance. Put your ruler on the sewing line to the outside of the box that is your pillow. Then mark another line the width of your ruler from the first line. This is your cutting line. The space between the two (which in this case is however wide your ruler is) is your seam allowance.

On one long side of the pillow mark 2 lines across your sewing line. These should be about 4-5 inches apart and close to the middle of the side of the pillow. (This is a hash mark) Here you can see the hash marks for this pillow

Now, take a heavy book (or something) that is smaller than your pillow and place it in the middle of your inner (pillow) box. This will help keep your fabric from shifting as you cut it. And cut out your pillow on the outermost line that you've drawn. (your cutting line) Be sure to cut through both pieces of fabric at the same time.

Once your pillow is cut out you can pin the two pieces of fabric together so it'll stay put while you sew. You want the raw edges of the top and bottom fabric to line up together. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. If you can pin it BEFORE you remove the heavy book from the middle sometimes that helps.
I forgot to mention last time that instead of straight pins you can use safety pins for this too! Be sure that your pins are intirely inside the pillow sewing line, pointing to the edge of the fabric. If you use safety pins, place all the pins in the fabric first, then go back and close them all to keep the fabric from shifting as much.

OK, once you have your pillow cut out and pinned you are at a good resting point as it can now be folded and stored as needed.

Give yourself a YEEHAW! and next week we'll start sewing the 2 layers together.


Diane J. said...

This will probably make you twitch a little, but the only time I've ever marked pattern lines or anything on my fabric before sewing was when my home ec teacher made us do it for our grade when we sewed.

Of course I'd already been sewing for several years by then (7th grade) both hand sewing and machine sewing on my Mama's trusty Singer Touch 'N Sew.

MightyMom said...

nah, I don't mark much meself. But remember this is for non-sewers so they can teach their children. First you must crawl, then walk, then fly like the wind.......(nope, I did NOT just call you a wind-bag either!) :-)

love ya dearie

MammyT said...

Yeah, eyeballing some of this stuff works for me. But I'm just about to start some "slip-cover" pillow cases for the throw pillows on my couch, the kind with an overlapped opening on the back to slip them off and on. I haven't done this before, so if you have any hints, throw 'em my way. My dd did one for a contour pillow and it came out snug and perfect. It was a 'dog-bone' shape. She just played it by ear! I guess I can do a square one!
so you finally made it to my site and left me ...TWO LINES? I hope you can get back in! You missed a lot of real quality bloggin'.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

These directions are so clear! Wow! You are going to have to blurb them in your own sewing book.

MightyMom said...

Mary, I'm glad that they make sense to you! I worry that since I've done this "forever" I won't be clear or will use too many official terms for the non-sewer to understand.

Also, all these lessons are under the tag sewing for beginners and will be here once you get resettled in your new place and ready to start a project.

:-) happy moving.