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How about this for my very first pattern?

Posted by bayareafrancy (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 26, 09 at 13:59

Hi again!

Okey dokey, I've been searching and searching for my "dream apron." It is hard to find: smock style, ideally with criss crossing straps in the back (so no ties or buttons), or a simple single button at the top of the back.

Whew!

I finally found Simplicity 5201 (link to image is below).

Questions:

1. This calls for bias tape, more specifically a looooooooooong piece that goes around the entire edge. I don't want to attempt bias tape on my first project. It sounds like exactly the detailed and careful type of sewing that would easily frustrate me. Also, I would prefer a reversible apron. So, does it seem reasonable to make this 2 sided?

2. I found 2 blogs of women who made this apron. They both said that the armholes stuck way out, and that in order to make it look like the picture, the arms had to be taken in (around 2 inches), and the sides tapered. Well, that alteration would not be good for a brand new beginner like me, right? Is it generally true that many patterns need to be tweaked like that in order to get them just right?

Thank you!

:-)

francy

Here is a link that might be useful: Wrap around apron Simplicity 5201


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Make it reversible....and as for the tweaking around the armhole....make one side up just like normal and try it on right side of fabric against your body....if you see it winging out......try just putting a few pins in under the arm and down the sides....so it looks like you want. (DH's are good for this pinning job - but you can do it yourself...you already know others think it should be taken in 2" and tapered....tapered meaning just continue down the sides and take the whole thing in 2" or start at 2" and gradually go down to lower edge reducing the 2" as you go. This is an apron remember and who is going to see it.....use fabric you like but don't go over the top for expensive fabric. Once you get the correct fit, you can take the excess fabric you have to cut off and lay it on the second fabric and cut it before you sew it. And don't think of it as a waste of a few inches of fabric. You could take the cut off piece and cut a small square off it - you'd have 4 pieces all total, sew them together and you'd have the top of a matching potholder..... just need some kind of filling and a backing piece (which means look at your linen cupboard - got an old facecloth you never use? A pillowcase with a stain? facecloth could be the filler, pillowcase the backing) If you are super inspired....sew up a backing with the bits left from your cut off pieces, how can you sew them to make a back or a bigger piece of fabric......laugh if you want but you are using up your fabric and making something extra.


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Thank you budster!! That sounds doable. My aprons get a lot of usage, and are usually all wrinkled and mussed up from the dryer, so you are correct that this needn't be perfect.

I sure wish you lived in my neighborhood!

:-)

francy


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Let us know how it goes.....take your time and don't get all flustered. It doesn't have to be perfect remember....yes, you want it nice but perfection is something we all have to work towards....I've been sewing years and sometimes my quilting points are so off you'd think a 5 year old had cut and sewn them. By the way, I own this pattern - not even out of the envelope..came from a thrift store in pristine condition. I love aprons....couldn't resist. I'll be most interested in hearing how it all comes together. Wish you were closer too - I've love an over the fence sewing friend, we'll just have to pretend with everyone else here on the form we are just across the road.


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

I just picked up the pattern at Beverly's. I talked to a woman there about making it reversible. She stared and stared at it, and finally said she wasn't sure it would be possible to turn it right side out after sewing the 2 sides together, given the criss crossing back. But then she said that if it turned into a big tangle, I could just open the shoulders to straighten it out.

What do you think? (I think I read, on someone's blog, that she made this pattern reversible. So it is technically possible. But not sure exactly how she did it. Which part needs to be left open? A long side?)

Which sounds harder for a beginner: doing "the flip" (i.e. making it reversible), or attempting to apply bias tape.

francy


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Ah, budster, an over-the-fence sewing friend, what I wouldn't give! Sometimes, I just need an extra eye or thought to get me through. My husband is very supportive and helps me visualize. I know a lot of quilters, but no garment sewers.

Francy, bias tape is not very hard to use and makes a very nice edge. Actually, I think it's easier than trying to hem around those curves, and may be why they suggest bias tape in the first place. You could easily make it reversible with bias tape.

It's a very cute apron. I may make it for myself! Good luck to you. I'll be watching here for results (or screaming and yelling, if it comes to that - and it may!)

Sherry


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Thanks for the input Sherry!

How does the bias tape go smoothly around the curves? That is, suppose I were to make a curved hem: the fabric would be a bit bunched/overlaped/gathered, because of the curve. Right?

But on the (purchased) aprons that I have with bias tape, the tape just travels smoothly around the curves, as if it were the exact same shape as the curves. How does it do that?

Is it stretchy? (It doesn't feel stretchy.)

If I were to attempt the tape, I wouldn't have to do it all in one piece, would I? Of course, it may look nicer, but it isn't necessary, is it?

I am now very tempted to try the tape, because the fabric is actually rather thick/substantial (by apron standards). And in the cross over back, there would be multiple layers hanging on me. My kitchen can get rather warm, due to my big 1955 heat-radiating stove. So 2 separate aprons might be a better plan, for comfort.

On a slightly different note: I ran to Beverly's, full of excitement. I got the fabric I have been lusting after--2 kinds--one for the inner apron and one for the outer. I knew the price per yard, but it never occured to me to calculate how many yards were required for the apron. *Gulp* Oh dear. Oh dear. The apron required 2 5/8 yards of fabric!!! Each apron. So I needed almost SIX yards. Oh dear. Please don't tell my husband! Each fabric was...*gulp*...11 bucks a yard. My silly brain just imagined that each apron would cost about 1.5 yards worth. Oh dear...

Um. I made a big mistake!! I initially found this style of apron to buy (already made) for what I thought was the unheard of price of about 50 dollars. for an apron? Um....um...Now I see what it cost so much.

Beginner mistakes. Beginner mistakes. Live and learn.

Super cute fabric though! One has cupcakes, and the coordinating one has cherries.

francy


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Gulp is right! But it will be a gorgeous apron!

Bias tape is slightly stretchy because it is not made on the straight grain of the fabric - it's on the bias. You can test this on your fashion fabric. Try pulling it straight across in either direction, you won't get any movement or stretch. But take the same fabric and pull from opposite corner to opposite corner and you get plenty of stretch - the bias! Bias tape is made to go around curves.

Yes, you may get a little bunching on tight curves (around the straps, for instance) but none on the hems, sides or neckline. Tape manufacturers suggest pressing the tape to fit the curve to remove some of the bunching, but that is hard to do because until you get the tape on the garment, you don't know exactly where to shrink the tape. But you must press the entire length of tape before you begin sewing it to the apron.

Also, tape is not folded exactly in half. Sew on the narrower half of the tape, which is usually the top side of the garment, and the bottom (bobbin) side, which is slightly wider, automatically gets sewn in place.

In your case, make your favorite (if you have one!) fabric the top side and apply the tape that way.

Use a straight stitch foot and never look at the needle! Look at the fabric before it goes under the foot to keep a straight line of stitching. Use a longer stich for the sides and hem, and a short stitch going around the tighter curves of the straps.

The pattern envelope probably tells you how much bias tape you need. If you need more than one pkg, when you get to the end of the first tape, fold over the beginning of the new tape just slightly and begin again! Yes, you want to make as few beginnings as possible, the longer the tape the better. Start in the middle of one of the long sides of the straps, because you want starts to be as inconspicuous as possible.

I lay the pressed tape loosely in my lap and wrap my it around my neck to feed it into the machine.

One last thing. Whenever you stop stitching, be sure the needle is down in the fabric. You'll be able to check what you've stitched, move the fabric to adjust for a pucker, adjust the tape, etc. Keeping the needle in the fabric insures that you won't get a loop of thread and that your stitches will remain even. ALWAYS stop with the needle down, on everything you sew, until you're removing the garment from the machine.

Sherry


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Thank you Sherry!

I just started searching for some "how to apply bias tape especially on curves" online. Looks like there will be much to see on youtube. On the one hand, it doesn't look too terribly hard, however, most of the demos are on small bits of fabric (like a placemat).

So I need to iron all the tape before ever sewing it?

It didn't occur to me to change stitch length in different places. Thank you for that tip!

Re: feeling woozy over my fabric mistake. Budster did tell me to use a cheap fabric for my first pattern. The part I fogot about was actually calculating just how much fabric I would need (rather than just seeing the yard price on the bolt). Common beginner mistake, right? Right?? Oh, and then there was the foolishness about buying TWICE as much to make 2 (or double sided). How incredibly dopey of me! 'Dopey' being the nice word for it!

It might be wise for me to get some fabric from the "bargain bin" to try first. *Nervous chuckle* My husband is basically freaking out about the economy these days (and I'm currently a stay at home mom with no income). Oh man, if he knew I just spent 60 bucks on fabric. Oh man, oh man, oh man. *Heart palipitations*

Now it's time to go back and buy the tape...

:-O

francy


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Do you have a Walmart near you that carries fabric? Or another store? For a first time pattern, I usually make it out of really cheap ($1 to $2 a yard) fabric.
I have a similar pattern to your apron one. It is for a childs sun dress, and yes, it is reversible! You leave one side seam open for turning.
I think tho, that for the first one you might want to use bias tape, it's not really that difficult.
Kathy G in MI

Here is a link that might be useful: My pattern


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

After a quick look at this pattern, I see a few options to make it reversable. You would have to leave the shoulder seams open on both sides where they join at the top of the shoulder.....as well as an opening elsewhere to ensure you could turn the whole thing inside out so your right sides would be on the outside. You could even choose to leave the armholes open for the reversing.... The shoulder tops could then be done by stitching with the machine on one of the sides (just like normal) but then on the other side, you carefully press back the seam allowance and sew the two shoulder pieces together on the other patterned side. Forgive my vague directions. If you left the armholes open for reversing, then you would again carefully press back the seam allowances on both sides of the apron, pressing both to the "inside" and then machine stitch as close to the edge all around to close the hole. Does this make sense. It would be easier to show in person but perhaps someone else here could explain better. THAT ALL being said....2 aprons are better than one! And if the fabric is heavy, well no one wants to wear a suit of armour. Learning to work with bias binding is a good skill. In event you are all fussed up and it "just isn't working", you could hem back the raw edge all the way around, and attach some pretty lace to finish the edge. Yes, the raw edge might fray, but this is an apron, a first try and hey, even sewing a nice line around a curve is a skill. Pat yourself on the back for every new thing you try. Reading the pattern and understanding what is means is another skill. You learned about yardage and prices.....so you have gained experience that way. $60.00 for nice fabric .......OK it is for 2 aprons...and it is "quality" fabric remember. And you will have "bits" leftover to use for another kitchen project, don't forget the potholder or even just sew a triangle and attach half a kitchen towel to it (gather the towel across the top), a snap and you will have a towel to hang over the oven handle for a kitchen towel. If you find a nice flat sheet on sale, or have an odd one at home, that is also a great source of fabric to try your luck with. Everything is a learning experience.....and I won't tell your DH about the money you spent on fabric if you don't tell mine about the money I spent on the fabric and notions I bought!


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RE: for my very first pattern?

Hi Budster,
I'll bet my pattern says to leave the shoulder seams open and the one side seam open for turning. I'm 1,500 miles from home and my patterns, so I can't be a lot of help on this. If bayareafrancy wants to wait til April (when I'll be back home) and email me thru "my page" I could send her a copy of the directions for my pattern to turn it.
Kathy G in MI


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You can return uncut fabric!!!

They're right, Francy. Before you cut your good fabric, perhaps you should buy some cheap stuff. Also, and this is important, IF YOU DO NOT CUT INTO THE FABRIC, YOU CAN RETURN IT TO THE STORE. At JoAnn and Hancock, you have 90 days with the receipt if you don't cut it, so that gives you plenty of time to practice and decide about keeping the good stuff.

Something else: Aprons get miserably messy (mine do, anyway) so maybe you should return it.

Buster and Kathy, instead of turning the apron, couldn't she baste the two fabrics together, right sides out, and run the bias tape around the edges?

Sherry


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

sherrmann - Yes she could..good solution but I'm wondering about the weights of the fabrics anyway....one might be heavier than the other causing stretching or sagging ... Your solution would work - hopefully colors won't run from one to the other. I opt for TWO aprons. You are lucky you can return fabric..places in my area you can't, once it's cut for you, it's yours. Budster.


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Alas, you can't return fabrics at Beverly's.

I'm hoping to start this project next week (I have to get through a big birthday party for my newly 5 year old tomorrow. He requested a "softie toy" themed party, so I have been super busy cutting, and pinning, and sewing, and stuffing, and sewing again these amorphous stuffed toys for all the kids to decorate/embellish. Great practice for sewing around curves!).

Here is my plan:

1. Maybe get some super cheap fabric to do a test run, unless my one sewing friend has time to walk me through it, and stand behind me as I start cutting.

2. Go with 2 aprons--both with bias tape. Given the weight of the fabric, and the fact that the back cross over would actually make 4 layers hanging on me in the back, I think it might be too warm. For a simple smock with a button at the top back, both layers would work, but probably not with 4 layers of criss cross. Also, I was playing around with some homemade bias edging yesterday, and it is very cool the way it can curve. I'm now thinking it might be easier to apply that, then stitch together around all those curves (and notch the fabric so it doesn't bunch).

Now, I do need to prewash the fabric right? I am pretty tough on my clothes, so they will be washed and dried fairly regularly (though I have some raggy aprons that I wear for the really messy tasks--saving the cute ones for non-staining activities).

Also: I've read here that some folks don't cut out the patterns? Why not? I'm sure I will need to cut them out to use them properly.

Sooooo, hopefully I could start on Monday.

:-)

francy


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

You are right about having 4 layers on you in the back if you make it reversible!
Yes, prewash the fabric.
At Joann's they sell a "fabric" with a grid pattern on it, I believe it is made for copying patterns onto. The reason you might want to copy a pattern is that many come in sizes, like an 8, 10 and 12 in one pattern. So, if you want to use that pattern in say the size 8 and 12, once you cut up the pattern for the size 8 you lose the size 12! Now you would have to rebuy the same pattern so you can make the 12. Much easier to trace the pattern and have one of each size.
Hope this makes sense to you.
Kathy G in MI


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

I was sewing and not checking here, but I want to argue a few points!

I never prewash because I find it almost impossible to fold the washed fabric perfectly on grain again. The grain is much easier to see on unwashed fabrics. I've never had a bad result in 35 or 40 years of sewing what must be thousands of garments - what would a bad result be? Shrinkage? Also, don't you have to stabilize the cut edges of the cloth before you wash it? And then iron the entire piece of cloth? Too much work for me. And there is something about working on that new, crisp cloth....a new, unwashed garment...

If you mean cut the pattern pieces precisely on the cutting lines before placing the tissue on the cloth, I don't do that, either. A rough cut will do quite nicely, and the tissue gets cut with the cloth.

And I have yet to trace a pattern. Not even for little kids who grow and whose patterns I reuse many times; Francy is not likely to change sizes so much that it would affect an apron! I love multi-size patterns and use mine until they're almost shredded. I carefully fold the pieces and put them back in the envelopes, and press them with a dry iron next time I use them.

There! Have I been ornery enough? I just don't like to spend time on things that aren't necessary - and it's not that I have experience so I can get away with it, I never did it even when I was learning.

I hope the party was fun, and I'm sorry you can't return fabric. Even though I can, I seldom do but am glad for the option.

Sherry, who is sorry for the rant!


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Sherry, I very seldom prewash my fabric, especially if it is a huge piece. Just made myself a nightgown and robe and used 10 yards of fabric, you betcha I didn't prewash that piece. Washed after I made them.
BUT, many fabrics need to be prewashed, depending on how they will be used. All up to the sewers preference.
Kathyn G in MI who did not prewash the flannel for DH's flannel Xmas shirt (way back in 1973ish) and DH could only wear it a few times. Everytime it was washed, it shrunk!


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

I always pre-wash because then whatever I make should not shrink on me. I will take the time to prewash, then press the fabric before cutting...and I cut my pattern out to the size I want. Everyone has their own choice of what to do or not to do. If you prewash, then make sure you don't wash both fabrics together incase something runs.


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Huh. It would be pretty annoying to spend the time and effort making something only to have it shrink, but that happens with purchased clothing, too. Kathy, how many times would you have had to wash that flannel before you cut it in order to prevent the shirt from shrinking? And how would you know in advance?

I always wash underwear, sheets and towels before I use them, but I never wash purchased clothing before wearing it. Do you?


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RE: How about this for my very first pattern?

Good info to know!

Next time, I probably won't prewash (depending on the fabric). I couldn't iron it all nice and crisp again, and the cut edges came out of the dryer all frayed and snargled up.

And since my size won't change, I was able to cut the pattern. Woo Hoo!

Progress report coming soon.....

:-)

francy


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