Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The First Apron and Bonnet Are Done!

The first of the prairie girl outfits is finished. I sewed a size 3-4 for the youngest granddaughter using a piece of pale yellow calico from my stash. The bonnet is trimmed with a bit of lilac ribbon to match the floral print and it looks very sweet. I started on Sunday and would have finished sooner if I hadn't had to interrupt myself so often to elevate and ice my foot.

Here are my tips for sewing this pattern:

1) When fusing interfacing onto the apron waistband, put some kind of mark on one side of your damp pressing cloth so that when you go to fuse the bonnet brim, the same side of the pressing cloth will be facing down and there won't be any chance of getting stray bits of fusible onto your iron. (Don't ask me how I know!) Bonus Tip 1-a) Don't let your sewing room get so messy that you can't find the iron cleaner you bought at the last quilt show.

2)When sewing the long ties on the apron and sun bonnet, use a large wooden dowel to iron the seams open before turning the ties right side out. I just slide the dowel into the sewn fabric tube and then press the sewn end of the tube by pressing a dry iron against the end of the dowel. Then I lay the whole thing down on the ironing board and and press the long seam open. The dowel functions as a long narrow ironing board. (Don't use steam -- your fingers will thank you.) Then turn the tube right side out and do the final ironing; which will be much easier and neater than you'd expect.

3) And to turn those ties right side out, nothing beats this handy little gadget: the Dritz Quick Turn Fabric Tube Turners. This is one gadget that is definitely worth the money even if you don't get it at Joann's using one of their 50% off coupons. There's a quick illustrated tutorial on how to use it over at Sew Little Time.

4) There's a bias tape casing on the wrong side of the back of the bonnet. You're supposed to insert 1/4 inch ribbon through it which will come out through button holes in the middle of the right side of the back. Don't even try threading it through with a tiny safety pin. Use one of those double sided needles that are meant for threading serger tails back into a serged seam. Just fold the end of the ribbon in order to make it narrow enough to fit into the eye.

5) You're supposed to make two buttonholes in the back of the bonnet, and the instructions tell you to baste two one-inch squares of fabric underneath the buttonhole markings so you'll have enough thickness for a machine made buttonhole. That just sounded kind of dumb to me, so instead I cut a one inch by two inch piece of fusible interfacing as a stabilizer. Worked fine.

6) Unfortunately, as mentioned in some of the online reviews, the bonnet is runs large. The pattern I bought contains sizes 3-4 and 5-6. But there's only one bonnet pattern for that whole range of sizes! Supposedly you can fine tune the fit a bit with the drawstring ribbons in the back, but it still looks huge. I tried this bonnet on my mom who has a 21 inch head (the same size as my eight year old granddaughter). It fit her easily. Oh, well. I guess I'll just return the size 7-14 pattern I bought for the older girls. I can just use the younger girl's bonnet pattern for them. (I won't need a pattern to make their aprons!)

P.S. That's my upright vacuum cleaner posing as a dressmaker's dummy.


Mary said...

How cute! The girls will love them!

Love those double end needles. I use them all the time.I think I have one of those Dritz quick turn tools, but I haven't used it yet. Glad to know it works!

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Thanks, it's so much fun to sew for granddaughters. I didn't have much time to sew for my own daughter when she was small.

I discovered the Dritz Quick Turn tool when I took a doll making class. The teacher recommended them because the dolls she designed had very long slim limbs.