06 May 2011

Today is a big day because I feel like I have about a million things to tell you/show you/ask you.

I've been given the AMAZING privilege of tossing my sad, sorry garage sale sewing machine to the wind and replacing it with a piece of the computerized sewing promised land that literally finds it's way into my dreams at night. (I wish I were kidding. I really do have dreams about it.)

Brother Sewing Machines has made it possible for me to put together some fantastic tutorials for you all and I am so humbled and excited to jump right in!

Wait. Can I show you the machine first?

Here she is:


And here she is without her skirt on. Don't be embarrassed, it's cool.


As soon as the angel's choruses end we can get back to what I was saying.


Anyway, tutorials! Lots of them! And the very first one is beginning right now - so get your sewing things together and let's get started!

Y'all want a really basic, easy sewing project that is useful whether you have kids or if you are in need of a unique and much-appreciated baby shower gift?

This is one of my favorite projects. I have been selling these bibs and burp cloths in my Etsy shop since January 2010 and at last count I think I had made over 150 of them! I love picking gorgeous fabrics and gifting them to new moms. (Also, as you can imagine, Hazel has a few of her own.)

So, without further ado,

The Large Bib Tutorial


Things You'll Need:
  • 1 fat quarter of main fabric (a fat quarter {FQ} is a quarter of a yard of fabric that measures about 18"x21". They normally cost $2.75 or less. Here's a good place to find one. You should have no trouble getting either 2 bibs or a bib and a burp cloth out of one FQ.)
  • 1 fat quarter of backing fabric (I always use cream chenille. It's so soft - especially after washing! - and absorbent. It's $12.99/yard at JoAnn's but it's extra wide and I always buy it with a coupon.)
  • Pins
  • A sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • 1 set of snaps
  • Coordinating thread
  • Iron
  • The printable pattern shown below (yay for printable patterns!):

Get Started:
Print the two pages of the printable pattern and cut out the pieces.


Overlapping the two pieces, line up the crosshairs (it may help to hold it up to the light to get it just right) and tape it all together.


Fold an edge of your pretty main fabric just enough so that you can fit the bib pattern on it with the word "fold" lining up with the fold of the fabric.

Pin the pattern to the fabric.


Now cut the fabric out, using the pattern as your template. Easy!


Do the same thing with your chenille fabric. EXCEPT - don't cut out the little neck opening area. It's no big deal if you do, but you'll be able to cut it out later and this way you don't have to worry so much about your cut pieces lining up exactly.


Once you get good at this you can cut a ton of backing pieces out in one sitting. This way you can make a bunch of bibs really quickly when you forget to buy a gift for a baby shower that starts in an hour. (Not that that has EVER happened to me!) Just saying, it's handy to have a few pre-cut backs around if you think you will use them.


So, here you stand with your main fabric and your backing fabric. So far, so good!


Now lay the backing fabric soft-side-up on your ironing board. Then lay your main fabric pretty-side down on top. (Or, I guess I could have just said "right sides together")

Give them a good spritz with your spray bottle then press them together really well with your iron. (Ironing them together actually makes the long threads of the chenille lay down so the top fabric will shift less when you're sewing.)
Pin the main fabric to the backing fabric.


Time to sew!


Oh no! Now she's got her top up! Let's move along...

Load your coordinating thread into your machine.


And set your stitch length to about a 4. (It's okay to use a longer stitch length here because you'll be topstitching later. This will also make it easier for the bulky fabric to glide nicely under the presser foot.)


Begin stitching about 4" from the bottom of the bib on the right side. Be sure to secure your stitch with a backstitch when you start.


Sew all the way around the edge of your main fabric.


If you get nervous when you get to the tighter curves, you can always adjust your stitch length to something shorter so you can be more precise.


Or you can slow down the speed of your machine so you don't feel like it's taking you on a crazy ride around the curves. Stay in control!

When you get around to the bottom DO NOT stitch all the way to where you began. Stop short, leaving a 2"-3" gap so you can turn your bib right side out.

It's always a shame to sew your bib shut.

At the end of your stitch, sew another reinforcement stitch, then cut your threads and pull it out of the machine. (Yes, my machine cuts the threads for me. It's a great party trick for when guests come over. "You should see it thread the needle!")
Now we just need to trim the excess fabric from around the corners.

Cut the bottom corners close, but definitely take care not to cut too close - it's a shame to have to go back and restitch things.

Also, trim around the upper curves. Now is the time when you can cut out the neck hole from the backing fabric.

And very importantly: snip little snips into the curve of the neckline, about 1/2" apart so that when we turn it right side out all that seam allowance will be able to spread out and take the curve.

But please, in the name of all that is good and well-made, don't cut through your stitching.

There. All trimmed.


Now, to turn it right side out.

Start with one side of the collar, then move to the next. It's going to take some finger work (or you can use a dowel or the eraser side of a pencil, maybe even the dull side of a bamboo skewer), but you'll want to be sure to really thoroughly press the seams out from inside.


It will start out looking like this:


But after some good convincing, you can get it to look more like this:


Spritz it good and press it well. Take care to turn in the raw edges of the fabrics at the opening when you iron.

If you have a tag, this would be a good time to slide it in place in the gap you've left.


Now for the topstitch. I'm telling you, the topstitch makes all the difference in making this bib go from "homemade" to "where did you have that made?".

Start just above the opening and sew it closed first. Keep sewing all the way around until you are back to where you started. Backstitch, snip threads, and...


You're done!


Okay, well you're almost done. You still need to install the snaps.

No biggie - just follow the directions on the package and use whatever tools work for you. (I use Ryan's hammer and one of Oliver's blocks. I'm resourceful like that.)


Okay, NOW you're done!


Feel awesome?

Great, 'cause you can also use these same steps to make a smaller bib (for younger babies) and a burp cloth.

To make the burp cloth, just cut 11"x17" pieces of your main and backing fabric. And for the smaller bib, you can use this printable pattern below as a cutting template. Just follow this tutorial, and skip the snap part for the burp cloths.

Feel even more awesome?

Great, 'cause here comes the good part. This is the day we're going to get everything in one place.

I would love to have some feedback from y'all! I've gotten lots of requests for different tutorials and such that I have definitely been keeping track of. BUT - I'd love for this to be the place where we get all the requests together at once.

So, what do you want to see? Camera strap covers? Basic sewing skills? Please, name it and I'll see what I can do.

And the payoff? Every comment will be an entry. I'll choose a winner Saturday night and the winner will receive the bib I made in this project and a coordinating burp cloth as a prize. Even if you can't use it for yourself, it's perfectly gender neutral so it can make a great gift too.

Aaaand, one more thing. I've just opened my very own Flickr Pool. (See it over there on my sidebar?) Y'all are so good about sending me photos of the project you make with my tutorials that I think it's a shame not to get the share them as a community. So, have you made a clock or a onesie dress or a mustache shirt? Any oven mitts or baby headbands out there? Please,jump in the pool! Post photos from past projects (there are lots to choose from) or from today's tutorial. I can't wait to see!

Okay, that's all. Phew, that was a long post!

Happy sewing! And, Flickr pool-ing! And requesting!

**Y'all are still welcome to comment, but the last comment that counts in the giveaway is Claire's. I'll announce a winner tomorrow.**

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Brother NX800 machine mentioned above for free in exchange for a mention of the product in my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.


Laura Darling said...

My mom and I just bought a sewing machine last weekend and I am so excited about it! She knows how to sew, so she is teaching me! We have already started a dress and plan on making some skirts on Sunday! I'd love to see some basic sewing techniques, and I'd love to learn how to make camera straps!

rachel e. said...

I would love to see camera strap covers! Our "came with the camera strap" is super boring.

Beckie said...

I love the bib. My kiddos are too old, but it would make a lovely gift. I might just try making one myself.

As a budding photographer with no place for my lense cap, I would love a tutorial on a camera strap cover - perhaps with a lens cap pocket?

keight dukes said...

shutting my bib, snipping my stitches, not sharing my projects! so many places to go wrong and have shame. i'm nervous (not really). luckily the shame more than balanced out with the GLORY of that machine and your awesome first printable pattern. a button that cuts your thread!?!? crosshairs!?!?! this is great great stuff, raechel. must make these so that layla can give her "baby's first 4th of july" bib a break. my suggestion for a tute: ipad case/sleeve. i know you would get the precision and snugness just right where i have had issues. more BROtorials!

The Momma said...

I would love a VERY basic beginning tutorial. A how not to make a sewing machine cry when it sees you coming kind of thing.

Lisa said...

I love it! I am making things for my sister's baby shower to hang on a clothesline - I think I will add this in :-)

Camera strap covers would be useful for people - I am making those as a fundraiser for my 60-mile breast cancer walk I am doing in September.

Something other than tutorials could be sewing knowledge in general - stitch length, thread types, etc.

Kristen516 said...

Love the new sewing machine and how it coordinates so perfectly with the new pink walls of your sewing room.

Thanks for the tutorial. I can't think of anything I'd like to see at the moment but I do appreciate you taking the time to show us! You are so very talented.

Morgan said...

I'd love to see a few tutorials on little tops or dresses for toddler girls. Perferrably something simple though since my skills are still pretty basic.

Maybe some tutorials on basic sewing skills would be good too. For instance...
1. I've seen baby blankets with really pretty satin trim all the way around and I'd love to learn how to sew that on a blanket.
2. How to make corners on a basic baby blanket look pretty.
3. Tips on sewing stretchy fabric...are you supposed to use elastic thread? are there any special machine settings for elastic thread?
4. Tips for cutting straight when you have a large piece of fabric (like when making a blanket). When I try to make a square blanket, the sides never match up right.

Kylie said...

I would love some basic sewing skills blog post on here! You make the cutest stuff and I just went out and bought a sewing machine - my sewing is rough at best but I just made my daughters nursery bedding set from scratch!

I love your blog and reading about yourr adorable family!

Taylor said...

Oh, basic sewing skills! And a recommendation of a good, basic sewing machine. :)

Emily said...

I would love a tutorial for those incredible ruffle bottoms like you have on your etsy store.
I'm looking forward to seeing others projects too.

elizabeth said...

Raechel, she is beatiful {your machine, that is} love it. and love the bib tutorial, thanks for sharing.. I would love any advice you can give on making a quilt.. {like hand stitching the binding, for one} I am getting ready to sew for myself and just bought the most amazing fabric for my very own, first ever quilt :) so excited!!

Ben and Amity said...

I am new to your blog, but I am already in LOVE! Thank you so much for the bib tutorial it will be the perfect project for my "happy spitter" :). I would love some basic tutorials as I am still getting my feet wet in the sewing department. I also love the idea of a camera strap (with a lens pocket as already suggested would also be great). Your photos are alos georgeous so any help in that department would also be awsome! Thanks for sharing ALL your talents with us!

Debra Joy @ jubilee life said...

I basically want tutorials for anything and everything you've ever made for Hazel, because she always looks amazing in every photo. So if there's something you've made for her but haven't shared yet, I for one would love to hear about it!

Also, I've really been waiting for a good tutorial on zipper installation. Any interest in helping me out? :D

Lauri said...

I'm "sew" clueless that I would love to see no-sew handmade projects, like using no-sew fabric tape to make curtains, etc. Also, I've been trying to get up the courage to make a fabric-covered headboard.... :-)

April said...

I would love to receive some basic sewing skills. Also, I would love to learn how to make baby blankets. This tutorial was awesome. Can't wait to try it!

Megan Joy said...

Starting out with the basics would be super helpful! I got a sewing machine as a gift for my wedding last year and I don't know where to begin! :(

{Thirty} Little Piggies said...

What a machine! Makes me want one too! I'd love to learn how to make camera strap covers. I've coveted them on Etsy for several years but haven't purchased one because they look easy to make. I just need a little direction! Can't wait to make one of your bibs, thanks for the tutorial!

Erin Z said...

I love simple but adorable little girl's sun dresses and skirts. I would love a camera strap cover tutorial as well!

erin [underscore] zeller [at] yahoo

KathleenSBass said...

LOVE yor tutorials! Thanks for the great bib design! I love that you share your knowledge instead of trying to personally stock etsy with all the cuteness :)

I would love to hear your tips for basic sewing. The lingo, the jargon, the steps, the materials. Also, how to put a ruffle on a dress. That would be awesome :)

kristin noel said...

Love the machine. I can just imagine its sweet gentle hum. I'd love to have a tutorial on an easy little skirt. Even better if it were a fabric scrap user-upper pattern.

nic said...

The Momma's comment? made me laugh out loud.

and your machine is gorgey!

Kristin said...

I also enjoyed The Momma's comment! My machine used to cry when I approached it, but now I want to cry because I'm so jealous of the beauty that is your new machine. She probably also doles out parenting advice, yes? I mean, threads the needle? Cuts the thread? And let me guess - a one step button hole! She's amazing. Sewing heaven for sure. :)

I'd love the tutorial for the romper Hazel was wearing sitting on her doll house. Cute, cute.

Kristen said...

I want a sewing machine! And that one looks super easy to use!

And I would love to see a camera strap cover!!!

Monica said...

I would love the camera strap and just basic sewing. I have had my sewing machine for almost a year and I barely know how to use it!

Shandell said...

I'd love some general sewing tips. My mom tried to teach me when I was young and I was terrible at it. I'd love to try to learn again. I appreciate your defining things like Fat Quarter for those of us that aren't sewing/fabric savvy!

Charlene Austin said...

Ooohh I'd love a camera strap tutorial. I hoard fabric but never seem to do anything with it. The bib is fantastic. I just found out my goddaughter is pregnant with a boy so I would totally gift it to her.

Also I'm so happy you are doing your garage sale posts again. It's how I originally found you a couple of years ago. Fun stuff.

djrogness said...

I too would love a tutorial on anything girl: romper, ruffle bottoms, the adorable Anna Marie Horner fabric tie dress you made! I'd love some tips on quilts too! Love your tutorials - thanks!

kelleyka said...

I would love for you to show us some basic sewing skills!

Christine said...

Dude, please do not take this comment as an entry, because I have lots of bibs and burp rags of my own creation sitting around my sewing room. :) Please ignore this as an entry. (Although the dots are gorg.)

ANYWAY. Great tute! You made it great and clear and concise. Did you know that awhile ago I purchased the $23 or so (with a coupon) contraption to install pearl snaps "more easily," and I ended up taking it back because it was ridiculous? Never waste money on it, in case you were wondering. Hammer and a spool of thread (or block!) is all you need.

I'm going to buy the ruffler foot in a day or so, so I want to see a tutorial with ruffles so I can make sure I'm using mine correctly. I have purely selfish motives.


Beth said...

Would LOVE a ruffle bottom bloomers tutorial....or a ruffles tutorial altogether. Or a baby girls romper tutorial!
Love the new machine ~ glad you're enjoying it as well!

Too Much Good said...

I would love some basic sewing skills. Maybe even something idiot proof like a burp cloth? I have never seen anything ever but I still love your tutorials :-)

Sarah said...

I would love basic sewing skills too! I am just a beginner!! I've attempted a few things, but would love to sharpen my skills a bit!

Tracy said...

camera strap, for a point and shoot maybe?

Dad said...

There's my hammer!

Beth Norman said...

Camera Strap Covers!! ANd I would love that bib and burp cloth for my brand new baby girl!!! :)

Karen said...

I'd love some tutorials on jazzing up onesies: new-sew projects, ruffle bottoms, personalizing, etc.

Can't wait to share these tutorial with my mom (the sewing talent of the family!) so she can add this to the list of project for my twins!

Susan C said...

My daughter shared this with me, I think she's hinting that she wants some bibs from me for her twins (due in September). This new grandma-to-be is already sewing some quilts for them (and the cousin that's due in October)! I'm always on the lookout for new ideas, now especially for baby projects.

amanda said...

I've long wanted to sew myself a camera strap cover... Would love a tutorial on that!!
Awesome! Lucky! Happy sewing!

BritneyD said...

Camera strap cover, please!

Jessica said...

I am new to sewing and would love to see some info for beginners!

sush said...

Gathering - and those cute ruffle bloomers :)

Anonymous said...

I would LOVe a machine that trims threads!

A tutorial I would like is little girls dresses (with sleeves)! I can do tank top or pillow case dresses, but those elusive sleeves just keep me guessing!


Wendie said...

I love this tutorial! I am sure I will be sewing some of these soon!I would love more info on quilting or any baby girl dresses! Thank you again for this info. and pattern :)

Anonymous said...

I would love, love, love to see a camera strap tutorial. My husband just bought me my first SLR camera and I would love to dress it up. :o)

Kristie said...

I would love to see some basics too. Like, length, width, and tension??? Still don't really understand what they are and how to use them! I also would love to see what the Laura Ashley of the Brother can do! Are their embrodery patterns in there?!? And a post on your ironing cover would be fab too!

Bekah F. said...

I was given a sewing machine a little over a year ago and I have yet to break it out of the box! I'm a little intimidated at how to even set up the machine to tackle a project. Maybe you could start from the very beginning-- like how to thread a bobbin? ha!

Sarah-Anne said...

camera strap covers or maybe a skirt tutorial!! pleaseandthankyou. :)

Jessica said...

Camera strap, and iPad covers. Also, I just bought my first serger. I have NO idea how to use it yet. Help please?

Belknap Blog said...

The knees keep ripping on my son's jeans so I would love a simple tutorial on how to cut them and hem them to turn them into shorts.

Ashley said...

That machine is AH-MAZE-ING. I would be too scared to use it!!! So awesome that you have been given this opportunity! You rock girl.

I'd love a camera strap tutorial and I too need some serger basics. I have my (late) great-grandmother's serger and I need to take advantage of that gift! I have also been meaning to ask/request of you a little tour of your sewing room and/or your sewing organization. I need some pointer and motivation to clean off my dining room table and get organized! Then maybe I'd have room in said table for more projects!!! ;) I gotta get a pic of one of the headbands I made for my girl using your tute... Even though my skillz are nothing compared to yours, oh wise one!

Seagers said...

I would love a tutorial on how to do binding.... or a simple dress for baby girl!

the single mama said...

I'd love to see some more BOY based tutorials :)

Also basic sewing skills would always be a helpful brush up :D

Carly said...

I would love some basic sewing techniques!!!!


Wendy said...

Love the bib tutorial. As the mom of three little boys, I'd love to see some boy sewing tutorials in the future.

efran said...

I know I've asked before, but I will ask again... A tutorial on how you make your adorable labels. I bought the supplies you suggested, now I just need some direction. :-)

Claire said...

I would love a tutorial on how to turn my son's jeans (w/ the knees ripped!) into shorts!

KirkKrew said...

I'm so excited to see this tutorial on here! I got a sewing machine in March and have only used it once! And I'm expecting baby #3 in December. I'd love to see basic tutorials, anything using a ruffler foot and baby gear!!! Thanks for sharing your projects!!

Abby in MS said...

Yay for your new machine!! Yay! =)

Thank you for the easy tutorial. I sewed as a child with my mom but got out of it in my late teens. Now, as a mom, I eye every little thing and wish I hadn't given it up. After seeing this I am tempted to try my hand at sewing again. Pun intended! Ha!!

Tana said...

I read this tutorial right after you posted it but I didn't comment because I couldn't decide what other tutorials I'd like to see... until today! My husband bought me a nice fancy DSLR for Mother's Day so I'd love to see a camera strap tutorial (along with basic sewing skills because Lord knows I need all the help I can get). I'd also love to see a simple baby sling tutorial, if you have one!

Happy Mother's Day!

Anonymous said...

She is a beauty (the machine I mean!) Thanks for the bib tutorial. I need to make a few baby gifts. I saw on your amazon list that you love the Silhouette. I was wondering if you used it much? I have one but would be interested in knowing what you use it on. I haven't used mine very much at all. I'm all about some basic sewing skills though. THanks for all you do.

Marie said...

some ideas... I know there are tuitorials out there, but I always like how easy yours seem to be to follow... apron (for mom and/or little girl), curtains (for my baby girls room), coffee clutch, super hero boy's cape, camera strap cover