So, the apron project is complete…
It only took 2 weeks and an extra 1.5 yards of fabric, but it is done!
The whole process was delayed slightly by the need to redesign the sewing area – which is done! I’ll write about that later…
For the project itself, Butterick patter B5125 – Apron, I selected a delightful black fabric with yellow flowers. I pre-washed and ironed all 2 yards of it. There it is, wrong side out.
As a project manager, I know that one of the most important pieces of documentation about a project is “Lessons Learned” and that it is critical to share and review past lessons learned when undertaking new projects. That’s why I started this blog, to share my lessons learned and to keep track of them for my own future reference.
Marking and Cutting Fabric
This project I learned that fabric shrinks. a lot. yep. My 45″ wide cotton print shrunk a full 3″ in the prewash. That made it very hard to position the pattern pieces according to the instructions. Actually, it was impossible. I needed that 3″ plus some. As you can see from the images below, it would not work…
I ended up using some additional fabric I purchased for another project – black cotton. Used it for all the ties and trim to keep the piece uniform.
I realized as I started laying out the pieces that to cut the pattern to my size would render it useless for any other size. I do not like to waste anything and could not bear the thought of taking my awesome 99 cent pattern and not being able to use it for anyone else. What if I really liked the results? I’d be stuck! So, off to the fabric store for my options. I bought marking pens, transfer paper and even some special tracing fabric that you can use to cut out a secondary pattern piece. All in the name of preserving my 99 cent pattern. I know, get over it, right?
Options for Marking fabric
I tried every different option known to man to mark my fabric for this project. I used the wheel and transfer paper. I used a marker. I used a pencil (a lot like chalk). I found that it really depended on the fabric and the task. The printed fabric did not mark well and I ended up using the marker to trace over the faint lines.
The tracing paper did work well on the black fabric and was easy to see. The pencil helped transfer additional markings to cut pieces.
Warning – be prepared to make sure your markings are on every piece you cut. You really need to do this as it is necessary when putting pieces together.
In the end, I transferred the pattern to the fabric and saved the originals for another use without having to create additional pieces. That was a relief.
Thoughts on Pins
Have them in multiple places
Another thing I learned – you need pins, lots of pins. In more than one place. No matter where my pins were, I needed them in a different place. I have decided that I am going to get a little pin holder for the ironing board as well as for the sewing area. That should help.
Get Glass pins or be really careful
I melted a couple. After that, I figured out how to position the pins to allow for better ironing of my “narrow hems.”
i don’t like pin cushions – i like magnets.
There is just something handy about picking up a pin and setting it down, knowing that it is going to stay where you put it. I found myself sticking them in my ironing board cover temporarily, but only because I didn’t have to aim. I grabbed one of my bug magnets and used it on the table to catch pins while I was working. I used them so often, I really didn’t want to spend the extra time on aiming at a pin cushion.
my iron is hot, yours is too.
Dang hot. Really really really hot. In case you are wondering, I burned myself. Just a little, but it still hurts like mad. Oh, and I melted a pin head. Time to get the glass headed pins my mother recommended…
You should really iron your pattern pieces – just make sure it is a dry iron. Otherwise the wrinkles can throw off your cutting.
Keep track of fusible interfacing and trim it back so none is exposed BEFORE you iron the piece again. Otherwise you have to try to get the interfacing off the iron or the ironing board cover. Either one is no fun.
I like listening to books on tape when I sew but have to pause them to understand the directions. Really, having someone read to me while I sew is delightful.
The learning Curve
I am not sure what “easy” means. For this project, labeled easy, I had to look up the following stitches because the directions were incredibly obscure. Fortunately, I live in the age of YouTube and there is always a good video somewhere…
This means to use a stitch to hold 2 pieces together temporarily. Basically, it is so you can take the pins out.
I use a #6 length stitch on my machine (the longest it will go) and move my needle position as far to the right as I can. Then I can use the seam allowance guide to feed the fabric based on the seam allowance for the final stitch. This keeps my basting stitch well inside the seam allowance and I don’t have to guess how to feed the fabric.
Treat it just like basting, but only sew one piece of fabric. It keeps the fabric in shape around curves.
So this one totally threw me. Thank heavens for the video I found – the link is below. Basically you have a piece of fabric that is going to flip around and be on the inside of the item. You see these at a necklines a lot. When you turn the pieces right side out, you don’t want the inside piece to roll up over the top so you secure it to the seam allowance to force it to lay flat. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRtA6_2QiPE