Friday, February 26, 2010

Blind Leading the Blind; Giant Bib Tutorial

So, you have messy kids like the ones you saw in my last post do you? And you are thinking to yourself, "There has to be a better way. A washcloth is just not cutting it!"

Well, have no fear! A tutorial for making a gigantic bib out of kitchen towels is here.

Before you get too excited, let me inform you of something very important. If you know how to sew at all, you are forbidden from reading this post.

Stop. I'm not kidding. Don't argue with me, it's not fair for you to sit there on the other end of the computer screen and laugh those post baby pounds right off at my expense. And that's just what you would be doing. So, I forbid it.

Okay, for those of you that are further allowed to read, we will struggle forward. But I warn, and I caution, I am NOT well versed in sewing. Let not the fancy machine or the made up sewing words deceive you. And promise me that you will NEVER tell my grandmother about this post. She would dig herself a grave just to roll over in if she knew that I didn't pick these things out fifty times until I got it right. (She's a perfectionist...and she sews like Dickens writes...hence my lack of interest in sewing.)

Okay. So, you will start by going to Target and buying one kitchen towel for each bib that you want to make in whatever colors you like. I chose to get 3 red, and 3 teal. One color for Smiles, and one color for Gumby. You could get all the fancy colors they have, which would be fun, but you will save money if you stick to a couple colors so that you don't have to buy as many colors of the next ingredient. Or you could get some that isn't the same color as your bib, but just coordinates with multiple colors. Whatever makes you smile.

Then head to the fabric store and pick out thread to match (no fancy stuff here...just the all purpose stuff) , and then some of this stuff...

(bias tape)

I'd be sure to get the wide stuff, but you don't need the quilt binding size (which I almost bought right next to it until I realized that it wasn't actually bias tape, but I'm sure it would function even if it did look funny). If you don't get the wide stuff then you might have some trouble. We reserve that for the people that are good.

And...well, we all admitted that we aren't so good at this sewing thing.

One pack should be good for about three bibs. At least that's what worked well for me.

Next, we get real fancy like. Find something in your home that is round and not really big. About the size of a roll of packing tape (duct tape would work too). Just be sure not to get too big! It may look small for your little one's neck, but trust me- this size is PLENTY big for any kid. And if you get too big then you will be crying. You'll cry because I will tease you and throw it in your face and say I told you so. I won't. We non-sewer folks have to stick together you know. But it will save you the cash that you would spend when you did find out that I was not lying to you.

Know how I know? Because my first try was trash because I cut WAY too big in the circle department. So be wise and learn from my mistakes.

Place your tape roll in the center of the width of the towel and about a Campbell's soup can (top of can on the hem, and bottom of can on the tape) length down the towel. See...fancy measurements for sure. And do make sure that you aren't using a family size can, though it would still do the job. You are trying to keep the front clean, so the back doesn't need all that fabric.

Next, trace around your tape roll...or whatever round thing you found. Perhaps it's a large container of yogurt, or the bottom of a mason jar. Trace around the outside of whatever the heck it is.

Now you should have your circle. (I didn't center perfectly. I just eyed it.)

Now you want to choose where you think the center of that circle is and cut straight down to it from the top hem of the towel. Like so:

Do that with all of your towels. And if you're like me, you won't throw those left over circles out. We're keeping them to make bean bags out of =).

Now you have reached the part that is my least favorite. My normal rule is- if it requires pins and you can't make do without them...DON'T DO IT. I hate pins. Apparently, my mother tells me this is due to the fact that I have mammoth pins and I need to buy "silk pins" (insert sassing my mother, nasal, I'm being obstinate because she's telling me what to do voice here). Who the crud knew there were different size pins anyway?!?


For the sake of my children's clothes, we trudge on and break the rules of no pinning. But nobody said it was going to look pretty.

Take your bias tape and open it up so that you can put the cut parts of your towel inside it. I started on the left side and worked my way around.

When you start, you will fold your bias tape just a tiny bit so that the ends are nice looking. (Like fold them up into the inside by 1/4 inch when you are pinning...does that make sense?) Then again at the other end when you are finishing.

This is mostly not too hard, except for the part where the circle meets the straight part. You have to do a corner...but if you can make your bed sheets, you can probably do this with a couple of tries.

Try to do a "hospital corner" like you do where the foot of the bed meets the side. Pin the straight side all the way up to the top, then you fold over making a sharp corner with your fold. After a few tries, or one if you are just really good like that, it should look something like this:

Pin it however you can make it work. I have no advice there...I just made it work as best I could.

I realized as I was writing that I didn't take any photos of the actual sewing. Go figure. I needed all of my hands to actually use the machine...because my skills are so advanced and all.

But all you need to do is start at the right side at the bottom. It will actually be the left side at the top because you will turn it around and feed into the machine with the edge at the top and the circle part near your belly. Hopefully that makes sense to you. I'm sorry that I am not more talented so that I could give you a photo example.

Work your way around the circle, sewing with your sewing machine foot on the bais tape. It's pretty much the size of the "tape" (which would adhere to the fabric if it worked like it sounds and that would make it much easier...who names these things?), so if you keep the stuff centered on the tape it should work okay.

And don't feel too bad if you go at the speed of molasses in winter. Cause it took me about 17 times the amount of time it would take one of those ladies I kicked out of our post. See why I did that now? A couple of other things. When you start and stop stitching, make sure to do that backwards stitching thing so that it will stay in for you. You don't want all your hard work to go out in the wash because then you would have to pin again. And we DON'T want to be doing that!

Once you get the neck part done, you are mostly finished and the rest isn't hard or precise at all.

Fold the bottom of the towel up to form a pocket. Try to make it straight...but it's not that necessary to be precise. It's a bib for Pete's sake. It's going to hold oatmeal and spaghetti! Put a pin in the top to hold it...and one in the bottom too. You know, since we have all that practice with it and all. Like so:

Also, do two to mark the middle. You'll sew about three quarters of the way up there so that your pocket isn't too flimsy. Or something like that. (I just realized that this photo was of the one where I did 3 pockets instead of two. I pinned at 1/3 and 1/3 on the towel. Not precise. But really, then I figured out that doing one in the middle was enough, and who wants to do more than they need to?! So you can just do one seam in the middle if you want to.)

Then you sew those. Straight line up and back stitch at the top of the pocket over the hem of the towel a few times to make sure it holds real well. (Back stitch all the way over the front and back of the hem- back and forth until the hem has been sewn over completely three or four times.) Go super slow here so that you don't break the needle because it's pretty thick. Like one stitch at a time, stopping-between-them slow.

You guessed it. I know that after breaking a needle. Yep, I like to learn the hard way. Again...learn from my mistakes. Trust me, it's not fun to learn how to use every function of your machine in one simple project.

Now, how are we going to get this bib to stay around the kid's neck? I'm glad you asked. We are going to use iron on Velcro. Who needs more sewing? Not me, that's for sure.

Take your iron on Velcro and stick it to the bottom section of the bib. Mine is cool and sticks like tape before you iron it. This makes it easy to be sure you have the Velcro in the right spot.

Now, take the top and put it over the bottom so that the sticky Velcro is covered up and on the non-hem part of the towel. Like this:

Next, we use our handy dandy iron on high heat with no steam. Make sure to get it good and hot. I'm sure the Velcro package will give instructions for this. Listen to what they say, it could be different for you than it was for mine.

Then flip it and heat up the other side. We want to make sure that both sides got good and heated so that they both adhere.

And there you go! You've got your bib that will keep even the messiest of kids clean.

As soon as the Velcro cools off, you are good to go on cleaning. Just wash it in the regular laundry.

I'll try to post a photo of the bibs on kids, but I'm still having trouble finding anything on this stinking computer. It's not my friend right now. AND we still don't have Photoshop installed. Ugh!


Mom said...

Wow! Very nice tutorial. You are getting good at sewing...Don't be intimidated by Grandma's skill, she grew up in a time when people sewed to save money. Now you have to love it to be able to justify the expense. You have just enough skill to be really creative and design these practical bibs. They will make your life easier. I'm proud of You!

Gramps said...

Grandaughter: I refused to go out and start digging tonight as GG and i read your sewing lesson. GG was impressed with your creativety and effort. You really should have picked out the mistakes though. GG will have nightmares tonight in her dreams.
There will be a class in sewing 101 more basic when you come to visit next time. We had a great laugh and we both love you much.