Wednesday, June 5, 2013

baby bib tutorial

I decided to provide a basic tutorial for those who are new to sewing since this is a very easy first project.  I realize that the information contained in this tutorial will be pretty much useless for an average sewer, but I'm hoping a new sewer will find it very helpful.  Click here (affiliate link) if you need to download the pattern.

http://www.craftsy.com/pattern/sewing/accessory/babytoddler-bib/96123

Download and print the pdf pattern from Craftsy.  Be sure to print actual size with no scaling.  The pattern is two pages printed in the landscape format.  Overlap the two halves of the pattern at the solid line, tape them together, and cut the pattern out.  Here's what the completed pattern should look like:


Trace the pattern onto your main fabric, the back fabric, and an interlining if desired.  Be sure to mark the snap placement on your main fabric.  Tip: Use a hole punch to mark the locations of the snaps on the pattern so you can easily transfer marks to your fabric.  Cut all pattern pieces.  I chose to use a cotton quilting print for my main fabric, PUL for the waterproof back layer, and cotton flannel for the interlining since PUL is not absorbent.  If a fabric such as cotton chenille or flannel is used for the back, the extra lining is not necessary.  So now you should have two or three pattern pieces, similar to this:


The next step varies based on the number of layers used.  If tyou are only using two layers just layer them with right sides together.  If you are using three layers, put the interlining down with the back fabric right side up on top of it.  Then place the main fabric on the top, wrong side facing up.  Here's what the fabric sandwich should look like:


Once the fabric is layered, pin together to prepare for sewing.  Tip: If you are using PUL, pin very generously as this fabric is notoriously slippery while sewing.  Make sure to leave an opening about 3-4" on the center bottom of the bib, as you will later pull the bib through the opening to turn it right side out.  I usually mark my opening with both marker and pins so Idon't accidentally sew it shut.  Trust me, it has happened before :)


Start  on one side of the opening on the bottom of the bib and sew all the way around the bib with a 3/8" seam allowance.  Be sure to backstitch on both sides of the opening so you don't pull any stitches when turning the bib right side out.  Tip: As you sew around a curve, be sure to guide the fabric under the pressure foot without pulling on it.  If you are struggling to get a smooth curve, go very slowly and raise the pressure foot often while the needle is in the down position to reposition the fabric as needed.  This bib is sewn with contrasting thread so you can see the stitch line, but matching thread or plain white thread will work as well since the stitches will be on the inside of the bib on the finished product.


Once you remove the pins, clip the curves.  This helps the finished bib have a nice smooth appearance.  Many people use pinking shears to clip curves, but since I don't own any, I use the old fashioned way :)  I take my little embroidery scissors and make little cuts within the seam allowance.  Sound tedious?  It really is.  Maybe I should invest in some pinking shears!  Tip: Be sure not to cut through your stitches while clipping the curves.  One this bib, you can see that the outside curves are also trimmed to 1/8" to reduce bulk when turned.  Even though this seems so simple, it is an incredibly important step.  Don't skip it!


After you clip all the curves, turn the bib right side out through the opening in the bottom.  Tip: Use a tool to smooth the edges from the inside.  It makes it easier to topstich in the next step.  There are tools specifically made for this purpose that range from quite simple like this one to deluxe like this one, but many other things work just as well.  I know that many people use a knitting needle.  Personally, I use a pair of scissors with a rounded edge, and in a crunch, I once used the back end of a bamboo skewer from my kitchen :)  Your bib should now look like this:


At this point, you have the option of closing the opening on the bottom and attaching snaps, resulting in a perfectly functional bib.  However, if you take the time to add topstiching, you can achieve a much more professional appearing product.  This tutorial is going to show you how to finish the bib as pictured on the pattern cover, which includes topstitching.

As a beginner, it is probably easiest to pin all the way around the bib just to keep the fabric in place while topstitching around the curves.  I choose to not use pins anywhere other than the bottom opening since I do a lot of topstitching, but I did use them when I first started sewing.  Neither way is incorrect; it's just a matter of personal preference. 

With bib wrong side up pull back back fabric and interlining slightly.  Crease the front fabric along the 3/8" seam allowance.  You can use an iron or simply finger press.  Turn the bib over so it is right side up and crease the back and interlining the same as the front.  Line up the two pressed edges and place a pin in the center making sure to catch all three (or two) layers.  Continue pinning until the entire opening is pinned shut.  


Now, topstitch about 1/4" away from the edges with a longer than normal stitch length.  Go slowly when you sew over the pins and make sure that the topstitching catches all three layers, as this is what closes the opening on the bottom of the bib. Also make sure to backstitch at the beginning and end of the topstitching so it does not come loose later.  I used a contrasting thread for this bib so the stitching is visible, but you can use a thread that blends in to the background color of your bib if you prefer that the stiching doesn't stand out or if you are not confident in your topstitching ability.  Tip: I find it best to start the topstitching in a not-so-obvious place, in this case, the back of the bib near the snaps.


The last step is to apply the snaps.  My favorite tool for this is these snap pliers from kamsnaps along with their size 20 plastic snaps.  I make cloth diapers (for Mae, not to sell) and I have never had a problem with a single snap, so I use them on clothes and accessories as well.  Alternatively, you can use Velcro to close the bib. Just place the velcro over the marks for the snaps and stitch in place.  And you're done!


I hope you find this tutorial helpful.  If you have any questions or need me to clarify anything, just leave a comment on this post.  I'm something of a procrastinater (hence why I am sewing four bibs for a baby shower that is in three days while also testing a pattern, writing this tutorial, having a garage sale, and planting a garden) but I promise to try my hardest to get back to you :)

26 comments :

  1. wish there were a link to Craftsy

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    1. The first picture is a link to Craftsy, but I will add another text link in the post :)

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  2. Hi Teri
    Thanks very much for the tutorial. I have just bought my first sewing machine and having no sewing experience your tutorial is great for me. The bib looks really sweet. I can't wait to make it.

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    1. Good luck with your first project! Let me know if you have trouble with any of the steps. I'm always happy to help :)

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  3. This is a nice tutorial and the details are very well stated, I like the way how you executed all the steps. Well, I am pretty much sure that every aspiring baby bib makers can follow the steps easily. Thank you for sharing this with us!

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  4. This is great! What a wonderful tutorial. I am an advance beginner sewist but I am going to use this pattern and instructions over and over. It is detailed and perfect. I am sewing with PUL fabric and I love the tip! Thanks again.

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  5. I love the large size and shape of your toddler bib and the tutorial is excellent. I am going to scale it down to suit my 6 month old. Thank you for taking the time to put this on your blog :)

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  6. Just made 5 bibs from this pattern -- great tutorial! Thanks so much! Made them all out of denim material, each decorated differently -- from fabric flowers, to lace and decorative stitches, they are all adorable! Thanks for the pattern!

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  7. Replies
    1. Here's a nice little write up about PUL - http://www.celticclothswholesale.com/pages/PULFabric.htm

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  8. Oh this is so nice! Thanks for sharing it. I just downloaded the free pattern and am excited to make some bibs for my soon-to-be-born baby. :)

    -Zar

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  9. Thanks for sharing this great tutorial. Will be making a few of these for my new grandson. Great way to use up some of my stash.

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    1. One of my favorite things about sewing bibs is how little fabric they require :)

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  10. Could you use Velcro instead of snaps on the closure? I am worried about applying the snaps correctly....

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    1. Yes, Velcro would be a good alternative.

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  11. Just made a prototype of your bib pattern. Having a crafty baby shower for our niece and wanted to make sure I could teach others. While working on this had the idea to have our ladies group at church make some for the local pregnancy crisis center. Thanks so much for taking time to put all of this together so others can enjoy and be successful with the project.

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  12. Hi, thanks for this tutorial, very helpful! Was wondering what age is this pattern intended for? Thanks in advance.

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    1. It is an infant/toddler bib, so probably around ages 6 months - 3.

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  13. Replies
    1. http://www.diapersewingsupplies.com/what-is-pul-fabric-pul-fabric-by-eco-pul/

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  14. Great pattern! Thank you for the terrific and complete pattern. I will be making these for my new granddaughter and friends.

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  15. What age would this fit? My granddaughter is 14months...would I need to make it a bit bigger?

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    1. My daughter could still wear this when she was three :)

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    2. Thank you for letting me know! And a big thank you for sharing the pattern!!

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  16. I'm sad :( the link for the pattern is no longer available. I was going to make a few for a friend...

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    1. Thank you for pointing that out! The link is now fixed :)

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