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) or on the (absolutely adorable, if I do say so myself) picture of Mae if you need to download the pattern.
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.
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 :)