Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sewing Room Put to Use... Easy Peasy!

I accepted the challenge from a fun and clever group of bloggers to join their latest endeavor... Mission Possible: The Last Tuesday Challenge.  These are the same bloggers who hosted Imagine the Impossibilities, which prompted the building and full completion of the very useful set of built-in bookshelves in our dining/homeschooling room.

The challenge for the last Tuesday of this month was "It's a Cinch: Easy Peasy Tips and Projects."  
the space between

I've been wanting to share this for awhile... It's a favorite quick sewing project and gift idea.

Prince CuddleBunny about 2 weeks ago...
Ok, it only seems like it to me!
When Princess Bossy was born, we were given a bib that had been made from a small hand towel.  It had had a hole cut in with ribbing around it, like a t-shirt neck.  It was so easy and quick to pull on and off, so was a favorite bib...  But its one layer was too thin and overall, it was kind of small, so I worked to create an improved version.  

Bigger and a little thicker, I found this bib design to work well for my kids well into the toddler/preschool years.  It was great in the car for slipping over their heads while they enjoyed a drink or snack, and it protected the seat belts as well as their clothing.  

I also sold them for a few years in children's boutiques and consignment shops.   For selling, I got a little fancier with lace trim, and even a tuxedo version for boys.  (I know it's unbloggerly not to have a photo, but I can't find one!) But it was the plainer versions that were most popular and they go together much quicker.  For the time and expense, I can give a new mom an extra bib, instead of doing the unnecessary trims.

When I sold bibs, I ordered full bolts of terry cloth fabric.  This is expensive and bulky to deal with.  In the last few years I discovered the ease and economy of using clearance sale bar towels.  Even more recently I found shop towels at Costco, 60 for under $20...So about 33 cents each.  Also, when we cleaned out my in-laws' house, there were lots of old towels in decent shape that no one else wanted, so I thought they'd make fun and colorful bib backs.  So, maybe Goodwill, or other thrift shopping, could be a good source.

For the fronts I use cotton print.  I'd previously tried poly/cotton blends when I fell in love with some fun prints, but that doesn't absorb as well.  Also, since the cotton terry cloth and all cotton fronts tend to keep shrinking a little over time, they stayed in good proportion to each other, while the poly/cotton fronts didn't do the same and ended up looking sloppy.

I started this project Sunday, wondering if it would fit in the 20-minute time limit for the Easy Peasy Project.  I knew it might take a little longer than usual, as I haven't sewn in awhile, and didn't have things as ready as I otherwise might.  (Plus, I had to take pictures.) But I got a snapshot of my phone clock, so I could keep track...

Pullover Baby/Toddler Bibs

It's a good idea to wash both fabrics before sewing, so the major shrinking is done and won't affect the bib later.

Inspired by the luscious quilt made by Allison
for her new baby girl at Cluck, Cluck Sew, I decided to
go girly pink for my grand-niece
Remove any selvages from the fabrics, or in the case of towels, any hems or trims.  

I had an old one to use as a pattern.  You can use
scissors, of course, but I find it easier and more
accurate to use my rotary cutter and quilt ruler
I generally cut the tops and bottoms at 14" x 18" so I can get 6 bib pieces out of a yard of fabric.  
3 out of half a yard.  1 for now, and 2 ready for next time

If you're using bar towels, you'll have to adjust the bib size to fit them. 

Fold is at the bottom in this
pic.  You might barely see
the corner cut at an angle
 on the bottom right

Cut one piece of ribbing, per bib, at 4" tall and 12" long/wide.  
I cut on the fold, so cut a doubled piece at 4" by 6", snipping a small notch at one side on the fold so the center is pre-marked for later.

Out of the bib tops, I cut a 5" in diameter hole, centered about 2" down from one end.  Again, I do this with the bib front folded in half and leave little notches for easier placement of the ribbing collar later.

Running the foot along the edge as seam guide.
Couldn't make just one!  So you'll see parts of
2 bibs in the photos.
With the right sides facing each other, I pin, then sew with the needle centered and the foot running along the edge of the fabric, 
for about a 3/8" seam allowance.  I sometimes use the serger, just barely cutting any from the edge, to leave the bib as large as possible.

Because the heft of the terry cloth makes turning out the square corners difficult, 
I either angle or round the outer corners on each bib.

Turn the bib right side out, through the 5" hole, pulling out the corners and making sure the bib is smoothed flat.  

At this point, you can pin around the outside edges for doing the top stitching, but I often don't, just straightening and smoothing with my hands as I sew.  
But I always pin around the neck hole, because it has a tendency to scoot as you maneuver the bib to sew around that circle.

Top stitch about 3/8 inch from the outside edges, 
Did you notice the kitty print is upside down?!  For that reason, this
bib piece has been left, unmade, for a few years.  I finally decided to make
it.  When the baby picks up the bib to look at it, they will be right side up
to her!

and machine baste around the neck hole, as close as possible to the cut edge.  You might want to use a narrow, but long zig-zag stitch here, so the hole isn't held too tightly when putting it on and off a child.

Always thought there should be
something cool to do with the
circles.  Haven't come up with it yet.

Now, finally, you can cut the terry cloth out of the 5" hole.

Fold the ribbing in half, right side in, and sew across the end, about 1/4" from the edge.  

Turn it right side out, and fold in half, lengthwise.

If you hadn't left little notches to help yourself when cutting the ribbing and neck hole, you can fold each in half now and make tiny clips to mark the top, bottom, and even sides of the neck hole, and center of each ribbing section.  

Right sides together, match the seam on the ribbing to the center back of the neck hole.  Next pin the center of the ribbing section to the bottom center of the neck hole, and do the centers of the sides similarly.

Using a shallow zig-zag stitch to allow stretching, stretch the ribbing as you sew, to match the fabric around the neck hole.  Finish that seam allowance with a wider zig-zag or with a serger.

Press all, and done!                                                                                                                                                     

Now... How long did that take...                                                                                                                                                                                                


No, the sewing did not take 6 hours, but I don't have the exact number of minutes.  Prince CuddleBunny decided to cut his own banana bread so as not to interrupt me that morning, holding the partial loaf in his hand, cutting toward that hand... so cut into the base of his index finger with our very sharp bread knife.  So after a near fainting spell and major panic (him, not me), off to Urgent Care we ran to get him glued back together.                                                                                                                           

My guess is that a bib might take me half an hour... So it doesn't suit the 20 minute limit.  However, if I get a few going at once, assembly-line fashion, I'm certain I could do three in an hour... So, ta-dah! 20 minutes each.  :-)

I am also excited that I FINALLY have something to share for Sew Cute Tuesday at The Creative Itch

Creative Itch

And happy to celebrate the return of One Project Closer's link party at their new site, "The Better Half."

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