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Time for Something New – Part 4 -Grand Finale!

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This is part 4 in a series I’m writing about my first experience making a tank top for myself.  I shared in my last post of this series that I had only made my stepdaughter a purple dress (remember the pictures?) several years ago, but I haven’t made any garments since.  Why not?  I really don’t know.  I’ve been so busy with client quilts that I haven’t really even had time to consider even doing it.

This is the #yearofme though and I’m not neglecting me anymore.  All moms can relate to this.  After Bailey was born, I became a second thought.  Well, not even second.  I was the last possible thought in my head.  Everyone else came first…so this year, I’m making stuff for me too!  At least that’s the goal.  I’m making this top and also my Block of the Month sampler quilt top will be mine!  My first ever quilt that I will have made for me and me alone.

If you’re interested in participating in a FREE Block of the Month – feel free to check out the Block of the Month page where every month I post a new block to add to our sampler quilts.  You may not want a sampler quilt, and that’s fine too!  Make it in whatever colors you want and however you want!  Feel free to join me on my BOM adventure learning new but basic skill building blocks for our quilting toolbox.  I’d love to have you along!

Back to our something new….

Now with our pattern pieces cut out, it’s time to make a top!  (Hopefully!)

My original goal was to have this series completed before July 1st…well, life happens right and that usually makes us stop doing the things we love : i.e. sewing and quilting.  So today…let’s see if we can get through this pattern!

When I was at Becky & Pam’s place getting one on one instruction time, they both recommended a new brand of scissors to me: KAI.  I had never heard of them.  I have a great pair of GINHAM scissors, but when I used these KAI scissors…oh my.  It cut like a hot knife through butter!

After reading a few Facebook group posts on tips and how to cut out patterns straight, it came to me…most new sewers do not invest in proper scissors.  I didn’t.  I had the cheapest pair I could find and it added so many headaches to my sewing abilities that I just didn’t use them.  I just used my rotary cutter for sewing and scissors for trimming threads as needed while I quilted and I stayed away from garments and other great projects.  You get the jest, right?

So before we go any further…and if you want a pair of awesome scissors, here’s the link I found to the KAI Sewing Scissors Site.  We used the Dressmaker scissors, I believe, and this site has them for only $25.  I couldn’t believe how cheap they were compared to my GINHAM scissors.  They were amazing, so if you want a pair, grab them.  I’m not an affiliate, just sharing my experience.

The other important tip that you need to know before you start sewing is that you are NOT sewing 1/4″ seam like you do with quilting.  Each pattern will have your seam allowance identified in the instructions.  Be sure you mark that!  My seam allowance in this pattern states 1/2″, but know that 5/8″ is also common.  I went ahead and marked a 1/2″ on my machine AND used the seam guide.  I knew I would forget and go back to 1/4″.  (SPOLIER ALERT:  I did anyway.)

Without giving too much info from the pattern away…We took the front piece of fabric and created a small ruffle at the top of the neckline.  The directions from the pattern were to make each pleat but Becky knew a way to do a few basting stitches and then pulled the threads to get a slight ruffle in the end.  It was like magic.

We then sewed the sides, without using a serger.  Just my amazing Featherweight!  Then the tops where the shoulders are.  {For the details and specifics you will need to purchase the pattern.  I’m not trying to steal anyone’s pattern information, but I’m sharing my experience on how well it came together.}

IN PROGRESS PICS–>

Next, comes the hardest part in my opinion…the finishing part.  We did not do bias binding, but FACING.  NOT INTERFACING.  I know, right?  I was confused too.   Pam took the pattern and created FACING patterns by drawing them and pinned them to the extra fabric we had remaining and then I cut them out, sewed them together…and they pinned them to the garment for me to sew on.

Once the FACING was on, it was so hard to use the iron to turn the facing to help finish the seam with a top stitch.  Hemming the bottom with it being curved was very hard for me too.  I’m pretty sure it’s not a perfect hem.

So what’s the difference between FACING and INTERFACING?  Well, I found a website with videos that explains it way better than I could, so check this one out!

I won’t lie.  I stared at the unfinished garment for about a week before I had the nerve to do the final hems.  It did scare me.  I tried and tried to figure out how to hem with the curved bottom edge and I finally found a way that I would not be upset or disappointed with.  Where did I find this wealth of information to discover the way to finish the hem without a serger?  The internet.  Youtube, to be exact.  I found a video from Hobby Lobby, of all places, that identified 6 different ways to finish a seam without a serger.  It was actually an amazing video and I saved it.  Here’s the link to it:  Hobby Lobby’s Magic Video.  I renamed it myself, for linking purposes such as this.  LOL.

If I had known how to do the hem already or was with Becky & Pam longer – I could have started this top and finished in less than 5 hours.  I met up with Becky & Pam at around 2PM and left their house around 5:30PM and had all but the final hems (bottom and neckline) done.

Final thoughts on the pattern…If you are a brand new beginner to sewing garments, then it’s a bit tough.  The language used in the pattern for instructions was not well written for a beginner, in my opinion.  I’m so glad I had help from Becky & Pam!

What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Sewing!

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About Sew Much Charm

I enjoy gardening, quilting, sewing, & cooking as a relatively new stay-at-home mom of two girls.

I make custom handmade quilts for clients and recently decided to learn how to sew garments for my little girls.  Watch my journey & learn from my mistakes.

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