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Monday, May 18, 2009

Sewing for Dummies Part 1 (How to choose your fabric)

Ok- sorry I have been so out of here lately, life has been a little crazy, but I have vowed to take some time for myself today, and this is how I am doing it- by teaching you guys how to sew! Well not really in THIS post, but this is a pre rec of what you need to follow along with me in my sewing post tomorrow! So here goes- This post will be about choosing fabric and the types of fabric (Each day this week I will tell you what you will need for tomarrow so you can get your stuff ready in advance!)

**** Tomarrow I will be posting a tutorial on how to work a sewing machine and some tips and tricks. Wedensday I will be teaching you all how to make PJ pants- as I will be making about 30 in the next few days! and they are the easiest thing you can make! So this right here will be a guide on what kind of fabric you need to have to be able to sew said PJ's! *****

Ok here we go. I really like to shop at my local Walmart for 3 reasons, #1. because it is about a block away from my house, #2. The prices are better than most, #3 The ladies there make me laugh! You can find fabric at places like Joann's, The Hobby Lobby, Hancocks, Ben Franklin, Anything with fabric in the title, some Ace Hardware stores and online. There are many kinds of fabrics, but 4 of the ones we will be going over right now are cotton wovens, flannel, fleece and knits.

First off is Cotton wovens-
Cotton wovens are the kind fo fabrics that quilts are made out of. They come in MILLIONS of fun prints and are pretty soft! They are somewhat thin, and are cut easily. (When you were in middle school you probably learned the "find a string and pull it to have the entire thread come out and have a stright line to cut on" trick, or you may know that cotton cuts kind of like wrapping paper meaning you dont have to actuall make cutting motions, just pull the fabric along. Or you might also know that you can rip cotton wovens and get a straight cut- but lets just stick to scissors for now!) Cottons are a good choice for the summer because they are breathable, but not streachy.

Flannel is the kind of fabric that baby blankets are usually made out of. It is warm and fuzzy and frays A LOT, so all seams need to have a zig zag to finish them. Rag quilts are made out of flannels, and I will do a tutorial on those on Thursday! Flannels are a great choice for PJ pants and can be used in the summer or winter Flannel is a favorate of mine to make EVERYTHING out of- I have quite a stash! Flannel is not streachy.

Fleece I am sure you have heard of- it is used to make warm jackets and cuddly blankets. Some fleece is water proof or water resistant and things like Minky and oh so soft fabrics fall into this category. Fleece is streachy, but very warm and may be a better idea for winter.

Knits are my new favorate kind of fabric! It is the very streachy material that t-shirts are made out of. Knit doesnt fray, but it does shrink and can streach strangly. Knits come in lots of fun colors, but you cant find them at Walmart and have a much better selection online. (Email me if you want and I can send you my fav links!:) ) I love using knits because they are so forgiving- plus you can make matching shirts AND pants with them!

Now that you know a little bit about fabric it is time to look at your patern and see how much fabric you will need. (Comment and let me know if you want me to do a "how to read a pattern" post!) For the PJ pants there isnt a set amount of fabric because all sizes use up different amounts! For any size under about a 4-5 T you should only need 1 yard of any kind of fabric you choose! If you are doing a bigger size or want to be more specific, ask the ladies at the fabric cutting counter- they love to help!! For our rag quilt on Wedensday we will be needing 1 yard each of 3 cordinating flannel fabrics, and 1 1/2 yards of a solid color that matches. (We will use the 1 1/2 yard to sandwich inside the squares to make it all tie together!)

Now, once you get your fabric how you ALWAYS want to throw it into a HOT wash with a cold rinse and then throw it into the dryer. (You need NO soap) You do this so that the fabric will shrink! There is nothing worse that making something and having it shrink and not fit after the first wash! If you already know how to use your sewing machine and sew you will want to do a large zig zag or serge stitch around the edges to reduce the amount of fraying! If not, it is ok, you will jsut loose a couple inches of fabric due to fraying.

SO I hope that was a little bit of help! Get yourself some fabric, or dig something out that you think will work, throw it in the wash, and come back tomarro to learn how to make our PJ's!


  1. Your nice to do this. I wish my sewing machine was out of the shop. I Honestly can vote for the "how to read a pattern" since I have one and never used it because I didn't know what the heck I was doing!

    HA HA HA Can't wait to learn your tricks!

  2. what a sewing guru you are! so nice of you to share so many tips with others!

  3. will you send me those links where you get your knits? Also, I am going real slow on your mei tai. I got the fabric cut :) now just need to sew.


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