It’s Learn to Sew time for the kids and teens again! Did you get last week’s lesson completed? How did it go? I’m hoping everything went well. Remember to take it at a pace that is comfortable for you and your child. Last week’s lesson and this week’s are the two easiest, so if that’s all they can handle, good enough! You be the judge.
This week we will learn to top stitch and turn. And we’ve got a fabric giveaway from this week’s sponsor… Online Fabric Store:
They’ve got great fabric from apparel fabric to home decor fabric, sewing notions, outdoor fabric, pillows, vinyl, and more. Just check it out for yourself. I can tell you that I spent quite a while browsing through their stuff the other day. Love it!
They’re giving away a $50 gift card this week to our big winner! (Enter at the bottom of this post.)
So, on to the lesson.
Lesson #2: Turning and Top Stitching:
Again, this is basically just the lesson I wrote up in the original series. It’s sort of up to you to take this and teach your child from it.
What do I mean by turning? Very often when you are sewing you are going to put the right sides together, stitch them and turn them right side out. That’s how you sew something without getting a raw seam on the outside. You’re going to use it all the time, so let’s learn how.
I am going to demonstrate this idea with the strap of an apron. In this example, I cut out my straps to the size I need. I then lay them so that the right sides of the fabric (the part that has the pattern-the part that I want to have show when I am done) is on the inside. So that the right sides are touching each other and I am looking at the wrong side.
Then, as you can see in that picture, I am going to sew it together (of course where you are sewing will depend on what you are making. This is just one example.)
Important: You will always need to leave an opening in your sewing of at least a couple of inches. Otherwise you won’t be able to turn it right side out. Typically the pattern or tutorial will tell you where to leave your opening.
Once I am done sewing and have left my opening (in the case of a strap that’s easy-it’s just open at the end of the strap) I am going to start to pull the fabric through the opening so that it is right side out.
Sometimes this will be easy, but when you are working with a small space it can be a little tricky. There are a few tricks to help you poke that fabric through.
First, use something like your scissors or a chopstick or knitting needle to help you push the fabric through:
You can also reach inside the tube and pull from there a little:
Once you get it completely turned you are going to press it nice and flat:
Then, in most cases you will need to sew your opening shut. To do that you will pinch it or press it so that it matches the seam you already had and then stitch it closed. Yes, this will leave a little bit of stitching on the outside of your item. That’s ok-it’s normal. Typically you will put it at the bottom of the project so it doesn’t show as much.
Now, what is top stitching? Top stitching means to sew on top of the the thing that you just sewed and turned. Hence the name top stitching.
There are 2 reasons to top stitch.
1. To hold what you just sewed in place. For example, if you sew the strap to a bag and then top stitch it, the strap will be more sturdy and your seams will stay where you want them instead of shifting around.
2. It can add a nice finishing touch to what you made.
As you can see in this picture I top stitched this messenger bag strap. In this case I did two straight lines just to add a nice look to it.
To do this you are simply going to line up your presser foot once at say a 1/2″ seam allowance and sew a straight line then do it again at a 1/4″ seam allowance. Easy.
Here’s another example of top stitching. This time it’s on another bag (in fact, it’s this week’s project bag) but it’s around the front of the bag:
One more example. This time from my ear warmer headband.
You can use top stitching on anything.
A couple more things to note for this lesson. Sometimes when you are sewing something that will need to be turned right side out, you will be sewing curves. When you sew a curve, before you turn it right side out, it is helpful to make some very small cuts in the fabric that got right up close to (but definitely don’t cut through it!) your stitching. This helps the fabric to not pucker and bunch when you turn it right side out:
See the little cuts in this now?
You can do this for any curves that you sew to help it lay more flat.
So, to practice these skills this week I have what I think is a SUPER fun kids project this week. It’s a mini messenger bag that should be fairly easy to make with a little help from mom/grandma/whoever is helping them sew. Make it with your boys too-they can use it to carry crayons or guys or whatever:
And now for the Giveaway from Online Fabric Store: It’s a $50 gift card to that wonderful place: