Category Archives: Sewing FYI

Jelly Roll Quilt Idea!

Are you looking for a fun, easy, fast quilting project? Are you a beginning quilter? Do you want to make a throw quilt top in just a few hours? If so, this is for you.

Start with a Jelly Roll.  A Jelly Roll is a collection of 40 strips of fabric that are 2 1/2″ wide. There are usually about 40 strips in each Jelly Roll. Similar to a Jelly Roll is the Bali Pop which is packaged differently than the Jelly Roll. Jelly Rolls are usually available for each new fabric collection designed for Quilting. The Jelly Roll shown is Primitive Little Gatherings by Moda. The sample quilt that Annette made for the store is from the Cherish Nature collection by Moda.

Here is how Annette made the quilt top.

  1. Take your strips from a Jelly Roll or Bali Pop or any other set of 40 ea. 2 1/2″ width of fabric strips, remove the selvedges.
  2. Sew the stops together short end to short end, forming a 1600 inch strip (REALLY LONG!)
  3. Cut about 18″ from one end of long stip. This will randomize the seams on the long stip.
  4. Fold this long strip in half with right sides together and stitch the long sides together
  5. When you get near the end cut across the strip and finish sewing.
  6. Now you have an 800″ X 4 1/2″ strip. Fold again, cut the fold and sew long sides together.
  7. Now it is 400″ X 8 1/2″. Fold again, cut and stitch so the quilt is now 200 X 16 1/2.
  8. Fold and cut again and stitch so the piece is 100″ X 32 1/2″.
  9. And one last time. Fold, cut and stitch so you have a quick quilt top that is about 50″ X 64″, a great lap quilt size. Or add borders to make a larger quilt.

You can use 3 Jelly Rolls to make a king size quilt. Complete steps 1-8 for each of the 3 Jelly Rolls. Then sew the 3 sections together on the long side. You now have a 96″ x 96″ quilt. Add  borders to the top and sides to make the quilt 108″ x 108″.

Have fun.

Happy Quilting,

Marje

Baby Gifts: Changing Pad and Diaper Wipe Pouch

One of my very favorite projects is baby related gifts. When you make a gift for a baby shower or new child, I feel like it is really appreciated and means a lot to the parents. I just found out I have a new baby celebration coming up in June, and I thought it would be fun to share my projects with you.

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One of the best parts about baby gifts is you can pick fun materials that you would not typically wear. I picked these three flannels for a baby girl. I got the fabric on sale for $2.49 per yard plus my 15% teacher discount. I bought two yards each of the polka dots and solid and one yard of the zebra print.

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I made The Sushi-Roll Changing Pad and Diaper & Wipes Pouch. I love Sew, Mama, Sew for great tutorials and ideas. This project can be made from fat quarters as well. Needless to say, it does not take much to create these projects. I used just under a half yard each of the polka dot and pink fabrics and a scrap of the zebra.

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I began with the wipe pouch. When I make things for babies I love to use my embroidery machine to personalize the gifts. I can’t get enough of new parents seeing their child’s name on their presents. I used the Curlz Three Applique Alphabet to add the first initial of their little girl. I used the Lacy Edge P from the applique file. It turned out very cute and the detail is fantastic.

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To add the ‘P’ I embroidered it onto the bottom center of the outside fabric I chose for the pouch. After the ‘P’ was on, I followed the directions from the tutorial as written.

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I lined the pouch with the polka dot material. It turned out very nicely and went together quickly.

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I made the changing pad to match. I did not embroider on the changing pad because I could not decide where to place the embroidery. I did choose to use twill ribbon instead of the elastic. I had twill on hand. I was also able to use a scrap of batting for the changing pad. I love being able to use up scraps.

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I had to show the set again. I just think they are so cute together, and the cost for these was just over a dollar each for fabric.

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I also managed to use all three machines today! I used the sewing machine for the most part. I used my serger to finish the inside of the changing pad to reinforce it before turning it right side out. Finally, I used my embroidery machine to make the ‘P’. I always feel so accomplished when I get to run them all in one day. Stay tuned for more baby gifts!

World Autism Awareness Day: Weighted Bag tutorial

April 2, 2012 is World Autism Awareness Day.  Now I do not claim to be an expert, but I would like to share something I made for a student I have now with autism. He has been stemming (that could be rocking, biting, hair twisting, etc.) more recently. I spoke with his mom about a few students I have had in the past that responded to pressure or weight. An Occupational Therapist (OT, for you in the know) explained that some children with autism respond well to pressure. It calms them somehow. There are many types of chairs and clothing and wraps, etc. on the market. Many parents of children with autism will try anything to help their child. It gets expensive, and not every treatment works for every child. To help those parents out there paying for therapies, programs and various gadgets to help their children, I thought I would share a project that is cheap that I have had success with for some of my students over the years: a weighted bag.

The weighted bag is long and flexible. Some children like it on their laps or shoulders, some like it on their feet. Some don’t like it at all, but it is worth a try. I filled mine with dry rice, but beans would work as well. I chose to use a zipper, so the family I am sharing it with can add or subtract weight as desired. I also know this particular student won’t dig the rice out and play with it. Otherwise I would close it permanently.

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So to begin. I used two 12 inch by 36 inch pieces of fabric.

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I started with inserting a zipper. I placed the zipper face down on the short side of the fabric with the fabric facing right side up.

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I used my zipper foot to sew it down.

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Then I turned the zipper up and top stitched the right side of the fabric to the zipper tape.

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Next you will do the same with the other piece of fabric. The fabrics will be facing right sides together and the zipper will be face down.

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I used the zipper foot to sew the fabric to the zipper, and again I opened the fabric pieces up and top stitched the right side of the fabric to the zipper tape.

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Go ahead and check that your zipper looks correct.

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I sewed around the bag from the end of the zipper with the stopper, down the side, across the bottom, then half way up the other side. WAIT! Open that zipper up, I did about half way, other wise you will sew your bag shut. Now continue and sew up the rest of the last side. Go ahead and finish your edges. Remember when it comes to finishing the edges on this project, they will be bearing some weight.

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I used my serger on my edges. At this point you can turn the bag right sides out and check your zipper again.

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I filled mine with some rice. I hope this project helps my student, and maybe a few more people with autism out there.

Note 2 our Readers:  Find even more adventures from Stacie at her personal Sewing Blog

Turning a Sweatshirt into a Cardigan

It is already hot in Texas. Yesterday my thermometer read 86 degrees! I work in a school where when the temperature goes up outside, the air conditioner gets turned way down. It is summer outside and winter inside. One of my favorite people at work gave me an old school sweatshirt and asked me if I could make it into something that was open she could slip on when the temperature drops in her office. Challenge accepted!

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I started by drawing a line down the center front of the sweatshirt and cutting it straight down the front.

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Scary! I told her to give me an old sweatshirt in case I messed it up, but I had to cut sometime.

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Next I cut the neck band, waistband and sleeve cuffs off just below their stitching line.

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I stay stitched the neckline to keep it from stretching while I was working with it.

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I turned the sweatshirt inside out and pinned the fabric in place. I serged my sleeve and side seams, so I pinned well inside my seam allowance. I measured in from the arm pit two inches and tapered that mark into the bottom of the shirt as well as the end of the sleeve. Repeat this on both sides. I did this because I find most sweatshirts are baggy in the arm which is very comfortable, but not flattering as a cardigan feature.

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Here are my new serged side seams.

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Finally, I used Jenny’s great binding tutorial to finish all of the raw seams. Yes, hers is on a place mat, but it is the same general idea. Our school colors are maroon and blue. Now I have a cute and boutique style cardigan from an old sweatshirt! I used my curvy decorative stitch, but I would recommend one with a bit more substance if you are going to try this project. What a great present for teachers or cute project for students! You could also add a button or hook and eye at the neckline to keep it closed if you wanted to.

Note 2 our Readers:  Find even more adventures from Stacie at her personal Sewing Blog

Car Trash Can Tutorial

This week I am very excited because I got a new car. I’ve never had a new car, and I was very sad to see my 14 year old Volkswagen go. I finally admit to everyone though: it was time. Having a brand spanking new car, I am trying to think of ways to keep that new feeling around. One of my first ideas was something to put trash in, like all those little receipts or wrappers that happen in the car.

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Here is the car trash can I came up with, and I thought I would share the steps with you in case you would like the same.

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I used a 16 inch by 16 inch piece of fabric. Mine was a block from a quilt I turned out not liking, but you could use any piece of fabric.

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I also used a cup from a Houston Rockets game. We have a lot of these stadium size cups around because I am a huge Rockets fan. I used one of my more beat up ones because it won’t be visible as a trash can anyway.

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I measured around the largest part of my cup and folded my fabric right sides together to match the cup size with enough ease to get the cup in it. I sewed down the seam I measured using a straight stitch.

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After I sewed the seam I checked to make sure the cup would fit…success!

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I then cut off the excess material from the side to make a strap.

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I sewed a straight seam across the bottom of the bag with the fabric still right sides together and hemmed the top of the tube folding in a half inch twice.

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I then took the bottom seam and pulled the corners out like in the picture above. I measured in an inch on both corners and sewed a line across.

ImageI checked for fit again at this point to make sure my cup fit in and it did. The bottom of your tube should look like the one in the picture above.

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With the cup inserted in the tube, this is what the bottom should look like.

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 Next we are going to make the strap. Fold your fabric strap in half lengthwise with wrong sides together and press.

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Now open the strip up and press both of the outside edges toward the center press mark you made.

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Now fold the strap lengthwise in half again and press.

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Now straight stitch along the side of the strap that is folded together.

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I like to repeat the process on the other side of the strap just because I think it looks nice.

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You should now have the strap complete. Go ahead and insert the cup into the tube and fold the excess to the inside. It should look like the picture above.

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Make a mark where you would like your strap to hit. I chose about a half inch down from the top of the cup.

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Now pull that all out of the cup and pin the strap in place with the strap on the outside with the handle piece facing the top. Sew the strap in place being sure not to catch the other side of the tube in the stitch. I used a straight stitch and sewed over it back and forth about three times to reinforce it.

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Here it is all completed in my sewing room.

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And here it is in my car. The strap is place around my shift stick Now I have a non leaking and completely washable car trashcan. And it is cute!

Note 2 our Readers:  Find even more adventures from Stacie at her personal Sewing Blog

One Million Pillow Case Challenge & Tutorial!

Hey! Hi! Hello!

Whew!  Sorry I’ve been so out of the loop lately, but isn’t Stacie doing a great job?!  She’s a keeper!

I’ve been busy designing and stitching out protoypes for a new bag company with some amazing design concepts that I think are going to ROCK the worlds of all you purse lovers out there!  But, the owner isn’t quite ready to launch her campaign, so it’s still pretty hush, hush.   I’m looking forward to giving you a sneak peak as soon as possible….

Ok, so this post is about that great charitable cause, the “One Million Pillow Case Challenge”.  I’ve made a few of these and taught some ladies how to make them as well, and we all agree, these are very nice pillowcases to give or to keep.

If you’d like to get involved with this project, let me know by posting a comment here.  If enough ladies want to join in, we can set up a  local drop spot for our completed pillowcases and then distribute them to local charities.  (Actually, I would like our group to donate pillowcases to cancer patients – kids & adults.)  What do you think?

Here’s a link to the PDF instructions and also the video tutorial.

PDF Link:  Roll It Up Pillowcase Tutorial 

VIDEO Link:  Roll It Up Video Tutorial

Enjoy!

Jenny Gabriel alter ego:  StitchinJenny

Skirt Sew Along Part 7: Hem

All we have to do is hem our skirts and we are all done!

I chose to hem the blue skirt using my sewing machine and use a hem facing to start hand stitching my pink one. You can choose either method.

The hem I most often use is just a simple machine stitch which we will go over first.

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First I like to use a long basting stitch to go around the hem of the skirt. I am using a 1/2 inch seam allowance here because I want my final hem to be 1 inch to allow that fun border to show.

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Next I like to press the raw edge up so that the stitch I just made is at the bottom as seen in the picture above.

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Next I press that piece up again so that the basting stitch is at the top of the hem.

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Press it all down nice and flat.

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Just shorten your stitch from the basting length and go all the way around the hem. I found this method gives me the best results and the most even hem. You’re done!

Now to sew a blind stitch by hand. I admit I don’t do this often because I just don’t have the patience, but it does make for a nice finish and a pretty inside.

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Start by sewing your hem facing all the way around your hem. I used a zig-zag stitch. Sew it to the right side of your fabric.

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You will fold the lace up and do a stitch as shown above catching the lace and catching just a few threads of the main fabric. I am using non matching colors of thread to help you see better, but you will want to choose a thread that matches your skirt fabric.

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Your stitches will be barely visible from the outside as shown above. That is why matching thread is important.

Now a final result! I have the blue one fully completed and just need to find a matching thread for the pink skirt to hem it.

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Ta-da! I think it turned out very cute. Don’t mind my two different colored legs, I had surgery done on one a few weeks ago. I am favoring one which makes the hem look crooked. I did double-check it for accuracy though. I can’t wait to see any versions that were completed out there. Thanks for sewing along!

Skirt Sew Along Part 6: Sewing Facings to Skirt

It is time to finish our waist facing. The directions will be the same no matter what seam finish you are using.

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Start by pinning your facing pieces right sides together with your main skirt pieces matching side seams.

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Finish pinning all the way around. You should have a bit overlapping the zipper. Do not cut that off.

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Sew using a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Be sure to watch your zipper. If you have any metal pieces at the top do not go over them with your needle. Because those metal pieces can break your needle.

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Next you will under stitch the facing to the seam allowance you just created. This will stop the facing from rolling up as much as it could when you are wearing the skirt. Go all the way to the other end doing the under stitching.

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The under stitching will not be visible from the outside of the skirt, and will really help you prevent facing mishaps.

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Now press the facing down all the way around the waist band.

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When you look at your zipper you should see some overlap like mine in the picture above.

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Fold the overlap so it is even with the zipper.

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Now fold it down so that just the zipper teeth are showing. We will have to hand stitch it down.

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I like to hold it the area in my left thumb and fore finger and stitch using my right hand. I use a stitch that I also use to bind quilts. I stitch just through the zipper tape and facing piece, not through the outside skirt panels.

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This fabric is so hard to photograph up close! But I pull me needle through the fold in the fabric making it invisible except for a small stitch that will show.

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This is what my finished facing looks like. All you can see are my yellow finishing knots up near the zipper head.

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Here is the back of your skirt from the outside. Nice work! Now all we will need to do is hem the skirt.

Skirt Sew Along Part 5: Waist Facings

The facings in this skirt are easy to put together, but we will take it one step at a time. You will follow the waistband steps as directed below until I let you know we will use different finishing methods.

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Your fusible interfacing should look something like mine. While the need to prewash your interfacing is debated, I will share that I do like to wash mine. I wash them as I would my garment and then hang them over the curtain rod to air dry. DO NOT put it in the dryer when pretreating as the fusible interfacing is covered and heat activated glue dots. I don’t know exactly what would happen, but I doubt it would be good. Some people don’t treat theirs at all.

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It was hard to catch this shot, but you will cut your interfacing as you would your fabric. I like to cut mine in a way that uses as little space as possible because I buy the fusible interfacing in large amounts when it is on sale. To make a fold, I just fold the interfacing wherever I think it will fit best. Your pattern piece tells you how many pieces you will need of interfacing. You will cut pieces for both the front and back facing pieces.

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I like to lay my fabric face down first. Then I examine my interfacing to find the side that has bumpy dots; that is the glue. The glue side of the interfacing needs to be against the wrong side of your fabric. If you put the glue side up, it will stick to the iron. Next, Use the iron on the setting you use for your fabric and press the interfacing into place. Go slow and really let that glue melt. After that your fabric and interfacing should be stuck together like one piece of material.

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Next we will sew the pieces together. I use my notches to help me get it right as shown in the blurry picture above. Match the notches on the end of the waist pieces and sew using 5/8 inch seam allowance. Repeat on both sides.

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Go press your seam allowances open.

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Your waist facings should lay out and form a smile, Or that is how I think about it.

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If you are pinking shear finishing your edges, trim along the bottom of your smile (facing piece) as shown above.

If you are zig-zagging your edges, You will zig zag along the bottom of your smile.

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Select your zig-zag stitch and catch that bottom edge of your smile.

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Your zig-zagging, should look something like mine above. You have finished your facing pieces!

Skirt Sew Along Part 4: Side Seams

I love this step in the process. Once you sew the front and back pieces of the skirt together, it really starts to look like a skirt! We will also finish the seams to prevent them from fraying in the future. There are so many ways to finish seams, but for this sew along I am keeping things easy.

For this step I will show you how to sew your side seams together using the pink skirt. Then we will do seam finishes: the pink skirt is a pinking sheared seam, the blue skirt is a zig-zagged seam. This project would also be a nice one to experiment with a french seam. Whichever one you choose, don’t forget to finish the seam under the zipper you inserted. On my skirt I zig-zagged the bottom of the seam and zig-zagged the fabric sewn to the zipper tape.

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Place the front and back of the skirt right sides together. Line up the side seams using the notches you made. You may also pin to help keep them in place while you sew.

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Sew each of the side seams together using a 5/8 inch seam allowance. I use a magnet to help me stay lined up, but you could also just eyeball it or use a post it note as a guide to follow. This is where you will choose your seam finish. Also note, if you would like to carefully try on the skirt to check the fit it is best to do this before you finish the side seams. This will be the easiest time to take it in or let it out as needed.

Pinking Sheared Seam

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Using your pinking shears trim the seam allowance all the way along the length of the sewn seam. The pinking shears prevent the fabric from fraying.

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Press that seam allowance open, and you are done!

Zig-Zagged Seams

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I like to press my seams open first, then to one side. I can’t remember where I picked that up, but it works for me. I find when sewing the more pressing I do the better the results are.

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I also trim my seam allowances some to prevent them from being bulky. I only trim them about 1/4 inch because you need to need to leave enough left to be able to zig-zag them.

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Next choose your zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine.

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Sew down the length of both seams catching the outside in the stitches. The stitches will form a kind of wrap around the raw edge.

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As you can see the threads wrap around the raw edge to prevent them from fraying.

You have now finished your side seams. Next we will work on the facings.