Sunday, November 16, 2008

Apron by Simplicity (#5154):What I Learned

Several weekends ago, I dug out this pattern that I intended to try out several years back. It's a Simplicity pattern for an apron. Anyway, my sister was over and I had the pattern out, so we figured we'd give it a shot. I'm pretty new to the whole sewing world, so I relied a lot on my sister's know-how to work on this apron. This was the first time I followed a Simplicity pattern as well, so I figured it would be a good time to write up what I learned and share it.

First things first, when you get the pattern, you have to figure out which you'll actually need as sometimes the envelop that holds the pattern also holds patterns for other variations of aprons. In this envelop, there were two patterns called Apron A and Apron B and I picked Apron A.

Second tip, have an iron handy... it helped a great deal. :-)
Okay, so here's what I did.

  1. Take out your pattern and your instructions. Don't get too intimidated with the instructions as two-thirds of it is probably repeated information in different languages.
  2. Cut the pieces out of your pattern. Another nice thing about using a pattern is that the cut-up pieces already take into account any seam allowances that you might need. All the pieces are numbered and depending on which pattern (Apron A or Apron B) you're making, the instructions list the pieces you will need. You can choose to just cut only those out or to cut all pieces out and sort later.
  3. Pin the cut out pieces to the fabric. Check the instructions as they will usually have a suggested layout of how to place the pieces onto the fabric to use the fabric more efficiently. Third tip, keep an eye on the layout in the instructions as they sometimes require a folded side, or where the selvage might be located. Fourth tip, sometimes you won't be able to use the suggested layout because of your fabric choice, such as if the pattern is directional. In this case, you'll see diagrams with the pattern pieces laid out and the direction that they'll need to be cut.
  4. Cut the fabric, then mark the fabric on the wrong side, with markings on the pattern. I use a fabric pencil to mark the circles I see. Speaking of wrong side of the fabric leads me to the fifth tip. Fifth tip, when reading the diagrams check the legends on each page to see which are the wrong sides of the fabric (sometimes represented as a shaded region or a non-shaded region) and which are the right sides of the fabric. We noticed that this actually changed from the first page to the second page of the instructions so keep an eye on that. Grr!
  5. After this, you basically just keep on following the pattern according to the instructions.

Some terms defined in my words:

seam allowances – the area between the edge of the fabric and the sewing line
right/wrong side – some fabrics have a pattern on one side this would be considered the right side of the fabric. The other side, is considered the wrong side.
hand-baste – this means to loosely sew by hand, in order for you to “transfer” the line that you're sewing to the other side of the fabric. It helps to hand-baste with a brightly colored thread that stands out against the fabric's pattern.
press – to iron down.

So, that's all I know so far about using a pattern to sew something. It was pretty fun, and actually not too badly difficult to do, so I'll definitely try another pattern again. Maybe a fleece beanie with ear flaps. :-D

Anyway, good luck, hope it helps!

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