The Rookie Seamstress (a guest post and tutorial)

I never thought I’d see the day. Our sister Erika, dubbed “the uncrafty one”, learned to sew! And get this, after only two hours at the sewing machine, she is here to offer you a tutorial! Seriously guys, this is how big sisters roll.  They also declare things like, “Watch me dominate the sewing machine,” and “Sweet! What What!”, as they go.

Erika and her adorable one year old, Sean, are visiting from Chicago for a few weeks, staying at our parent’s house. Since a terrible storm last week has left us (the Chang 4) without power, we’ve been squatting at casa de parentals too. 6 days and counting, people!

Anyway, I came back here with the kids after a pool day, and found Erika in our mom’s sewing studio, completed project in hand, looking oh-so satisfied…


 My jaw dropped. What just happened?
I will let E take it from here.

I admit that crafting isn’t my thing. It takes too long, gets boring, requires lots of clean-up, and I just don’t have a head full of creative ideas. However, I always admire the things my sisters and mother make and think, “Well I can do that too.”

Here is my first sewing project: Bibs!

Choose your fabrics. For this bib I chose a red gingham and a Dick and Jane print. I also used a piece of flannel fabric in the middle to give the bib some additional structure. However, the flannel is optional. I made some bibs without it and they turned out just as well.

The first step is to iron your fabric. Apparently this is the key to sewing, according to both my mom and mother-in-law. Did they have the same Home Ec. teacher??

Next, trace your pattern onto your fabric. (Who knew they make fabric markers that disappear when you iron it?! Love it!! I’m a gadget girl and I’ll buy anything that makes life easier and more convenient so this marker was right up my alley.) Make sure you trace on the wrong side of the fabric and make sure the flannel fabric is on the bottom, not sandwiched in the middle. I made the mistake of putting it in the middle and after I finished sewing and went to turn it right side out, I realized my error. This led me to my next “first”….the seam ripper. My sister and mother assured me they make mistakes all the time and have to take out stitches. Yeah right.

Start by tracing your favorite bib onto some card stock or heavy paper.


Place your fabrics on top of each other and pin together.  They should be inside out.   Trace around your bib pattern on one of the outside fabrics.


Don’t cut out the shape yet. Sew it first, then cut it out. Trust me. It’s much easier!

Sew along the line you traced on the fabric. Remember to leave an opening (2-3 inches) so you can turn your fabric right side out later.


Once it is sewn, cut out the shape staying about 1/4 inch from the thread.


Turn the bib right side out. Then use a tool like a chopstick to push out all the edges from inside the bib.


Iron your bib making sure to iron a nice seam at the opening.


Sew the opening shut.


Optional step- I went back and added a top stitch after I was done. I did it because I made a mistake sewing up the opening. Apparently, this is an “advanced” sewing technique

😉 Actually, it made the bib look more finished and I really liked it. It was easy with the aid of a quilting 1/4 edge foot in place.


Add a snap.



Hardest part- trying to fix my many mistakes: retreading the bobbin, switching feet, threading the needle, trying not to sew too fast, remembering all the steps.

All in all, not too tough and I’ll admit, pretty fun.  I plan on making more of these bibs to give as gifts to friends.  But this one, is for my little guy, Sean!


Thanks for having me!


14 thoughts on “The Rookie Seamstress (a guest post and tutorial)

  1. Yea Erika! One more mama joining in on the sewing (& blogging) fun! Your bibs look great & your son’s adorable!

  2. By the look of those bibs, you wouldn’t think she’s THAT uncrafty….but I assure you all, the only crafty thing I’ve ever seen Erika do is paint her nails and double pierce her own ears…..ha! Nice work sis! I expect only handmade Xmas gifts from you now.

  3. This is SO unfair! I sit and struggle for hours at my sewing machine to come up with something marginally wearable. And after 2 hours Erika has done this?! I can’t even sew in a straight line! Well done Erika! They look great 🙂

  4. First of all Erin, if my memory is correct I do remember Erika doing something incredibly crafty back in the day. Painting some sort of lady bugs all over her white Keds sneakers with some sort of puffy paint or markers or something. Anyway, I thought that they were the coolest things ever. Do I have the right big sister here???
    Of course she kills in on her first sewing attempt- she has that Souder blood.
    Is that first machine in mama’s studio a Brother – LB 6800? If so (I sew on that machine!), I wish that mama Kate could give me some lessons!
    I think this comment is long enough. xx – Monica

  5. Best comment string ever. I’m the oldest sister (of four girls) so I’m totally rooting for Erika – keep after it, girl! Looks like you’ve got a knack! Let’s get that blog goin! 😉

  6. I clearly remember a very clever lamp that Erika made for Dad’s office. I believe it made an encore appearance last Christmas! She’s more crafty than she looks!!

  7. Pingback: hungie gungie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s