Sewing lesson 2 - gathering, trimming seams, and topstitching

Published on 27 February 2024 at 07:58

Hello my sewing friends!  Welcome back for the second sewing lesson!!!  I hope you had fun practicing the skills of maintaining an even seam allowance, finishing seams, creating elastic casing, and hemming!  What did you make?  Pajama pants?  A skirt?  A bow?  If you missed the first lesson, you can find it here.   The most important skill to master from the first lesson is seam allowance.  If you can't maintain an even seam allowance, your garment will look crooked, the pieces won't fit together properly, and your garment may not even fit properly.  Maintaining an even seam allowance is so important, and it will totally come with a little practice!

The next project that we will tackle is Willow! This pattern is an adorable pinafore!  I love a good pinafore and this one has it all - the ruffles, the double skirt, the tie in the back.  It's just so darling!  And it's the perfect next level project for you to dive into!  It will give you great practice with the new skill of gathering, but you don't have to worry about zippers or buttons just yet! 

Getting even and beautiful gathers can be tricky, so I have a whole post just on gathering for you over at Sunflower Seams.  Check it out here.  Once you've learned a bit about gathering, come back here and I'm going to take you through sewing Willow.  Let's dive into this adorable pattern.  First, grab Willow for 20% off with the code GatheringFabric20 this month only!  

With the info found in lesson 1 and the gathering post at Sunflower Seams.  You will be able to skate through making those adorable ruffles.  When you get to step 8 (Making the strap), You will need to topstitch for the first time. 

Topstitching is just sewing a seam close to an edge on the right side of the fabric.  Try to maintain an even seam allowance as you topstitch.  I like to topstitch 1/8th of an inch from the edge.

It is helpful when topstitching to follow a point on your sewing machine foot rather than a line on your sewing machine plate.  The reason to rely on the markings on your foot when topstitching is sometimes (such as when topstitching a waist seam) you will be unable to see your sewing machine plate underneath all of the fabric.

You should have all the skills needed to continue on through step 21!  When you get to step 21, it will tell you to cut half of the seam allowance and clip/notch your corners and curves.  This is what that looks like.  First, cut the corners at a diagonal.  This will allow the corners to be nice and sharp.  Too much fabric in the corner will make it rounded when you turn it right side out. 

Next, you have two options.  Either you can trim half of the seam allowance off as shown above.  And then cut snips in toward the seam (without snipping the seam) along the curve as shown below.

Or, you can cut the seam allowances with a pinking shears and skip snipping the curves.  Pinking shears make the process quick and easy and the curves look lovely when turned right side out.  

You should now have all the skills necessary to finish your Willow!  If you have any questions feel free to ask over at Learn to Sew with Tamar Hope.  I hope you enjoy this pattern as much as we do!!!  

If you don't have a little girl to sew for, you can practice the skills from this lesson on a number of other projects.

You could make a tote bag with adorable ruffles such as the Gladiola Ruffle Tote Bag.

Or you could make an adult sized skirt with tiers

Or an adult sized dress with tiers!

I hope you can find the perfect pattern to practice your gathering skills!  And don't forget to share your make from this lesson with #learnwithtamarhope and #learnwithsunflowerseams to be entered to win a free pattern of choice during the month of March!  You can share in the Sunflower Seams group, in the Learn to Sew with Tamar Hope group, in the Sewing Hub group, and/or on Instagram!  Every share gets an entry!

Happy Sewing!!!!

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5 months ago

This is such a great pattern - no zippers or buttonholes! Wow! Love it!

5 months ago

This was great I really enjoyed the lesson on gathering and making ruffles! This is perfect timing as I was just looking at making a pinafore style apron for my daughter!! Thanks!