Crafts, Family, Kids, Sewing

Learning to Sew? "My Beginner Projects"

My beginner sewing projects: So many curtains & a pair of moderately successful maternity pants.

After my obsessive search for sewing knowledge (Click here to see my Learning to Sew Post), I bought the cutest sewing machine I could afford at Walmart. I made sure it had a zigzag stitch and a button hole feature. I knew I would probably want an upgrade at some point, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to start (in case I found out I hated sewing). I also figured I could hand down the lightweight and cute sewing machine to my oldest daughter at some point.

My Brother JX2517 Sewing Machine that has a button hole feature, a zigzag stitch, and I purchased a foot separately that lets me do free motion quilting!

My first pair of pants went OK. Cutting out knit fabric was a bit of a challenge. I was also about 5 months pregnant and cutting them out on the floor was not easy! They sewed up fast with my zigzag stitch and sloppy sewing technique. Even though I sewed the fold-over waistband on backwards, I still considered them a success. I mean you fold-over the waistband so who cares if the hem was on the outside, no one sees it.

I didn’t pick the best fabric for the pants. I was buying cheap fabric in case I messed everything up and this particular fabric gets super static-y. Since I am no longer pregnant I didn’t need maternity pants anymore. I just clipped off some fabric at the waist band and sewed in the shortened elastic instead keeping the fold-over waist band. I’d love to show you a picture progression of the pants but I was tired, and pregnant, and didn’t take many pictures.

The 1st pair of pants I ever sewed myself. I was so tired and pregnant I couldn’t even be bothered to wind a black thread bobbin, as you can see from the contrasting threads lol. For the youtube video I used to figure out how to make my pants visit my Learning to Sew Post.

I don’t think they are going to stay pants anyway. My plan is to just cut them down and use them for undies because the fabric really sticks to itself and isn’t great for pants. Did you know it’s is super quick to make your own undies? Neither did I before I got interested in sewing.

Curtains for Kids

My next project was my kids’ curtains. This was not easy because they both have 4 windows each. I found a fun polka dotted quilting cotton at a discount fabric warehouse in town for my daughter’s curtains. I sewed them first because her room gets the most sun. I still don’t consider them finished though because I made tie-backs and I still haven’t braved the task of making button holes yet.

I started out with a regular hem on my daughter’s first set of curtains. Then I tried ironing a hem where the raw edge was folded under. Then I just gave up the ironing and started a rolled hem technique. I did not use a rolled-hem sewing machine foot because I didn’t have one yet. I just did the best I could to make it straight. I figure they are just kids curtains and I don’t have a lot of time to make things perfect!

I was in a hurry and I was so excited to see how the curtains would look when I hung them on the windows with the sun shining through. I ended up doing a similar technique with my son’s curtains but his curtains were easier in some ways and more difficult in others.

Unfortunately I didn’t find a fabric I thought my son would like at the fabric warehouse. New fabric is expensive so I was looking for other options. Minions was a popular choice for boys at that point, so I found a set of curtains at a 2nd hand shop. Then I found another “set” of Minion curtains at a different 2nd hand shop. Unfortunately the 2nd set of curtains turned out to be a shower curtain. I ended up cutting the shower curtain in half and hemming the raw edge, so it was a fabric shower curtain turned into window curtains.

This only got me 2 windows so I was still searching for something that would work for the other 2 windows. I found a set of Cars curtains at our house that coordinated pretty nicely. Then I found some Batman fabric on sale at Walmart. I looked at the Minion curtains to roughly copy the pattern and I sewed them up. I tried my best at a rolled hem because I didn’t want to loose much width. They aren’t hemmed perfectly straight but they do look pretty nice.

I think I spent less than $25 for both the kid’s curtains which I was super happy about. That is 8 windows. If I had spent money on new curtains it would have cost me a fortune! I still haven’t decided if I want to do tie-backs for my son’s windows. Do people do tie-backs for boy’s windows?

I still haven’t washed either curtain set yet, so we will see what happens. I am hoping they will survive spring cleaning, but if they don’t I’m sure my kids will love seeking out more fabric and changing the look of their rooms. My plan is to wash them on delicate with cold water and some color catchers thrown in. I will just hang them back up on the windows to air dry. Of course I didn’t pre-wash my fabric because I was new at this, so I’m positive they wouldn’t survive a drying cycle!

Additional Thoughts on My First Sewing Projects

These were my first projects on my sewing machine and I loved them. I didn’t follow every single step “the right way”, I experimented and had fun. I cut some corners, and while this may bite me later, I got things done and I didn’t stress about it. These aren’t going to be the most durable curtains ever, but they made me so happy to complete them and see my family enjoying them.

These projects taught me so much, and gave me the confidence to continue on my sewing journey. Right now I am mostly making things using free patterns, or just “upcycling” and the tailoring clothes I already have.

Once I feel a little more confident I will probably start branching out, looking at new patterns, and shopping for beautiful fabric! Right now I am practicing using my machines and learning how to sew through the different types of fabric I already own, aside from discount fabrics that jump in my cart!

Where are you on your sewing journey? Who taught you to sew? Was your first project a success? Please leave comments down below and I will try and answer them ASAP!

Thanks for joining me today!

Signing off,

Kat

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