Friday, July 8, 2011

Baby Bloomers Tutorial & Fun with a Gathering Foot!

Way too long ago, I said I would blog the way that I make baby bloomers. Tonight, I am FINALLY doing it! Here goes!

Buy some awesome fabric, and download and print this pattern. It's a super fancy pattern. ;) This will fit about 12-18 month size, but it is easily modified smaller or larger. Also, the elastic is VERY forgiving, so it does not have to be a "perfect fit." You can estimate size changes using a diaper or a well-fitting bloomer you already own. Just fold it in half and stretch it out as far as possible to match it against the existing pattern. Just remember that you'll need to add extra at the top for your waistband!

Cut out your pattern pieces from paper and your fabric, on the fold, as directed.



You will then have a front piece and a back piece, as above.

Now, if you want to add any lace, ruffles, or embroidery, this is the time. Since I just got a gathering foot, I am adding a ruffle to these!


This is what the gathering foot looks like for my machine. I'm in love. It is such a cool little tool!


To use the gathering foot, I set the stitch length to 3 or 4 mm and a higher tension for the upper thread. I set mine at an 8. The higher the upper thread tension, the more gathers the foot will create.


I had a long strip of this fabric that is already hemmed on the bottom, with a straight stitch. I put the raw edge under the gathering foot and sewed my little heart out!


And these beautiful ruffles were made! SO easy!


Remember that a very long piece of fabric will become VERY short once gathered, so plan accordingly!

Now I will add the ruffle to the back piece of the bloomers. I pin the ruffle on upside down. 


I then sew a straight stitch (or as straight as possible) across the ruffles to attach them to the bloomers. It really doesn't have to be perfectly straight. It isn't all that noticeable on your little lady's behind. ;)


After completing the straight stitch, I went over the raw edge with a wide zigzag/overcasting stitch to secure it.


I hate ironing. I admit it... but I also know that ironed projects are better projects. ;) Iron your ruffles down.


Pin the sides of your bloomers together. (If you chose not to add ruffles or lace, you should also pin the sides of your bloomers together.)



Sew a straight stitch down the edge of your bloomers.


Trim off excess ruffle, if you had it.


Add a zigzag or overcasting stitch to the edge.


If you turn your project right side out, it should look something like the above, with or without the ruffle.


Time for more ironing! Iron the waistband down once, about 1/2 inch.


Fold it over and iron it down again, about the same width.


You absolutely MUST iron the curves of the legs. You can't get away with skimping on this step. I make the hems on the legs a little narrower. Fold over once, about 1/4 inch and iron. 


Fold over a second time, about 1/4 inch, and iron again. You have to iron your curves carefully and slowly, but you will not regret doing it. I promise!

(Forgive my switch to another fabric. I wasn't planning on doing this tutorial tonight, but I caught the 'productivity bug.')


Now, all your hems are ironed and your sides are sewn together, as above.


Sew a straight stitch near the edge of your hem on the waistband, leaving a couple inches open in the back.


It's hard to see with this black on black, but there is a hole left open.


On the legs, sew a straight stitch as close as possible to the hem edge from one end of the curve to the other.


Personally, I feel like a loop turner is a MUCH easier way to accomplish this task, but I couldn't find mine. Obviously, safety pins work too! Insert your elastic into the waistband and work it all the way around. 


Pull it out the same hole you entered through and play with the waist size until it is where you like it. Compare to other bloomers if you like. Don't make it too tight. You can always make it tighter later, but it is harder to make it looser! Trip excess elastic.


Pin and sew the elastic together, backstitching over it a few times to secure it.


Sew the opening closed.


Now, insert a very narrow elastic into the leg hem.


(This is the part I've never seen anyone do the way that I learned to do it. Maybe it's a weird way, but I think it's easier!) Once the elastic reaches the other end, pin it and sew back and forth across the elastic to secure it to the crotch.


Notice that the crotch is still not sewn shut.


Make the leg width appropriate using the elastic. Trim any excess elastic and sew opposite end of elastic to the crotch in the same manner.


At this point, your bloomers should look like the above. There is a closed, finished waistband, one elastic, scrunched-up leg, one unfinished leg, and the crotch is still unsewn.


Repeat the above process to put the elastic in the opposite leg hem.


Now, you have some "almost bloomers." Time to sew the crotch closed!


Pin the crotch edges together and sew a straight stitch.



Go over the edge with a zigzag or overcasting stitch.


Additionally, I sew this excess fabric flat against the bloomer. You don't have to do this. If you choose to do it, you should be aware that there will be a straight line of stitch visible on the outside crotch of your bloomers.


Turn your bloomers right side out, and Voila! An easy, awesome pair of baby bloomers! Happy Sewing!

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