Today we have new contributor Aubrey, from Homegrown & Healthy, to teach us newbies how to sew. Even if you’ve never messed around with your sewing machine, but have always been curious, Aubrey has a simple and easy-to-follow DIY tutorial and a mega cute “Snowy Day” hat that even you can do. Here we go!
I consider myself a beginner sewer, despite the fact that I’ve been piddling about with my sewing machine for a few years now. I’ve had no formal experience; in fact I don’t even remember taking that obligatory pillow-making class in Home Ec. So for me, scrounging the internet to find good tutorials can be difficult, especially when they’re rifled with terms that I don’t understand and filled with concepts that are just a little too abstract for my little brain to comprehend.
I’ve got tons of projects pinned. Some I’ve completed and had great success with, others were complete failures. Sometimes I begin a tutorial and I stop halfway through, trying to figure out what the heck the writer was thinking with their garbled instructions. Or wait– did she miss a step? Other times the instructions are written for, well, people who know what they’re doing, not self-taught goofs like myself.
If you’re a beginner sewer then I’m going to try to help you by bridging the gap between.. well.. us and them. So stick with me for my review and clarifications, learn from my mistakes, then go sew yourself something badass.
A free tutorial using upcycled materials (read: free) + printable template + clear and easy instructions. This is a good one to start with, even if you don’t have much experience with sewing. The end product is cute, quick, and– best of all– reversible.
I whipped up a bunch of these in an afternoon. Partly because of how easy and quick they were, but also because I kept effing up my attempts and needing to make new ones.
Before you begin: Kate mentions on in her instructions that the pattern doesn’t include a *seam allowance. In my opinion, that point wasn’t stressed quite enough, so let me reiterate that after you print off your pattern you do not want to cut on the lines, but half an inch around the lines. If you’re a terrible sewer you may want to give yourself a little more leeway and leave 3/4 of an inch.
If you’re making these for a toddler or someone with a small head then don’t use a seam allowance, just cut along the lines. My 2 year old’s hat fit her just perfectly, but with no room to spare. She has a big head, though.
The instructions were pretty straightforward: The only other part that was even somewhat tricky was attaching the braids to the hat. The only reason this was tricky was because I’m impatient and terrible at reading directions and didn’t pay enough attention to what I was doing. I don’t need to clarify anything, but don’t be lazy like me. Read all of the instructions. Duh.
Attempt 1: You see, even though the instructions read to use an old sweater and stretchy fabric, I tried to be fancy and use my own fabric. It must. be. stretchy. Don’t try to use that cute furry fabric with no give, like I did, because it’ll come out looking like a hat for a babydoll. Using her template as is, I made this using non-stretchy fabric for the lining. It barely fit my two-year-olds beautiful head. It looked adorable though, so I gifted this hat to my friend’s baby boy. Partial fail for coming out too small.
Attempt 2: Did you know that some fabrics will stretch when you sew them? Yeah? Because I didn’t. If this begins to happen to you you’ll need to adjust your tension so that it’s lower. The higher the tension the more it’ll tug at the fabric and make it way bigger than you originally intended. Another partial fail for coming out too big/stretchy. PS: This is the purple one pictured, so it wasn’t a complete fail.
Attempt 3: I used nice, warm, soft fleece for this and a stretchy shirt that my baby outgrew. It was perfect. Success! Which is good, because at this point I’m getting pretty sick of sewing the damn thing.
More on Aubrey – A Bio: My name is Aubrey and I am a proud wife and mother to two little girls. The combination of buying our home (as in, we have our own yard!) and our newest baby (as in, homemade baby food!) created a catalyst that provoked my interest in gardening. In researching this hobby I came across information that really made me question mainstream food. The chemicals and preservatives alone made the mother in me cringe, not to mention what the chef in me thought about the difference in taste. Thomas Moore said, “There is no way to re-enchant a disenchanted culture except by becoming renegardes from that culture and planting the seeds for a new one.” I began my endavor into Homegrown & Healthy (http://homegrownandhealthy.com) as a way to spread a message about getting back to our roots and living more naturally. You can join us there daily for recipes, tutorials, and advice for healthy, simple living.