Saturday, 26 January 2013

Mitered Corners and Headscarf Success!

Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today I thought I would attempt to make my perfect headscarf. As I have mentioned in one of my previous blogs, the main reason I want to make headscarves is because I find it difficult to find the perfect  dimension to fit my head comfortably and have enough material left over to do a bow or something on top. This is also a simple project for a novice to begin with so I got stitching.

So in order to make the headscarf I looked at how to do hemming and more importantly, mitered corners. These little corners make square and rectangular fabric so neat and tidy that I just had to learn how to do them. I went on to You Tube and found this great tutorial by TreadleLady - link below: another great site was recommended to me by my Twitter sewing friends - see link below:

Both tutorials are great and looked easy to follow so I began on my stitching quest. BTY - I'm not going to give a blow by blow account as you can get this from the super tutorials above. I'm going to describe how I got on as a beginner and what additional pearls of wisdom I can share to all you new fellow stitching novices.

First attempt - the willie warmer
I thought I ought to practice first as although it looked simple from the tutorials, I had a sneaky suspicion that these little corners were more tricky than they seemed. I used some left over material from my tote back and ironed the edge to about an inch (sorry if I jump from inches to cm - I like to mix a bit of old and new together !). I then brought this back to the sewing machine and followed the tutorial. Well, my first attempt was a shambles! It ended up looking like a willy warmer gone wrong and the corners were so uneven that I could only sew the hem three out of the four sides!

So attempt two - I measured the fabric and cut it using my new Pyrm rotary cutter. With even corners and ironing back about a half an inch of fabric I took to the sewing machine again. This attempt was better although the corners were still not great and the hem was rather wonky.

My new motto has definitely got to be 'if at first you don't succeed; try, try again' as I gave these tricksy corners a final go. I measured and trimmed the fabric. I ironed about a third of an inch all the way round and tried out these corners again - and bingo - I was impressed. Third time lucky! Tip: although bigger is normally easier to practice on, I didn't find this.  With this third attempt being a triumph I thought I would give my headscarf a whirl.

Measuring up
Cutting up
This time I made sure all the measurements were completely accurate. I cut an 82cmx82cm piece of fabric using my Fissler scissors, Pyrm rotary cutter, metal ruler, tape measure and craft mat.  This was the first time I had cut fabric to size before and my tip on this is to buy a quilting ruler. I have not bought one yet but I think this help to achieve straight lines and be able to put enough pressure on the fabric to stop it from moving. Anyway, after much measuring, cutting and slicing I was ready to prepare my scarf for stitching. I ironed a hem a third of inch wide and constantly measure as I ironed to ensure that the hem was consistent all the way around. This may sound anal but by doing this you are more likely to get a straight hem and great mitered corners. After pressing I went and did my corners. I followed the tutorial to guarantee I did not make any slip ups. Tip: Do try to make sure the corners are the same length as this is crucial for final hemming.  I pinned the hem as there was almost a metre of material and would aid the sewing of the hem. I took the fabric back the machine and sewed my hem and ta-dah- one completed headscarf! This made me very happy and although it took about 3 hours to get the technique of the mitered corners right (plus bobbin winding, re-threading of the machine and other little dilemmas) I now have a headscarf that I made and will wear with pride!

Hint and tips
Pinned headscarf ready to stitch
  • Equipment: Iron, craft mat, metal ruler, rotary cutter or fabric scissors, tape measure, fabric, pins, thread and a sewing machine
  • Patience - oh my, I mention this every time but as I'm setting out on this adventure I can't stress it enough!
  • Check the bobbin for thread - luckily mine ran out on attempt three so was not a major disaster, but I had forgotten so please check  - especially when stitching large amounts of fabric
  • Make sure you measure the hem - this is will help when making the mitered corners
  • Measure the fabric correctly - I thought I had and instead of being an 80cmx80cm, it is actually 78cmx78cm so not quite perfect! I think I should have cut the fabric at 83cm or 84cm but I will know for next time
Enjoy and take your time!

Happy Stitching x

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