Fought and won

March 29, 2008 at 10:18 pm 8 comments

Today, I sewed while Nola slept. I swear she thinks I can’t see her.

Nola's paws

My friend purchased this reversible apron and requested a matching bib.


Having never made a bib before, I searched Etsy for inspiration, wandered around the infant section at Target for tangible samples, and came up with a design that was a little of this and a little of that.

It started as a drawing…

bib drawing

then became a paper template…

paper template

and finally became a bib.


I’m very happy with how it turned out, but if I could do it again, I would have cut the binding on the bias for flexibility. That straight strip of binding did NOT want to go around those curves!


But I fought and won.


I’m curious about other people’s design process. I like to sketch things out first to get a very clear idea of what needs to go into the final product — measurements, colors, placement — before I start cutting into my fabric. There’s nothing I hate more than wasting fabric. I only cut paper templates when the pattern is an odd shape (which usually means neither square nor rectangle) or when I want to physically see and understand the life-size proportions.

So how about you? If you’re not working from an existing pattern, what steps do you take to get a new design from your imagination to the final piece? Do you draw things out? Make it up as you go? Do you prefer to have things planned, or do you thrive off of happy mistakes?


Entry filed under: Handmade goodies, Kitties, Sewing, Things and stuff.

Jack and Jill went up the hill Fabric stash

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dayna  |  March 29, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    anything with a shape gets a pattern. If I like the pattern (such as a purse) I may enlarge or shrink a pattern to make it in multiple sizes.

  • 2. Annie  |  March 29, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    hmmm… I don’t know if “thrive” is quite the right word… I definitely do a lot of crafting/sewing without a plan and make things up as I go. Sometimes this is good, sometimes not so much. I just recently started to work off my very own patterns though and I have found it to be so, so satisfying. I’m much more patient with it, which I think is interesting.

  • 3. kathid  |  March 30, 2008 at 2:21 am

    I draw things out and make paper patterns, and still make happy (or unhappy) mistakes! I actually went so far as to make a muslin version of a purse before I cut into some expensive fabric, but that’s rare.

  • 4. Mom  |  March 30, 2008 at 9:37 am

    I can’t answer your questions about patterns…but I had to tell you that the bib came out great! She’ll love it!

  • 5. Bell  |  March 30, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I love the bib. It is so cute.

    I have a folder of graph paper and draw my design ideas on to it. That way I can get an idea of size and scale. I use a scale like 1/4″ per square for smaller things or an inch per square for bigger projects. Then when I’m happy I will draw out the design onto light-weight interfacing and use it as pattern pieces. I just place the interfacing over the inch gridding on my cutting mat, hold it down with some sticky tape so it doesn’t shift, and replicate the design. The interfacing doesn’t tear, is easy to work with and doesn’t crease when you store it for later.

  • 6. Jox  |  April 1, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I usually make it up as I go along being inspired by what I have to hand.
    Then, if I like it I’ll work out how to improve it by doing a technical drawing and working out measurements etc.

    I love the bib, I might have to commission one (my sisters second baby is due in July)

  • 7. Crosspaws  |  April 2, 2008 at 7:56 am

    I’m like you, I have to draw it all out first, see and think about it, improve on it. I always use a pattern or template, so I don’t have to remeasure every time, just trace, and so I can see the whole thing laid out (I don’t even like the ones that say “place on fold”, I like to see the whole thing). Putting the fabrics together is my favorite part, but I am really loving designing/changing new pattens lately, so nice when it’s all your own, isn’t it?

    BTW, the rule for cats is: if they can’t see you, you can’t see them, even those cute toes sticking out 😉

  • 8. Betty  |  April 8, 2008 at 11:52 am

    You really are a pro at doing trim/bindings. That curvy one looked really hard. I love your question here- I’ll include pics on my blog about how I plan my projects too.


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