Wednesday, September 14, 2011

How to embroider on a onesie or small shirt for a child

I know this isn't diaper pattern or diaper sewing related but if you sew diapers chances are you make other items or like to embellish clothing for your little one.  I have been asked before how exactly do I embroider on a small onesie and get a great result.  Today I had an opportunity to take pictures of the process while doing a favor for a friend.

I use this technique on all sizes of onesies and shirts from newborn to small child.  The end goal is a stitch out that is smooth with no puckering, stretching or distorting in the fabric you are stitching on.  Doing your small clothing items this way will have you achieving that great result time after time.

First thing I do is mark the center of the item, from collar to hem, I will be stitching on.  If I am stitching something smack on the chest of the shirt I will determine my layout along that center line.  I like to stay a couple of inches below the collar when possible as that makes hooping easier and the top of the shirt more stable.  You can see in this picture that I shifted where I wanted the design to be so I could add in a second hooping for the lettering.

Now that the placement is marked let's pop that side seam!  Grab your seam ripper and start picking apart the seam starting at where the binding along the bottom of the onesie is joined.

Being that this onesie is an 18/24 month onesie I decided to stop at where the sleeve joins the body of the onesie.

With the seam open it's time to prep the back of the onesie for hooping.  I ♥ my Machine Embroidery spray.  This is the only one I will use.  It does not gum up my machine at all.  Lightly spray the backside of the onesie and let it set per product directions for 10 minutes.  This is important!    When it sets up it dries a little and you are not stitching on wet sticky adhesive spray.  It also makes the garment repositionable if you need to adjust anything.

When the spray has set up it is time to take your piece of cutaway and smooth it onto your garment.

It is now time to hoop up your garment.  Uh oh....looks like I didn't open the seam up enough to keep the garment easily out of the way while stitching my design.  If this happens to you grab the seam ripper and open the seam up to the end to give you a little more room.  I don't like to have to hold a garment out of the way while stitching out a design.

Load your hoop onto your machine.  You can use hair clips to gather up the excess material on the onesie if you like.  It is not necessary.  Just keep it to the side of the hoop and make sure it doesn't find it's way under the hoop.

As I am doing an applique design on this onesie I cut out all my fabric pieces in advance (not shown) and prepped them with the embroidery spray so when I needed them they would be ready.  With the design loaded and hoop in place you are ready to go.  The reason I use the machine embroidery spray is because I do not fussy cut my pieces.  In my experience it is too easy to be off in your cutting and this can affect the outcome of your project.  So I like to print off a full scale printout of the design from my software and use that to get measurements for my blocks.  Cut the blocks out, prep them and set them aside until I need them.

Here I have smoothed down my first fabric block in my design.

When each block finishes remove your hoop from the machine but do not unhoop your project!  Carefully trim the excess fabric from the block.  Trim close to the stitching but take care not to clip stitches.  When finished trimming, load hoop back up and go to next step.

For this design once all my fabric pieces have been stitched and trimmed it's time for detail stitching.  As all my blocks were prepped they laid nice and flat and stayed put while being stitched down.

When the design is finished remove the hoop from the machine and trim all the jumps on the backside.  I like to keep the back just as clean looking as the front.

For this project I need to hoop my garment a second time.  This will be easy to do since I already made my placement lines.  With the fabric being prepped already there is no need to spray it again to get it ready.  Just hoop a piece of cutaway stabilizer in the hoop.

Smooth the garment down onto the stabilizer, taking care to line up your placement marks with the guide marks on the hoop's inner ring.

Load the hoop, start up the design and stitch it out!

When you are all done, remove the hoop from the machine and pop it off your garment.  Now trim up the jumps if any and trim your stabilizer.

It is now time to sew that seam back up.  Pin the onesie/shirt closed and stitch it back together following the original stitching line.  Finish the edge either with your serger or use an overlock stitch on your sewing machine.

Your garment is now ready to be rinsed off and dried so that you can iron on protective mesh covering.  I like to cut my cover mesh to be about 1/2 an inch to 3/4 of an inch bigger than my design so I know all the stitches will be covered and there is nothing but softness touching baby's skin.

All done!


Sunday, September 11, 2011

How I back and seal my embroidery for diapers on PUL

Adding embroidery to your diapers can turn an ordinary diaper into something extraordinary!  The question I get a lot is how to do it so it doesn't wick.  This is easy!!  Here is a quick tutorial for how I embellish diapers with embroidery.  In the 4 1/2 years that I have been doing it this way, not a single diaper has ever leaked through my embroidery.

I don't have pictures of the first few steps but they are easy :)  First you want to trace out your pattern piece onto your PUL.  Don't cut it out!  You want to make sure you have plenty of material to hoop so wait to cut your diaper out until after you embroider.

You will want to find the center of the diaper.  Fold the diaper cut in half length wise, mark the center.  Draw a line across the back of the diaper between the back leg elastic points.  Extend your center mark down the diaper so you get a crosshair.  This is where you want your embroidery to be centered.  Most of the time I will draw a box that is slightly larger than the size of the design I am embroidering as it helps get it lined up in the hoop when I use a home machine.

The following pictures were made using a commercial embroidery machine but the process is still the same if you use a home machine.

Here I have hooped just the diaper cut.  You do not have to hoop your scrap PUL piece and stabilizer.  These can be floated under the hoop. 

When you load your hoop onto your machine you will place your scrap piece of PUL under the hoop, shiny side down and your cutaway stabilizer under that.

When you are finished stitching the design, remove the hoop from the machine and trim your stabilizer close to the design.  When you are finished with that it should look something like this.

Now you will fold your scrap piece of PUL up and over the back side of the embroidery to cover it.

Now you will sew around the embroidery design on the scrap piece of PUL to encase it.  Fold your diaper cut out of the way, you don't want to sew that to your scrap.

When finished you will have something that looks like this picture.

Trim around the encased design to remove excess scrap PUL.  Your embroidery is now totally encased.  When you toss the diaper into the dryer after sewing it up the heat will seal the holes in the PUL covering the embroidery and it will prevent wetness from coming through your design.  

Sew the diaper up following the construction instructions on the pattern you are using and you are all set!

♥ Krista

How to easily sew blind elastic in a serged diaper

This week I am testing out a few revisions I have made to the OS Fitted pattern and so here is how I sew in my blind elastic when I am making a serged fitted diaper.

First you want to get your fabric layered how you want it to be in the diaper.  I like to have my inner layer on the bottom of the stack right side facing down followed by the hidden layer, also right side facing down.  Then I top it with my outer layer facing right side up.  Lay your pattern down and trace it out and transfer all marks.  When you go to cut it out do not cut it out on the line, cut around the line.  I add my soaker snaps now.

I usually start at the back elastic point on my right of the diaper.  Set your needle to the far left position and stitch a basting line from one point to the other.  Do not lock your stitches!  You want to be able to pull out the basting stitch line when you are finished.

Your guide line will end up being almost a half of an inch away from the cut line on the diaper.  Do this for the other leg and then the back.

All elastic placement guide lines stitched out.

Now it is time to thread your elastic between the layers.

Make sure to leave a tail of elastic that extends past the elastic mark point.  Now you are ready to sew the elastic in.

I use a wide three step 3 zigzag when I sew in my elastic.  Tack the elastic in securely then sew with your needle so it stops in the down position and firmly pull your elastic against your guide line. Line your presser foot up with the guide line and stitch down your elastic.

Do this for all elastic areas, when you are finished it will look like this.

Remove your basting stitches and serge the diaper up.  You have even perfectly placed elastic and you will get this result each and every time you sew in your elastic like this.

This diaper has slightly ruffled legs.  To have a less ruffled look have your guide line closer to the cut line.  Make sure that you do keep at least 1/4 of an inch distance from the cut line and your guide line so you don't serge into your elastic.  For a more ruffled leg sew the guide line slightly further into the diaper.

Diaper on smallest rise setting.

Inside of diaper showing nice evenly placed elastic.  Ignore the fact that I need to toss this diaper in the wash to remove my marker marks.

Diaper on largest rise setting.

♥ Krista