By Leanne Church
I love to be creative with all of my projects and it’s even better when I learn new techniques along the way. I find that challenging myself and adding something unique adds more interest to my projects.
So, with this month’s Brother charity apron I thought I would share some techniques that you can utilize for many different projects.
Not only do I love sewing gadgets, I also love accessories, especially feet and attachments. So this tutorial will show how to combine two embroidery designs and how to add ruffles, gathers and finish the edges of your garments to add a bit of creative flair!
I love to cook and always wear an apron, so having this challenge was an excuse to make one for charity and one for myself. Plus, when you’re in the kitchen it sometimes feels like a chore, so why not feel pretty while you’re doing it!
There are some really great free patterns on craftsy.com. It won’t matter what pattern you choose because you can apply these techniques to any pattern you come across, not just aprons.
I paid for the Options Apron Project by Modern Vintage Designs, which is totally me – vintage and classic. This designer has some really beautiful apron projects if you’re interested in purchasing one of your own.
I followed the excellent pattern instructions which even included a shortcut sheet, which helped a lot. Aprons are great excuse to dig into your fabric stash. Plus, adding embroidery means that your apron will be fun, colourful and unique!
Adding an Embroidery Design
My other love is cake decorating, so of course adding Lindee Goodall’s Cupcake design to my apron was a given.
I also wanted to add something a little extra, since this month’s charity is all about breast cancer awareness. Being a member of John Deer’s Ladybug Club meant that I have access to the Ultimate Stash and found a breast cancer ribbon that was ideal for this project.
I opened up both of these embroidery designs using Embrilliance Essentials. I then copied the ribbon embroidery design into the cupcake embroidery design screen, and positioned it over the cupcake, as shown below.
Because I didn’t want the embroidery design to be too large, I resized it using the transform tool to approximately 20.42mm x 34.42mm (55% of its original size) and positioned it over the cupcake top, as shown below. Resizing using Embrilliance Essentials also means that it will recalculate the stitches for you, which is handy.
Next I ensured that your ribbon embroidery design will be embroidered last, so that all of the applique goes down in the right sequence. Once you have both embroidery designs in position you can now export your embroidery design to USB in your desired embroidery file format.
The great thing about Lindee Goodall’s applique designs is that she provides the FCM file for your ScanNCut. For those without a ScanNCut you could also print out a PDF with the templates for the shapes and cut them that way. Pre-cutting the shapes, in my opinion, is a much better way of creating applique, as you get a clean cut and won’t get those ‘pokie’ bits coming through your satin stitch.
You will notice a jump stitch in this design and might wonder what that’s for. It’s to anchor the thread before it goes to the next thread colour. Of course, we just cut it off but it means that your machine won’t become un-threaded while it stitches out.
Creating a Pocket
I printed off the pattern of the pocket onto a piece of card. This made it easier to fold back the seam allowance, as shown below. I then cut into the seam allowance edge, which made it easy to fold around the cornered edge. Once this had been done I ironed it down so when it’s sewn onto the apron it was perfectly flat.
Creating a Ruffle
The Ruffler Foot is probably the scariest looking foot for your machine, but it’s actually fantastic for creating the perfect tucks in fabric. I ended up using this technique for the bottom edge of my apron.
If you’re unsure about how much fabric you will need, a great tip is to measure half a meter of fabric at only 10cm height. Then use the ruffler foot to ruffle this fabric at your preferred ruffle setting. Now you can measure this and calculate how much fabric you will need to create one long ruffle to go around the bottom edge of your apron.
Watch this Brother video to see how to create a ruffle
The way in which they get the fabric into the foot is a great tip to remember. I ended up using Echidna Echy Trace as my guiding paper.
Gathering the Top
Around the top edge of the apron I used the Brother Gathering Foot.
I cut a piece of 1½ inch strips. The key to creating a nice gather is to lengthen the stitch. To do this I increased the length of my stitch to 4 and then tightened the tension to 6. Also, when you start your gather, make sure you have a long tail of upper and bobbin thread, pulled out the back of your foot. Then when you finish make sure you leave a long tail before cutting it off. This will allow you to alter the gather along the tails if needed. And remember, don’t ever back stitch when sewing a gather.
Watch the Brother video to see how to gather your fabric
Creating the Narrow Rolled Hem
The narrowest hem you can do is a rolled hem, which neatens off and stops the edges of your fabric from fraying. The Narrow Hem Foot is a great tool for creating a very impressive finish. I have used this on the bottom of my gathered and ruffled pieces of fabric.
Watch the Brother video to see how to create a narrow hem
Finishing the Edging
If you find it difficult to put bias on with a straight stitch, then use a blanket, zig-zag or blind hem stitch; one that swings side to side. This way, there is less room for error when trying to sew from the front to the back of the fabric.
Adding small detail may take more time but you can make your projects so much more interesting and unique. People will be sure to notice the beautiful handiwork of your designs.
I hope you will have a look at the great videos in this blog and add that special touch to your apron.
Happy Sewing from Leanne