Now you can sew a great casual nursing top in just a few hours with Nursing Classics #107 (and/or our new Nursing Classics #207)! You could also apply these same principles to our new top pattern NC#205. To prove our point we decided to show you how you can make a complete variety of five different tops for about $50.00 in just one day! If you don't have a complete day to devote to sewing, you can break your projects down to a smaller scale and do them as you can fit them in your schedule, but we think you'll be pleased with how quickly everything will pull together! Hold on to your hat and get ready to have a fun day creating some truly functional clothing for you and your baby!
1. Select the views you would like to sew and write the yardage on a little card. We decided to make two versions of view 1, two versions of view 2, and one version of view 3. (You can combine any of these views with #207... adding long sleeves, tunic or dress length or a mock turtle neck collar). When you go shopping be sure to get all the thread, fabric, notions, etc. , that you think you might need. There is nothing worse than getting in the middle of a big sewing project and breaking a needle or running out of something you need. When you stop your momentum and run to the store, you never recapture those precious lost moments of time. When shopping, try to coordinate your fabric so that you can use the same color thread on several different tops. This allows you to sew your tops in an "assembly line" type method and will help save you a lot of time. We used white thread on four of our tops (views 1 and 2) and black thread for one top (view 3). When shopping, we tried to find good quality fabrics at the best possible prices. While you may end up spending more than we did if you opt for higher cost fabrics, if you shop around and look for bargains, you will surely do much better than we did! (We've heard from some of you bargain hunters who manage to find great fabric for $1-2 per yard on clearance! Persistence and perseverance often pays off!) Some of the best bargains are found in the back of your closet. That cute fabric you bought a few years ago and never did anything with might be perfect for this top... and when you use up some fabric out of your closet it always feels like you got your top for free! Here is a break down of what we spent. View One: We bought 4 yards of cotton knits (2 for each top) on a mill end table for $3.00 per yard. View Two: We bought 2 yards of white poplin at $6.29 per yard for one of the tops and then 2 yards of blue/white knit (at $3.99/yd) for the other view. We used one package of blue trim ($1.20) and purchased an appliqué for the white top ($1.00). We used snaps for view 2 ($.85). These two tops are pictured on the opposite page! View Three: We purchased 2 1/2 yards of a cute cotton polyester blend fabric for $3.99/yard. The buttons were $1.20. We used scraps of interfacing. Summary: We always have a large supply of thread on hand and didn't have to purchase any but allowed $4.50 towards the purchase of thread you might need to buy. Our Total Cost for 5 tops: $49.91! This figure does not include sales tax or the purchase price of the pattern, but if you buy four patterns you can get # 107 pattern as your bonus and get it for free! Ready made nursing tops in catalogs range in prices from $40-$48.. (yes for JUST a T-shirt!) Even if your spend $20.00 more on fabric than we did and you pay full price for your pattern ($9.95) , you can save yourself $145 by sewing it yourself!!! That figure is hard to believe.. but TRUE! (5 tops x $45.00 = $225 (and don't forget to add about $20.00 for shipping!... but we won't add it!) subtract $80.00 ($50.00 + $20 +10) =$145 savings! You also have to remember that you can adjust your pattern to get a perfect fit ... something you just can't get with ready-made!
2. Cut out all of your tops the night before you sew. If possible do this after the kids are in bed (if you have any yet!). Study the layout information on the sewing guide before you begin. Be sure to use the correct cutting lines for your size. Lay out both pieces of fabric from view 1 on top of each other making sure they are on the straight of grain. Pin the pattern on the fabric and cut out both tops at one time. Do the same with view 2, cutting out both tops at once. We cut both of the dickeys for view 2 from the white poplin. Then cut out your single top from view 3. Time Saving Tips: Use a minimum amount of pins. We pin the comers and stress points of the pattern and then use some of those nifty pattern weights (and butter knives) to weigh down the rest of the pattern while we cut. When you use the sleeve pattern to cut out the sleeves for view 2, don't unpin the fabric from view 1, simply place it on the new fabric and it will adhere quite well eliminating the need for pinning. Cut as fast and as accurately as possible. Sloppy cutting can throw your pattern off by a complete size! Now, before your go to bed, organize your tops into stacks deciding what you will work on first.
Estimated Cutting Time: 1 1/2 hours.
3. Sewing Day. Get up early. I can usually get one good hour of sewing time in before my children get up. If you are going use a lot of one color of thread, wind a lot of bobbins... I usually wind 6 bobbins of white thread at one time. An important rule for fast sewing is to do all like actions at the same time. It takes a lot of time to stop and unthread your machine and wind a bobbin every time you run out. If you have extras a wound up, you can just pop in a new bobbin and keep going. The same goes for every aspect of sewing. Sew all the sleeves at once, do all the hems at once, do all the hand sewing at once, etc. etc. To start out, I sew everything I can possibly sew on my sewing machine before I get up to press, or to switch to my serger. If you don't have a serger, then just do everything on your regular sewing machine. Sew ALL the shoulder seams of ALL the tops that use the same color thread. We recommend you stitch shoulder seams on your regular machine rather than your serger. The shoulder seam needs stability as it is under extra stress and a regular seam holds up better than a serged seam. When you have done everything you can possibly do on your machine, press the seams that need pressed, and then either switch to a serger and serge everything that can be serged or else go back to your machine. We serged all of the side seams and the sleeve seams and used the serger to finish all seam allowances and raw edges. In this manner we were able to complete both of our view 1 tops in just a little bit over an hour! Once you have finished your tops that use the same color thread, switch threads and then start on your next view. Our first four tops all used white thread except for the navy trim we used on view 2, so we did all the white sewing before we sewed on the trim. When we were finished with that we went on and started view 3. Try to sew at least an hour before you stop, then take care of breakfast and getting your kids ready for the day. Resume sewing when things are settled down and your kids are busy and happy. Try to squeeze 2-3 hours of sewing in before lunch. Take a break and then finish up the rest of your sewing by mid-afternoon. Save all of your handwork (snaps, buttons, etc.) for the evening when you can sit down and relax.
Estimated sewing time: Views 1 and 2 will take you about 1 hour for each top. We were able to make them faster than this, but depending on your ability we feel this is an accurate estimate. View 3 will take a little longer because of the collar and the buttons. Estimate 2-2 1/2 hours. To make all five tops it will take you about 6 1/2 hours of sewing time. Add to that 1 1/2 hours of cutting and you have made yourself a great casual wardrobe of nursing tips in just 8 hours! (and saved $145 in the process!) Not bad for a days work! If you are a beginner, you may not be able to sew this fast. Remember it is more important to sew it right than to just sew it fast! Just take your time and follow the directions! Your speed will pick up as you gain experience! You'll be surprised at how quickly everything sews together once you get started!
This article was originally published in our own little newsletter, Nursing Classics news, (Volume 6 Number 1) and featured our best selling pattern Nursing Classics #107. We updated it slightly and added the $20.00 leeway because we realize you can't always find fabrics on sale! With effort, however, we believe you can still find the same prices featured in our article! You could apply these same sewing principles to our new Nursing Classics #207 (or almost any pattern in our collection) as well! We hope this article gives you some great ideas you can apply to ALL your sewing projects!
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