The Serger: Relearning the Basics

A couple years ago, I received a Bernina serger for Christmas! I dutifully took the new owner classes offered at my local shop, but was still so scared of the thing that I haven’t touched it much since. I did make a skirt, which came out great, but that’s it.

Several months back, I purchased Beginner Serging: Machine Basics & Techniques with Amy Alan on Craftsy. My local sewing shop only offered introductory serger classes sporadically. With my schedule and limited time, I needed something I could do from home whenever I could squeeze it in.


Well, I finally just got to start to watching and this class has been great for building my confidence! Luckily, Amy is using the same machine as me. So that helps simplify things. I’ve gone through the basic stitch lessons and am now learning some decorative techniques. The class also includes three projects to sew along with – a zippered toiletry bag, an apron and a scarf.

But I was so excited about what I learned so far, I decided to take a break from class and make a simple garment with my new skills.

I decided on Kwik Sew K3602. I’ve always had great luck with Kwik Sew patterns. I like how they are printed on paper not tissue and the instructions make sense.

Kwik Sew K3602

I recently picked up $6/yard Valori Wells flannel at Craft Warehouse and decided to use it to make these pajama bottoms. They’re turned out a little big. I was torn between making the size S or M. I have a medium waist, but small hips. So, I decided to go with the M.


Here’s a close up of my serging on one of the leg seams. It just feels good to be using this machine and not being as scared of it as I was. I hope to make more garments and conquering my fear of the serger will get me going in that direction.

Up next on my garment to-do list is the Grainline Studio Scout Woven Tee. Here’s the fabric I’m going to use — a print from Robert Kaufman’s London Calling 3 cotton lawn collection.

Celebration from London Calling 3 by Robert Kaufman
Celebration from London Calling 3 by Robert Kaufman
For the Home

Patchwork Fabric Baskets

Awhile back, I had the privilege of helping to make the small version of this basket out of Full Moon Lagoon for Mo Bedell‘s Quilt Market booth. I became hooked on these! They are super fun and easy to make. You can find the tutorial here on Pink Penguin’s blog.


Here I used some left over scraps from the baby quilt I recently made for my son’s teacher. I thought she could use this little basket for diapers or other baby sundries. The fabric here is Sarah Watts’ Timber & Leaf. The solid is Essex Yarn-Dyed Flax.


Here’s another one using some of my favorite orange fabrics including Denyse Schmidt, Comma, Carolyn Friedlander, Joel Dewberry and Dear Stella.

These are a great way to use up your scraps and make something useful at the same time!


Perfect Quilted Tote

I had been curious about the “quilt as you go” technique. I loved the look and some sewing friends said it was so easy.  To try it out, I needed a project. So, I purchased Elizabeth Hartman‘s Perfect Quilted Totes available as a pdf pattern. The pattern includes instructions for two sizes: a tall tote measuring 14½” tall x 10½” wide and a wide tote measuring 11½” tall x 12½” wide. I chose to make the wide tote.


Here’s the technique in process. It is so much fun! Elizabeth’s instructions are very clear and easy to follow. It works out well to select a couple fabrics with large motifs that you can fussy cut and use as focal fabrics, such as the typewriter fabric by Julia Rothman on the example above, for the quilted panels. The typewriter fabric helped me decide on my blue, orange and grey color scheme.


Here’s the finished tote! I am really pleased with how it turned out. The inside includes 2 pockets, one with a zipper, and a magnetic snap.  For my solid fabric for the body of the tote, I used Essex cotton/linen blend in Grey. Inside, I used Kona Cotton in Bahama Blue.