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

Pajama Bottoms

I decided to make a quick pair of pajama bottoms for Asher because I was inspired by all the cute flannel, especially the Anna Maria Horner, we had at work. Unfortunately, not any of it was very boyish.

So…I resorted to Jo-Ann’s and found this sweet, but not high quality owl flannel. I love the colors, but I’m not sure it’s going to wash up well. I see it getting pilly pretty quickly. 

Anyway, I used Kwik Sew 3589, which is a very basic pattern — only 2 pattern pieces, with an elastic waste. This type of pattern only makes me want a serger more and more. I could whip these out pretty fast and my edges would look so much nicer. There’s always Christmas!

Garments · Holidays

Robin Hood Halloween Costume

Ferd has decided to be Robin Hood this Halloween. And so, I am working on View C from this pattern. Everything has been going great so far, except for the hat. The cape came out wonderful! And a plus, leaving it a little long, it can double as a Jedi cape! The tunic is almost done. I used a nice green ultrasuede from Jo-Ann’s. It frays slightly, but it hasn’t been too bad. Had a little trouble with sewing on the 1/4″ double bias tape around the neckline and forming the ties. The bias tape is just so narrow, I had trouble catching the ultrasuede between the bias tape and getting my feed dogs to move it along. If I made this costume again, I might use 1/2″ bias tape instead. Now, I just need to sew up of the sides and underarms. The hat has been another story. It seems small and the proportions of hat to brim don’t look right. I struggled with attaching the brim and I still think it’s wrong, even though I’ve taken all the stitching out and done it more than once. Thankfully, Ferd already has a Robin Hood hat he can wear along with this costume. Now I just need to track down a bow and arrow and possibly a quiver! 

Hope to get some pictures of my version up soon!


Schoolhouse Tunic

I haven’t had a chance too sew many clothes for myself in a long time. But recently I did get a chance to make the Schoolhouse Tunic by Sew Liberated. I’d been admiring it for awhile. I really like the tunic look, but I’m not a leggings kind of gal. So, I just wore mine over jeans.
This is a great pattern for beginners — no interfacing, no gathering. I would definitely recommend it to someone who is just starting out. I was really pleased with my results.
The fabric I used was a dobby lawn from Jo-Ann’s! I was surprised to find such nice, cute fabric there. It was a pleasure to sew with and washed up nicely.
The finished tunic
Close up of the front
Close-up of fabric
Garments · Things to See & Do

Summer…Not So Bad So Far

Summer vacation hasn’t been awful so far. It’s a lot of togetherness for me and the Ferd (5 year old son). Today we went to Oaks Park for Chipper’s Preschool Morning. We managed to get on the hot-air balloon ride, but Ferd didn’t have the patience to wait in line for any others. I don’t think he’s ready for Disneyland. He did get to hug, shake hands, and high-five with Chipper. Always a highlight!

Hope to visit the sale at A Common Thread this week with an eye on buying the darning and invisible zipper feet for my sewing machine. I wanted to give free-motion quilting a try and make Amy Butler’s Cabo Halter. I’ve had the pattern for a long time and haven’t done any garment sewing since a failed attempt at a skirt last summer.

Also hope to attend the Artfiberfest Artists’ Marketplaceat Reed College here in Portland on Friday, June 26th from 7-9 pm located in the Student Union. I have been so out of it (for the past 5 years), I didn’t even know Teesha Moore was having Artfiberfest here in Portland this time around. So if I can’t go to the actual workshops, the marketplace sounds like the next best thing.