Over the weekend, I dug out the sewing machine. The funny thing is that I often get asked about ‘fixing’ things using my sewing machine, and the only time that I ever do get out the machine is if someone else asks me to do something for them. I’m not the world’s best at sewing, nor am I very fast at it. To be honest, it is my least favorite “crafty” thing to do, but if I have to I can do it. The result is that when the machine is out (about once every 6-8 months) I go through and “binge sew” on it – to repair everything that needs reparing, make what needs making, and then call it good. I then pack up the machine and it doesn’t see the light of day for another 6-8 months.
This time, I was asked to repair 4 bibs for Orliath, a gorgeous little girl who wears bibs daily. Sadly, she is confined to a wheelchair, and when I got the bibs, I ended up having to take them apart and remove the binding / ties and then re-sew and replace the binding. You see, the bibs that I was asked to repair are basically 2 pieces of poplin (cotton) fabric with a thin piece of plastic in between (they crinkle when they’re moved).
They were sewn with a single stitch on two fold binding tape around the outside edge. The end result was that they came apart after only a (relatively) few washings as the fabric shrank / stretched. It’s quite time consuming and challenging for me – with my limited patience and sewing experience.
After getting frustrated, I chatted to my mom, dad, and grandma (dad and grandma make quilts) and I posed the problem to them. They told me that it might be faster to make the bibs brand new – and sewn at least twice – once on the inside fabric pieces with a single stitch, and the other with zig zag stitch on the double sided bias tape to effectively give it 3 levels of stitching to “hold”. Once I had the concept – I decided that I could cut a bunch of fabric, and then properly put them together so that they’d need fewer repairs in the future. With the right fabric, I could also give something that’s waterproof and easy to clean – but also soft and not so noisy.
And so it began. I looked on eBay, and found something called PUL fabric – PUL stands for Polyurethane Laminate fabric – and the polyurethane is bound with soft t-shirt and microfiber (to eliminate the “crinkle noise) using an eco friendly adhesive. From here, I decided to try my hand at “creation” using the old bibs as an example. Using the old bibs as a “template” for size (you can see the red piece from one of the bibs I took apart), I started cutting out multiple triangles.
Then, I pinned and sewed the wrong sides together along the edges.
Trimming the excess fabric edges, I then pinned on the satin bias tape and made corners. Now, I went back and did the zig zag stitch over the edges.
The end result I think turned out pretty well in my opinion – Orliath ended out with 4 repaired bibs (top of the picture and 5 new bibs from scratch. They’re not perfect (I still have trouble sewing straight seams and keeping the bias tape even on both sides) but they will hold up to washing, chewing, and food – and that’s what counts.