With March being craft month and all I thought I’d share a little something with you I worked on a few weeks ago. It’s a super easy and cute (at least I think it is!) bib pattern for that special little someone in your life or it can make a beautiful and personal shower gift.
My sewing abilities are generally limited to quilting but having a new granddaughter has inspired me to try branching out. Thankfully at six months of age there’s not a lot of judging going on here and so far, she’s been pretty willing to wear just about anything.
I can’t believe how fast the last six months has gone and that she’s already exploring the world of solid foods. It’s been quite entertaining watching her finger-paint with Pablum and green beans . . . at least for us onlookers but not so much for poor Mom.
When it comes time for cleanup, some of that stuff’s like cement (oh how I remember those days!) so I set out to find the perfect bib pattern to help make life simpler for everyone and I think I can safely say, mission accomplished!
After scouring the internet for a free pattern, (why pay if you don’t have to, right!) I set out to purchase some fabric from my local Fabricland store. I hit the jackpot as they say and found the most adorable prints in a great PUL fabric.
What’s PUL fabric you ask? I had no idea either until I started this project so don’t go feeling bad if you haven’t heard of it. You’ll get no shaming from me . . . I promise! PUL stands for Polyurethane laminate which is extremely waterproof and it’s incredibly plyable and easy to work with! You can read more about it here.
PUL is used for a variety of things from diaper covers, lunch bags, change pads to chair pads and outerwear. When working with this fabric there’s a few things you’ll need to keep in mind.
There’s several redeeming qualities about using PUL but one of them for me is the fact that there’s no prewashing required, something that seems to take a lot of time when preparing fabrics for a quilt.(Did I mention that step is my least favorite when quilting?)
The other fabulous thing about this fabric that I didn’t learn until recently, is that there’s no need to finish any cut edges as the fabric doesn’t fray! Needless to say projects whip up in no time as a result.
Because the fabric consists of a non-breathable polyurethane backing, pins are not it’s best friend. Unlike other fabrics like natural cotton weaves that can be very “pin forgiving,” PUL is not. I’m not going to suggest for a second that you’re going to be breaking any rules or that you’ll grow three heads if you do use a pin or two, I’m simply saying that you’ll need to restrain yourself from using more than is absolutely necessary.
A good work-around for pin enthusiasts is either quilt-clips (aka hair clips if we’re going to be dead honest about it), paperclips or fusible seam tape. If its an absolute must to use a pin, try your best to keep it within the seam allowance. This is particularly important when using PUL to make outerwear.
Depending on the thickness of laminate you’re using, you’ll need to adjust your needle size. Typically a good denim or jeans needle will be a good choice if using thicker laminates but if you’re using the thinner ones (1.33mm), a ball point needle in size #9 or #11 will be a good choice but be sure to make a test sample just to be sure.
Laminate can be a bit “sticky” under your presser foot too so if possible use a Walking-Foot or Ultraglide foot to make the job a little easier. It’s not a “must have” but like I say, it may make the job go a little smoother. For my projects I didn’t use either of them and things went just fine. I did find that I had to sew a little slower however.
The other tip when working with laminate is to sew it with the laminated side down against your feed dogs. I’ve also heard that using freezer or wax paper over the top of the laminate can be a good idea but I didn’t use it and had absolutely no problem. In my world the easier things are, the better!
When working with this fabric the best thread to use is 100% polyester as cotton thread can wick moisture to the outside of the garment. Two additional tips here that might be of use are, to lengthen your stitch length slightly and to possibly loosen your tension just a touch. Again you’ll want to try a sample just to be sure.
When it comes to caring for garments constructed of PUL don’t be tempted as some sites suggest to “heat set” the item in the dryer as this could potentially damage the fabric. You’ll also want to stay away from using any fabric softeners, vinegars, bleaches or oxy-type products as these break the fabric down.
You can use warm or hot water when washing items but be sure to use a low heat setting when drying and of course, no ironing.
The pattern I used for the bib came from Fleeting Thing and you can find the pattern download here. I made the size shown (6 -9 months) but I did make a few minor adjustments to the pattern by adding a pocket to the front and some contrasting cuffs on the sleeves.
Oh and one other thing, for the binding I used FOE (fold over elastic) for the first time and I must say I love it. The one learning I can share with you after having used it, is to be sure not to pull too tightly when turning curves or corners or the garment starts to curl. It’s unfortunately one of those things where practice makes perfect and I’m definitely still needing some more practice as you can see but it’s a bib so I’m not getting too worked up about it.
Anyhow I hope you find the pattern as quick and easy as I did. If you have any questions just drop me a note in the comments section and I’ll get back to you right away. Happy Sewing!