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Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners

Lesson 1 of 23

T-Shirt Appliqué Prep

Susan Beal

Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners

Susan Beal

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Lesson Info

1. T-Shirt Appliqué Prep

Lesson Info

T-Shirt Appliqué Prep

Thank you so much for joining us today to do some sewing. I'm so excited to be here, I'm susan, I live in portland, oregon, and as j k o mentioned, I have two little kids, so I've been sewing for about fifteen years, I learned when I was in my twenties and just fell in love with taking all the fabric and clothes I'd found over the years. Vintage pieces I wanted to rework or things I was excited about, but wanted to shorten a him or change the look of a dress, and suddenly I felt like I had a new superpower where I could actually put those things together, just like I saw them in my head. So whether you're brand new to sewing or have been sewing for awhile, I hope you'll find something fun to make from these projects over the next few segment. We're starting with a very simple set of applications if you've never embellished fabric with applications it's such a nice way to add a little pop like the small design, an off center approach or something for a child is especially fun because th...

e simplest he shirt that just has a blank surface or you might want to cover it a cover, a stain or rib burgess something your child's outgrown, you can add a fresh look to it by layering fabric and stitching around the edges, I really like how application is just such a quick beginner from the craft it can be. A cz complex is a layered, colorful, interesting mix or a simple as one piece of fabric with a stitching that joins it to the main government or bag kid's. Going back to school is such a big transition and it's such a busy time shopping for new supplies. You may have gotten a list from your school, or your child has a favorite thing in mind that they absolutely have to have. But one thing I really like to do is mix a few handmade elements in it's, so nice when you're able to use a child's favorite colors, I'll just show the shirt again. My daughter pearls, favorite design of any type right now is rain bose. She loves them, they pop it and her art. She loves to wear the rainbow skirt of soder, and so I thought that would be a fun one to start with since it's kind of a break, sheriff. Full and just universally kind of beautiful image it's also a lot at once when you're getting ready to go back to school, so you may not have hours and hours to sew a dress from scratch our special pair of pants or just do anything that's going to take quite a bit of time. So I like these quick projects for just adding a special something to the first day of school t shirt or just something you can snap a few pictures of when, in the hustle bustle of the first day, we'll be using some specific patterns. I've also free hand drawn quite a few of my patterns over the years and it's just such a open, universal approach. I love having somewhere to start like this, and I was so excited to put this package of patterns together, so I'd love to show you a few of my favorite things I've made over the last years, especially my daughter, six and my son is three and so for their easter baskets a year ago, I made them a little something that they was a nice surprise initial t shirts and for these I used diagonal platz, which I think is such a fun fresh pattern these tour by donny schmit who's one my favorite fabric designers. And my son ever at the time was two and a half and my daughter prose just almost five and so I got simple t shirts just an expensive blank t shirts and stitched on a letter that I free hand drew the fanta chose for the patterns for this class is a really simple beautiful one that a lot of I think is just universally appealing for kids but this was my very first little matching present for them and this whole realm and it's to this day even though they both now outgrown it and my daughters in particular has gotten a little tiny honor she let me bring it with me today to show you in person it's seen a lot a lot of art projects a lot of love it's starting to get short I promised her when I brought it back from this class I'd go ahead and cut the sleeves off so it could be a little ah little bit more versatile but this is on just one of my favorite projects like made her so simple but it just works and it's so nice having something with your child's initial or the number of their age or their favorite design so whether you're making something for the very first day of school or a simple projects for a birthday party present these are such quick go twos I really love seeing my kids and now my kidsfriends wearing their homemade t shirts it's really nice to have that kind of just little warm moment in the middle of an ordinary monday or tuesday when you're trying to get out the door and everything's hectic it's just really sweet to see that. So the next started like to show you was this year's easter gift for my daughter it's, the heart very similar to what will be sewing today, I chose a glitter fabric that she absolutely loved and made her a little matching skirt, which will be in a later segment of very simple and quick fund project to make a swell and like what I'm wearing today, it's just so nice to have a little match between what you're wearing, you know, or you, of course you can put a totally different outfit together with another piece. My son has a certain favorite I a lot of you might recognize, and this was a little labor of love project I made him for easter this year when I made my daughter her glitter heart thiss applications layered, I'll go in tow much more detail about that and share lots of tips later, but this one is very simple and straightforward. I just free hand drew this little homemade take on dh just loved how it turned out he wears it all the time actually couldn't get it away from him to bring its california so you'll just have to see the picture but it's just so nice when you're able to make something simple that just has a lot of graphic punch when he's out of the park even from thirty feet away I can see that little boldface on a shirt and it's just it's such a striking one andi you'll see here I'll mention this quite a bit later and give you my favorite ideas on this but I love adding him a tag two shirts and skirts and things I so laos I'd just like to show you a simple set of shirts I made my husband my son for fourth of july this year there are very, very basic quick one layer application I can see them right here but this is just a map that I trace just a public domain cooperate free map of oregon where we live that I traced and I made my husband the adult size for fourth of july which was a lot of fun again just so quick one hour projects and I had a couple of t shirts ready to go so to get started I wanted to share just a few tips on cutting and sewing your application is it's a very basic process but you'll often start with a pattern whether you draw yourself or use something that you found for or that came with the class packet for the first shirt will be making I'd love to show I use is very simple heart shape, it's symmetrical, which is a very easy starting place for sewing. It means that when you trace it, you won't have to worry about anything coming up backwards or any kind of specific, reflective issues. So for this heart, all the students will find it in the packet of all the patterns that comes with a class enrollment there's a single sheet with three heart sizes on it. The other two you may recognize from this little off center approach, but I really like how this one is a nice size for a child shirt. You can also shrink it it's a very flexible design. You can enlarge it, shrink it or just change the dimensions and anyway that you like. So the fabric I've chosen I'm at in my home town of portland, there's a wonderful fabric store called fabric depot that several acres of fabric. It has to be seen to be believed, and I chose this fabric for our first applicant project with the heart it's a very simple, very graphic one it's kind of a medium to me is just a medium size. Repeat, so that there's a lot of pop but it's not so big that when you cut it, you'll lose almost all the repeating design or the context for it and it's not so small that you it'll kind of blend in tow more of us solid or are neutral look, I really like this one it seemed like to my rising first greater daughter this is kind of everything she loves in one cute fabric print so what you'll need to do is prepare your applicator pattern find the fabric that you want to use you'll need a piece that's larger and all sides and if you want the option of centering or focusing on a certain area, you'll need some space to maneuver the pattern around so they were able to catch quite a bit of what you were most excited about the print whether it's something that's extremely repetitive or symmetrical or something like this is a bit more free form, you'll also need double sided phe usable applicator backing their many brands on the market. What this is is if you've used interfacing and your sewing, you're probably very familiar with the one sided phe usable where you can add stability ah stronger body or a second layer of reinforcement tio a fabric for sewing this one simply unites two fabrics so your front fabric for example the hearts and your garment bag or other objects you're embellishing we'll use disputable as the bridge between the two to make them a smooth need and united front and then you're stitching will seal the deal for this pattern what you'll do with applicator you'll test both sides of your paper because when I pick up your application, you'll notice that one side peels away very easily that back side is actually the one that will be drawing on, so for this one way will hold our heart since our heart is not it doesn't have a wrong side or anything else that's ah that's to be worried about like for example, letter or a number you know may not be mere symmetrical we'll put the heart down on our surface if you have a cutting matter something with a lot of contrast that's ideal and then we'll place the applicator paper over it so the fuse herbal side will be done the applicator paper up and another thing I just suggest is to go close your edges so that you save as much of your fuse avila's possible what's nice about this is that you can use the scraps later for smaller hearts or other you know, like it's just some other embellishment if you want to do a layer it's always ideal having just that it's little pieces left now using a pencil or any other writing implement it doesn't have to be a special kind of pen um, so in this case, a shiny paper side will be up, you will trace arounds the heart so that you're capturing the design, and it doesn't have to be ah, heavy, thicker, permanent line. You're just going to use this for cutting after you smooth that sheer fabric, and if there's a little way, venous, you can correct it. Your scissors will be the ultimate, the ultimate line when you've joined its sheer fabric. So no, follow the curves as you go arounds thiss hard, so for mine, the pencil in is a bit faint, but you can see that I've just done a very simple, very quick heart, and there are a few places where I pencil moved it's fine, as long as you've caught the dominant line, those little corrections won't show, and it's, just this is just a very early step, so as soon as you're ready, the next thing we'll do is give our fabric a quick press one to make sure that our fabric is smooth and ready to press right onto the application. Khun, follow the manufacturer's directions on your usable this one is called steam aseem there's. Also, several products by pelin and some other companies that are wonderful to work with, whatever you confined easily in your area is just great to work with I also like to use a very light spray starch, such as best press when I'm working with especially cotton fabrics, it just gives him a really nice move crisp, final so when your fabrics prepared, what you'll do is take a paper or craft scissors and trim away the majority of this if usable around where you traced your heart, you can save this for later do not cut the exact design out now he'll do that when it's refused the fabric, but you'll scrap like this. Size is perfect to save in a folder or off to the side for something that you can make a second project with later, so I'm trimming away a bit more of this, and then when you're ready, you will simply press the sticky side of the fuse oval so it's tacky and you can feel if usable, you'll press it right your fabric could hold it up to the light to see where the pattern will fall. So in this case, I'm just going to try to catch a nice mix of the colorful reign rose. I'm not too concerned about it being exactly any one of the color variations, and you'll press it right to the back of the fabric what's nice is when you just press your fabric as we just turn, it will have some cling you don't want to press it so that it's really hot and it will melt but if it's not sticking, you can do a very late press as you can see the iron isn't quite touching the fabric I'm just smoothing it over so that it has a little more warmth for joining how's everything going with you guys good so as soon as you have a nice join and again this doesn't have to be an extremely stiff one you'll cut around your original heart and you can always cut for neatly ifyou're at a place where there's ah a little bit of a line variation I would go a little around that and leave some access so that when you're eventually cutting it it will have a nice just going to sweep the stone one more time so sure all right, I think I'm a little behind actually, um so this not sticky side of the heart we would put on the back side we would iron it to the back side of yes ok, you'll always be adding this to the wrong side of the fabric, which is the one it's not printed on if you're using a solid or a shot cotton something that doesn't really have a wrong side it doesn't matter but yeah, absolutely okay and since some fabric if usable czar sold the two sides of paper, some are sold with one so you'll to remove the first side, peel it away before you expose that if usable and put it on the fabric, how long do you iron thie thiss paper to the fabric? You can just warm it? It doesn't have to be a heavy long fuse just so that it has a little cling because the fuse herbal is designed to do a great job holding the eventual layers together, but at room temperature it's not quite as tacky and sticky, so I like to just give it a little bit, especially the fabric is just warm from oppressing it'll it here better great, so this project is really flexible and really I I'm trying not to be too too specific because there are so many brands and different ones that people can access so I don't wantto follow one manufacturer's directions and recite those when what's on your package may be a little different, so you can follow that this one, incidentally, is steam a scene, and I think I may have been too not, but it's just one that you confined in craft source usually, and it comes in several waits, so once you've cut your pattern, you'll end up with a very neat, simple um very clean lines heart and this fabric will now have a second back layer of the fuse herbal and when you trim away the paper leaving on lee the design it just gives a much cleaner look than if you for example trimmed your heart designed first press it to the back of the fabric and then tried to follow it like a paper pattern that you might make a dress with it just by cutting both layers together you just end up with a more uniform result now you will gently ease away this back fabric and your goal here is to have the fuse herbal stay with your fabric and it still may be a little tacky and nuts not fused in great great details so you want to be careful with it until you do the final setting with a hot iron onto your garment but now you're simple quoting cotton or your other base layer is gonna have the front will be a very neat clean design and the back will be a very tactile tacky usable layer that's very lightweight but when finished has quite the punch so we'll set this aside you khun set it down sticky side up just out of your work space so that it's just ready to use in a few minutes it's everybody here are you guys ready over there? I think they perfects wonderful so now we'll choose the t shirt or other item that were refusing to my daughter has plenty of my t shirts so this time I thought I'd make her ah little pullover sweatshirt it's very simple anything that has a flat surface and just you know, maybe not I our stitch or patch worked or detailed design across the front of the shirt the back of the shirt is also a great place to add a design like numbers like a jersey or anything fun that your kid would enjoy as a theme that matched the front as well. Any flat surface like this is really great to work with, so what I'll do with this t shirt I'm excusing sweatshirt is since it is thicker and heavier, I'm going to just smooth it out with my hands and then give it a few sprays of best press, which is that light spray starch I distilled water is also great esteem iron works well, but I just like to be able to spray something where I can see where the sprays going rather than a steam iron for these projects that just makes it a little bit more directs. So now this one is already to fuse, so you've got lots of choices about exactly where the pressure applicator I like for kids shirts to do a pretty center design or if they're several you can make sort of ah overall off center design this is when I made my son using thie alphabet front that's available in the course packet with purchase it's just kind of fun seeing the upper and lower case letters together, you can certainly do just one, and I've made several that air just a single initial, but it's kind of fun doing something that has a relationship to itself. So now that our governments are ready, get that one word press just like the applicator, the warmth of the iron, you don't need to be blazing hot, and you certainly don't want to score it. Sure, cotton, but it's, just nice having this warm kind of very smooth surface to join your applicator to so just you're not stuck with this design in place until you finalize it, but don't press it down with your fingertips until you really like where its landing you can. Also one trick I do sometimes if it's something that I want to get a really precise match, this looks like my selling table at home, lots of current projects mixed with a older ones. I finished one check I do sometimes if you'd really like to get a precision match and it's really up to you is working from either where the tag is in the back or measuring. I put a pen in at this around the approximate center point and then use that as reference, so I'll drop mine right here just below that, and then smooth it with my hands so that it's ready to press you'll follow the manufacturer's directions again with your specific brand of how they mention tio abuse it, which is for this one, I'll just use a little more best press and then press my applicator down, moving my iron a general rule of thumb and again go by what you're packaging says is ten to fifteen seconds for the entire area, so this one is totally confused, but it cool for a minute, and then when you have let it, such as briefly tests a little area with your fingernail and see if it's moving these look good and the fact that you'll be sewing all around this whole perimeter means that if there are a few places where the join isn't quite as if used along the outside, it will be stitched. But of course, it's ideal to have a really good bond for the entire government. Another nice bonus when you do these projects is that along with whatever pattern you may have started with, whether it's free hand or one of the ones that we included is the back of your paper will essentially be a perfect new pattern. You can save this one for what you're doing next or just for reference.

Class Description

Are you intimidated by your sewing machine? Don't be! Join experienced sewist Susan Beal as she guides you through the basics of sewing, including using straight stitches, zigzag stitches, simple appliqué, and easy binding.

Using simple projects in kid's sizes, Susan will teach you to customize t-shirts, create simple tote bags, reusable napkins, and more! You'll learn tricks that the experts use to create their own contrasting binding tape, how to sew on a variety of fabrics, and how to incorporate snaps and eyelets into your projects.

If you're a beginning sewer this course will give you clear, easy-to-follow ideas and inspiration for projects that tap into your family’s creative spirit.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Susan Beal Back to School Craft Ideas and Projects.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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What a great class! Susan does a fabulous job explaining each project and is great at giving you a heads up on what issues you might face with each project. I've now made two applique projects with another in the works. I've also made two of the girls skirts. Susan gave me the confidence to try and I am really happy with the results. Hope to try the binding tape soon. Thanks for offering this video.

Amanda Siska

Susan's projects were the best introduction to sewing I could have hoped for! I wasn't able to watch every project, but the ones I saw were simple, VERY clearly explained, and perfect for a beginning seamstress like myself. I'd never used binding tape before, or elastic, but now I'm confident about making my own binding tape and adding elastic waistbands to pretty much anything. I was immediately inspired to make a few skirts for myself after watching the simple children's skirt in this course, and I'm planning to make cloth napkins and an oilcloth lunch sack as well. I wish I'd gotten to see the applique portion, so I think I'll have to purchase the course in order to see that part. I'm positive that it will be just what I need to learn the process! I see that the previous reviewer was disappointed by the lack of diversity of crafts for this course, but I find that the name "Simple Sewing Projects for Beginners" was completely accurate for what it was. Perhaps it was categorized in a craft category, which would still seem applicable. I think it was advertised as having back to school projects to make for your kids, which is an even more detailed description of the course, since it includes clothing for boys and girls, as well as a lunch tote, cloth napkin, cape, and maybe more things I missed. Overall, this was my first Creative Live experience, and I was blown away by how informative and fun it was to watch!


Fun projects to make for your little one. Susan explains things so clearly. Very nice that she also offers patterns and written instructions for free