Monday, January 18, 2010

Tutorial: Foldover Elastic (FOE) bound Baby Crib Sheet

In case you can't tell, I've become quite the fan of FOE over the last little while. I've used it over the last 6 months or so for my cloth diaper covers, and over time have ventured out into other uses. Today I'm bringing you a tutorial for one of my favorite ways to use this versatile little notion. This is kind of picture heavy, as I'm a visual learner and I always like lots of pictures on tutorials, it's like someone is right there holding my hand as I go! The pictures aren't fantastic as it was late while I was doing this and my sewing room is rather dark, but hopefully they're good enough for you to see what I'm doing.

First, if you aren't familiar with FOE, it is a soft knit elastic with a slight depression down the center (you can see in the picture below) to enable it fold over cleanly while maintaining stretch. Think of it as the bias tape of the elastic world. It takes a little practice to get it to look really good (and I should mention now that the stitching in this tutorial is NOT an example of looking really good!), but it's worth it!

Now lets get started, gather your materials:

  • 68" of flannel cut the entire width of the fabric leaving selvedges intact (or really, you could use a knit or cotton woven as well, but it needs to be cut to an appx. 45" width NOT length)
  • 5-6 yards of FOE (this will vary a bit depending on the amount of stretch, I will list some sources at the end)
  • Your normal notions-rotary cutter or scissors, ruler, and a marking utensil, I use tailors chalk on these.
Step 1: On each corner of your fabric, measure a square 8" x 8" and mark with chalk.

Step 2: Using your rotary cutter or scissors, cut out the squares. It should then look like this:

Step 3: Take the first corner of your fabric and fold right sides together (as shown below) and serge or sew from the edge to the V of the fabric. If you don't have a serger, finish the edges with a zig zag stitch to help with fraying issues in the wash. I personally serge the seams and THEN sew for durability, but I might have a few perfectionist tendencies lol.

Step 4: Pick out your FOE-there are TONS of colors available, and more and more prints all the time. I went with plain white for purposes of this tutorial so I could use a contrasting thread to show you what I'm doing. You want to start your FOE on one of the straight edges-fold the FOE in half on the edge of the fabric, sandwiching the fabric in between and making sure it's all the way to the inside. Use a few tack down stitches to secure the end, stopping with your needle down.

Step 5: Now this is where it gets a bit hard to explain (and takes practice to get everything to go the way you want it to). Move your stitch to a wide zig zag or 3-step zig zag (I'm using a 3 step in the pictures). With your needle down, you want to put your finger about an inch or so back from your presser foot, grab the FOE (not the fabric, just the FOE) and stretch it as much as you can. I usually pull the fabric behind the presser foot as well, not yanking it through the machine, just holding it taut to ensure the stretch is maintained as I stitch. You have to reposition your hands frequently to keep the FOE stretched and the fabric situated correctly in between (which can result in some hand cramping-fair warning!), but after a few inches you'll see the gathers forming behind the presser foot as you let the FOE go on that side.

Step 6: When you get to the end, cut your FOE off so it overlaps the start a bit, finish stitching to the edge and remove from the machine. Turn so the cut edge is perpindicular under your presser foot, and put your machine on a thinner tight regular zig zag stitch. Stitch over the exposed edge (this is mostly cosmetic as FOE doesn't really fray much). As you can see, I got a little sloppy on this one, but I had a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old helping me at this point.

Step 7: Put your new crib sheet on your babies crib and enjoy the feeling of knowing they're sleeping on a sheet mama made with love (and MUCH cheaper than buying a single sheet at Toys R Us!). This is not the sheet I made during this tutorial obviously, but it IS one I made using this method!

I hope my instructions were clear, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask away and I will answer them for you! I'd love to see pictures of your creations, please post them to the Froggy Girl Designs Tutorials flickr group. Enjoy!

Sources for FOE (if you know of another please let me know and I'll add it!):
  • FOE Your Diaper
  • This End Up Yahoogroup (this is where I personally get all of mine, it's a group buy, but worth the wait!)
  • Sewzanne's (it looks like she only carries 5/8", but that would work although it might be more difficult to wrangle)

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