Project 3 - Sew Easy Sun Visor
This is the third project in our Teaching Tweens to sew series from Elizabeth Hill. The skill learned this week is sewing a curved seam.
The Sew Easy Sun Visor is easy to make and fun to coordinate with summer outfits. It’s reversible too! This project features convex and concave curves. Gentle guidance is necessary to navigate these curves.
Use scraps to cut extra visor shapes for practice before you start this project. If fabric is limited make a smaller kidney bean shaped pattern for practice sew.
Pinning and cutting a paper pattern; Marking a pattern; Straight and Curved seams; and Hand Sewing.
¼ yard cotton fabric for top
¼ yard cotton fabric for bottom
¼ medium to heavy weight fusible interfacing
½ yard ¼” wide elastic
Download and create your pattern or use a commercial pattern.
You can also make your own pattern by tracing the brim of a purchased sun visor rounding off the edges at the upper most curve. Foam visors from a craft store may also be used for a pattern. From this tracing you will make two pattern pieces. First trace the brim pattern as is. This will be for the interfacing. Add ½ inch seam allowance around the original drawing. This is the pattern for the visor itself.
Place a large dot on both sides where you will add the elastic strap for your visor. Put two small dots to mark the opening onthe inside curve of the visor. This is where you will turn the visor inside out after sewing.
Put visor fabrics right side together on a flat cutting surface. Place paper pattern on top of the fabric. Place pins for easycutting.
This would be a good time to discuss with new students the two different ways to place pins: for pattern layout/cutting and for sewing. It’s the little things we take for granted that need to be discussed with new sewers. You also need to discuss straight grain of fabrics. You do not want this visor cut on the bias.
Cut two pieces of fabric for the visor brim.
Fabric should remain on the table surface when cutting. The left hand lightly resting on the fabric while the right hand is cutting. Left handed students will use the right hand to stabilize the fabric. Slide fabric as needed to cut around the curves.
Standing is desirable while cutting because it gives you more freedom of movement and more control. Fabric and pattern have a tendency to separate if it is picked up off the table while cutting. This will give you uneven cutting lines and possible pattern distortion a bad habit to avoid developing.
Mark the pattern pieces for later reference by inserting a pin in the large dot. Pull back the paper pattern and mark at the base of the pin with marking pencil on the wrong side of both fabrics. Repeat this process with the small dots.
If you prefer use tracing paper and a tracing wheel to make markings.
Fold interfacing so you will be able to cut three or four layers at one time. Use the smaller visor pattern to cut 3 or 4 layers of fusible interfacing. Depending upon the weight of the interfacing you may need as many as 4 layers.
Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse 1 piece of interfacing to the wrong side of the main fabric piece. Fuse 2 to 3 pieces of interfacing to the wrong side of the bottom fabric.
Another teachable moment: there is a difference between ironing and pressing. When applying fusible interfacing you want to press, not iron. To press you put down and pick up the iron. Do not slide the iron along the top of the interfacing. Your interfacing may also decide to slide if you iron instead of press.
For the visor strap cut one piece of fabric 1 ¾” wide by 28” to 30” long.
With right sides together sew a ¼ inch seam along the long edge of the fabric. Turn right sides out. Press.
Using a safety pin at one end of the elastic work the elastic through the strap. Pin one end of the elastic to the strap edge. Pull elastic out the other end. Adjust elastic and fabric for a comfortable fit around the back of your head from the ears back. Gathers will form over the elastic. Adjust elastic for a good fit then cut and pin to the other end of the strap. Handbaste or tack elastic to the ends of the strap.
Place the strap on the right side of the visor where the large dots are located. Extend the strap beyond the seam allowance into the seam. Don’t skimp. You don’t want it to pull out later. To keep it from shifting during the pinning of the brim pieces, tack the strap in place with needle and thread.
With right sides together pin the remaining brim piece on top of the other piece. Using a ½” seam allowance begin sewing at the small dot near the right side of the visor. Continue sewing around the visor and stop at small dot. Backstitch. Check to besure that the straps have been caught in the seam. If the interfacing has been fused neatly in the center of the brim students will be stitching along the edge the interfacing.
Let students practice sewing a curve with scraps cut out with the visor pieces. They need to feel comfortable with the stop and start of sewing a curve. The important thing that they needto remember is to stop with the needle down in the fabric before they raise the presser foot to adjust fabric along the curve. And then be sure to lower the presser foot again before sewing. Sound familiar?
We’re almost done, but before turning the sun visor right sides out trim away ¼ inch of the seam allowance and clip into the curves to give a nice smooth curve along the visor edge.
Turn right side out. Press.
Hand sew the opening close with a whip stitch sewing close to the edges.
Voila! Enjoy the Sew Easy Sun Visor!