See that photo above? That is a lettuce edge. Ahh, you say. It’s that ruffled edge on toddler and infant girl clothes that I’ve seen so many times before. To make a lettuce edge, you just need a sewing machine and knit fabric. Most people think to do it right you have to have a serger (which I don’t have). But thanks to Christine’s post, I learned that it can be done with just a normal sewing machine! The best part is that it’s easy, too.
What you will need:
- plain, prewashed onesie
- sewing machine with contrasting thread
- fabric scissors
So, confession time: I originally had the idea to make a “peek-a-belly” onesie for today’s post (especially since my daughter now takes great joy in showing you where her belly button is), but after three different attempts to make it work, I gave up.
Instead of just cutting the front like I planned…
I cut the top completely off.
Tip: Use another shirt to get the proper length. You could also get out the fabric tape measure and measure your child. My shoulder-to-cut measurement was 11″, but my daughter has a decent belly, so your measurement will vary.
You may recall the lengthen-your-onesie post I did recently. You can think of this as another option for a too-short onesie.
Once your onesie is cut, place your newly cut edge under your sewing machine presser foot. Notice in the picture below how the fabric is placed. The needle will go through the fabric on one side, but it will miss the fabric on the other side.
You also need to adjust your stitch settings. On the zig-zag stitch, I moved the stitch distance to the smallest setting. This would be the same setting you would use to do a border for an applique.
Now begin stitching!! As you go, pull the fabric in each direction. Stretching the fabric in this way is what makes the ruffles (“lettuce edges”).
I put the pedal to the metal!! I went around two times, so I could go back over the places that I let the fabric move through too fast.
I was so pleased with how it came out, I did around the arms too! (This is an option if you don’t want to cut your onesie at all — just do the arms.)
Christine recommended cleaning your sewing machine afterward. I concur. Man, did I accumulate some fuzz! Show your machine some love by taking a little brush (one should have come with your machine), and brush away all that lint around the presser foot and bobbin area.
You are done! I had a lot of fun with this project — I thoroughly enjoyed its repetition and ease. While it was not a mindless project, it wasn’t tricky or stressful.
The lettuce edge provides enough embellishment to give the onesie (or now t-shirt) some personality, but it also is a wonderful way to accent/coordinate another method of embellishment. Freezer paper stenciling or monogramming are two easy techniques that come to mind.
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