Monday, December 08, 2014

Christmas Pajamas!

Meet the newest project to roll out of my sewing studio.  Drum roll,'s Christmas jammies! 

And really, what could be better than manta rays and bloody-mouthed sharks? The shark fabric's out of print now, I think, but I tracked it down on eBay. (Thank you, once again, Alexander Henry, for another amazing fabric. We're big fans of your designs around here.)

So, I know, I've been gone forever! Total radio silence. Well, for the record, I really HAVE been gone. I've been on orders for months and just finally got home in November. So, the sewing, quilting and blogging fell a bit by the wayside. However, since I got home, I've been catching up on sewing projects...and adding more to the list, of course. In short, I've been sewing with an obsession that would make my friend Tina proud.

I'll fill you in on more of the projects over the coming days, because, I'd like to do something of a holiday sewing series.

From the time I was a little girl, my family always opened presents on Christmas morning, but to ease us into the fun, we were allowed to open a single "December 24th" gift. Inside that box, without fail, was a new pair of pajamas. I always loved curling up on Christmas Eve in soft new jammies, waiting for Santa. It's a tradition we've carried into our own little family.

The hard part is always finding good PJs. Clothes for kids always seem to be made so cheaply these days, and we consider ourselves fortunate if we can find anything that isn't covered in licensed characters.  

So, this year, I decided to make the jammies.*HUGE GRIN*

Here's Big Boy's set...

...and Bitty's.

I drafted my own patterns for everything and used my own assembly methods. I've made lots of PJ pants before, but this time I tried a new approach for the drafting that started with this tutorial. Even though it's easier to cut the front and back pant legs the same, I'm not wild about the fit. If I make jammies for SuperHusband and myself, I'll be ditching pretty much everything from this tutorial except the cuff idea and going back to the original method I learned for drafting drawstring pants. Oh, and pockets. Must add pockets for the adults.

I decided do a few fittings along the way, so the kids have already seen them. (I'm confident, but not that confident.) When I finished them last night, they begged, BEGGED me to let them sleep in them, and -- guess what -- I'm a total sucker.  So these have already been laundered and worn, and they're holding up great!

So here's where I would love a few do-overs:

When I attached Big Boy's red cuffs, I sewed the cuffs on, then completed the side seam, (similar to the way I attached the band on the pillowcase in this tutorial). This process is easier than the alternative -- sewing the leg up first, then attaching the cuffs afterward -- but it doesn't make for a pretty turned-up cuff, as you can see. Thankfully, his pants are the right length without folding the cuffs up, so everybody's still happy.

When I made Bitty's, I did the opposite: sewed the side seams first, then attached the cuffs. Voila! No exposed seams.

This was also my first foray into making knit t-shirts. The knit sewing and working on the serger went quite well, thanks to this really helpful Craftsy class. However, since I drafted my own patterns, the first one is always apt to need some adjustment.  Bitty's neck was a bit too big, so Big Boy's shirt -- my second go 'round -- fits much, much better.

I'm super proud of my finishes. Every one of my knit attempts prior to this project, unless it was from fleece, (which is heavy enough to sew like a woven), was a disaster.

Check out that neckband application!

Here are the inside seam finishes.

And the bottom cover hem. I recently sold my Babylock Imagine Wave from several years ago and upgraded to a used Babylock Evolution that I found from a delightful woman on Craigslist who had given up learning to use it.  I'm thrilled to have a machine that can do this stitch! (We have SO many tshirts laying around that need to be altered, fixed, shortened, etc, etc.)

Let me pay this fantastic tip forward that someone else gave me: If you don't want to pay an arm and a leg ordering high-quality knit fabric when you're just learning to sew on knits, go to the thrift store and shop in the oversized men's shirt (XXL, XXXL, etc) section. I bought a red Alexander Julian Colours mock turtleneck at the thrift store for $4, then cut it apart to get the yardage for Big Boy's tshirt. He didn't want the little embroidered logo, so I cut around it and pieced in the racing stripes. He's in love with them and so am I!

I'm going to start doing a bit more blogging on serging with knits. In my own sewing and quilting journey, I've found there's woeful little out there for people who want to do serious serging, (or any serging at all, for that matter). Don't worry, I'm still primarily here for the beginners. :)

You probably won't see a full-blown tutorial on these pieces. I want to keep sharing projects with you, but in an effort to make my little "negative-profit" more sustainable, I'm going to start offering more patterns. My Halloween costume patterns did pretty well this year, and I'm encouraged. So, that's yet another step that makes me all giggly inside. :)

Is this a project you might like to see in my Etsy shop?

Thank you for stopping by and for not forgetting me after all this time away. Despite all the down-time, the blog's audience has grown considerably over the last few months. I appreciate you, sooooo much, and I'm so excited to be back home and sewing again!

Oh, and if you're interested in the really great Craftsy class I took, here's the link:

Craftsy Sewing Fashion Knits Class

This is a sponsored link, but my opinions of the classes are genuine. I will not promote a class or product that I haven't personally tried and don't believe in. I may occasionally link to classes I have not tried, but I'll be up front about it. If you want to know more about sponsored links on my blog, check out this posting, On Advertising and Integrity in this Blog.

I will add one more thought to what I wrote nearly three years ago: The modest revenue that comes from pattern sales and blog ads helps me support my family, as well as my sewing and quilting addiction, which then lets me share those tips I learn and tutorials I write with you. If you find that you want to purchase a class or item I recommend here, please consider using the links I've embedded.