Oh, my stars and garters

Who didn’t see Gillian’s Scandinavian Fabric Stars tutorial and immediately order a short stack of fat quarters to make a quick 27 or so?

I know it wasn’t just me.

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These were really satisfying to make.

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Perfect for plopping down in front of the TV with BIG glass of wine and a delightfully terrible made-for-TV Christmas movie.

All they need is hangers. The ribbon is in a small bag possibly in a bigger bag tossed into an even larger bag (it’s bags all the way down, folks) with all the unwrapped Christmas gifts and I keep thinking I’ll dig it out when I get around to starting the wrapping, but I keep postponing that chore until “tomorrow” in favor of another Christmas movie and requisite boozy accompaniment.

More of the same, but different

Friends, I have come up with a corollary to the Christmas pajamas: Thanksgiving pajamas!***

As you are by now well aware, the sleepover pajamas from Oliver & S are my go-to pajamas pattern. HOWEVER. This flannel fell into my virtual shopping cart a while back. It was super cute, on sale, and I figured pajamas are always something I’ll make eventually and therefore not real “stash”. I didn’t have a coordinating flannel for the sleepover pajama’s distinctive exposed facings, nor did I want to think too hard about turning them inward. It should be easy as pie, but pie is deceptively hard, and I hadn’t yet refamiliarized myself with the pattern and sometimes even minor changes can be a mind meld so the last time I was at Joann’s I picked up the first basic children’s pajama pattern I came to in a book. It has a collar, see, and is therefore TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

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Pattern: Burda Style 9747
Fabric: Supernova flannel by Dear Stella
Size: 7*

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The light was so yellow the day I took these.

I thought this was a good plan. I thought it would be easy. I underestimated and reaffirmed my extreme distaste for paper patterns.

Now, I can handle paper patterns in certain circumstances. Circumstances like when a PDF is not available (WHY Merchant & Mill, WHY?). Or like the time I went to pick up my mom’s sewing machine after repair and the shop was clearancing out their paper patterns and I bought, oh, 8 or 10 indie patterns at $3-5 a pop. Good stuff, too: Thread Theory, Colette, and Sewaholic. I hate tracing, but I’ll trace if it means I’m saving 75% off suggested retail prices.

It’s worth mentioning, too, that all paper patterns are not created equal. I was genuinely surprised by the quality of indie patterns. The paper is thick, the instructions are comprehensive, the packaging is interesting and unique to the brand. The pajamas pattern I bought, though, was a tissue paper pattern, the kind that’s impossible to fold back into the envelope whence it came. The kind that make me hate everything and wonder why I’m even bothering sewing because it’s so dumb and why do I do this to myself and what’s the point? The kind that comes accompanied by brief, incomplete, sometimes inaccurate instructions printed on huge pieces of paper that are always in the way. I still have no idea what I was supposed to do with the back of the collar.** I drafted a back facing to sew to the front facings and sandwich it all together, but no such pattern piece was provided and the pattern instructions were to sew the front facings to the shoulder seams, so??? Yay me for knowing enough to come up with a solution.

 

*My kiddo is only 5, but he’s a largish 5 and I made a size 7 based on his measurements. These pajamas are enormous. I can’t tell you how oversized they are because he has’t tried them on, yet. There will definitely be some cuff and sleeve rolling.

**A cursory google search to identify this pattern tells me that I am not dumb and that the collar is meant to be finished with bias tape which the instructions neglect to mention. OK then.

***Thanksgiving pajamas seemed like a good idea until my mother pulled out a dozen pairs of new pajamas to give us the day before. Why do I even bother?

 

Mingos

My grandmother made us pajamas for Christmas every year growing up. It was the only present we were allowed to open on Christmas Eve and my brother and I always wore them to bed that night. I kept thinking about those pajamas from Christmas Past as I made these.

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I’m not sure why, though. I’m not planning on saving these for Christmas, and not for the reasons you might think. First of all, my house is c-c-c-cold. Then there’s the fact that my kids cannot be counted on to like the things I make them or use them even if they do like them. I”m OK with that, generally, or I try to be, but I don’t want to deal with it on Christmas Eve. Now factor in the competition from my mother who will surely gift Christmas-themed Disney pajamas that my homemade flannels cannot compete with. But the real kicker, the real reason why I won’t to save these for Christmas is because my 91-year-old granny is still sewing and sends pajamas to her great-grandchildren. Every year I think she won’t and every year she does. It’s a tradition I want to maintain, but it’s not my turn, yet. Call me superstitious, but I’m not going to meddle with something that’s working. Just in case.

Pattern: Digital Sleepover Pajamas by Oliver + S
Size: 4T
Fabric: Flannel from Jo-Ann

You might remember this pattern from last year when I made it three times before I burnt out. This time around the sewing seemed not nearly as arduous and I wondered if the break had done me good or if it was making the same thing three times that was such a drag or what was going on that my present experience didn’t seem to match up with my remembered experience. I pulled out one of last year’s pairs to look at them and no wonder! French seams, flat felled seams, everything was done up right because 1) I’m me; and 2) I didn’t want that cheap flannel fraying on me and leaving me with nothing but pajamas pieces after a wash or two. This year I have my serger and the sewing went much faster. Whew!

Impressionable

If I had any perspective on my own life or personality I could have seen this one coming a mile away.

The pattern of behavior:

  1. Notice that pinafores are a thing
  2. Scoff at pinafores
  3. Declare that I will never make a pinafore
  4. Repeat steps 3 and 4 – until –
  5. I see an example so awesome I drop everything immediately to make one

My distaste for a thing makes it interesting to me and that interest turns at some point into appeal.

That’s such an unflattering introduction to this style and project that I hesitate to link to the specific maker who tipped the scales, but I will list the confluence of circumstances that led to this make because it takes more than hate-turned-to-love to make a thing. The stars must align. In order:

  1. I was absolutely taken with the strap details on the Pippi Pinafore.
  2. I already had some fabric that would work well enough sitting in my stash that was not earmarked for a more practical make.
  3. The Pippi Pinafore pattern happens to be drafted to different cup sizes. I was unwilling to take a lot of time fitting a trendy garment I was’t sure I would like or wear, but with this pattern I could live dangerously and not make a muslin.

So I gave it a go.

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Preying mantis hands

Pattern: Pippi PInafore by Jennifer Luaren Handmade
Fabric: Robert Kaufman linen
Size: 10
Mods: Lengthened the bust 1.25″

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Did you see that mod up there? Where I lengthened the bust 1.25 inches? That’s because when I was sewing the bib it was to teeny I thought, “Oh, hell no” and cut out a new longer one. Good call, me, I’m pretty sure that as drafted the bib would only have come to … I’ll let you figure it out. Long torso is long.

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Not bad! I’m pleased. Now that I have made one I worry that I will fall into a different, equally predictable, pattern of behavior:

  1. Worry that wearing this makes me look like I’m trying too hard to be more on-trend than I am
  2. Worry that only home sewists wear pinafores and anybody who is not a home sewist will think it’s strange
  3. Worry that wearing this makes me look like I’m trying too hard to appear younger than I am
  4. Not wear the thing

In spite of my worries I did wear it and nobody laughed or pointed or mistook me for a 12-year-old or told me the style is too young or I’m too old. So think I’ll try to establish a new pattern of behavior:

  1. Stop caring what other people think
  2. Dress myself in things I like to wear

Cannot Unsee What Has Been Seen

This is my 2nd Ryan Top. It fits great right out of the envelope – joy! – and I’ve long meant to make another one or several.

This fabric is another vacation souvenir. It’s not something I would usually go for and that was the point, to push my boundaries a bit. I had 2 scant yards of this fabric which turned out to not be quite enough for perfect pattern placement. Limited by my material, I was very intentional with my cutting and contemplative of the layout. I worried especially over the big red boxes and where I wanted them which is why it chafes so badly that for all my care I overlooked something important.

Can you see it?

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Pattern: Ryan Top by Whitney Deal
Size: Medium
Fabric: Something cotton? I’m a bad note keeper.

Do I need to point it out?

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Red Squares. Right on my boobs. I’m annoyed because I could have had a bit more wiggle room with that pattern placement if I’d remembered how looooong this shirt is. The length is something that surprised me the first time around, too, but I got used to it and forgot that I could easily shorten it by as much as 6 inches and have a top that’s not only long enough and, let’s be honest, would be more flattering to boot. I’m not a tunic + leggings sort of girl, but this pattern as drafted would work well for that purpose if you are.

So, not a total success, but I’ve worn it a couple times and probably will again. I need me a pink cardigan or a red scarf to carry it into the fall and winter. Bonus: a cardigan or scarf would mask my pattern placement embarrassment. The problem with picking a fabric that’s outside the box (ha ha I try not to miss a pun) is I don’t have anything like that in my wardrobe already. Maybe I should buy some yarn…

Blue Skies

It wasn’t until I dug it out this Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen to make Hubs a birthday gift that I realized it did not, in fact, have any linen content at all, hence the “quilter” modifier in its name. So Hubs got a somewhat stiff 100% cotton Merchant & Mills All State for his birthday. And you are getting a brief, incomplete blog entry nearly 3 months later.

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Pattern: Merchant & Mills the All State
Fabric: Robert Kaufman Quilter’s Linen in Dusty Blue
Size: Bigger than last time.

I had made this pattern for him before, but I made it too small. I somehow missed the sizing information (unfamiliar UK sizing was too much for my brain to interpret) and guessed badly based on the finished measurements. Hubs wears it anyways. I considered this and the fact that he wears holes into the things I make him a compliment until I asked which of the 3 shirt patterns I’d made for him he preferred and he told me they were all pretty much the same. Well fine then.

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Indifferent husband in question.

This pattern, with its boxy guayabera feel, is my personal favorite. Not in quilter’s cotton, though, so next time I”ll make it in something lighter. Third time’s the charm, right?

Three

MJ turns three today.

Here is the dress I made her:

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Pattern: Lotta Dress by Companie M
Size: 3T
Fabric: Cloud 9 cotton I grabbed off the clearance rack at Joann

I’m always learning new things when I sew. This time I learned how far ahead of the needle my serger’s knife cuts and why you don’t serge seam allowance after sewing inseam pockets.

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Pro-tip: serge those edges THEN sew.

After a long time out it turned out to be an easy fix. I removed the pocket, cut an inch off the width of the skirt, and started fresh.

It’s the same pattern as the dress I made MJ last year. I used the same button loop placket and cap sleeves, but added the i-cord and used inseam pockets because I thought I ought to mix it up a little bit.

I’ve sworn off Joann Fabrics. Again. Joann, why can’t I quit you? Oh yeah, because you are the only place anywhere close-ish that I can reliably buy notions which is something I re-remember every time I need buttons. I got super lucky, though, and hit a timely and unexpected jackpot at Urban Mining: vintage buttons!

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I stocked up.

Unbelievably I found buttons that were a perfect match in the quantities and sizes I needed. And I needed 4 smaller and 3 bigger, so let’s take a moment to acknowledge the improbability of finding these buttons in a space mostly dedicated to furniture and knick-knacks mere blocks from my house, no long, trying to trips to Joann necessary!

MJ, of course, would have been happiest with Minnie Mouse buttons. Here is the godawful dress I made at her behest also out of clearance Joann fabric that MJ spotted, adored, would not let go of, and insisted be made into a dress immediately upon arrival home. She will surely wear this dress instead. Ah, well, more power to her. The girl knows what she likes.

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