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.
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 stillsewing 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.
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!
More PJs. We moved the clocks back a week ago and this, for a short time, affords 15 whole minutes of adequate daylight to snap photos before scuttling out to work. Given that I’m getting 3 bodies out the door at the same time you can imagine how well that goes.
You’d think having made this pattern 3 consecutive times I would be a pro by now. Instead I continue to make new mistakes and forget construction steps (some important, some not). There was the cuff mistake that set me back and then when I got to the buttonholes I dutifully got out my buttonhole presser foot, but neglected to put it on my machine and wondered the whole time why I couldn’t see what I was doing. The buttonholes turned out OK, at least. My buttonholes are never great. I’m waiting for time and experience to take care of that. If not that, then maybe a new machine with fancy buttonhole settings my circa-1980 Bernina Nova lacks (but I love her so!).
I’m neither a cook nor a baker, but I do make a big deal out of Christmas cookies and I have to start early for our church’s Kristkindl Markt the first weekend of December. Sunday I tried out the new cookie gun I got last Christmas with fancy Christmas-themed discs my beloved vintage aluminum cookie press lacks.
We’re scheduled to make some chocolate teddy bear spritzes tonight. I’m so spritz-obsessed I can’t even remember what other cookies I usually make. Luckily I have a helper and all I have to do is pass the Betty Crocker Cooky Book to the 4-year-old and he’ll point out to me all the cookies we should make.
Every time he spotted these on my sewing table my patient kiddo would excitedly ask “Are they going to be ready for tonight?!” No, not tonight, dearie. There’s still a lot of sewing yet, I would say. I’m busy embroidering toys, instead, I didn’t say.
Finally! And none too soon. Nighttime temperatures have dropped and kiddo is outgrowing his PJ stock. We always get a big influx of pajamas during the holidays and these will be a useful bridge while we’re waiting out the gap. My idea here is to try to prevent ending up with way too many PJs. Wish me luck as I haven’t struck the right balance yet. Our neighbors across the way have a new baby and I told them I’ve been setting aside clothes if they want them and they’ll never have to buy another set of PJs again. Neighbor Dad said he thought they hadn’t used the same set of PJs twice in the first month of their new baby’s life. PJs: either you have an absence or an abundance. And often when you have an overflowing PJ drawer they’re off-season and useless except to make it so you can’t find the PJs you want or to instigate fights because you haven’t disappeared the footed PJs your kid pulls out to wear in the middle of summer.
Chuffy picked out the fabric himself. He loves it and his excitement is adorable. I’ve had trouble with the waistband casing on both sets of Sleepover Pajamas I’ve made. I just don’t end up with quite enough space for half-inch elastic even skipping the stitching at the top of the waistband casing. I used quarter-inch elastic on the last set, but I wasn’t sure that would be hefty enough to keep these pants up. The half-inch cups a bit in spots, but they’re only jams and I’m not letting perfection be the enemy of good enough. I’ll try to remember to widen the waistband a bit going forward. It’s not a problem with the pattern, I’m just not a precise enough sewer and an eighth of an inch makes all the difference.
Chuffy loves them which is very gratifying. They’re a bit big but that’s perfect. It’s not going to keep anybody coming back to my little neck of the net, but next up for sewing will be yet morejams in the dino fabric Chuffy selected. I’ve also got some embroidery for gifting and knitting for keeping on the boil. I’ve got lots of makes in progress, but it’s the time of year when life itself gets busy without me coming up with more projects for myself. Let’s put on some cozy PJs and hunker down.
In my mind it makes sense that if I’m going to make a thing once it stands to reason that I ought to make it multiple times. I use this faulty logic to rationalize the cost of the pattern and the fabric and the notions as if the more I make a garment the cheaper its cost. I casually disregard the fact that two of these are incremental costs and the remaining is a sunk cost. There is no actual “saving” of money or achievable economies of scale for the single sewist.
The kids were with me on my last shopping expedition to Jo-Ann’s where there was an abundance of cute printed flannel. My more-is-better mentality combined with the children’s influence and I bought enough fabric to make each of them 2 pairs of PJs. That’s 4 pair total and it seemed like no big deal until I was doing the actual sewing.
Dude, there is a lot of sewing in these PJs. I love that, I find it wholly satisfying, I delight in the details, but it is also much slower going than I had anticipated. Granted, it would go faster if I hadn’t understitched the back neck to the facing instead of the shirt and spent an hour or more on the unexpectedly difficult task of picking stitches out of multiple layers of flannel, but still.
I started with a size 3T in View B with the gathered ruffle details for MJ in the hopes that these might might useful both this year and next. Only time will tell, but after cleaning clothes out of the bins in the basement last weekend I was glad I cut out the larger size because we have approximately 53,000 pairs of 2T pajamas that I had forgotten about.
More of the same to come if I don’t abandon the PJ Project of Fall 2017. Chuffy is super excited about the emoji fabric he picked out, so that should keep me going for at least one other pair.