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Archive for December, 2009

Pajama Redesign

The yellow pajamas are finished and gone off to their new home, and it is time to start the blue pajamas. My daughter also wants some skirts, so a skirt muslin is first on the list. Before I start on the skirt, however, I wanted to finish the alterations to the pajama pattern before I forgot what she wanted. We decided to do away with the whole collar/lapel design and change it to a curved V-neck like on a baseball uniform. I found this old pattern:

This is Kwik Sew 2141. We are going to use the pajama pattern, but change the neckline. This pattern has just the sort of neckline that my daughter wanted, since she didn’t want the V to be too low. I just put the pajama pattern over the KS pattern and traced off the neckline, making allowances for the differences in seam allowances. The KS pattern has 1/4″ seam allowances and the PJ pattern has 5/8″.

Here’s how the new front looks with no lapels and the new neckline. We also had to craft new facings. The commercial pajamas I have seen have facings that are stitched down all along the edge which would make them much more comfortable with no facings flying up to hit you in the face while you are trying to sleep. I like the look of the stitched-down facings, too.

I cut the facing patterns 2 7/8″ wide which, after a 5/8″ seam allowance and a 1/4″ turnunder edge finish, leaves a 2″ stitched-down facing. I measured the facing on a commercial pajama top and 2″ was the commercial width of the facing.

For Christmas, my daughter gave me this handy gadget:

Electric scissors! I haven’t had a pair of those since I killed my favorite scissors cutting out a beanbag chair during the late, lamented seventies.

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The Workwoman’s Guide

In a previous post, I told how I used to look at an old volume from the 1830’s in the library at Cal. Well, I discovered the other day that the old, long-lost volume is online for everyone to see and download! You can find The Workwoman’s Guide on Google Books.

Here’s one of the plates showing the cutting instructions for shirts for men and boys. The measurements are in nails which is an old unit of measure equal to 1/16 of a yard, or 2.25 inches.

The book is almost 400 pages long with instructions for garments, household linens, and even furniture and decorations. How fabulous it is to find this publication again after all these years!

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Thinking of the Next Project

Now that I have finished the yellow pajamas, I am trying to decide what to sew next.  I still have lots of fabric from the dishtowels and IKEA sheets, so I want to make a few more tops, and I need to make some more aprons.  Not that I need more aprons, I just want to try out some different patterns.  I do have a backlog of unfinished objects that should be sewn up too.  And I have to put the binding on that quilt and make more handbags when I feel like it.  It is fun being a person who sews what she wants when she wants, not what she thinks she has to sew.  Sewing for fun, and not for duty.

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Yellow Pajamas

I finished the top and have started sewing on the bottoms. I left the interfacing out of the collar and lapels to see if the flannel is thick enough to be fine without it, and the answer is no, it’s not. Next time I make PJs with a collar, I’ll add a soft interfacing. But really, I’m not really liking PJs with collars anymore, since they are fussy to sew and who needs them while you are sleeping? I think I am going to redraft the front to be collarless with a neckline sort of like a baseball uniform top, a curved V-neckline. Here’s the pattern I’m using for the top:

I shortened the top a lot. The pajama pants pattern I’m using is a TNT pattern whose origin is lost in the mists of time.

This print is really cute and colorful, but notice how I accidentally cut it out with the cupcakes upside down. I figure that they will be rightside up when the wearer is looking down at herself. I have the pants all cut out and semi-sewed:

I should be finished with these tonight, unless I get bogged down in cookie baking.

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Champagne Camisole Finished

Sewing on tricot is really easy, but it still surprises me how fast it is to sew up lingerie in a tricot fabric.The armholes and neckline are finished with a double turnunder and a shell stitch:

You would think that a double turnunder would be hard to do on a V-neckline, but it is surprisingly easy in this fabric. The V turns out more curved, but that looks fine. It works better for me if I baste the turnunders down by hand before stitching on the machine. I could use a long zigzag baste to turn the edges under, but the added thickness of the stitching prevents such a pronounced “shell” from developing .

I got the measurements I needed yesterday, so, since it is gloomy and rainy today, I might get one pair of pajamas cut out.

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Champagne Camisole

I am waiting for a measurement from the younger daughter before I can get started on the pajamas.  The last time I made a commercial pattern in her size, I ended up having to take about 4″ total off the sides because it was cut so big.  No need to reinvent the wheel, so I have asked her to measure the bottom width of those PJ tops and tell me what it is.  This is why it is important to make notes on the pattern as you sew, or at least transfer the alterations to the paper pattern before you forget what you did.  I forgot to do either one of those things.

While I wait, I am making another lingerie camisole, this time in the ‘champagne’ color.  I actually had some lingerie lace that might work.  It sometimes pays to be a packrat, since I have had that lace for about 35 years.

Here’s the camisole all cut out and ready to sew.  I am going to finish the armhole and neckline edges with shell stitching and use the lace to mask the empire seam and to hold the seam allowance down.

We are having a string of winter storms which is very good for our drought situation.  My husband and I turned out to be very good at being water misers and even produced a good summer garden in spite of the restrictions.  We are also finding that our utility bills are substantially lower after we got the window replacement and got a new fridge.  I guess that 30-yr-old fridge was not very energy efficient.

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Pretty Fabric Pictures

Not much sewing, or much of anything else, going on today so I am just going to post some pictures of the fabrics in Stonemountain and Daughter so my daughter can see them.  She loves the Amy Butler fabrics and others like them.

Tomorrow I may be able to get a little sewing done.  I would like to start cutting out the pajamas for the younger daughter.

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