Here they are, the long awaited fleecy, fluffy and downright fabulous pyjamas, complete with contrast cuffs and white cotton piping. What an achievement! I’m really pleased that I finally got them finished.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I’ve been banging on about these pjs for a long time, I was ‘commissioned’ around about September time to do them (okay, maybe not that long ago, but it sure feels like it), and they’ve been sort of hanging over me for a little while – I just really, really wanted to make them good, you know? So I had to wait for a time when I could give it my all…
So, naturally, I worked on it whilst watching Elf and sipping a pre-Christmas tipple, hic!
After a brief flirtation with a pdf from Blank Slate Patterns, which in the end I just couldn’t face sticking together as it seemed to be approx 1 million pages long, I went for this ol’ classic from Simplicity – just look at the smug pyjama family, they’re so happy! Actually, that dad looks like the type that would flip out on Christmas morning, before turning the gun on himself, you know what I mean?
So, like I’ve said before – I’m using a lovely soft flannel in a crazy diamond pattern, and I was so darn intimidated by that fabric for ages, but I eventually psyched myself up enough to cut it out. Also, it’s pretty pricey and quite hard to get hold of, so I really didn’t want to mess up.
I made a slight adjustment to the leg piece, deciding to dispense with the side seam and cut as one pieces – which did speed things up considerably, although it was hard with the curve of the front and back to make it totally straight – something that really bothered me in this project.
I overlapped the pieces so that it compensated for the seam allowance, and as it was going to be gathered in with elastic, it wasn’t that important to get a seam match around the crotch – I think it would have been pretty impossible anyway. It also meant i had to ditch the side pockets, but little boys just put food and bogies in them anyway so no big deal.
I’ve got to say, using an actual tissue pattern really did make a difference with the pattern matching and general laying out – I don’t know how well it would have turned out without being able to see through the pieces, so one nil to old-fashioned patterns! The pattern needed to match as well as possible, but ultimately I had to make a decision about where I wanted it to match vs how much time and fabric to use to get a perfect match, which is why the front seam matches at the buttons in shape, but not colour (more on this later).
My favourite part of this project is definitely the piping, its incredible how much of a lift this little detail gives it – and it’s so easy. I’ve used it before on a little blanket I did, so I wasn’t worried, and anyway, it’s super easy. It’s a pre-bought pack of 5m from eBay (love this place), cos I put making your own piping in the same category as making your own bias binding, i.e. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
It’s pretty easy to attach piping, you just have to work a bit backwards in that you face the round, corded part of the piping in towards the piece, and the flat (flanged, hurr hurt), edge toward the raw edge. You need to be accurate with your measuring and laying out to make sure that you are still keeping the correct seam allowance, so your 1.5in (or whatever) sits at the edge of the cord nearest to the raw edge. I use pins sideways to push the piping out as flat as possible, and that really helps. There is a super great tutorial to be found here, or take a look on Pinterest for some more info.
When your piping is sandwiched between two pieces (which is most of the time), sew it to one side first, using your zipper foot to get right up close, then pin the other piece on top like you normally would, and again use your zipper foot. I’m normally one for cutting corners, but I really recommend doing this slowly and surely! It looks so gorgeous!
This is the collar piece, which I was ridiculously proud of in a “strangely satisfying” kind of way – I got it out and stroked it a few times before it eventually made it on to the jacket.
Speaking of attaching the collar, there was some weird opposite curves to contend with on the collar and button fastening facing, which I wasn’t best pleased with, I had to do a load of clipping and resewed it like 10 times before giving up and getting Helen to help, I’m still not sure how she managed to fix it for me. i haven’t taken photos of that part cos it was so annoying!
You can kind of see it here, eek so annoying!
This did involve a lot of laying out at each stage, because I really did have some paranoia about getting it right, also I was really enjoying the vibrancy of the print against the drabness of my carpet!
Compared to the annoyingness of the collar and facing, the rest f the construction was really a breeze, I’ve already experimented with trousers and a shirt, so I felt like I was confident with the rest, and dare I say it, the trousers were actually easy??
I was so pleased that Helen did the trickiest bit for me – I know that’s totally cheating, but heh, live and learn!
Plus – I really had to remind myself several times not to sew the buttons/buttonholes the wrong way round, it’s my first boy’s outfit and I was just constantly reminding myself not to do it wrong. So I heard (like a really long time ago, and I don’t know about the providence of this) that a girl’s top wraps from right to left, to keep the last arm free, and a boy’s from left to right to keep the right arm free, going back to the olden days when cloaks were wrapped to either protect a baby (held in your left arm), or to free your fighting arm (on the right). I don’t know if that’s true or what, but it’s stayed with me as a real handy way of remembering – but I still had to check myself over and over to make sure!!
I’m okay with a one-hole buttonholer (after a bit of head-scratching and a tonne of youtube videos), and these big white plastic buttons are just my fave for everything, i love how they look really retro, it’s awesome. I got huge bag off eBay from China for a quid, so all my future projects will feature these beats I’m sure.
But – yeahhhh I used the button-sewing-on foot! It’s AMAZING! If you’ve never done it, try it! It’s so awesome, it takes 20 seconds to do a horrible job that used to take me ages, and would still look like crap. The rubber foot holds the button still, and the black cover stops the feed dogs from moving the fabric, so you can use your zigzag stitch to sew buttons really super quick and easy. Seriously – it’s magical.
It really took a lot of pain out of the fastening/finishing. Hey, I’m still in love with my Kam snaps, but this really rocked my socks.
So – here it is!
The finished jacket!
i’m taking advantage of my funky (!) purple feature wall in my new pad to take some pics that show the colour a little bit better.
You can see here how the diamonds match up, but not in colour. I know – i guess I should have made it match,but the pattern was super annoying and had lots of slight variartions, which made it more difficult than I thought. I also made a big boo-boo with the trousers, and cut one piece backwards, so I had to make a patched piece and cut it out again to make it work properly, but I matched it so it’s really hard to spot. I also thought (although this might just be me self-comforting), that it would look more noticeable if the diamonds didn’t match up (due to the buttons moving in the buttonholes as its worn), if they were the same colour, and having the piping break it up made it a bit more interesting/less noticeable? I stressed about it for a while, but I think I made the right decision.
I also wasn’t sure about the bias-cut contrast on the cuffs, but I came to love it. The pattern is pretty full-on so you might as well add a bit more, eh?
I totally left them up all night for some appreciation by the Mr (which he had to repeat hourly until I was satisfied), and eventually I handed them over – she really liked them, and they fit a treat. It was a christmas present for one of my best friends, so I was really pleased that she thought they turned out okay.
So what do you think? I’m definitely going to try a summer version of this – like I said before, i would really like a cotton version, but I just did not have the time before Christmas to organise this, but hope fully the time will open up in the new year. i’m a big fan of pyjama bottoms and I was tempted to try some for me, but is it worth it when you can buy them in Primark fro £4 (don’t shoot me!), they’d have to be made out of something super luxurious, and I’m such an antsy sleeper I don’t know if I an make it work.
Best of luck and Merry Christmas,
lots of love,