I am rather pleased as I have finished my youngest son’s PJ bottoms rather quicker than I anticipated. I think my biggest problem, as I said in the last post, is bringing myself to cut the material as I worry about cutting it wrong and material isn’t cheap at all.
The pattern couldn’t have been easier which is good as I am trying to get my confidence back when it comes to dress-making. They probably only took about 5 hours maximum to sew together although I did them over a number of evenings this week.
Despite taking it quite slowly and reading the instructions carefully I still managed to catch one of the pockets in the top waistband, as I was meant to, but so that it faced backwards!!! I didn’t realise I had done this until he tried them on. He kindly said it didn’t matter and that I wasn’t to unpick the waistband, according to him the fact that the pocket faces backwards as this is ideal for his iPhone – I think he is being very polite.
Anyway, they are made and he loves them. The material a lovely soft cotton flannel has been a joy to work with and he is excited about them as they should keep him warmer in his student house. When your room is on the third floor of a Victorian terrace near the top of a hill keeping warm becomes quite a priority. Apparently the PJ bottoms are very on trend; and there was me thinking how old-fashioned they were.
Needless to say there has been a request for a second paid, so he must really like them. But first I have to make my eldest son a pair. I suspect that by Christmas I will be a little weary of making PJ bottoms but at least they are really appreciated.
….well maybe not the deepest but definitely the hardest and most challenging for me and I suspect it is the reason I don’t do much sewing.
Apparently when I made myself some Pyjama bottoms (see link on my other blog) I said I would make my sons some. It was one of those throw away lines which I assumed no one was listening to. But no! They were listening and who would have thought it but both my sons (in their early 20s) have asked when I will be making them some winter PJ bottoms! At least its only the bottoms as they will wear T-shirts on the top.
Procrastination has gone on for a few months. The pattern, New Look 6321, was bought on-line and is about as simple as you can get. I spent ages surfing the net looking for checked cotton flannel which apparently isn’t that fashionable, if you want ditzy flowers you are spoilt for choice but checks forget it. It hard enough finding companies/fabric shops that do dress length rather than quilting fat quarters but checks forget it. Anyway, I finally tracked some down at Truro Fabrics, which my sons helpfully pointed out, we had walked past several times in June when we were on holiday. They have a sample service so I ordered a couple of samples and the boys choose the one. So not only do I have to make two pairs of PJ bottom but in the same fabric, at least they are the same size.
Two weeks ago I stopped making excuses and cut out the pattern pieces. I find this incredibly intimidating as I worry that I am cutting the wrong size and I have no confidence when it comes to altering patterns at all. Luckily men’s PJ bottoms have little shaping and so I went for the basic S size. The pattern and material have sat on the table for the last two weeks making me feel guilty. However, my youngest is home from University next weekend and I would love to be able to give him his PJ bottoms to take back with him to keep him warm in his drafty student house.
Tonight I have bitten the bullet, moved the coffee table back and tackled laying out the fabric and pattern. The material is checked and I have lined up a couple of key points on the cross of the pattern in a vain attempt to line up the pattern but I’m not too worried about it. I get very nervous about cutting the material out more so than the pattern, I love the fabric and dread that I am going to cut it wrong or some other disaster. I did plan to cut both PJ bottoms out this evening but it took me just over an hour to do the first pair and quite frankly crawling around the floor for that long is enough of a work out for me.
So the pieces are cut out and now I have to crack on and sew it up.
They weren’t hard to make and the instructions are pretty straight forward. The reason they have taken me so long is because I think there are more hours in the day than there are and that I have realised that whilst I used to like dress-making when I was about 18 it doesn’t inspire me like it used to. Back then I was living at home and it was before we had our own televisions in our rooms or computers so if I didn’t want to watch whatever programme Mum and Dad were watching I used to occupy myself with sewing. Nowadays I need to keep my hands busy as I have a bad habit of chewing my fingers but I want something I can do while I am relaxing and watching the television – dress-making isn’t it.
Anyway, over the last two afternoons I have set to and finished the PJ bottoms. I decided I had to finish them before I was allowed to start any other projects so this motivated me. I had done all the hard bit with the fly and seams so all that was left was to make the waistband, thread the elastic through and then hem the legs. We did laugh when I tried them on as they were so very long. I had to cut off 10cms before I could hem them which turned out to be the most stressful part of the whole make as I was terrified of cutting them too short or even cutting one twice!! As you can see from the photograph above I can’t even tie a bow properly!
I am rather pleased with my neat sewing around the hems with two lines almost running parallel. I think I might even get some good comments for my sewing if I was to show them to May Martin on the Great British Sewing Bee.
Anyway, they are finished now and are very comfortable indeed. However, I don’t think I will be doing much more dressmaking for the time being and will return to my crochet and tapestry.
I have been reading lots of sewing blogs lately in a bid to find advice and inspiration to dip my toe back into the world of sewing. I set my mind to making my sons some PJ bottoms inspired by the Great British Sewing Bee book but I soon discovered from the sewing virtual world that there was some sort of issue with the pattern aside from the fact that you had to download it and stick 30 pages together – not the best start for a nervous sewer.
Anyway, coincidentally I discovered on one of my favourite sewing blogs Did You Make That that there was a new PJ bottom pattern coming out and lots of sewing bloggers were going to join in making PJ bottoms and blogging about them. That does sound rather dull when you write it down but I was quite excited about it. Of course the pattern is for ladies PJ bottoms so the boys’ PJ bottoms have been put on hold. I bought the pattern from The Village Haberdashery and then spent ages trawling on-line fabric stores for some nice material. Dithering doesn’t begin to describe my behaviour. There are two significant problems for me when it comes to buying material. Firstly there is no dressmaking fabric store near me. Lauren from Great British Sewing Bee has just opened a store in Birmingham which I might check out when I am feeling more confident but it is a good hours drive each way. The second problem is that the focus of many online stores is patchwork. They sell the material in quarters as in a quarter of a metre and this can make it quite expensive if you want to buy a couple of metres. However, there is a great list of fabric stores on Very Berry Handmade and through this I found Croft Mill who had an extensive selection at reasonable prices. I think I have a real issue with the price of material – I certainly would never pay the price I have paid for this material for a pair of PJ bottoms in a store but then I suppose you have to remember they will be handmade and a one off. I really liked Croft Mill as if you order thread from them they will match it to your fabric which I think is a great service.
I have got as far as cutting out the pattern and now I am trying to pluck up the courage to pin it to the fabric and cut it out. I dread that first cut just in case I have pinned it out wrong. I have decided not to add the piping down the side of the trousers as this may be a step too far for me at the moment.
In the meantime, I have spotted some other patterns that I like the look of and I am completely fascinated with Three Dresses Project swimalong where she is blogging about sewing swimming costumes – how adventurous.
Meanwhile, I have nearly finished my Tea Party Cardigan which I am knitting with wool from a project that went disastrously wrong last year and left me vowing never to knit again. This cardi is knitting up well so far. I have found Ravelry really helpful in finding an alternative pattern for the wool and lots of other advice.