Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Pyjama Pants of Doom

Hello again!

Today I have to relate a sad sewing related occurrence from which we can all learn. Well, I leaned from it anyway ;)  I decided to make my husband flannel pj bottoms for Christmas. They were requested months before, with the specific requirement they should have pockets just like ready-to-wear ones. (We will not discuss here why men should need pockets in their pyjama pants. This is a sewing blog.) For reference they are the first pair in the picture below:

People who know me will probably be shaking their heads already. Yes, I started these with just three days to go until Christmas day. But what could go wrong, since I have a TNT pattern for my husband's pjs and can make a pair in less time than it takes to drive to the shops and buy them? I traced the waistband hanging pockets from one of his RTW pairs (if you look inside a pair of men's pj pants you will see what I mean), fudged together a construction method and all in all felt pretty pleased with myself, until he tried them on on Christmas morning. They were massive. He could (and did) pull them up under his armpits. Cue tears of laughter.

Lessons learnt:

1. Measure twice, cut once. I can't believe I didn't check. I made a L (his RTW size), clearly I normally make an M and fold away the excess tissue in case I ever need a large (lazy - should have traced it off).
2. Make all Christmas presents in October - November latest. I do not have time to give proper thought to handmade gifts in December!
3. Did I mention check measurements?

So my first piece of unselfish sewing this year was to fix the said huge pj pants. I lowered the waist several inches and they now fit fine but the pockets are, um, less functional than intended as the opening has narrowed. However they have been declared supremely comfortable and been worn already. That's love!

The other two pairs I made for my eldest daughter using this pattern, which I think may be OOP but there are plenty similar out there:

I like to use a female-specific pattern because I find unisex patterns are really cut for a male body - the legs are wider and the waistline always needs lowering considerably (of course you may prefer a warm torso!). The alterations aren't a lot of work if you are trying to avoid buying multiple patterns, but it saves a little time being able to sew straight from the envelope. The RTW pair I bought her 11 months ago had holes in the side seam and around the waistband, so little seam allowance had been used. Eldest daughter was happy and warm in time for our January snows :)

I also mended a seam on another pair of my husbands pjs and replaced elastic that had 'gone' in an old RTW pair of mine and added a new ribbon tie.

Yes my sewing life has been all about pyjamas for the last couple of weeks, but if you live in England you will  understand why, at this time of year, it is necessary!!

I think that pretty much fulfills my pledge for now, so do excuse me while I go and do some selfish sewing!

Happy sewing, til next time!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The First Post

Hello! If you are reading this, you are probably a member of my family, or hopefully into sewing your own stuff - especially clothes! I have been following a few fabulous sewing blogs for the last year or so and have decided this is the year I am going to join in.

So, these are the aims of my blog:

1. To engage further with the wonderful worldwide sewing community. I already feel like I have some friends and have had so much enjoyment from their blogs. I will offer reviews, pattern giveaways, show you what I have made and maybe ask for a little advice!

2. To hold myself to account while achieving some long held sewing/wardrobe related goals. There are quite a few of these:

* Sew for my lifestyle - largely casual, occasionally muddy (two dogs). Sometimes I need office suitable clothes and smarter clothes for attending my daughter's concerts.

* Consider patterns more carefully before I buy or make them - for disaster prevention and economy. Maybe even shock myself and make the odd toile (muslin)?

* Join in Zoe's Me-Made-May - I have wanted to do this for a good two years. Zoe's was the first blog I came across that shared my interests, however I have laughably few me-mades in regular rotation (see above two points!). I can sort this in time for May - right?!

* Finally, I pledge to do at least 3 outstanding alterations, sewing jobs for others, finish UFOs, etc., before undertaking the making of a new garment for myself. This is harsh but I need the discipline. There is no way that huge sewing pile is going down by itself. When it's all gone I can do as much selfish sewing as I like :) Hold me to it, people before I drown in fabric (and guilt)!

Happy sewing, til next time!