Project: Pajamas

Sew Tunes (aka Pandora Station): Feist

Pattern: Simplicity

Fabric Used: Flannel and interfacing

New to Me: Sleeves

Trips to Store: 2. Once to buy the fabric, then to buy new (larger) buttons. Not much luck with my Singer’s one-step buttonhole maker.

Loved one: My girlfriend and sewing partner, Marci, who recently moved to Baltimore.

A few years back, we tackled teepees for our nieces for Christmas. I really miss you, Marci! Hopefully these PJ’s will help you stay warm this winter.

Day by Day…

Saturday, July 9:

It’s time to put some clothes on…the blog. First stop at the fabric shop: bargain table. I saw this flannel, and instantly thought of Marci.

Fabric washed, dried, and ironed. Ready to go…

Sunday, July 10:

I cut the pattern pieces. Five pieces total (five must be the magic number). Once cut, I realized just how large a medium for men actually is. Sidenote: I bought the pattern for men because I really liked the night shirt view.

There’s a 5/8″ seam allowance on either side, and there’s a bit of an overlap below where the buttons will be placed. Perhaps this will downsize it…dramatically.

Monday, July 11:

I have the day off of work today. There are 12 steps in the pattern. I am going to tackle the first four:

1. Stay stitch the neckline. Hmmm, what thread to use? (Thank you, Jenna, for all of your grandma’s thread!)

What is stay stitching exactly? I read about it online:

“Stay stitching is a single line of stitching, through one layer of fabric, to stabilize the fabric, preventing it from becoming stretched or distorted…Although it may seem like a step you can eliminate, if pattern directions call for stay stitching, do the stay stitching! It eliminates problems later in having collars, facing and other pieces of the pattern fit together.”

2. Stitched the front of the pajamas to the back of the pajamas along the neckline. So far, so good.

3. Interface. For sturdiness, the pattern called for interfacing along the collar and neckline (referred to as the “facing”). Thank goodness for remnant interfacing. I accidentally fused the interfacing to the right side (instead of the wrong side) of one of the fabric pieces.

4. Sew the facing to the pajamas.

Missed a step, I guess. The illustration shows a hem in the facing, but it wasn’t explicit in the directions (read between the lines, Jenn). The pinking shears made a reappearance. Instead of using a seam ripper, I used the pinking sheers to give it a decorative edge (not shown in the above photo).

Wednesday, July 13:

I went to my first Meetup/sewing circle. I took a break from the PJ’s, and started a ruffle skirt. At the Meetup, I learned so much from all the lovely gals, like standard seam allowances (1/4″ for quilting, 5/8″ for clothing, 1/2″ home dec). I also realized the importance of ironing the seam allowances flat (shown below). The piece lays better, and it is easier to hem. Looking forward to next month’s Meetup.

Friday, July 15:

From here, there’s a lot of topstitching to be done. Topstitch this. Topstitch that. Is it just a fancy term?

Yes, I ended up on a Dummies site:

“Topstitching is an extra line of stitching sewn on the right side of the fabric that parallels a seamline or is used to sew a hem. Topstitching is usually visible on a project, so it needs to look good…Your pattern instructions tell you exactly where on the project to topstitch. To topstitch, simply place the project under the needle, right side up, and stitch at the specified location. Because topstitching is usually an important part of the overall garment design, you usually want to tie off the threads rather than backstitch.”

Saturday, July 16:

It’s sleeve time (a first). No problemo. The pattern and directions made sense. Next step: sew front and back together, starting at the sleeves. Exhale. Everything lined up perfectly. To finish the inside, I took the pinking shears and “pinked” the seam allowance to give it a decorative touch.

Sunday, July 17:

Hem + Buttons

My favorite feature of my machine is the one-step  buttonhole. But after the morning’s work, I am not so fond of it.

Check out the number of practice runs in the image above. When I went to make the buttonholes on the pajamas, it kept getting stuck. I think it was the added thickness of the interfacing. Larger buttons are needed to fix my mistake (excited by the seam ripper, and ripped a large hole). I reviewed some online tutorials on making buttonholes by hand. Hopefully, the use of larger buttons and embroidery thread will disguise my mistake. Feeling a little discouraged.

And then a lot discouraged when I got home from the store and attempted the “fix.”

Learning experiment, right? I keep telling myself this. Next, the hem. And it’s done:

Project Wrap-up

 Sew Happy:

  • Simplicity patterns are just that. Simple!
  • Now realizing the importance of ironing the seams flat will be so beneficial for future projects.
  • I get to think a lot while sewing, and sometimes I get a little “punny.” Came up with “sew tunes”…like “show tunes.” Get it?
  • When frustrated by the buttonholes, I came across a really cool site, Sew, Mama, Sew! I will be bookmarking and re-visiting often.

Not Sew Happy:

  • The thickness of the flannel fabric and the interfacing posed a problem when trying to sew through all layers. It bunched up, and made the buttonholes especially difficult.
  • Part pajamas, part snuggie. A little too big. Both Marci and her hubby can cuddle up in the PJ’s this winter.

Helpful Hints (to self)

  • When checking out the manual for buttonholes, I realized I should be oiling my machine more regularly. This machine is need of a tune-up, and it’s in need of a new needle for the next project.
  • Think about the finishing before starting. This will help avoid missed steps in terms of hemming, etc.


Marci is ready for the B’more winters…