Friday, June 24, 2011

Big Brother Pajamas

I adore pajamas. They were the first real thing I learned to sew, and I've been sewing them ever since. I especially love to make them as gifts. This pair was for my big brother, who turned the big three-oh this week! (Mr. Modiste kindly modeled them so they could make an appearance on the blog.)

(These look like plain green, but they're actually a fun herringbone print.)

When I make PJs for men I always use McCalls 2586, which is a seriously wide-leg pattern. This photo illustrates that point a little better:


My brother is quite tall. 6'4", I believe. While in the midst of making these I started to worry they were going to be too short, so I added a bit of extra length by cutting separate pieces for the cuffs. In the end, this may have been overkill, as you'll notice how long they are here on Mr. Modiste. (He's 6'3".) But, who cares? They're pajamas! (This is my favourite phrase when sewing pajamas... and probably one of the reasons I love sewing them so much!) Besides, isn't it a bit of a fun novelty for people who are 6'4" to have a pair of pants that are too long? Well, I hope so!

Now for a few details! First, the afterthought cuff:


I actually sort of like the way this looks, with the double-row of stitching.

French seams again:


This time I did a proper french seam for the crotch seam, rather than the faux french seam like last time. It worked out great. I did reinforce it, as the pattern suggested, which turned out nice and clean looking.

I really do love making these as gifts. They're easy to fit without having to tell the recipient what you're making, it's fun to pick out flannel prints for each person you make them for, and they're quick and forgiving to sew (not to mention comfy for the recipient to wear!) Homemade gifts were especially valued in my house growing up, so I try to make sure to make my Dad and brother at least one big gift a year. (Much to the confusion of a helpful Fabricland employee who once tried to whisper to me that it was cheaper to just go and buy a pair at Wal-Mart, lol.)

Hopefully my brother likes them!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Crescent Skirt - Finished!

I'm so excited to finally show off my Crescent skirt!


This was meant to be View C... but when I laid out my fabric to cut it out, I realized that it was only 42" wide instead of 44", which was too narrow! What's up with that? Is that a quilting cotton thing? Anyway, I improvised by cutting View B, but extending the hem all the way down to the size 16 length. It worked well enough, and I'm actually super happy with it - I think any longer would have been too long on me.

As I mentioned in previous posts, the modifications I made were to cut 1" off the top of the waistband, and to grade the waistband pieces from an 8 at the hip to a 10 at the waist. My hope was that these two modifications would bring the skirt down to a more tolerable place for me to wear it, seeing as I find things sitting on my natural waist completely uncomfortable. (I am seriously a child of the low-rise generation!) I failed, however, to consider the fact that my muslin was not interfaced and had no twill tape... so this didn't work out quite as well as I'd expected. It's still a tad high for my comfort, but I figure it'll be a good piece to help me try to get used to things sitting higher. We'll see how that goes!

A few detail shots...


I lined this with a white/silver voile. You can't really see it, but it has a silver sheen when the light hits it. It's actually quite pretty, honest!


The lace hem facing worked out great and really spoke to my inner perfectionist... it's so easy to make evenly spaced hand stitches when you have a patterned lace to follow! In retrospect this would have looked fine machine-stitched and that would have saved me a lot of time. Oh well... I do love hand-stitching :)


That double line of stitching on the lining hem was just because I didn't get close enough to the edge the first time around. Oops!


This method of zipper insertion was positively magical... thanks, Tasia! (Mine doesn't line up perfectly but I couldn't care less!)

Time will tell if this skirt sees a lot of wear, between the fabric (not my usual style) and the fit. Regardless, I still love it and I'm already plotting my next version. (View A, which I think will be a little more wearable for me.) I'm just trying to debate the best way to tackle the fit issue. I'm torn between fussing with the grading (maybe from an 8 at the hips to a 12 at the waist? Would that be crazy?) or maybe just omitting the twill tape at the waistline and seeing if that allows a little more stretch? Hmm... let me know if you have any suggestions!



(Also: every skirt should have pockets, don't you think? So great!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sneak Preview


Crescent skirt is almost done! I'm dying to finish hemming it and show it off, but Mr. Modiste is back in town for four days so I'm a little short on spare time!

Rather than making a size larger, I heeded K.Line's advice from my Crescent Skirt Muslin post and simply made the waistband an inch narrower, cutting an it off at the top. The skirt still sits a little bit higher than I want it to, but not uncomfortably so. I followed the pattern to the letter and so I included the twill tape in the waistband, which I probably shouldn't have done. I know that's to prevent stretching and really, I wouldn't have minded a little ease at the waist! But I think it'll be okay.

I decided to try using lace hem facing, but in a moment of stupidity I left my iron on hot and melted a bunch of little holes into the border. My inner perfectionist is screaming at me to remove it and start again, but it doesn't compromise the integrity of the hem so I think I might try to silence that voice and just leave well enough alone. What do you think? Is it worth fixing?


Full post with details in the next few days!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mojo Pajamas

Wow, where to begin? It's been a while, that's for sure. To make a long story short, about a month ago I was laid off from my job. Don't feel bad for me - this was a very good thing. So now I'm happily unemployed for a spell, and keeping busy by traveling and planning my wedding. However, I haven't really been crafting. I'm not sure why... and so, a few days ago I decided I needed a mojo project. Something fun and simple and hard to screw up. Pajamas!


The pattern is Butterick 6474, which I bought about seven years ago. In fact, I bought it to take a sewing class through the school board so I could learn to read patterns! (Until that time I was more of a wing-it, self-draft-it kind of girl. But then again, I mostly made hair ties and aprons and whatnot in my youth.) It's not specifically a pajama pattern, but it does the job fine.

The only thing I'd say about it, which someone on Pattern Review also mentioned, is that the crotch curve is all out of whack. For my preference, it's too long in the front and too short in the back. (In fact, they're practically the same length.) Additionally, the rise is crazy high, which I didn't realize until after I'd already finished the waist. Oops. So, after unpicking, rather than monkeying with the depth of the curve, I simply lowered the waist further in the front than the back. (I took it down 2" in the back and 3" in the front.) Although I wish the curve was deeper, it worked out fine this way.

The fabric is some beautiful damask-y flannel I bought at Fabricland back in December. I love it.


To keep it interesting, I decided to use this project as an excuse to try out french seaming. And all I can say is: I'm in love. Such a clean finish, without having to drag out the serger? Yes, please. I think I did a bit of a sloppy job, and didn't really account for the cloth allowance... but hey, they're pajamas.


When I went to do the crotch seam, it seemed a shame to serge, so I just did a little clipping and created a faux french seam as an afterthought. Despite the strong curve it worked out fine. I love flannel, it's so forgiving.


When I make pajamas I always do a line of stitching at the fold of the hem and the waistband. I find it just looks so much cleaner this way.



The hem, however, marked the first time this year I've been annoyed by my machine's lack of a free arm. If I ever change machines in the future, I think I'd like to have this option.

Anyway, it's nice to complete a project in less than 4 hours, without a muslin, and happy with the end result. I have a whole bunch of sewing on the horizon and I'm hoping my mojo sticks around long enough (and I stay in one place long enough!) to get some things accomplished this month!

Also: flannel is a cat-magnet. At least in this house it is.