Children’s pyjama bottoms – with added Christmas puddings

p1150512

This is the only Christmas make I attempted this year, because I couldn’t face that awful situation when you’re rushing out to buy things on 23 December in lieu of the planned handmade presents that you haven’t finished in time. Even so, it still wasn’t finished quite in time for Christmas!

Back in the autumn, just before I began my stash diet, I spotted some reduced Christmas pudding fabric in Doughty’s in Hereford. At only £5/m I couldn’t resist enough to make a quick pair of pyjama bottoms for my 3-year old son. It’s quilting cotton, rather cotton flannel, but I thought it would be fun anyway.

The pattern is my trusty pyjama pants pattern Simplicity 2290 (other versions here and here), which includes children’s sizes from age 4-5 upwards. My 3-and-a-half-year old is a giant among his classmates at 110cm, so I traced the smallest size for him. Because they’re loose fitting trousers with an elasticated waist, there’s not a lot of fitting to do – just shortening the elastic to size and turning up the hem.

They’re a little on the large side at the moment, but I think they’ll be perfect for next Christmas. Although obviously, the proof will be in the pudding (groan…)

 

Sewing Christmas presents haul!

p1150503I was lucky enough to receive one or two sewing-related presents, so I thought I’d share a few pictures. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?

p1150499

My in-laws gave me a whole selection of sewing tools and goodies. The double tracing wheel is going to make tracing Burda and Ottobre patterns a whole lot easier – I can use it to add the seam allowances straightaway. The London-themed pattern weights have already been pressed into service.

p1150501

My sister got me these scary-looking applique scissors, which I’m hoping will be just the thing for grading seam allowances. (Although presumably they’re also useful for applique? I just need to ponder that for a bit.

My parents got my the knitting roll (shown in the first picture) to store my rapidly expanding and very unwieldy collection of  knitting needles.

Did Father Christmas bring you anything for your stash?

Top five pyjama patterns for Christmas

Pyjamas. Pretty much my favourite item of clothing throughout the winter months. So whether you’d like to make a pair to see you through to spring, or some for a (very lucky) friend or family member, here’s my shortlist of pyjama patterns to try.

p1140809

In order of difficulty:

  1. Simplicity 2290 (pictured above). Possibly the easiest pattern in the sewisphere, Simplicity 2290 doesn’t technically bill itself as pyjamas, more as ‘lounge pants’. But in a soft cotton flannel they’re cosy, comfy and pretty much perfect for lounging or sleeping. The pattern is suitable for wovens or knits, although it doesn’t include a top so you’ll need to supply your own T-shirt. Sizes include children’s (roughly age 5+) up to adults with 49″ hips.
P1110671
I’ve made Simplicity 2290 three times so far and they’re all still in rotation.

2. Oliver + S children’s knit pyjamas.

This is more of a hack than an off-the-shelf pattern but I actually prefer the look of these to Oliver + S’s official pyjama patterns. The link takes you to a post on the Oliver + S blog, which shows you how to addd cuffs to children’s knit patterns. So if you start off with the Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt and Playtime leggings, you can then add cuffs to create perfect pyjamas for the small people in your life. Oliver + S Patterns are beautifully drafted with clear instructions, so as long as you’ve sewn with knits before then you shouldn’t have any problems running these up in time for 25 December. Sizes 6m-4 years and 5-12 years. Alternatively, you could use the tutorial to hack any long-sleeved T-shirt and leggings patterns you have (for children or adults), adding cuffs to create super-dooper pyjamas.

p1130442
Ottobre magazine is a good source of children’s knit pyjama patterns – like these

3. Tilly and the Buttons Fifi pyjamas.

p1130913

I tried this pattern earlier this year, and although it’s not a straightforward sew, I think it definitely falls into the intermediate category because the instructions are so clear and well explained. Designed with summer lounging in mind, this camisole and shorts set works well in cotton lawn or voile, but you could also try silk for added ooh-la-la. Sized for up to 47″ hips.

4. and 5. Lisette for Butterick B6296 and Closet Case Files Carolyn Pyjamas

Try as I might, I really couldn’t separate these two. They’re so similar in my mind – traditional button-up pyjamas with collar, pockets, elasticated waistband and piping with options for shorts and short-sleeves.

You can copy Liesl Gibson’s own version of B6296 in Liberty lawn, and I love Allie J’s double gauze version of Carolyn in which she replaces the piping with ric rac.

Neither of these patterns is a quick make, what with all that piping to do. And they’re both pretty fabric hungry at around 4m of fabric for the long-sleeved, long-legged option so you’ll be investing some serious time and money in your perfect pyjamas. But they will probably remain your perfect pyjamas for years to come.

Have you sewn any or all of these patterns? And are you making pyjamas for anyone for Christmas?

Red rush

The weather’s turned frosty here in the Midlands this week…

p1140680
Mr Wardrobe took this shot looking towards the Malvern Hills

…which means it must be time to psych myself up for Christmas.

I loved Christmas as a child. My birthday’s in early December, so Christmas kicked off straight after that, and it was a huge festival of family, friends, presents and parties topped off with a side order of chocolates, decorations and cracking TV.

As a carefree twenty-something, Christmas was always action-packed up until 24 December, and then I retreated home to my parents’ house for R&R. Even after three days of falling asleep on the sofa, there was always plenty of quality time for my hobbies (including sewing) before gearing up again for New Year’s Eve.

Since starting a family of my own, I’ll be honest: I don’t look forward to it quite as much. These days, December begins not with a birthday party so much as the purchase of a new anti-wrinkle cream. Then there’s a flurry of organising to be done: presents, cards, food, decorations, travel arrangements and social stuff – although sadly there aren’t usually any occasions that demand a fabulous dress. When Christmas finally arrives, I no longer get lie-ins or long afternoons to knit in front of The Wizard of Oz. And when NYE comes round, you’ll probably find me sloping off to bed at about 10:30, muttering that I’m ‘too old to stay up till midnight’.

So this year I need an injection of joy in my Christmas season. And that means red. I pulled these fabrics from my stash this afternoon and I’m trying to decide how I could combine them into a cheery Christmassy make that’ll get worn well into the New Year.

p1140689
Sorry, the elephants were meant to be in focus.

The solid is a wool crepe, probably just enough for a flared skirt. The two patterned fabrics are both quilting cottons, so they might be handy for facings or pocket linings. I’m thinking perhaps a Hollyburn skirt? If it gets made in time for Christmas Day that’ll be a small miracle, given the size of my queue. But if not, it should bring me some joy in the dark days of January and February, and it’ll probably get worn next Christmas instead. Bring it on!

Are you full of the joys of advent, or are you also feeling a teensy bit Bah Humbug this year?

And what will you sew between now and Christmas, especially if you’re not making a party dress?

 

Christmas goodies

Wow. My family really went to town on the sewing-related gifts this year. (Perhaps they’re reading this blog?) Here are some of the things I received.

P1100564.jpg
Tickets to Sewing for Pleasure, A Guthrie & Ghani gift voucher, a subscription to Love Sewing magazine, the Sewaholic Renfrew pattern and a gift voucher for my local wool shop.

As a result, I’ve spent quite a lot of this Christmas holiday contemplating what to buy, and not much of it making any progress on anything new. I’m full of plans for 2016, but I’m trying to spend at least some time reflecting on 2015.

I’ve really enjoyed getting my sewing space straight this year, and my new machine has made things a lot easier. And I’m slowly finding ways to use the ‘time confetti’ that you get as the parent of a toddler.

Knitting has been a new challenge for me this year and it’s been great fun learning a new skill (and one that you can take on holiday – hurrah!).

My original goals for 2015 have all been started, if not completely conquered. But I think my favourite make of the year was probably the second School Days Jacket I made for my son. Luckily, it still fits him – for now!

Did you get crafty gifts for Christmas? Have you had lots of time to tackle a new project?

Fantasy Christmas list

Sew, sew, sew. What’s Father Christmas bringing you this year?

My family make lists and stick to them, so I have a fair idea what I’ll be getting. Although Mr Wardrobe likes to go off-liste, so there could be a surprise or two in store. But if money (and science) were no object here’s what I’d like to find under the tree this year:

1. A made-to-measure dress form. With 3D body scanners now in some branches of ASDA, how long will it be before I can step into a scanner and order a dress form that exactly matches me? Then again, I guess you could use it to create pre-altered patterns too, so perhaps I wouldn’t need the dress form.

2. This beautiful Gather Kits Rose Garden Buchanan dressing gown. I’ve been eyeing this up for a while and it’d be perfect for lounging around in the spring pretending I’m the sort of person who gets a lie-in and breakfast in bed on Sundays.

3. A knitting lesson from a left-hander. There’s very little dressmaking you can do on a train, while watching TV or waiting for an appointment so I think there’s space for knitting in my life too. And I get serious craft envy when I see blogs like Kate Davies’. But I don’t know any knitters, and as a leftie, it’s not that easy to learn from YouTube.

4. More time to sew. This is probably on your list too. But with an on-the-go toddler about the house, and even some work to do from time to time, there just aren’t many sewing hours in the day. I probably get around four hours a week, and I usually spend some of that scouting around the web for inspiration and writing about my progress here. So time is definitely tight. Another half a day a week would make a world of difference to my productivity…

5. The perfect trouser pattern. I want to create a pair of flat-fronted trousers with a side or back zip, a simple waistband – possibly just a facing – and a leg shape that will slim my thighs, work with all my shoes and manage to look up to date at the same time. I might have to resort to drafting my own, but if you know of one, please, please, please put me out of my misery. Otherwise I might spend 2015 entirely in my jeans.