November 17, 2010

Pajama Jam

When I was growing up my  mom sewed a lot of our clothes. I could pretty much count on a new spring dress and a pair of new pajamas every year. Although I am not nearly as proficient with the sewing machine as she was, I have tried to continue that tradition with my own kids.
My theme for the handmade Christmas gifts I making this year is "stuff I've already got in the stash." What is the fancy name for that? Upcycled? Thrifty? I am good with "free."
Anyway, I pulled out all my flannel scraps and played with the patterns until I had a few prints I could make each child a pair of pajama pants with. I used my trusty simplicity pattern for the two big kids pants, and just traced a pair of pj pants that I knew already fit for my toddler.
I only made pants, because we live in the south, where fleecy, long sleeved, flannel pjs would only get used about three times all year. We do better with bare feet, t-shirt tops, and pants that can be cropped into shorts as soon as summer hits. So these pants were destined to be topped with a comfy t-shirt. I couldn't make myself wrap up a package of plain white tees to put under the tree, so I decided to spruce them up a little.
I tried my hand at reverse applique. It turned out OK, but I was unprepared with how hard it is to sew all those tiny curves and details with my plain straight line sewing machine with no quilting attachments. It took a lot longer than I thought it would, and I was pretty much done with sewing for about two weeks afterward. It took a while for me to gain my confidence back. After all that though, here are the results and tiny tutorial for you.

1. Grab a package of plain t-shirts, or use a few you already have. Wash and dry and iron (I never iron, but I did this time. it helped).

2.Turn them inside out and pin on your contrasting fabric. I cut out prints for the pajama pants scraps and outlined in pencil the lines I wanted to sew. Be careful not to pin the fabric through both layers of the t-shirt!

3. Sew over the lines you drew. If you are skilled at applique, go all out. If you are a beginner like yours truly, go for something simple!

4. Next, turn your shirt inside out and cut away the t-shirt material that is inside the shape you sewed. Your design should show through.

 5. All done! Check to make sure you like the way it looks. Add to it if you need to. Turn inside out and trim off any extra fabric or threads.

 Ta-da! Three kids pj sets, all ready for St Nicholas to deliver on Dec 6th!

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