Wrapping Up Christmas

I’ll admit, I didn’t make as many things for Christmas this year as I wanted to.  Time just wasn’t on my side.  At the very least, an apron and some cute stained-glass cookie ornaments are going back on the shelf for next year. 

I did get a few things done, like our annual pickled garlic.  My husband helped me for the first time this year and found out what a big job this really is.  Probably the only reason it always gets finished is because I have to make it in September, when fresh dill is in season and the Christmas rush hasn’t started yet.

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These are photos from last year, but it’s pretty much been the same scene for a few years now.

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My grandma’s 80th birthday was near Thanksgiving, so I made a stained glass necklace for her.  I actually loved the box even more than the necklace.

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My son kind of showed me up on the Christmas gifts, and made a rope toy for the dog.  It was a prototype, so he already has ideas about how he can make it better next time.  Max doesn’t care – he loves it.

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I cheated and bought a couple of things from Etsy sellers.  My daughter loves tea, so she found some Organic Chai from NaturalEarthOils in her stocking.

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The other thing I bought was REALLY cheating, because it was for me.  But I love these Crocheted Fingerless Gloves from LifeIsAJourney50 so much, I don’t care.

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One thing I’m really happy about, though, is the fact that I was done with the kids’ Christmas Eve pajamas BEFORE Christmas Eve, which has to be some kind of miracle.

I used the same scrubs pattern as last year for the boy.  I went with a camo/military fleece, which he seems to like (once he figured out what it was).

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My daughter has been hinting around for a pair of footie pajamas for a couple of years now.  Ok, not so much hinting as flat-out asking.  Two issues have stopped me from buying her any, and they’re the same two issues that always came up when she had them as a baby.  The first problem is that she gets too hot and I knew she would roast in them if they had feet.  The second is that she doesn’t have a common shoe size.  To put it bluntly, I think the foot portion of the pajamas would be too tight.

I happened to be looking through a pattern catalog at a fabric store a couple of months ago, and came across a pattern for what is basically footie pajamas without the footies.  Perfect!

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This is actually a very easy pattern.  The hardest part is putting in the zipper, and that’s only because it’s so long, which makes it difficult to access with the sewing machine.  Other than that, these came together in a snap.  I used Batman fleece and she loves them.

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Handmade, store-bought, or somewhere in between, I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Festivus or whatever else you felt like celebrating!

Christmas Pajamas

I finished my kids’ Christmas Eve pajamas last night.  Yay me, right?  Sure, if we were talking about Christmas 2011.  Unfortunately, these were supposed to be for LAST Christmas.  I cut them out, then ran out of time to actually sew them up.  I told the kids about them and my daughter said “That’s ok, Mom.  They can be Easter pajamas.”

Well, I just happened to be in my sewing room the day after Easter, opened a box, and there they were.  The pj elves failed to visit and save me.

I used a scrubs pattern again for the pajama pants.  The first thing both kids did when I had them try them on was stuff their hands into the pockets, so I know it was a good call. 

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I did make some adjustments to the pattern.  My daughter likes her pants low on her hips, so I cut an inch off the top.  I also completely ignored the part of the instructions that said to sew ribbon on to create a casing for the elastic and folded the top edge over instead.  It was tricky because of the way the pockets come together, but the pants would have been too high on the hip otherwise.  I also left out the drawstring.

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Pajama pants are one of the easiest pieces of clothing to sew.  I’ve made them many times, using lots of different patterns.  However, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten through a single pair without making a mistake, often a big one.  At this point, I’m starting to think it’s a mental block.

This go around, I didn’t buy enough fabric for my “little” boy and had to sew additional fabric to the bottom of the pant legs so they would actually reach the ground and I could hem them.  I also started to sew two pieces that didn’t belong together and had to rip out some stitching.  As things go, not my worst attempt.

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On second thought, maybe I should have saved these for Christmas 2011.  They’re flannel and it won’t be long before it’s too warm to wear them.  I might steal them back while they’re sleeping.

PJ's From a Scrubs Pattern

About a month or so ago, I got my son to go to the fabric store with me.  On top of that, I convinced him to pick out fabric for a couple of things I would make for him.  We both left alive and still on speaking terms.  It was almost a miracle. One of the things Tucker spotted was some flannel that incorporated two of his favorite things:  camouflage  and John Deere tractors.  I suggested pajama shorts, then realized he had grown so much that none of the patterns I had used before would fit him.  I almost lost him in the pattern section, probably because he was getting hungry, but we finally agreed on one.  He wanted lots of pockets, for what I don't know, and most pajama patterns for adults skimp on the pockets.  We ended up going with a Simplicity pattern for hospital scrubs instead.

As you can see, there are no shorts on this pattern.  He wanted them to hit his leg below the knee, so I held the front pattern piece up to him, marked where we wanted the bottom of the leg, added 1 1/4" for the hem, and cut off the rest.  I measured the cut-off portion and used it as a template to cut off the required amount on the back piece.

I made a few changes to how these were put together, the biggest being instead of using ribbon or twill tape to create a casing, I just folded the top edge under 1 1/2" and under again 1/4".  It lowered the waist, which my kids always seem to want.  I completely skipped the drawstring and just used elastic.  I didn't place the side pockets using the pattern markings, I just put them on where I thought they looked good, which turned out to be 4" from the raw edge.

The moral of the story is, don't forget to consider unusual options when looking for a pattern.  The other one is, if you're going to take a teenage boy to the fabric store, bring snacks.

Pajamas

I'm going in for abdominal surgery next week.  I know, yuck, right?  I'm telling you this for two reasons.  First of all, you might see a little less doing and a little more talking in this space in the next few weeks.  It's ok, I have a lot to say.  Second, I had to make pajamas.  I have too much girly-girl in me to sit around in sweats every day. If you have even the slightest inclination to learn to sew, pajama bottoms are a good place to start.  There are few things easier to make.  And the best part is, if you aren't completely happy with the quality of your work it doesn't matter so much because you're sleeping in them.  Your eyes are closed.  So are everyone else's.

The flannel I used for the ones I made today has been in my stash since before the Great Recession when we were all buying fabric like we were made of money.   I guess it's time to put those stockpiles to work.

I don't even remember what I had in mind for it.  The amounts were kind of odd, and didn't really correspond to any of my pajama patterns.  Yes, that's plural.  I have at least a dozen.  I'm looking for the perfect fit.

For the first pair, the pattern I used for the top was Simplicity 5923 (which apparently I've had so long it's out of print) and Butterick B5432 for the bottoms.  The top is knit, which is something I haven't attempted for a long time.  I learned that the fancy little knit stitches on my sewing machine are useless and a simple, narrow zigzag stitch doesn't eat my fabric. 

The second set was made using the same Butterick pattern for the top and bottom.  I cut out the top and just made the pants as long as I could with the remaining fabric. 

If you're interested in trying out your pj-making skills, all of the major pattern companies offer several simple versions.  Butterick B5153 has sizes for the entire family with  matching drawstring tie.  Simplicity 2503 is sized for adults, has an optional patch pocket on the leg and a blanket.  McCall's M5356 is also adult-size and has pockets on the sides, a requirement for everyone in my house, except me.  What do you put in pajama pockets?

I also found a free pattern you can download as a PDF from Butterick.  It's called Pull-OnPants.  You have to give them your e-mail address and it would require enlarging, which might cost more than buying a pattern, but if you're interested in learning how these things are assembled, it's a good place to start.  I like the way they fit in the drawing, so I might give them a try.  It gives you the amount of yardage required for 60" wide fabric.  It looks like you'd need the same amount for 45" fabric, but you should print the pattern and measure before buying anything to make sure.

I'll be happily recuperating in these, planning everything I'm going to make once I'm up and around again.  Drinking coffee in my coffee pajamas because I like to coordinate.  I'm funny that way.