Tag Archive | nightgown

Day 16: Cozy

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The kids are demonstrating just how cozy they feel in their flannel jammies. I made all of them except for Baby Sprinkaan’s. Each of the girls got a nightgown and a set of button-up pajamas and Konik got two pair of button-up pajamas — his other pair has monkeys and balloons on it. Granota’s nightgown is blue with little brown owls and Rana’s button-up pajamas are hot pink with black foxes.

The boy and girl button-up pajamas are unisex, but I used a different pattern (McCall’s 6458) for Konik’s than I did for the girls (Butterick 5853) because of size differences. I ended up preferring the pattern I used for the girls because it was much more straightforward. The Butterick pattern was put out in 1998 (I picked it up at a thrift store), but the McCall’s is recent. I guess, in trying to improve on a basic pajama pattern, they went and made things needlessly difficult. For instance, the button placket on the McCall’s is a separate piece to sew on rather than just an extension of the front which is then folded over (how things like this are normally done). Also, there was quite a large cuff on the sleeve, which looked cute, but in practicality was a pain in the butt for all involved. First of all, I probably shouldn’t have interfaced it, despite what the pattern told me to do. It was just too heavy. It didn’t fall naturally on Konik’s wrist and, because he’s a 6 year old boy, he ended up tearing it at the seam. Repeatedly. I got so tired of repairing that stupid cuff seam, that I just tore the whole thing off. He was horrified and wailed and cried and told me how mean I was. He got over it after a day or two. That was on the monkey pajamas. I learned my lesson, then, for the train pajamas and just extended the sleeve length to account for the cuff I wasn’t going to put on it and just hemmed it in a regular folded hem. It works much better! The Butterick pattern was already written like that, so I didn’t have to make any modifications on the girls’ pajamas.

The nightgown is actually from a tunic/dress pattern (McCall’s 6500). It’s super simple with an elastic neckline and at the wrists. In fact, I have made iterations of this style numerous times, a several of which have already been shown on this blog. It’s a good workhorse.

There you are: a good dose of coziness and cuteness.

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Another jam session

Summer is upon us in the Pacific Northwest! Actually, we’ve had an unusually nice June (kinda makes me wonder when the other shoe is going to drop) and the girls ditched their fleece jammies weeks ago. The problem was, they have outgrown the spring nightgowns that I made them. That was four years ago, so I suppose some growing is acceptable. {sigh} Kids. If they’re not messing up clothes, they’re growing out of them. Whatchagonnado?

Sew new pajamas, that’s what! I found this pattern from 1982 at a thrift store some time ago and snapped it up for Just Such An Occasion. After considering her options, Rana chose the babydoll set with the little top and bloomers.

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Simplicity 5949 from 1982

It was a cute pattern to work up and nothing overly tricky. The best part of all was that I had fabric in my stash that perfectly suited this little pajama set. It’s a white lightweight cotton with pastel stripes — another thrift store find that I’ve been hanging onto for years. In the pattern, the yoke of the babydoll top is cut on the same grain as the rest of the outfit. I didn’t feel like trying to match up all those skinny little stripes and have them still come out just off enough to make your eyes buggy. My solution was to cut the yoke on the cross-grain instead which sends the stripes running parallel. No matching involved and no buggy eyes. Win-win!

Ribbon shoulder ties and a sweet little ribbon rose below the yoke

Ribbon shoulder ties and a sweet little ribbon rose below the yoke

By sheer luck, the stripes on the little bloomers met just right and make me look like a genius. Thanks, stripes!

Of course I did that on purpose

Of course I did that on purpose!

On the inside of the bloomers, I sewed a little ribbon tag so that Rana could tell front from back. You can also see my French seam which I did on both garments. Rana tends to have some sensory issues when it comes to clothing and anything I can do to smooth things out and make it more comfortable is worth not having to listen to her cry and complain and eventually wear said clothing inside-out. Even though I’ve used French seams in many articles of clothing, I still have a momentary freakout when I begin sewing pieces right sides out, like I’m about to monumentally screw things up. I get a little neurotic about that.

Ooh la la

Ooh la la

And here is the full babydoll set, sans girl inside because, internet pervs.

Soft and cool for summer nights

Soft and cool for summer nights

Granota has told me that she prefers the full-length nightgown. I was hoping to make another stash bust for her, too, but I’m having trouble finding suitable fabric. I may have to break down and go buy something, but I hope not! We shall see…

Nighty night

Sometimes a person needs new jammies. The ratty t-shirts and faded flannel pants are a pretty sad combination anymore. Coming into warmer weather, I thought a nightgown sounded comfy. So I made one today.

I had a couple yards of ivory cotton sateen that I had originally bought to make a dress for one of the girls before I came to my senses about dressing them in white. It was just enough to make what I had in mind. I was aggravated, though, at the lousy cutting job the person at Joann’s had done. I had to cut off four inches on either side just to straighten it out. Does anyone else wonder if Joann’s fabric cutters have ever actually sewn anything in their lives? Most of the time, I just want to crawl across the counter and demand their scissors so I can do it myself.

Were they blindfolded when they cut this?

Were they blindfolded when they cut this?

On the same pattern that I used for my flannel pajama pants, there is also a pattern for a bias-cut nightgown with spaghetti straps. I’m not a big fan of spaghetti straps while I’m sleeping. But I had something else that I thought would work and could be fun.

Simplicity 5726

Simplicity 5726

This is a historical pattern based on undergarments from the Civil War era. The chemise would have served as a slip by day and a nightgown by night. It doesn’t quite cover the shoulders, but if that ends up being a problem, I’ll just tack it a little further up. The pattern only uses four pieces — front/back, sleeves, front band and back band. It’s not a difficult garment to make. I did find it interesting that, with the exception of the bands around the neckline, all other seams were flat felled. But it makes sense that in the 1860s with no sergers and the like, a smooth finish like this would give strength and a clean finish to clothing, not to mention comfort, especially in the case of the chemise. For some reason, I always thought flat felled seams were some kind of difficult, mythical thing. Turns out, they really aren’t difficult at all, they just take a little extra care.

Flat and felled

Flat and felled

I was surprised at how loose the chemise is considering that it would have gone under a corset as shown in the picture. Wouldn’t all those extra folds of fabric have felt lumpy and uncomfortable underneath something as tight-fitting as a corset?

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I bought this for the corset pattern — which I have made for a Halloween costume, just not with boning. Someday I’ll make a real one.

I didn’t have enough lace of any sort to trim around the upper edges as the pattern called for, so my night gown is as plain as plain can be right now. I briefly considered making a trip out to buy some lace, but polyester lace is so stiff and scratchy and I don’t want to have that anywhere near my skin while I’m sleeping. So right now I’m thinking that I will crochet some lace with cotton thread and apply it once I’m done. Which could be awhile because the pattern requires 2.5 yards. I’ve been dying for a crochet project, though, so it will be nice to have something to do with my hands while we watch TV in the evenings besides obsessively clicking back and forth between Facebook and Twitter (which really isn’t that exciting of a pastime).

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So here it is, all done. I kind of want to go to bed right now just to have a reason to put it on.

Toasty warm

The cold weather kicked in all of a sudden up here. I noticed that the girls’ winter nightgowns were looking awfully short and snug (not in a good way). I’ve gotten several seasons of nightgowns from Simplicity 5118, even making tissue paper extensions when the girls outgrew the printed pattern.

But they’re both long past that now, so first I had to find a new pattern. I located McCall’s 6500 which was nearly identical to the previous one, just in larger sizes.

I don’t get the bunny.

The flannel selection at Joann’s was a little disappointing this year. I didn’t find anything that appealed to me, but once I laid eyes on the penguins, I knew that was the right choice. When I picked up Rana from school that afternoon, I showed her the fabric and was met with squeals of joy. Yep, right choice. Granota had a similar reaction when I got home.

Nice and long

Roomy for pulling legs up inside on a cold morning

I’ve made this so many times that I didn’t bother with the instructions. It’s a little freeing to just set to work, knowing exactly what to do. Both nightgowns were completed in two days. Breezing through a project like that got me in a productive sewing mood. I’ve got a dress for myself all cut out on my sewing table! If we can get this cabin warm enough so that I don’t feel paralyzed from the cold, I’ll finish that up this week.

I’m not kidding about the cold. Often, it’s about 52 degrees when we wake up in the morning. But at least the girls are warm at night in their flannel nightgowns (and the rest of us just pile on the blankets)!

Summer Jam!

It’s only (barely) spring, but we’ve still got to think ahead a little bit, right? The nights are not quite as frigid as they have been and I’ve been noticing that my flannel pajama pants are just a weensy bit too warm these days. I love my flannel pants. I made them in November 2010 and they go down in history as the first — and only — pair of pants I’ve ever made for myself because I am a big chicken and scared of making pants that should actually fit I’m waiting until I have time to make a muslin. They’re so soft and comfy and… faded. And not at all flattering (I know, they are pajamas, but still).

Taking a picture of your own legs is really awkward. Try it.

They’ve still got plenty of wear left in them, but, what with the weather warming and the desire to escort frump out of my life, I’ve been thinking that I need a new pair. Probably a pair that won’t have a crotch hanging halfway to my knees. Unless I’m going for harem pants, in which case… hm, that could be kind of exotically cool. Maybe? We’ll see. Losing my train of thought here. Oh right! Summer pajamas. Need them.

The other day I was reading one of my favorite blogs Did You Make That? and Karen proposed the idea of a pajama sew-along. Well, how about that timing! I’ve kinda been wanting to join some kind of craft-along and here’s a great opportunity. Check out my fancy little sewalong button on the right! Swanky!

This is the pattern I used for the green pair.

Watch out; I think she bites. (McCall's 5248)

It served me well enough the first time. I am debating, though, whether to go with the pants again in a more lightweight fabric or maybe the nightgown. Sometimes my shoulders get cold, so I don’t know. At the risk of impropriety, does anyone else have any pajama-related opinions? I will say, that if I do end up making the nightgown, I am not going to model it here. 😉 Oh, I’ll take pictures; just not with me in it!

The other debate I’m having with myself, is how to add a little more glamor to my life. When I’m lounging around in my pajamas I want to feel like this:

Maybe I need more feathers in my life.

Not this (which is often how I feel):

Right down to the red nose and frizzy hair

There’s just that tricky point of practicality. I’d be much more reluctant to make breakfast in satin and feathers. Might have to save that one for later. Anyways, I’m supposed to turn out a pair of p.j.’s by 28th April, so stay tuned! In the meanwhile, here’s one of my favorite Summer Jams.

Smockapalooza

To go along with the Smock-a-rama! In that post, I showed my first attempt at smocking on Rana’s nightgown. Granota needed a new nightgown just as badly, so I started on hers immediately after I finished Rana’s. The actual smocking portion of the show has been done for quite awhile, but I finally got around to sewing the nightgown together today.

I did better on the smocking this time around. Even though I still couldn’t get the fabric to pleat correctly (that’s going to take more practice, apparently), I did make sure to keep my stitches evenly spaced so that it wouldn’t spread out so much like it did on Rana’s.

Ladybugs and a daisy

I learned a new embroidery stitch to do this. The ladybugs and daisy petals are made of bullion knots, which I had never tried before.

One happy little girl

Granota was thrilled to death to get to wear her new nightgown for “naptime.” She looks much more comfortable than she did in her old nightgown. Rana is slightly jealous of the ladybugs and has requested that I put a bee on her nightgown now. We’ll see if I ever get around to that.

 

Smock-a-rama

Last year, I bought a book with cute clothes for kids, each with some kind of smocking. I’ve flipped through it several times, admiring the clothes, but had never really paid much attention to the instructions. I figured I’d read all that once I was ready to do some smocking. This past week I finally got around to it (have you noticed a theme here on my projects? It seems like that year buffer in between an interest in a new craft and the actual execution of it is my modus operandi).

Despite all the gorgeous projects included in the book, I had something else in mind. Both of my girls needed new summer nightgowns with certain criteria to fulfill:

  • Very long
  • Roomy enough to pull their legs up underneath
  • Pretty

Smocking seemed to fit the bill to give them that roominess that they wanted, with the added bonus of also being pretty. Awhile back, I had bought a twin-sized gingham sheet in an indeterminate shade of red. Or pink. Salmon? Originally, I was going to make a dress out of it for Rana , but for some reason she deemed it “too boyish.” I debated for a couple weeks whether to buy different fabric for their nightgowns or just use the sheet. In the end, frugality won out. Plus, 1/4 inch gingham is ideal for a smocking project and makes for a minimum of work for me (also a theme here. Apparently I’m a lazy procrastinator). See, for all of you uninitiated in the ways of smocking, the first step requires marking lines of dots onto the fabric. Lots of dots. Teeny tiny dots spaced 1/4 inch apart. They do make iron-on transfer paper with these little dots, but I don’t have any and I hear that stores still prefer money rather than wampum or beaver pelts or cake (running low on the first two, but I can bake a cake! Now I have an interesting image of me on the street corner with a sign, “Will bake for fabric.”) So you can see just how good this sheet was looking to me now, regardless of Rana’s opinion. In lieu of tiny dots, the corners of my gingham checks would serve the same purpose.

I settled down with my pretty book and realized after a few minutes that the authors make the assumption that anyone purchasing their book already has a rudimentary knowledge of smocking. Well… I didn’t. Internet to the rescue! I found this lady’s blog and she very helpfully detailed every step needed to get me started.

The first step is putting in the pleating threads.

Row, row, rows of thread

For some reason, this took me a long time, as in, several days. It’s really not hard; I must have gotten interrupted a lot, which is not unusual with a 5, 3, and 1 year old. I’ve already completed this step on Granota’s nightgown and it only took me a couple of hours last night. Maybe I’m just that much better now.

Once all those threads are in, the next step is to pull them and make the fabric pleat up.

Pleated... or is it?

At first glance, this looks ok. The fabric is all bunched up, right? Except, that it’s not supposed to be bunched up. It’s supposed to be pleated. Nice, even pleats that stick up on the right side. But the right side looks just like the back.

Not the desired effect

It was almost right! I was so close! Close enough not to realize – newbie that I am – that it really wasn’t close enough. I ignorantly carried on with the actual smocking. I used the book for this — one of the patterns seemed simple enough for me to do on this Inaugural Voyage into the Realm of Smocking.

Looks pretty good so far, aside from the fact that the picture quality looks like it was taken twenty years ago. Grainy!

That top line of dark pink stitching is supposed to be the stabilizing line. You’ll see in a minute how well that worked out. It was at about this point in the green stitching that I realized how horrible my “pleating” was. I could never tell which bump to stitch in, so I just guessed. And you’ll see how well that one worked, too.

Once I got in all my decorative stitches, I cut loose the black pleating threads and instantly knew that we had a problem. Instead of staying nicely pleated bunched up, the fabric exploded. Oh, did I mention that when you smock a garment, you have to cut the fabric three times the width of the finished piece? Without proper smocking holding it into place, this nightgown was going to be much, much roomier than any of us had expected. Rana and Granota could have worn it together!

Ka-boom!

Note the decided lack of pleats or bunching. My nice green zigzag stitches are all distorted and the dark pink may as well not have even been there for all the good it did. Rana tried it on and the front dipped down halfway to her belly. In a horrified stage whisper, she hissed at me, “People are gonna see my boobs!” I did some emergency smocking (with her still in it, much to her annoyance) to pull in some of the slack so that she could wear it to bed last night. We never did get it quite high enough, but we were both tired, so agreed that it was good enough for sleeping and sent her to bed. I think what I’m going to have to do is put in a permanent pleating thread on the inside to hold it all together.

Finished nightgown, still in need of more smocking

This is what crafting fearlessly is all about! I wouldn’t call this a complete failure because, in the end, I did produce a wearable garment with interesting decoration, even if it wasn’t quite what it “should” have been. And besides that, I learned a lot just from the experience. As I mentioned above, I’ve put in the pleating threads on Granota’s nightgown, so I am going to take extra special care in making sure that the pleats turn out right this time. And once those are right, the rest of it should just follow! If not, then I guess we’ll get another installment of Things JenGren Learned While Attempting to Smock.