Tag Archive | pajamas

Day 16: Cozy


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.

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.


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?


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).



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.

Live and Learn

Far be it from me to ever lead you to believe that everything I make turns out awesome every time. It’s not “crafting fearlessly” if I’m too cowardly to discuss mistakes or shouldabins. So let’s go back and look at a few of the things I’ve made over the past year and see how they’ve worked out.

The infamous thumb holster

I made two of these last summer to cover Rana’s thumbs in an attempt to keep her from sucking them. First lesson learned: There is a reason why sinew (real or fake) is used to sew leather. The thread repeatedly wore through and I ended up having to repair these several times. The concept was good and actually worked up until the point where Rana “lost” the covers sometime this winter. I recently found one in the bushes outside. heh. And wouldn’t you know it, now it doesn’t fit her anymore. She’s a cagey one.

Little corduroy pants

These pants were among the slew of clothes that I made for Rana at the beginning of the school year (that seems forever ago!). Something was never right about the crotch so they were uncomfortable for her to wear. Fortunately, there was a solution! I took out the crotch seam, whacked the pants off at the knees and made it into a skirt. It was a cute little skirt. Unfortunately, it cramped Rana’s playground style — too hard to climb stuff — so she never wore the skirt. I guess I should just give it to Granota.

Falilla the Fairy

This fairy doll was Granota’s 4th birthday present back in September! She was not met with the excitement that I had anticipated, but after a couple of days Granota fell in love with her and named her Falilla. Falilla looks so pretty here; it’s almost a shame what she looks like now. Granota insisted that I put her hair in a ponytail so that it would be out of the way of her wings. Now Falilla is losing copious amounts of hair. I’m going to try to run a line of fabric glue along the underside of her roots to slow down the balding. It’s a good thing I gave her so much hair to start with. Interestingly enough, Jessie the cowgirl doll that I made for Rana has not had any hair-loss issues. Maybe Falilla needs a fairy hat.

Looks beautiful, not practical

In November, I made each of the girls a new winter coat. These coats, as you can see, are very full. Wonderful for twirling, not wonderful for buckling into car seats. The other problem is that I did not make the center front pieces wide enough — they just barely overlap enough to button. That means it is highly likely that these coats won’t fit the girls next year. In a way, that’s ok, because I am pretty sick of struggling to get everything flattened and mashed down enough to get them buckled into the car. If we lived in Europe and walked or took public everywhere, these coats would be fantastic, but as it is, I’m going to have to use a different pattern this fall.

Not all they’re cracked up to be

March brought my attempt at recycling all the broken crayon bits in my kids’ coloring box. I melted them down in muffin cups and right off the bat I could tell these weren’t going to be as awesome as I had hoped. As you can see, they were already beginning to break after they had cooled. I’m pretty sure that there is not one left whole anymore, which pretty much defeated the whole purpose of melting the little bits together.


Most recently are the new pajama pants I made. I had this ingenious idea to elasticate the cuffs. Y’know, to keep them from riding up and twisting around my knees at night. Well guess what? I didn’t make the pant legs long enough, so once I bent my knees, the cuff rode up and then got stuck right around my calves. Thanks, elastic. The other night it was driving me so nuts, I seriously considered going downstairs and taking it out right then and there at 2 a.m. But since the cabin is basically one giant room, I knew Mr. Gren wouldn’t appreciate me turning on the light; so I just toughed it out the rest of the night. But the elastic is out now! Hopefully it will feel better tonight. I think it was still a good idea, but next time I’ll know to add some extra length in the pant legs.

So there you have it. A little rundown of some of my not-so-perfect projects. It’s all a learning process, isn’t it?

We be jammin’

Pa-jammin’, that is. I don’t have a reggae bone in my body and don’t pretend to (unlike Sting, who apparently thinks he’s a Jamaican reincarnated. Never understood him).

Earlier this month, Karen at Did You Make That? proposed to host a pyjama party sew-along and I thought, “Hey! I can do that!” Not taxing at all and was actually something I needed to do. Why not make it fun in the process? Karen broke everything down one step at a time, which was a good reminder to me that I don’t necessarily need to finish all my sewing projects in one fell swoop.

French seams and a ribbon tag for the back

I chose a lightweight aqua cotton because it seemed like it would be nice for the spring/summer. I did have a passing horror of looking like I was wearing scrubs (which I understand to be quite comfortable, so I have nothing against you if you do wear scrubs to bed). I was hoping for a look a little less… utilitarian. I did a couple of things to counteract that. After much debate, I decided to gather the ankles with elastic rather than just a plain hem. One thing I’ve found with my current pajama pants is that they have a tendency to ride up and twist around my knees while I’m sleeping. I’m hoping that the gathered hem on this new pair will keep everything where it’s supposed to be!

Staying power

The other thing I did was to embroider cherry blossoms on one leg. When I first had the idea to embroider a design, I thought I’d flip through one of my two iron-on transfer books. That would have been great except… apparently they are in a box that I did not bring to the cabin. {sigh} Plan B. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I recalled seeing something about using tissue paper to transfer a design onto fabric. A little searching on the ol’ Internet and I found a nice tutorial on thread tracing . It’s definitely not a quick process, but it does the trick. First I had to print a line drawing (from free clip-art. No royalties theft here) and then trace it onto tissue paper. After that, I pinned the tissue paper to the fabric and took long stitches with sewing thread directly over the lines of the picture into the fabric.

Probably most people would have done this before sewing the pants together.

I took a tip from one of the commenters on the original tutorial to dampen the tissue paper before removing it. Let me just clarify that dampen is all you need to do. I inadvertently soaked my tissue paper, which made it disintegrate all over the place and curiously, dyed the tracing thread with the ink I used on the paper. So much for blending in.

Thread traced and remaining tissue paper particles

Then, using my rudimentary embroidering skills, I floundered through stem stitches, backstitches, chain stitches and fly stitches. I’m not sure they really evoke cherry blossoms, but at least it did turn out to be recognizably floral. Once the embroidery was done, I ironed a bit of fusible interfacing on the back to keep all the little bumps from scratching my leg while I sleep. I finished that up Friday (whew! Just in time!) and then commissioned Mr. Gren to take photos of me modeling my new pajamas.

Sakura! Maybe?

As part of the Pyjama Party, Karen requested that we all share a bit about the book currently on our nightstand (or, on the floor next to my nightstand, in my case, because my nightstand is otherwise occupied). First, my very best Vanna White to show you the new book I picked up at the dollar store the other day, Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan.

Would you like to buy a vowel?

I’m always a little suspicious of the books at the dollar store (Why are they here? How come they didn’t sell at their original location? Is the writer a hack?). I’ve been burned a couple of times (so I guess that puts me $2 out), but I thought I’d go ahead and take a chance again. For one thing, even though I’ve never read any of Amy Tan’s work, I at least know a bit about her. Secondly, a hardcover book for a buck? Even if it does turn out to be crap, I could probably use it for something crafty.

Why yes, I do sleep mere inches from death. Or at least broken bones.

I haven’t been able to do much bedtime reading this week since Mr. Gren has been working a goofy schedule and has had to go to bed earlier than I like. I did manage to read the introduction the other morning before the kids started fighting and continued on into the first chapter while Mr. Gren played photographer. So far it seems to be an intriguing book. It’s told from a dead woman’s perspective and memory of mysterious events; right now we’re attending her funeral. A little morose for bedtime reading and I have to admit this is a departure from my usual historical novels. But hey, it’s good to branch out, at the very least to confirm what you do like. I haven’t written off Ms. Tan yet, though! Has anyone else read this book? Looks like it was published in 2005.

A maman is never alone.

So there you have it! The results of my first sew-along! Thanks, Karen, for the fun idea! I’m looking forward to seeing all the other swanky new jammies out there today.

Shopping spree

That’s right, I spent money just because I felt like it! So take that 10-months-of-unemployment-followed-by-a-part-time-minimum-wage-job! What led me to feel so fancy free? Mr. Gren got moved up to a full-time position at the ol’ home improvement warehouse. Woo hoo! Still minimum wage, keeping our little family of five comfortably below the poverty line. But hey, it’s more income than we’ve had in a year, so it’s kinda like being rich. So I cast off the shackles of our self-imposed Austerity Measures to buy things for my very own self instead of for the kids’ selves, which is normally where the money goes.

First stop was the thrift store. That’s right; I’m really cutting loose. I poked around through the book section and found a couple of sewing books to add to my collection. There are all kinds of helpful things like making welt pockets, bound buttonholes and how to properly line a dress. I’m looking forward to improving my sewing techniques.

I've heard of Nancy before.

Then, I hit Joann’s for a pattern sale. I’m still not going to pay full price for anything. I’ve been moping around with nothing to sew for myself because my fabric stash does not match my pattern stash. Potentially, I could add several more pieces to my wardrobe, if only I had patterns suitable for the fabrics I have on hand. I spent a good hour flipping through the pattern catalogs, marking down the ones that caught my eye. And, miracle of miracles, the store actually had all of them.

Soon, these clothes will all be mine! Muwhahahaha!

While I was at the store, I needed to find some fabric for the pajama party sew-along. I spent another hour cruising up and down the aisles, feeling stuff, looking at fiber content, debating… I finally settled on a soft, drapey cotton in aqua. I would have liked something with a pattern, but it’s hard to come by outside of the quilting cottons. And quilting cotton to me feels like sheets, and sheets on sheets sounds like a lot of friction when I’m just trying to get comfy in bed. So, drapey aqua cotton it is. Although, I had this horrible vision just as the lady was cutting it, “Oh man, pajama pants in this are going to look like scrubs!” Ack! Not the look I’m going for. I’ve got some ideas to (hopefully) break that association.

New jammies by the end of the week!

I was so excited about all my new patterns that I didn’t sleep well at all that night. All I could think about was what I was going to sew first. The next morning I wolfed down my cereal and then set to work straight away on the peasant blouse. The sewing is all done on it and now I’m working on a crocheted trim. I’ll put up pics of that next week. And, theoretically, there should be plenty more sewing goodness in the weeks to come!

Oh, and my grand total for all of this: about $30. Big Spender, baby.


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.