Mar 31, 2012

In which I talk about fabric and school things

It's been another busy and eventful week here in Sewburbia (sewing wise).  I've started piecing the half triangle blocks for the zig-zag bed quilt.  I've done a little patriotic (the Aussie flag is blue, red and white) fabric shopping:

The four on top are fat quarters from Big W!   I love them, it's amazing what fabric you can find rolled up there for $3.67.  The bottom three are from Spotlight.

I've done a little sewing as well.  The cooler mornings have reminded me to get a move on and make a couple of fleece jackets for school.  Now I could buy some, but bottle green is a really hard colour to find.  The school does not sell a winter uniform, just a spray jacket thing that doesn't look too warm.  I could order one from Lowes of all places but $40 each is a bit much, so I just had to make my own (any excuse to sew hey?).  Plus I already had a pattern.

And with less than 2 metres of soft and warm cotton fleece from Spotlight I had easily and quite quickly made these:

They are both size 7 (perspective is amazing).  This guy will be rolling up the sleeves come winter as he's only maybe a size 5 really.  And the ones from Lowes don't have front pockets (that get filled with tissues and put through the wash) handy for storing lunch time finds.

He may be the smallest kid in school, but he's a clever little thing - he's reading Enid Blyton's The Enchanted Wood aloud to me (instead of school readers).  I never read it as a child, so I'm pretty happy.  I can't wait until he starts reading some Diana Wynne Jones.

Mar 17, 2012

Contains some knitting

It's been a busy week here in the 'burbs.  Visits from the termite man, reading with the wee grade ones everyday and lots of digging in the yard getting ready for some autumn veges.  No matter what though, there's always a little spare time for chopping and knitting.

I've started slicing into all the red, blue and cream fabric I own to make a Zig-Zag quilt for the little one's bed. I don't think I have enough scrappy variation so I've ordered some more fabric online (I'll probably be waiting awhile for that).  They're cut into 5 inch squares but I'm now thinking I should have upped the size to make it a quicker job.

It's been awhile since I've done any real knitting (probably before the little one was born).  A quick clean out of the downstairs cupboard shocked me into knitting again as I have SO much yarn and unfinished projects just sitting there waiting.  I must admit that I no longer hover around the yarn or take much notice of it when I'm out shopping, but I was bemused at the price of some of it online - there's no way I can afford $25 for a ball of wool (think about how much fabric you can buy for that - especially from the remnant bin hee hee!).

To ease myself back into knitting I've made some super easy and practical slippers.  I love these Pocketbook Slippers.  Next time I'll make the strap with a button and buttonhole so they look like knitted Mary-Janes.

They could double as Easter egg baskets 
Pretty comfy, but don't look too closely at the hairy feet
I might do the next pair in charcoal alpaca, or one of the million yarns I have just waiting to be eaten by silverfish...

Mar 5, 2012

How to make a pair of pajama pants

I love soft and fluffy flannelette pajama pants in winter.  I usually buy a set and use only the pants with a t-shirt in winter (doesn't get too cold here in Brisbane) the shirt usually gets cut up into rags to wax the car.  This year I'm making my own pants thanks to a purchase of 10m of blue with white spots flannelette from Spotlight (it was only $2 a metre!).  I thought I'd try it out on the kids first though (less to sew).  Being thrifty I decided not to purchase a pattern, instead just make my own.  I'm sure there are proper ways to do this, but I'm showing you my way.

First get a pair of pants from you kids wardrobe that you want to copy - these are size 1 pants for my little one.  They will fit him this winter.  Pull one leg inside the other and line up the seams.  You will usually find the front is a little smaller width-wise and lower at the top band than the back.  I'm making pants without side seams as these are not only quicker to make but more comfortable to wear.  Now get yourself some paper (stick it together if it's not big enough) and trace around the pants following the front shape (you'll have to tuck under the back part along the crotch seam).  I  chose to make mine slightly bigger than the real pants so they would be a little roomier.

Now flip the pants over and trace the back section.

This is how it will look:

Next I added extra to the top and bottom for the elastic and leg cuffs.  Make these as big as you like.

Don't worry - it actually works and fits!
Cut out your paper pattern and use it to cut out a double thickness of fabric.  Don't forget to add a seam allowance if necessary.

Fold them in half right sides together and sew the lower leg seams.  I like to start from the crotch in case I didn't make the hems straight.  Trim your hems now if necessary.

Next, turn one pair right side out.

And insert it inside the other leg so that the fabric is right sides together and the crotch seams match up.  Sew this seam.  I'm using an overlocker for all my seams, but you could always use just a regular machine stitch with a zig-zag to stop fraying.

Next, I do my leg cuffs.  I use my Faux Cuff method for this (check it out for more detailed instructions).  It works well for both wovens and knit fabrics. Fold the hem to the desired height and fold inwards again.

Sew around the fold.

Inside leg cuff

The outside
Do the same for the waistband.

Leave a hole for the elastic.  Insert the elastic and join ends together.  I usually use the pants from the wardrobe to size the elastic as toddlers can be cranky.  You don't want it too tight or it will be uncomfortable to sleep in.  Add a piece of ribbon as a tag and close the hole.  Turn right side out and admire your handy work!

Yes, these are different pants.
And there you have it, some new and very cheap pajama pants.  Don't forget you could probably use that pattern for all sorts of pants, you could always make them shorter and use them for summer pajama pants!

Finished pants
Now, I'd like to apologise for the blurry photos as they were all taken at night.  I would also like to add that it is a great idea to prewash your flannelette before you start cutting as it does shrink ALOT.  Unfortunately, prewashing can sometimes make your fabric look like its been in use for years - pilled and faded (it's a bit hard to see, but that cool brown pair above looks dismal since its prewash, it was purchased from Lincraft).  Don't forget, you can use any fabric for this - not just flannel!

I'm going to skip the elastic waistband for me and just use a ribbon which ties at the front.  Now,  I wonder if my husband will wear blue with white spots?