Monday, May 28, 2012

Mel's PJ Pants - McCall's 2101

This past Christmas, I had grand intentions of making 16 pairs of PJ pants for gifts.  As it turned out, I only managed to make 5.  I plan on getting the other 11 done throughout the year, and yes, some of them will probably have to wait until Christmas this year.

This is my very first project after finishing the 4 onesies.  I hope you like simple things, because I intend to blog about everything that I make, including 11 mundane pairs of PJ pants.  Mwahahahahahaha!!!

On a seemingly unrelated tangent, I'd like to introduce you to our new kitty, Lucky.  He was born in July 2011, so he's still a kitten.  Actually, he thinks he's a puppy.  He likes to bite and wrestle, and he loves to chew paper.  I took this photo back in February.  He's a little bit bigger now, but he pretty much looks the same.  He's got the cutest big buggy yellow eyes!  He's hanging out at the foot pedal of my industrial sewing machine.  I love having a cat to hang out with me in my sewing room.
Except when they do this...
All I kept thinking was, "Thank God it's just PJ pants, and thank God it's just a pant leg!"  Needless to say, I managed to straighten it out enough to cut the pants out.  I'll fix it and trace out a new pattern later.

Here is a close-up of the flannel.  Isn't it adorable?  It totally matches Mel's personality.  As soon as she saw her pants, she said, "Owls! I love owls!"  I love it when people have a distinct style, because it's easy to find things that suit them.  I constantly see things that I know she would love.
I can whip up a pair of PJ pants in about an hour and a half.  I can do them quicker if I'm doing several, assembly line style, because I have to change my serger to coverstitch to finish the elastic waist and hem the bottoms.
This has got to be one of the most useful places to put my label.  If you don't have a label, you can't figure out which way goes front, and which way goes back.  Oh yeah, and I didn't even have to change thread.  I still had orange left from the onesies, and since it matched so nice, I went with it!
Mel loves her pants, and I'm proud to say that they fit her perfectly!  They have about 2" of ease at the hips, and I cut them an inch longer than her waist-to-floor measurement to allow for shrinkage.  Poor girl was wearing old plaid PJ's that were several inches too short the last time I visited her.  Now she has new, longer ones!
Merry Christmas, Mel!  Tee hee!  :D

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Four Onesies! - McCall's 6251

As I've been perusing the online sewing world, I've noticed a trend among my fellow seamstresses.  Hardly any of you sew for other people!  Well, aside from gifts for family and friends, and clothes for your immediate family.  I'm talking about sewing as a side business.  I can only think of a couple who do it.  I can see why you keep your sewing to yourself.  When you get wrapped up in deadlines and don't have enough time to finish other people's projects, let alone have any time to sew for yourself, it kinda sorta sucks the fun out of it.
Random bed-head from a glorious weekend of staying home sewing, Saturday and Sunday!
Since I finished wedding season last June, I've been working 4 days a week at Dad's upholstery shop.  We have been absolutely swarmed with work, and have even hired a few extra hands.  It's crazy busy, but I absolutely love my job!  I would work 5 days a week if I lived a little closer.  That might happen later this year, but for now, I'm driving 45 minutes to work every day, and since it's summer, I'm coming home every night, instead of staying overnight like I do in the winter.  I guess that would also explain why I don't have much sewing time.  If I was home every night and close enough to work to not have to spend an hour and a half driving, I would probably sew a little bit every night.

In other exciting news, we will be moving the upholstery shop to a new building in a matter of weeks.  Stay tuned for all the excitement!  I'm super pumped about it.
Tracing out individual sizes of Onesie patterns
Anyways, enough chattering.  On to the matter at hand: Onesies!  Several months ago, (was it December, or January?) I got an email from the sister-in-law of Ken, who I made the Batman onesie and Superman onesie for last year.  She asked if I could make 4 onesies for her gang, and if they could all have hoodies, bum flaps, and feet.  I said, sure!  How 'bout I tackle those in February?  Hardy har har.  I should know myself better by now.  By the time March rolled around, I realized I didn't have any time to sew on Fridays or weekends, and since it was Birthday Season, I gave myself a break and didn't even bother to try.  It was very liberating to give myself permission to relax!  I finally decided to get back on it and pinned down a deadline of May 18, the beginning of the Long Weekend in May.  I finished them midday that day, (after an all-nighter that lasted until 3 am!) and now that it's 5 days later, I'm finally getting around to blogging about them!  Here we go!

First, I needed to decide where to put the bum flap.  So, I stuck a piece of paper to my onesie, right above where the crotch curve flattens out, and voila!  I made the pattern piece a smudge bigger than the piece of paper, and I had my bum flap pattern.
I used the collar and hood pattern from my Jalie hoodie.  I added an extra inch to the neckline, since the necks on these things are huge!  I cut all the hoods the same size.  Oh yeah, sizes.  There are 4 onesies, for 3 girls and 1 guy.  They are slightly adjusted versions of an XS, S, M, and L.  This time around, I was smart and traced out each size onto its own pattern paper.  So much faster.  Fleece doesn't take very well to a tracing wheel, and that's even when I slide a quilting ruler between the 2 layers so it's not so thick!  The pattern tracing went so swiftly, it inspired me to trace out more of my frequently-used patterns to save more time in the long run.
They chose this awesome leopard print and deer camouflage.  The 2 leopard print onesies are Small and Medium, and the deer camo are Extra Small and Large.  Pretty easy to figure out between the deer ones.  The other two I had to mark with sticky notes so I didn't get them mixed up.
Collars with Labels
Here are all the bum flaps.  I chose big buttons out of Mom's Jar 'o Buttons.  The guy in Large gets chrome/metal buttons (lower left).  I figured they were the most "masculine".  But they're still on a bum flap, so it'll be cute regardless.  I sewed little squares of flannel into the corners and sewed the buttonholes diagonally.  I also put velcro in the middle of the 3 unattached sides, by request of the wearers.  They wanted them to be functional (in front of a real bum flap hole!), yet very secure, with no gaping!
Here we are before the very last step, the attachment of the feet.  I've gotta say, assembly line sewing is brilliant.  These sewed up much faster than I expected.  Total time spent on each onesie was less than 7 hours.  If I made only one, it probably would have taken closer to 10.  Once I figured out each step, it was so easy to grab the next one and the next one and just whip them together in no time.
They turned out really well.  I love the hoodies.  I would add a hoodie to my next onesie.  Wouldn't that be so warm if you were camping in a tent?!  I would add a bum flap only if it was decorative.  It would be so much faster to attach a flap and stick the buttons in the corners.  Sewing the hole and adding the extra velcro was a lot of work.  But they're functional!
I'm not a big fan of the feet.  The concept is novel, I'll admit, but I don't think they're entirely practical.  For one thing, you have to get your length exactly right, so your slippers don't drag off your feet..  Besides that, they just take a long time to assemble and attach.  Each pair of feet takes at least an hour to put on.

I love the leopard print onesies.  One has a red zipper, red buttons and hot pink cuffs, and the other has a green zipper, silvery/dark grey buttons, and lime green cuffs.  One girl liked hot pink, the other liked lime green.  I managed to get ribbing to match, but I used the zippers and buttons I had on hand.  I'm quite pleased with the resulting combinations.  The deer onesies have orangey/red zippers and orange cuffs.  I got all the zippers at Davey Fabrics for 75 cents apiece.
Cuffs!  I couldn't find actual ribbing in bright enough colours, so I used spandex.  It works really well.  I also adjusted the differential feed on my serger to finish them off, and they weren't as wavy as they usually are.  Quite chuffed with myself!  I didn't press these at all.  In fact, there were a lot of things I didn't need to press on these onesies.  The only things that are essential to press are the flat seams.  Everything else looks great just the way it is.  That also helped speed up the process.  I had so much fun with all this fleece that I'm temped to dive into my next hoodie right away, even though I'm in dire need of several other garments first!
Another thing that sped up the process was using orange thread for everything.  Black or brown or even red would have matched the leopard onesies better, but I wanted to do them all at once.  The fleece is pretty thick and I don't think anyone is really going to notice.  You can tell where I put the velcro on this bum flap.  The buttons are so cute!
I absolutely love the Jalie hoodies.  They lay so nicely on your shoulders, and when you put them up, they fit over your head so snugly!  Love, love, love!!!  I'm getting warm just looking at these!
Before I packed them up and gave them away, I had Tyler try on the Large.  I would have tried on one of the girls', but they were all much shorter than me!
Thanks darlin!  I know you don't like being a model, but I'm happy you do it for me anyways.  I think you look pretty cute.
So, there's the end of my last sewing job!  I'm so thrilled to be able to sew whatever I want, whenever I want!  The trouble is, we're well into the Spring season, and life is pretty darn busy!  If I get a spare moment to stay home, I can't wait to start sewing!  I haven't even decided what I'm going to do first!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Liebster Award

Back in the beginning of April, I was pleasantly surprised to see that CJ from the blog mystitchnbitch gave me a blogger award!  This is my very first award, and I'm so thrilled!  Thank you CJ! 
I can't remember how I first stumbled onto CJ's blog, but I think it was around Halloween last year.  She made the most incredible Looney Tunes costumes I've ever seen!  She also made a bacon and eggs costume, and an omelette costume, just like the one Justin Timberlake wore on SNL.  Unbelievable!  Check out the madness!  
Since then, I've enjoyed watching her sew all kinds of dresses in lots of fun prints and colours.  I recently found out that she lost her dad earlier this year, and after some soul-searching, she decided to start living life to the fullest, and went skydiving for her 30th birthday!  Way to go, CJ!

The rules for the Liebster award are:

Thank the person who gave you the award and link to their blog.

Choose 3-5 blogs with less than 200 followers and pass it on.

Display the Liebster Award somewhere on your blog.

I have been following Joy from 21 Wale for quite some time.  
She has 5 kids, and she sews all their clothes, and all of her clothes.  She also follows my blog, and I love how we comment on each other's blogs.  This is how bloggers become friends!  She is a master of cargo pockets.  She's also drawn to some of the same things that I love, such as bellbottoms and sporty design details.  I have so much fun watching her kids grow up!  I can't believe how big Molly is now!  Speaking of Molly, check her out in this absolutely super cute vintage romper.  I love it so much, I want one in my size!

After seeing jadesabre9's incredible swashbuckler/musketeer costume on Pattern Review, I started following her blog, Sew Frustrating!  
She is learning to sew, and I am so entertained watching her progress.  She reminds me so much of myself when I was just learning to sew.  She makes a lot of the same mistakes I used to make!  I'm sure she will progress much faster than I did, because she's blogging about all her projects, which adds a lot more insight, and she's connected to the online sewing world, which has taught me so much more than I ever learned when I took Fashion in college!

I think I discovered Suzy's blog, Suzy Bee Sews, from browsing through other people's blog lists.  
I've been following her for several months, and I honestly can't believe that she's only been sewing seriously since January 2011.  Wow.  I think she's learned more in a year and a half than I have in all my 19 years of sewing, including 2 years of college.  I'm blown away by the couture finishing she puts into each and every garment she makes.  She's also made a lot of pants, which many sewers don't tackle for years because skirts and dresses are easier to fit.  Suzy is fearless.  She has made several jackets and coats, including this purple trench coat, which is her latest.  Stop on over at her blog and have a look!