Creepy Crawly Pajamas

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My goodness, it feels like I’m pulling from the sewing project vault for this post. These pajamas were sewn up in the spring and have been in pretty heavy rotation, even during the summer. I’ve seen so much of them it’s hard to believe I never got around to posting about them. But they’re just too loved by my son for me to skip posting them. And besides, it’s been pretty quiet around here lately, so let’s start with some catching up.

Creepy Crawly Jams, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, Titchy Threads patterns

These pajamas were made using two patterns by Titchy Threads, the Rowan Tee pattern and the Fancy Pants Leggings pattern, and are sewn up in a comfy 100% organic cotton knit interlock. I purchased the fabric (Teagan White for Birch Organic Fabrics, Acorn Trail, Knit, Bugs Gold) with the intention of sewing up pajamas during the Spring 2015 Kids Clothes Week (they would have been so perfect for the “wild things” theme). But I fell short of my goal, and hence, no KCW jammies.

The thing is, I had told my son about the pajama plans. And he mentioned that he could wear them on “Pajama Day,” a special day planned near the conclusion of his pre-kindergarten program last school year. But it was a casual conversation, and he also mentioned that he might choose his store-bought superhero PJs instead. So, no big plans, nothing set in stone. And I was kind of hoping that his PJ expectations had been forgotten.

Wrong, mama! Of course. I mean, how could I not see that coming, right?! So, two nights before the highly anticipated Pajama Day, he expectantly asked if his new PJs were ready. Gulp. And, not being one to shy away from late night sewing, I truthfully responded, “they will be!”

And they were. And he wore them proudly. And I sighed a big sigh of relief. Mission accomplished.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

I fully acknowledge that my son is completely biased when it comes to my sewing ability and treasures just about every item I make him. And that is why I love him. KIDDING!! Well, not entirely. He really is my biggest fan when it comes to my creations, and that is one of the millions of reasons I love him. He’s my sewing ego boost.

The last minute nature of this project meant that I didn’t have a chance to snap photos before they were put to their first use. We finally rectified that this week. As a newly minted kindergartner, my son has been so wiped out each afternoon that it was easy to persuade him to put his PJs on before dinner so we could do a photo shoot. And he suggested an outdoor photo shoot would be a good match for the creepy crawly bug theme of the printed fabric. Pajama modelling in the front yard — yes, awesome!

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

These patterns and this stable knit were easy to work with. I definitely see more pajamas and more knit t-shirts in my sewing future.  I finally broke out my double needle for the first time to finish the hems on the top. I love the more professional finish it provides, although I admit I need more practice. The thread has already broken in one spot along the front, bottom hem. Grrrr. I’ve since read that wooly nylon thread for the bobbin thread helps prevent breakage with the double needle – next time!

DO NOT PIN Creepy Crawly PJs, back view, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, Titchy Threads patterns

As you can see above, the Fancy Pants Leggings pattern features a separate bum panel, so you can play around using a coordinating fabric on the butt, if you like. It also provides for a ribbed waistband and ribbed ankles (although alternates are provided in the pattern, as well). I sewed the top and the bottoms up without any alterations from the pattern and was very happy with the results.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

When we moved the photo shoot inside – “because you usually wear your jammies in bed, mom” – I really thought he was going to fall asleep on me.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

Insert thumb, cue the heavy lids. Good niiii-iight! I may have even begun to daydream about all that could be accomplished if the kids were both in bed by 5:30 p.m. Tsk, tsk, bad mommy.

But then, he found his second wind.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

Although, he insisted on giving me a “sleeping” shot.

Creepy Crawly PJs, sewn by fromwholecloth.com, #rowantee and #fancypants patterns by #titchythreads

Very authentic.

And in case you are curious, Pajama Day is celebrated by allowing the students to wear their PJs to school, and then it’s lights off while they “camp out” in the classroom, listening to a “bedtime” story, enjoying popcorn and looking at the constellations on the ceiling (a la a night sky project they completed leading up to the PJ day). It really was a sweet and special experience for them.

And much better experienced in new, handmade pajamas, no doubt!

Kid’s Clothes Week Summer ’14: Project 2

My little guy is happy.

Let's Drive Shorts by fromwholecloth.com

There are a few things I can solidly count on to make him happy. Pumpkin-flavored baked goods and matchbox cars figure heavily in that mix. So I pretty much knew that car, truck and motorcycled-themed fabric was going to be a hit.

Let's Drive Shorts by fromwholecloth.com

This fabric is “Retro Rides” by Premier Prints. I purchased it about a year ago on fabric.com and it’s been sitting in my fabric stash just waiting for a good project. Confession: it’s really not intended for apparel sewing. It’s a medium-weight cotton duck. And the manufacturer recommends not drying the fabric; air drying only. Well, we’ll just have to see how this works out.  How long before you think I forget and put them through the dryer?

fromwholecloth.com

These shorts were made using the Parsley Pants pattern by Made by Rae. I modified the pattern using Rae’s tutorial about how to make shorts from a pants pattern. I made the pockets with a solid orange lining that peeks out a bit, and also jazzed them up with extra topstitching along the hems and pockets in rows of orange and blue thread.

Unlike yesterday, today the photo shoot gods smiled down on me and I scored a very willing model. Eli was busting out his modeling moves. Of course, most of his modeling moves were better suited for a runway, so I was bouncing around to keep up and strongly suggesting that we take a couple photos standing still — very still. The concept of stillness means something so different to children and adults.

Ah, stillness. A parent can only dream. We’ve been struggling for so long with keeping Eli in his seat during a meal. I honestly don’t think he’s ever managed it since he left the highchair. He always finds some reason to get up and move. And even when he’s sitting, it  is rare that his bottom is completely on the seat. I was thinking about this during dinner tonight when I asked, for what felt like the 100th time, for him to sit “all the way” in his seat. Perhaps I need to develop a pants pattern that accommodates a big magnet in the seat of the pants, and a corresponding magnet for his chair.

That’ll stick him.

kid's clothes week

Geranium Dress for a New Little Miss

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Hurrah, a new baby in the family! The extended family — not my immediate family. “Phew!” says my husband. “Awwwwww…, ” says Eli, with disappointment. That boy asks for another baby on a regular basis. Cue the Rolling Stones: you can’t always get what you want, my dear son.

My cousin and her husband welcomed baby #2, a beautiful daughter, in January. Yes, yes, I know, it is now July, and I finally just shipped off a package of homemade goodies and officially welcomed her to the family.

I swore I was going to be more timely. I sewed up a minky and flannel blanket right after she was born. But it just didn’t seem exciting enough. I tossed around different pattern and fabric ideas but nothing really struck me. Months passed. Then I decided I needed to get in on the Geranium Dress goodness I’d been admiring on sewing blogs and in the Kids Clothes Week photo pools. The Geranium Dress Sewing Pattern is from Made By Rae, and the fabric I chose is from the Out to Sea collection by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller.  The “Sea Flowers” fabric is a small scale print of flowers and sea stars in pinks and blue and it is pretty busy, but I think it works really well in a smaller child’s size (in this case size 6 to 12 months — actually, I don’t think I indicated the dress size in the package I sent, so this post will have to do the trick!).

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Aside from the usual greatness of Rae’s patterns and the detailed instructions, I love that the pattern easily accommodates different trims. I chose pale pink pom poms at the waistline, because, well, pom pom trim is awesome. Enough said. Rae has a post devoted to Adding Trim to the Geranium Dress

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As much as I love the added element of pom pom trim, this part didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. I didn’t give myself enough of a seam allowance on the waistline once the trim was added, and this necessitated closing the bodice lining by hand. Groan. Groan again. I learned how to sew on a sewing machine, so my hand-sewing skills could use some work. Sometimes, when I’m feeling super ambitious (a/k/a “fooling myself”), I declare loudly — in my head, so that no one can hear and I won’t really be held accountable — that I should spend an entire week’s worth of sewing time focused solely on hand-sewing techniques. I mean, I should do this. And I really do think it is important to be skilled and feel confident in the most basic form of one’s hobby, buuuuuut (insert whiny voice here) the sewing machine just makes everything so much easier, not to mention faster, and there are so many projects that just seem way, way more interesting than a week of sewing drills.

This is a poor picture, but you can see my totally amateur stitching by hand. Thank goodness this is the lining. Ain’t nobody gonna see it from the outside!

BabyGeranLining

So, the dress was complete and ready to be sent off with the blanket (I swear there really is a blanket! Just no photos!). All set, right? Nope. I wanted to include a little something for the Big Bro. A couple more months passed. Really, now, this is just pathetic. A classic study in procrastination.

I knew exactly what I wanted to make — a little zippered pouch to house treasures of all sorts — and I had the fabric and the zipper and, well, apparently no motivation. I knew it wouldn’t take too long to complete so I kept pushing it aside in favor of whatever was grabbing my fancy at the time — like truly important things such as surfing the internet looking at outrageous vacation rentals in far off magical places where no one with children under the age of fifteen ever visits. Tick. Tock. Finally I had to sit myself down and have a little talk about responsibility and ambition.

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Okay, actually there was no such talk, but I did finally get out of my own way and sew this cute little bag for a cute little guy. And all’s well that ends well. Or so I hope.

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Happy Fourth of July!

KCW Spring ’14: Striped Top Clamdiggers

KCW Spring 14 Clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

My spring Kids Clothes Week sewing went all the way through Sunday night, and then a little bit of “corrective” sewing spilled over to this morning. The KCW challenge is supposed to last for a full seven days – Monday through Sunday – but I’ll admit I’m not always good at putting in my KCW sewing hours over the weekend. Sometimes it’s because I’ve sewn like crazy during the week and feel satisfied that I’ve accomplished my personal KCW goals, other times I’m just ready for a break because the sewing didn’t go as planned, and then still other times life has different plans and the weekends end up hectic and without much time to sneak in some sewing.

These short pants (which were originally envisioned as shorts and turned into these “clamdigger” length pants) came out exactly as I had hoped they would. I am particularly happy that my stripes lined up; the striped fabric was a bit slippery so I pinned it like mad to keep everything in place. My inspiration was drawn from this photo I saw on Pinterest and pinned to my KCW Planning board. I used Made by Rae’s Parsley Pants pattern as the base for these pants. While Eli would typically wear a size 5T in the Parsley Pants pattern, because I was using stretchy knit fabric for these pants, I used the size 4T pattern to compensate for the fabric choice. Using Rae’s tutorial on how to make shorts from a pants pattern, I altered the pattern for the shorter length. I also needed to modify the pattern to allow for the two different fabrics (the striped top and the solid bottom). I handled this modification the way you typically would to insert colorblocking in a pattern. Lastly, I added elastic to the bottom hems. The knit fabrics were both purchased from Girl Charlee online.

KCW striped top clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

KCW striped clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

As happy as I am with the end result, I have a KCW confession to make — these pants took way, way, way longer to make than they should have! The pants were not technically difficult and I’ve used the Parsley Pants pattern enough times to feel comfortable with it. Instead, this KCW Spring project was befallen by certain filial distractions and my own perfectionism. Thankfully both the pants and I have lived to tell the tale!

KCW clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

KCW clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

I started the pants on Saturday during what was supposed to be naptime. Daisy napped. Eli did not. But I was obstinately intent on sewing. If we were watching an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, this is when the narrator would announce, “And then there was trouble.” I convinced Eli it would be fun to help his dad with spring cleaning in the yard, but that only lasted long enough for me to modify the pattern and cut my fabric. By the time I was sitting down at the sewing machine, he was sitting in my sewing studio, asking a million questions and touching everything he could reach. My sewing room is typically off limits to the kids, so this was causing me to sweat. But did I stop sewing?? Nope. Well, not until I realized that in my distraction I had sewn the striped top portion upside down onto the bottom half. Grrrrr… So, it was back to the cutting table, because I was determined not to pick out all the stitches.  At that point I decided to lengthen the pants legs to just below the knee. I love this clamdigger length on boys’ pants. I think it works perfectly for spring and summer, and I’m glad I made the change to lengthen these. (How’s that for finding the silver lining!?)

I picked up the project again on Sunday and it was smooth sailing until at the very end I decided I didn’t like the way some of the waistband stitching looked. In my first version some of the stitching appeared on the white portion of the striped fabric and some on the black portion. Although the seam was straight, it ended up looking sloppy because the line was visible in some parts but not in others. And so, as much as I sincerely despise ripping stitches out of knit fabric, I ripped out the entire waistband seam (zigzagged stiches, no less — ugh!). Let’s just say that’s an hour of my life I won’t be getting back! By then it was late, I was annoyed, and thankfully made the decision to go to bed and re-do the waistband casing this morning! Today’s efforts resulted in a much cleaner waistband seam. Even though it was completely annoying to pick out a million little stitches, if I hadn’t fixed it, it would have made me insane to look at the messy seam every time Eli wore these pants. (Who am I kidding? I probably wouldn’t have let him wear the pants if I hadn’t fixed that seam!!)

KCW clamdiggers by fromwholecloth

Seam neuroses aside, I had a fun Kids Clothes Week. I just may not be able to look at my seam ripper for a week or so.