Upcoming and Planned Projects

Sunday, 17 May 2015


This is a four for the price of one post. A month back Sydney did its usual mid-Autumn thing and switched to cold nights. All my old winter pajamas were well and truly falling apart, so I really had to hurry up and make some new long-sleeve PJs. And so here is most of what I've done in the last month. Three pairs of pajamas and one dressing gown, all the sleepwear I need to get me through the cold months and the spring. As with my Sari Pajamas I've used Closet Case Files' Carolyn Pajamas pattern.

So I'll write about the PJs in the order I made them. First up were the long sleeve sari pajamas. I loved the luxurious look and feel of my short sleeve version, and had an enormous amount of fabric left over so had already decided to make these before even finishing the short version. The weight of the fabric also means they're trans-seasonal, so I thought making them first would mean I had a bit more time before I needed to make warm ones, but the weather had different ideas about that. Anyway. The only real difference, and I did this for all three pairs, was I left out the collar interfacing. The collar maybe doesn't look as nice, but I prefer the softer feel. Other than that, this pair again has french seams, and again I used the fancy embroidered selvedge in place of added cuffs on the sleeves and pants - it gives the exact same effect, and also means no need to hem!

When I was looking for flannelette for winter pajamas I decided to try and look for more muted, classic prints. So obviously I bought rainbow striped fabric with polka dots. It's very grown up fabric. Anyway, this pair I had a lot of dramas with. Starting with being an idiot and not checking how much fabric I needed and buying too little. The stripes being horizontal for the top's front and back and vertical for the sleeves and pants was not part of the original plan, but it was the only way I could get the pattern pieces to fit. And even then I couldn't get the pants pieces on properly so they have wide cuffs. You can see that the print doesn't match up for the bottom 6 inches. And I had to use a contrast fabric in black cotton for the waistband, pockets, collar, and facings. And I managed to screw up sewing these, putting the first pocket in incorrectly THREE TIMES! My brain obviously needed a break from sewing pajamas, so I made the spotted shift dress before embarking on my final pajamas.

For this last pair I managed to buy a less garish fabric and get the right amount of it! So it was doing better than the previous ones right off. I decided this time to leave off the collar, and just have a rounded neckline. So I made a back facing to go in place of the collar, and slightly reshaped the neckline to be a curved v neck. I did make one error, accidentally putting the buttonholes on the wrong side, but that's a minor problem. I also squared off the top for the two flannelette pairs, because it was easier than doing a curvet hem on the thicker fabric.

And last but not least, the dressing gown. I made this after the long sleeve sari pajamas and before the flannelette pairs, because we had some big storms come through and it was horribly cold and this was the quickest thing to make. The whole thing was made in a few hours, and then I could be cosy inside while it rained for three days straight. I didn't use a pattern for this, instead I based it off a summer weight cotton kimono I bought in Japan a few years back. It's very simple, two rectangles for sleeves, trapeziums for the back and two fronts, and giant pockets. I then used some of the leftover for a shawl-ish edge/collar (I'm sure there's a proper name for that bit) to give it a finished look and also to be nice and warm around the neck.

So I think I'm done with sewing pajamas for the time being. I do love the Carolyn pattern because it is easy to make and looks great, but I'm looking forward to doing some different projects now!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Spotted Stripe Shift and Me Made May

It's been a few weeks since my last post. I have been doing quite a bit of sewing, mostly of pajamas (more of the Carolyn pattern from Closet Case Files) because the weather is cooling down and the nights have become pretty chilly. All my winter pajamas were almost dead by the end of last winter, so I had to make new ones. I've been planning to do a post with all the PJs, but my brain has started rebelling against making the same pattern multiple times so I decided I needed a quick change of pace. Enter this dress.

I bought this fabric at Tessuti in January during their sale. It was actually a last minute choice; I'd had in the back of my mind making a shift dress like this with a mid-weight fabric and cap sleeves but it was really just a vague idea with no specific plan. I saw this fabric while wandering the shop looking at everything and picked it up for a closer look, thinking it would be a good choice, but then put it back because it wasn't something near the top of my sewing list. I kept wandering and was just about to go pay for the rest of my fabric when my mind came back to this, so I went and had another look and decided to pick it up.

I always forget to write down exactly what the fabrics I'm buying are, so I can't specifically remember the details of this one. It might have been a Japanese fabric, even Nani Iro, or at least it was sitting next to them. It's a cotton, and the base of it seems to have been left natural with just the green and brown spotty stripes printed on it. It has a much rougher feel than a normal cotton, more like a heavy calico or even a soft canvas.

 It also holds some of its shape when draping, which works really well for a simple shift. This dress was made with no pattern and has no darts at all and no closures, just front and back pieces and facings for the neck and arms. I used a basic sloper I'd mocked up a few years ago to make a dropped waist art deco-inspired lace dress as the basis for this dress, widening the pattern out from the under bust to the sloped shoulder seam so that it would have mini cap sleeves while still being an all-in-one dress. It's gently shaped in at the waist before curving out to the hips, and then straight down at the width of the fabric. It follows the shape of the body subtly, giving a nice line but keeping focus on the print.

I only bought a metre of the fabric because I knew I was going to make a very simple dress. Before cutting I played around with deciding whether to have the spotty stripes vertical or horizontal. I'd originally been thinking horizontal, but the fabric didn't look as exciting that way. When I held it up vertically, it was just so much more interesting, and worked better with the shape and drape.

I'm very happy with this dress, with how nice it looks by itself and with a belt, and with how it matches the wood and paua shell necklace my brother and sister-in-law gave me. Now I just need to get my brain back into gear and finish off my pajamas!

Lastly, like many sewing bloggers, I'm trying to do Me Made May, wearing something I've made myself every day this month (not including PJs). It's a lot of fun to see everyone else's makes online and on Instagram. But I think by the end of the month I'm probably going to have discovered some holes in my wardrobe, and have an even bigger list of sewing projects to do!

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