Monday, 29 February 2016

2016 Sewing Budget: February

So, February is done and dusted. Wasn't that quick? Even with that extra day in there. Actually we moved house on the 29th Feb, 8 years ago, so I guess that makes today the second anniversary of living here?

I did well on the old spending front this month, although I did nearly crack a couple of times! It sounds ridiculous, but when you are in the habit of falling for a fabric, and just snaffling it up, it's hard to get out of that mindset. It's also been doubly challenging in that I'm in a bit of a sewing lull currently and since my ongoing project - an Archer shirt dress in viscose - is a bit more challenging than my regular sew, I'm finding it difficult to motivate myself to get back to it. Ordinarily I would perhaps sew something more simple to ease my way back in, and I have the perfect project in mind... but I don't have the perfect fabric for it. Looks like I'll need to find another inroad.

So, what did I spend?

I bought a pattern for shorts. I'm not actually a big wearer of shorts, and it's not summer, and I have no holiday plans at present. However, it's being discontinued, and I really, really like the pattern. When I do make shorts, these are the ones I want to make. And that was it. I'm pleased with that, even if it doesn't make for the most exciting post.

Saturday, 20 February 2016


I haven't been doing much sewing since I last posted. I was feeling a bit poorly and tired, and then it's been half term this week.

Since I feel like I've been out of touch, here's a bit of what I've been up to in the meantime:
We had Bobby Bear (Small Boy's class bear) home for the weekend. We went to the library, the zoo and Bobby got his own homemade pizza for dinner on the Saturday night!
I've been trying to stop biting my nails. It was going well until they started splitting and basically disintegrating. Sigh.
I got this embroidery kit for my birthday. It's by Nancy Nicholson, and as you can see, the stitches are printed onto the fabric, making it very easy to keep it neat. It's nice and relaxing to do on the evenings when I want to do something, but not get the sewing machine out.
Valentine's card from my boys.
A visit to the Botanics

For half term, we went to Dundee for a couple of nights. It's only about an hour away from us and our hotel was free, as my husband has loads of Best Western points from working away so much last year. It's not the most beautiful of cities, but it has lots of heritage and there is quite a lot to do.

We visited the Science Centre, which was excellent. It's fairly small, but we had animal handling (including a meercat,of which we failed to get a photo), and 3 seperate demonstrations/experiments/lectures. Plus lots of fun with mirrors, and the opportunity to pretend to be a bogey, by sliding out of a giant nose.

I always seem to manage to sneak something sewing related into a family holiday. This time it was the Verdant Works, a museum about the Jute Mills, a major part of Dundee's history.

The boat is the Friggate Unicorn, the world's oldest still floating battleship, or something similar. We were advised to avoid Discovery, and were advised this was better. It was certainly a lot cheaper, and there was enough to keep Small Boy interested for an hour, or so. Baby Boy just liked the "horsey".

Small Boy and I even ended up as the Facebook and Twitter page header photo for Dundee City!


Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Completed: Pams for the Boys

I made these pyjamas because I wanted an excuse to buy the fabric. Initially I thought the whales might make nice shorts for Small Boy, but he vetoed the fabric because there were "too many whales". Instead the dinosaurs caught his eye, so Baby Boy got the whales because he's too young to voice an opinion. Small Boy wanted PJs, so PJs it was.
Baby toes!!!
The fabric was from Backstitch and is gorgeous. It's by Lizzy House from the Natural History collection. It's quilting fabric, but it's lovely and soft and makes very nice pyjama bottoms. The colours are beautifully vibrant. The tops are made from this oatmeal ponte, also from Backstitch. I wanted something very stable, as befits boys' tees. This is a cotton/viscose mix, which is ideal as Small Boy suffers quite badly from eczema, so breathable fabrics are better. It's also lovely fabric. It's quite thick, but very cosy for winter 'jams, and at 160cm wide, I got both tops from 1m.

For the tops I used the Titchy Threads Rowan Tee, previously made here. I made a size 5 for Small Boy, who's 5 1/2 and the 2T for Baby Boy, who's 20 months. In truth, Baby Boy's is too big, but one thing you can guarantee with kids is that they'll grow. And we've had issues in the past with his wee chubster arms not fitting into long sleeves, so I erred on the side of caution so they'd fit comfortably. I made the patterns pretty much as directed, although I did use a slightly larger SA on Baby Boy's. Instead of attaching the neck binding as directed, I tried this tutorial by Megan Nielsen, which worked well. The tees are sewn with a zig zag on my sewing machine, edges left raw. Small Boy's top has the hems and neck twin needled, but the stitching has already popped on both sleeves and the hem. I saw that Kathryn has had similar issues and recommended wooly nylon thread in the bobbin. I didn't have this to hand, but also spotted this week that Sallie has had a similar issue and instead uses her triple stretch stitch, so Baby Boy's hems are done with this stitch. I will see how it holds up. It doesn't look as professional, but it's kid's pyjamas, so I'm not going to get too upset about it!

The bottoms are the FREE Sunny Day Shorts pattern from Oliver + S, lengthened to trousers. I based the leg length and width for both sizes on existing pyjama bottoms, which worked out OK. Small Boy's bottoms are the size 5, and again the 2T for Baby Boy. Hilariously, both boys have exactly the same waist measurement!!! The 2T is fine, but doesn't leave a lot of room for a nappy, so I'd probably size up for him next time. I sewed a ribbon into the waistband of each pair, so we can easily tell the front from back.

I didn't initially plan to do the applique, but I wanted to somehow tie the tops in with the bottoms, and to brighten up the tops as the oatmeal colour doesn't do much for their pale, Scottish faces! Co-ordinating ribbing would have been nice, but I didn't want to add any more cost to the project. This was my first attempt at applique, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. There is room for improvement, but actually I think it looks good. I used my walking foot and a very short zigzag stitch. The curves and corners were pretty difficult, but with patience, I got there. The jersey stretched out slightly, but fortunately I managed to steam it back into shape. I found the templates on Pinterest, and looked for the simplest versions of dinosaur and whale shapes that I could find.

I'm chuffed to bits with these. I really enjoyed making them, as they were a very simple sew. I'm not sure I'll be making them PJs too often though, as the fabric alone cost me £37, so at £18 a pair they are the most expensive pyjamas they have ever owned. Still, it was nice to do, and they both love them. Hopefully Baby Boy will get wear out of the dinosaur ones once he is big enough too.

And the title of this post? When Small Boy was little he used to call pyjamas "pan-pams", and that, or "pams" for short, has kind of stuck in our house.
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