Being stuck in a winter that does not want to end, cabin fever has left me antsy to create. Since my loom lives on the lower level (which gets incredibly cold in the winter), the Frankenwarp Washcloths have been put in hibernation until thawing happens.
And I can only knit 10 stitches to the inch on a man-sized sock for so long before I get distracted. I want color...
...so I decided to try my hand at sewing some pajama pants. My stash of floral vintage sheets would be perfect, happy-colored, trial fabric, no worries about messing up. I had some too-short PJ pants on hand to use as a pattern starting place for my pattern. Side note: why do ready-made PJ pants always come too short?!
Much googling occurred. I ran across the Coletterie french seam tutorial and decided these would be fancy-schmancy, french-seamed PJs with a 31" inseam - no more cold ankles! I picked up some 3/4" elastic on my way home from work one day and dove in.
I should first say that my sewing machine and I have not always been on speaking terms. In the past the bobbin thread snarled if I looked at it wrong, needles broke, and tears were shed. I would oil everything, clean it, rethread, but nothing changed. One day out of utter desperation, I decided to adjust the bobbin tension (which I suspected was wrong, but was too terrified to touch). Not by a hair's width as I had always been taught, but by 2 or 3 full turns of the little screw. Oh. My. Goodness. It worked! Imagine my shock when my disgruntled psycho machine turned into a civilized, well-mannered machine in the blink of an eye. I no longer hesitate to crank the bobbin tension up or down. I don't know if it is specific to my particular sewing machine, but discovering how sensitive the bobbin tension is to different fabrics (and even to different numbers of layers) has made a world of difference to my sewing enjoyment.
Back to my project: before sewing on my new PJ pants, I stitched a little scrap to make sure the tension was correct both top & bottom. It was a little off, so out came the mini screwdriver and all was well again.
Next, I unrolled a length of brown packing paper from the roll my grandmother picked up decades ago from a now-defunct shoe store. I traced out my too-short pants, added length, and started sewing. Lots of pressing, one accidentally-inside-out french seam fixed, and a little button added to the front so I won't put them on backwards, I successfully sewed a pair of PJ pants. :)
The fit was not perfect (the rise needed to come up in back, down in front, and the thigh area was a tad bit poochy), but they are the most comfortable PJ pants I have ever worn. The vintage sheet fabric is incredibly soft on the skin, and the french seams mean no raw edges or strings on the insides. Fabulous.
More to come!