How do you choose a sewing project? Do you find a gorgeous fabric and then decide what to make with it or do you covet certain patterns and then go to great lengths to find the perfect fabric?
For me it can go either way – but it rarely goes both ways. This month’s Minerva Craft Blogger Network post is one of those rare exceptions where both elements came together in a simultaneous flash of inspiration.
Normally, the biggest challenge with my Minerva posts is trying to find a good match between a pattern and fabric – doing this online (with what feels like infinite choice) makes it even more challenging. Some of my efforts have been more successful than others.
The elements for this project, however, pretty much just jumped out of the screen. As soon as I saw this gorgeous lawn fabric I knew it needed to be made into pjs. I really want to emphasise just how lush this fabric is because it’s waaay better than what you see on the screen (not that it looks bad on the screen but you really need to touch this stuff!). If you’ve been a reader here for any length of time you’ll know about my love for Liberty Print fabric. Unfortunately the budget doesn’t always stretch to €30+ per metre (and it’s even more difficult to justify in children’s sleepwear).
This fabric is cotton lawn – the same classification of fabric as the most iconic Liberty prints – and is made up of many fine threads giving it a cool, silky feel. At £12.99 per metre this really feels like a bargain. Minerva Crafts has quite a few cotton lawns but this range is my favourite.
The Burda pjs pattern (9747) was exactly what I had in my mind’s eye for this fabric – classic and comfortable. It has four versions and is suitable for both boys and girls.
The sewing went relatively smoothly and I’m very pleased with the result but this pattern isn’t without its idiosyncracies! I made a size 7 (122cm) for my 6-year-old (which I expected and wanted it to be a bit large).
In case you want to give this pattern a go, here are my observations/issues/alterations.
- The pattern instructs you to leave an exposed seam along the top of the shirt, where the collar and shirt meet. Blah! Who wants to see that?? I just covered it with some homemade bias tape in a contrasting ochre fabric.
- I had trouble setting the sleeves. Even when I went a bit nuts with pinning there was still lots of excess fabric at the top of the sleeve. To reduce this I decided to sew a basting stitch along the sleeve cap and then gather it to fit. This would have been fine – cute even – if it had not been for the fact that…
- …the shoulder seam is far too wide! I knew this fit would be big and loose but, really, the width of the shoulder seam is massive. This means that those cute gathers I made at the sleeve cap sit part way down her arms instead of pertly on her shoulders.
- The leg pieces are also very wide so I slimmed them down using a pattern piece from some trousers that I knew fit Margot well.
In addition to these pattern issues, I also made a few aesthetic changes just because I wanted to .
- I added a lining to the pocket in contrasting fabric (you can just about see it peeping out here!).
- I added a little tag to the back of the trousers to ensure they’d always be worn the right way round…and because it’s almost Valentine’s Day!
- I sewed french seams along the inside of the top and trousers. This was really easy to do (I sewed a 1/4 in seam the first time and then turned it and sewed a 3/8 in seam – this way the total seam allowance was the same and I didn’t have to add or subtract anything). This makes for a much cleaner finish.
- I left a long hem on the trousers (7cm) so they can be let down as Margot grows.
- And, finally, something I didn’t do but wish I did – add some ochre piping to the outside seam of the collar. This would have looked fantastic! Still kicking myself for not thinking of it before attaching collar!
Once the pjs were all done and I
sat back to relax and admire my work got to work on my next project, Margot found all the bits of leftover fabric and *begged* for some clothes for her American Girl doll. Had I had more time I would have indulged her…instead I appeased her with a little matching cushion. She seems pretty happy with it.
So, do you think you’d give this pattern/fabric a try? My advice would be to try this project if:
- You are new to sewing with standard patterns (as opposed to online tutorials) and want to try something relatively simple to start you out. I can remember my first proper pattern – I was totally daunted by the fact that there weren’t photos of every step and some kind person speaking to me through my computer and helping me along the way!
- You want to practice french seams.
- You want a lot of ‘bang for your buck’. The overall impact of these pjs far out-weighs the effort you’ll need to put into them. That’s always a bonus in my book.
To sum up, I am really pleased with this project – from the fabric choice, to the pattern (well, most aspects of the pattern), to the photo shoot (no tears were shed which is rare!), to the little pops of ochre. My only regret is not making some pjs for myself as well. I can see more of this fabric in my future. In fact, I’m going to go order some now before you guys go and snap it all up! Which is your favourite colourway? I’m leaning toward the one on the top left.
If you want to make a pair of pjs for a little someone in your life you can buy the full kit here.
Thanks for reading, happy sewing, and I’ll be back soon with some SELFISH sewing – way-hay! It feels like it’s been ages!