Sunday, April 29, 2012

Pyjama Party!

This weekend is the time to post creations for the pyjama party. I have made two pairs of PJs in the last couple of weeks, so have saved posting both of them for today.

They're both spotty, the first big spots on a teal background. The photo also features the raspberry and white chocolate muffins (I use this recipe but use sunflower oil as I'm allergic to peanuts so peanut oil wouldn't end particularly well!). It turns out the oven in our new place has a very reflective door, and while I was actually trying to photograph the muffins, the pyjama bottoms came out clearer:

The second pair are the ones that I made when writing my PJ pockets tutorial:

I have worn both pairs already and they're super comfy :)

Another part of the pyjama party is to share what you're reading at the moment. I am currently reading "A Dance with Dragons", which is the 5th book in the Song of Ice and Fire series that the tv show "Game of Thrones" is based on. I'm veeeery close to the end of it, it's taken me a while to get through, it's a Monster! I'm also currently listening to "At Home: A Short History of Private Life" by Bill Bryson, my April download using my Audible subscription (which I plan to talk about another time).

Anyway, I'm going to head on over to the pyjama party and take a look at everyone else's creations, will you join me?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tutorial: Pyjama Pockets! - Part 2

I posted part 1 of this tutorial, how to draft the pockets, the other day, and here is the second part

How To Sew The Pockets.

After you've altered the pattern to draft the pockets you need to cut out your pattern pieces. You'll need:
- Pyjama Front Leg (x2)
- Inside Pocket (x2)
- Pocket Back (x2)
- Pyjama Back leg (x2, not pictured)

(as I ran out of PJ fabric my pocket back has a "patch" of the print on the top corner where it's visible and the rest is in a plain poplin, hopefully this won't confuse you)

First you need to sew the pocket back to the inside pocket pieces. Place the inside pocket on top of the pocket back, right sides together:

And sew along the bottom and centre most sides, as indicated in pink here:


Once you've stitched, also finish the edges. If you want you could also sew these two seams as french seams.

Now turn it over and fold back the pocket back:

Now turn it back over and line up the diagonal edge of the inside pocket with the diagonal line on the PJ front leg piece:

The fabric will be right sides together, with the pocket back folded out of the way in between the two. Sew along the diagonal line (marked in pink below) and finish the edge:

If you fold the pocket back round to the inside of the PJ front piece you'll start to see your pocket take shape:

Press the diagonal seam you just stitched. I like to topstitch mine to hold the edge of the pocket nice and flat. Usually with just one line of stitching, but here there are two:

Now you need to baste the edges of your pockets to the edges of the PJ front pattern piece to make it easier to sew the PJs together. Where you need to baste is shown here in pink:

Now you should have a PJ front leg pattern piece with a pocket that can be treated the same way as if it didn't have the pocket there:

I assemble my PJs by sewing together the two front pieces at the centre front seam, and then the two back pieces at the centre back seam, and then sewing the front to the back at the seams along the inside and outside of the leg.

The last step is to attach the casing for the elastic. I do this step slighly differently to how i've read instructions to do it, as I find it gives me more flexibility with altering the length of the elastic after assembling the PJs.

I cut a strip of the fabric double the width of the elastic plus 2x seam allowances - so for 2cm elastic (a good width for this I think) and 1cm seam allowances, I would cut a strip a smidge over 6cm wide (2x2cm + 2x1cm = 6cm).

Next fold the strip in half length ways and pin it to the top of the pyjamas, lining up the raw edges:

At the point where the ends of the two strips join (I usually line this up with a side seam) I fold back the ends inside of the strip so that they meet but the raw edges are enclosed:

(It's a little hard to describe, hopefully the pictures make sense)

Then you need to sew the band to the top of the pyjamas and finish the raw edges.

Next, it's best to top stitch just below the seam, so the seam allowances stay facing downwards (towards the legs, away from the waistband):

Last, thread your elastic through the casing and adjust it to the desired length. You can then hand stitch the tiny opening in the waistband closed, but I tend to wait a few uses to make sure I'm happy with the elastic length - I've found that it's often too loose to start with and I want to tighten it.

As well as this increased flexibility in working out the elastic length, I prefer sewing the waistband like this and leaving a small section to hand sew closed, rather than the normal way of sewing the waistband into a tube and then leaving a gap where you've not attached it to add the elastic as I find it's easier to do than to pull the unattached bit flat with elastic in it.

Anyway, all you have left to do now is try on your PJs to check the length and hem the bottom!

Look! PJs, with pockets:

I hope that this tutorial has been of use. If you have any questions please ask them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tutorial: Pyjama Pockets! - Part 1

After buying my PJ fabric last weekend I told my friend Claire that I'd put together a tutorial for how I add pockets to my pyjamas.

You're probably thinking at this point why on earth would I add pockets to my pyjamas, but personally I think once you've had some with pockets you never go back!

Now granted, I don't just use my PJs for sleeping, I often wear my pyjama bottoms around the house if I want something comfy to wear and a pocket for my phone and such is very handy. I'm also a self professed pocket addict - if I can add pockets to something I will, so it was inevitable really.

The first pair with pockets I made had in seam pockets in the side seams, which was good but found the pockets bunched a bit. Since then I have added "slash" pockets (is that the right term?) to all my pairs and have slowly refined the size that I prefer.

Anyway, in keeping with the PJ theme in the blogosphere at the moment I thought I'd  speed up getting the tutorial written. I've decided to make my tutorial into two parts - first drafting pockets for your pattern, and secondly how to sew them up.

To add this type of pocket you will need to have a pattern that has a side seam down the outside of the leg. If your pattern is all one piece like Karen's you either can't make the pockets the way I do, or you'll need to add a side seam. You'll also need to use a separate waistband piece rather than just folding over the top of the leg piece for the elastic/drawstring casing, or it can get a bit bulky where there are extra layers for the pockets.

Drafting the pockets

Lets get started! You'll need your front leg pattern piece. Here is my little fake pattern piece made from a post-it to show you the steps:

Next measure in from the edge the distance of your seam allowances to mark the stitching lines along the top and upper section of the side seam:

Now you need to mark the diagonal line of the top of the pocket. I have found that I like my pocket opening to be about 5.5-6" wide. So I draw a diagonal line that is that long between the marked stitching lines - about 3" across and 5" down:

Next we will mark how big the pocket will be. I've made the mistake of making some waaay too small in the past but think I've now settled on a good size of 6" x 8.5". That's a good size for me. When I made the PJ bottoms for the boy he requested REALLY BIG pockets and I made them 7" x 10", which was basically the size of an A4 piece of paper.

Measure the pocket dimensions you want and mark them onto the pattern piece:

Then go around the lines you just drew and add seam allowances on to the bottom and central side of the pocket and above the diagonal line:

Now we need to cut the extra pattern pieces we need for the pocket. First we'll cut the back of the pocket, which is essentially a big rectangle, possibly with a slightly different shape along the top depending on the shape of your pattern piece (mine slope slightly down towards the centre front). To do this, trace around the top and outside edge of your pattern piece, and then along the side and bottom of the pocket (including seam allowance) that you have drawn onto the pattern piece:

As this piece is probably almost a rectangle, I strongly suggest marking the direction/top of the piece. Also label it as "Pocket back", and add other labels such as the seam allowance size, grain line and how many to cut (2).

Next cut along the upper/outside diagonal line on the pattern piece, cutting a triangle off the corner as shown:

Now repeat the process of how you traced the first pattern piece for the pocket except this time the rectangle will have a corner chopped off. You can do this either exactly the same way as before. Alternatively. a slightly easier way is to copy the pocket piece you made before, place it under the PJ front pattern piece, lining up the top and the edge, and then copy off the line to cut the corner off:

This is your "inside pocket" piece. Again I suggest labelling it up like the other one, you'll need to cut two of this one too.

You should now have three pattern pieces where you once had one:

They go in the order pocket back, inside pocket, PJ Front as shown:

I hope that all makes sense. If you have any questions please ask them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer

Stay tuned for the second part of my tutorial, which will cover how to sew them together into pyjamas.

EDIT: Find part two here

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

AQC 2012

This past weekend I spent a few enjoyable hours at this years AQC (Australasian Quilt Convention). As I did last year, I thought I'd share some pictures of my favourite quilts on display:

(click on the photos to see them larger, apologies for the quality, photos were all taken on my iphone)

This design reminds me of a kalidescope of some kind:

This brightly coloured one had some gorgeous coloured quilting that really added to the quilt:

This was a disapearing 9 patch with some gorgeous japanese fabrics, but I particularly liked the borders:

There were quite a few quilts that I was drawn to made of these pieced 1/4 circles and circles. Does anybody know if these designs have a name?

This one was completely hand sewn - piecing and quilting. The quilting in the borders added an amazing texture, and the blocks looked great:

This quilt, that was essentially made of HSTs was lovely:

How cool is this guy (I actually saw a pattern for this on sale, but I don't remember which stall):

This quilt was made of silk so had a lovely sheen that really set off the beautiful quilting:

The background "Tiles" on this mini quilt create such a unique effect:

At first I thought the curved lines around the inside of the circle were ricrac, but on closer inspection I saw that it was embroidery floss twisted through a running stitch. Beautiful effect:

Amazing use of black and white:

How cute are these little guys:

And I saved my favourite for last:

This one was a black wholecloth quilt that had then been painted with metallic paints and then quilted. The skill was just awe-inspiring, the combination of painting and stitching was so precice that It took me a while to realise that it was infact a wholecloth quilt! Amazing, really amazing.
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