Thursday, March 20, 2008

Time for the Spring Sleepwear, Part I

I've started on yet more pajama bottoms, this time for spring. The pattern I use makes really voluminous pants, and the SS 07 collection literally became clown pants. So they've become a charitable donation. The FW 08 flannels (which fit) are getting too warm to wear, which means it's time to start the SS 08 collection. I mean, it's not as if I have no fabric that I can use! Here are the choices I made this time:

All of them are cotton prints that I've picked up at Jo-Ann's, Hancock's, or Hobby Lobby, usually from the clearance area. Nothing fancy, although I have been known to use quilt store or eQuilter fabric from time to time. Materfamilias would have me use some of this Anna Sui silk--perhaps it will happen, just not yet. I'm still thinking that silk would like to be a top, nightie, or even a little robe. We'll see.

This round, I'm making 3 full length pairs and 1 cropped. Sometimes the yardage of fabric I want to use is a bit short. Cropped allows me to use a fabric that's otherwise perfect, like that fun kung fu girl print. Usually I make multiple pairs simulanteously on the serger, depending on what color thread needs to be used. So this time, 2 sets of 2 sewn with slate blue and beige thread. Then, the individual pairs are finished off on the sewing machine with matching thread. Usually this involves just the casing and hems, because I basically do all of the seams on the serger.

However, the cropped ones are an exception. You know how the side seams on pant patterns aren't perfectly straight? How they flare out at the hem allowance? Well, seeing as these are supposed to be a quick project, when I cut out the cropped pants, I simply folded up the pattern pieces at the desired length and cut the fabric. Straight, no little flare for folding up a hem allowance that will fit all the way around the pants leg. As a result, I sew the side seams on a conventional machine and make a slit detail at the bottom. You see this a lot on cropped pants, so it looks like it's supposed to be that way.

My pattern has you complete the inseam and crotch seam first, so the side seams are the last bit of major assembly. But before I sew the side seams, I press down the casing and hems, using a template. This is a technique I learned from Linda Lee of the Sewing Workshop, and I use it a lot. Much simpler to do on the flat, though.

Here are the steps:

First, you cut your template to size, about 12" long by the desired width. You can use oaktag, a manila folder, or posterboard. The template in the photos below is 1 1/2" wide, which is the width of the casing. I also mark the template for narrower widths. I already have my template made, and you can see it in the next picture.

Lay the template on the wrong side, then fold the fabric to the desired width. In the photo below, I'm doing the hems, so I'm placing the edge of the fabric at the 1/ 1/4" mark.


The hems and casings are marked, and side seams are ready to be sewn.

At this point, I've serged the side seams of the long pants, and they're ready for casings and hems. The next step on the crops is to sew the side seams. I'm stopping for now, but will post later with the side seams and hem slits on the cropped pants.


kasizzle said...

I love those fabrics!

Faye Lewis said...

THANK YOU! I've been trying to figure out how to make a measuring/pressing template. This will be so handy when making PJ's and other garments too. I'm in a Pj phase now myself.