Pyjamarama

Apologies for the shoddy photography - the other end of the room which gets the light is currently taken up with a dismantled bed.

Apologies for the shoddy photography – the other end of the room which gets the light is currently taken up with a dismantled bed.

Last week I imparted an important piece of wisdom to my 11 month old goddaughter as she was resisting getting changed for bed. “Anne,” I said, as she shook her leg free from the babygro, “one day you are going to love your pyjamas so much that you will spend all day in them. Just make sure that you have a shower at some point during the day and then change your pjs, because you do have standards.”

Yesterday was one of the very days I was talking about, except when I eventually did have a shower and got changed, I got changed into my brand spanking new pj bottoms that I’d made that afternoon! I love pyjamas but I don’t like going out and buying them myself. All of my current sleepwear was either given to me for Christmas or an emergency purchase from Primark when I’ve stayed overnight somewhere and forgotten my pyjamas. This happens more often than I care to admit. Anyway, time for a refresh methinks.

So imagine my delight when I spotted the Margot PJs in Tilly’s new book, Love at First Stitch. Although it’s aimed at beginners, Tilly’s designed some lovely patterns to tempt stitchers (what is the correct term?? Sewers just sounds like where the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lived) of all abilities. The Margot pyjama bottoms are the second pattern in the book and looked to be pretty simple – the perfect Sunday afternoon project.

Fabric sampleSo imagine my even greater delight when I spotted this super-cute bicycle print cotton in the craft superstore in Balham. It’s pretty soft and has more of a drape than your standard printing cotton, so I snapped up 2.5m and went on my merry way. Along with a tailor’s ham, twin needles, several reels of thread, 1.5m of cream polycotton and a job lot of bias binding. I only went in for the polycotton. Oops.

Anyway, the Margot pjs are a joy to sew. The instructions are really clear and simple to follow, and with the exception of the crotch it’s basically sewing a lot of straight lines. Nice and easy. Any problems I had were of my own making – I found it tough to know where to line up the front and back legs but that was because I hadn’t copied all the notches over properly when tracing. To be fair, the notches on Tilly’s patterns are just straight lines as opposed to the traditional black triangle, so they can be easy to miss.

Ooooo so neat!

Ooooo so neat!

One of the things I am particularly pleased with on this make are my seam finishes. Tilly recommends trimming the seam allowances in half and then zigzagging or overlocking to finish. I don’t have an overlocker and I’ve always found that zigzagging my seam allowances results in a nasty, puckered look. So I did a bit of research and found that Janome do an overedge foot that works with the mock overlock stitches on my CXL-301 (I am calling her Bessie), so that they look all nice and neat. Obviously it won’t trim off any excess fabric, but it keeps the fabric nice and flat so you can go up and down the allowances neatly. It was a great investment – the insides of these PJs are nice and neat and look properly professional!

Ch-ch-changes
I made a couple of simple alterations to the original pattern – I added a patch pocket to the back as suggested in the Make It Your Own section. I think if I was doing this again I might be a bit bolder with the pocket placement as it looks a bit too far to the side on my version. It would have been nice to have a guide on the pattern pieces, but it’s an optional extra so I’m not too bothered about that. As I’m a short-arse I also cut the original hem allowance of the legs off, and did a 1 3/8 inch hem instead. When I tried them on to check the length I managed to stand on two pins and draw blood. THE PAIN! The memory of this pain will now spur me on to make the adjustments to the pattern so I never have to endure it again. Every cloud…

Margot PJs rear

If you look closely at the right hand side of my bum, you will probably see the pocket… on second thoughts, please don’t look too closely…

I LOVE these pyjamas. While I may not blog about them again (unless I have some really sweet fabric), I will be making them again and in many lengths and fabrics. I’m thinking some nice flannel for winter is definitely in order. They’re so quick and easy and ridiculously comfortable – I wore mine to bed last night and I have to say they stood up to the sleep test very well. It’s a great beginner pattern too – mine went pretty well, but I suppose the wonderful thing about PJs is that if you stuff up, it doesn’t really matter because who is going to see them?

I’d really recommend Love at First Stitch if you’re planning on learning to sew. Tilly’s style is really clear but she doesn’t patronise at the same time. It’s also refreshing to see a beginner’s sewing book that is completely focused on dressmaking. No cushions or napkin rings in sight! I’m going to have a go at a couple more of the patterns – I like the Delphine skirt (a straightforward A-line), the Megan dress (a cute little number with a 60s vibe), the Mimi shirt (to force me to learn how to use the buttonhole foot on my machine) and the Lilou dress (a full on party dress). Watch out for more soon!

What’s next?
I’m going to be pretty busy over the next week with one thing and another, so I’m only going to have time for the Moneta sewalong (which has started in earnest today) this week. But that’s ok. I’ve been pretty prolific with the sewing recently, so I’ve got a couple of posts up my sleeve to be going on with. Just have to write the buggers now.

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