First off, I want to thank everyone who was so kind about my last blog, you know, the one about losing my sewing drive. It was a hard post to write, but I've found that getting it out there in the world has been very cathartic. I truly appreciate how kind and caring the sewing community is, and it just reminds me how much I love being a part of it.
Second off, I know what you're thinking. Another post already?! Yeah, I realize that if you look back at my blogging history, I'm lucky to post once a month. Or, in reality, I post exactly once a month when I announce new boxes.
But that's going to change because as part of my return to sewing, I've challenged myself to make as many garments as possible. In a perfect world, that would mean one a week, but the realist in me knows it's going to be more like three a month, especially given my penchant for making muslins of almost everything. (If you look at it that way, I'm going to be making 6 things a month, but only 3 wearable items. So there.)
Anyway, with that challenge, I've been dutifully sitting at my sewing machine and feeling great doing so.
The first project, as you might have guessed, is the Lakeside Pajamas from Grainline Studio, which just so happens to be the pattern of choice in this month's Medium Weight Box.
Coincidence? Not at all.
While I've been eyeing this pattern for years, I can't lie that I made these in order to show off what one of our boxes can create. Part of me assumes that as sewers, we're all great at visualizing fabric on patterns and imagining the final result. However, the realist knows that not everyone thinks that way. Picturing how fabric will look is an acquired skill, and part of what I have in mind with our subscription kits is to help you, the sewer, develop that skill with the little safety net of knowing that the fabric will work.
And boy, does this fabric work on these PJs. Back in January, I went to a fabric expo to pick out textiles for the shop and future boxes. This fabric, the Gray Optical Print Shirting, was the first one that I saw and knew immediately what I wanted to make with it. There's so much interesting going on: each 5/8" square has a twill weave of gray and white and each box is positioned at an angle to create this gorgeous interference pattern. Plus, the gray looks bluish in some lights and beige in others. Oh, and it's so soft and light, yet completely opaque. In other words, it's perfect for pajamas. (Side note, because of the grid, it's also a dream to cut. The grainline is literally marked for you!)
So let's talk the good stuff: the pattern and the sewing.
I am decidedly a pear, so I loved being able to make two different sizes for the top and bottom.
For the top, I chose a size 6 which is a bit smaller than what I normally make. However, the bust measurement I use for all my sewing (35.5") is with a bra on, and I never ever wear a bra while sleeping. This ended up being a good choice, as the bust fits perfectly without any gaping. And boy do I love the tulip opening in the back.
For the bottoms, I was between sizes, so I made the larger size, knowing that roomier pajama bottoms are never a bad thing, but too small ones are the worst. I also knew that with the elastic waist, I would be able to compensate for most sizing problems. In the end, I was really glad I did this because they just fit over the hips and butt when pulling them on. A size down would have been a struggle. My recommendation would be to use the hip measurement as your main way to choose bottom sizes and then adjust the elastic to fit the waist.
The pattern itself is beautifully drafted as all of Grainline Studios patterns are. Each step is well-explained and logical, something I love in sewing patterns.
The biggest endeavor of the Lakeside Pajamas is the bias-binding. Before this, I've done bias facings, but only once have I sewn something with the bias binding. That something was a baby shower gift, a portable changing mat, and I hated the bias binding. The instructions were minimal and I unpicked sooooo many stitches.
However, this bias binding was thankfully much more successful, even easy. I made my own bias tape using the continuous bias method and I chose a contrasting indigo blue to bring out the blue tones in the fabric. The bias tape is made of Robert Kaufman Kona Cotton, so it's way softer than the polyester stuff you get pre-made. The application was very smooth. Well, mostly smooth. I was a little confused by the side seams on the shorts, not for lack of proper instruction but more my lack of reading said instruction properly. It took a few tries, but I eventually got it right. Also, after reading some reviews, I shortened the arm straps to account for the bias tape stretching over time.
Here's a close-up of all the bias-binding coming together.
This was also the first project on which I got to use my new serger. Only three seams require finishing, but I'm mighty proud of them.
Another shot of the shorts. As you can see, the fabric looks different depending on the light.
That pesky side seam.
I gotta say, I love these pajamas. I'm not normally a matching set kinda girl and I usually don't wear shorts to bed, but I'm going to change that just for these. In the summer time, these PJs are going to be perfect for wearing around the house.
There are a few tiny changes I would make next time, though. The bust darts are just a tad too long, probably because my boobs shift outward when not in a bra (pesky boobs), so I would shorten the legs by about 1/2". Also the shorts are SHORT! Like 1970s basketball player short. It's definitely not a deal-breaker, but I'm gonna make sure to keep my legs crossed when sitting. On future makes, I'd lengthen them by an inch. But honestly, those are some pretty minor tweaks.
And that's it, folks: the Lakeside Pajamas in our Medium Weight Box. If you want to make your own pair, head over to the shop to lock your choice in. And if you want the indigo bias binding instead of the white that we're including, simply put that in your order notes.
Stay tuned for my next make. We'll see how long I can keep my challenge of alive.
Till then, happy sewing,