PJs and Pavlovas

I’ve been sifting through photos and I thought I’d do an round up of some unblogged FOs. This ended up getting quite long, because I wanted to mention details for my own reference, so I’ve split it into two posts. Feel free to just look at the photos, or skip it altogether! (I mean, always feel free. Do what you like, this is your blog-reading-leisure time!)

I had a burst of sewing over the holidays, and I’ve tried to keep it up a bit since, since making things is a really effective form of self care for me. Mostly this means making the same simple patterns over and over. Well, it works for me. I get garments that I know I’ll wear, and I actually think it’s a good way for me, personally, to learn. If this were a videogame it’d be grinding – as it is, it makes it easy for me to see if there’s a particular part where I always cut corners or forget something, and then I get to practice it. Usually when I make a mistake I say ‘oh well, I’ll know for next time!’ but it helps solidify that if there IS a next time. So this is a bit repetative.

Pj pants

One craft camp last year I rubbed off a pattern from a pair of PJs I had that I liked, and made it up. I think that one was the goldfish. I copied details I liked, like the waistband which was jersey folded over elastic, and then both serged to the waist so the elastic can’t twist around. I initially hemmed them with an ordinary turned-under hem, but they were  a bit short, so when I got home I unpicked it and copied the original PJS and put on a cuff with some (very dodgy) white piping. While I was there I narrowed the leg, so I can wear them to bed without getting too tangled. Then I whipped up the whales, too. I put cuffs on them because I liked how it weighted the legs down a bit. They are both flannelette from Spotters, and very comfy and snuggly.

I actually sent the original PJs to the op shop the other day – I tried them on and they just did not fit at all! Every pair since I’ve just adjusted a liiiitle bit, so in contrast the original pair had a too-short crotch curve, too-short legs, and too-low waistband. I didn’t think I’d made any big changes but I guess a little goes a long way, when it comes to crotch curves!

I wore them ALL the time this winter. I work in a pretty casual office so I just wear everyday clothes to work, but it’s nice to have some clothes that signify ‘I’m home’ or, alternately, ‘it’s Saturday and I do not plan on leaving the house even once’. Once it got hotter I decided I needed some warm weather ones. I don’t like to wear pyjamas to bed (TMI?) because I toss and turn a lot and I get tangled in them, even with my slimmed down legs. If it’s cold or I have company and I have to wear something to bed, I tend to wear shorts or leggings. This meant I didn’t have any pjs/dagging around pants apart from the ones I’d made, so I decided to whip up some lounge pants (best said in a fancy voice) that weren’t flannelette.

Here I am showing you the waistband (and a saucy look, apparently). It’s quite high, which is nice in pants you want to dag around in, I find. Very secure, I can see why old men like it. Me and my big butt would like high-waisted everything, I am discovering.

The trouble with these pants is twofold. First, I decided to French Seam them, but I decided this after I had cut them out with a seam allowance for an overlocker. So the French Seams are a bit hairy on the outside, since I had to sew them real close. It also made them a little bit tight which, since they are Japanese Lawn, makes them feel a bit delicate. Maybe not ideal for lounge pants? But I couldn’t resist, the fabric was half price (guys Spotlight is basically always having a sale) the print is so nice and they do feel lovely on. I just save them for special, is all. You know. Real SPECIAL lounging time. (??)

So to make up for that I also made the other pair you see in the top photo, out of some poplin from Spotters. It’s from one of their named lines but who cares, really. I also got this for half price. I cut it out a bit bigger so I could french seam it but then somehow it turned out I didn’t, and the hips were just too tight. I need to go back and officially adjust the pattern instead of just eyeballing these adjustments. So I had to go back and unpick them, and serge it as close to the edge as I could. They’re still an incy bit tight, and a bit messy as a result of the unpicking.

But they get a lot of wear anyway.

I also made a few pairs of shorts from the same pattern, just cutting it shorter on the leg.

I’ve worn these as sleep shorts but they are mostly under-shorts. I pretty much always wear leggings or bike shorts to guard against chub rub, but that gets a bit hot in 40 degree weather. I had something like three metres of lawn that I’d originally bought to make a self-lined circle skirt, but then decided it was too wrinkly, so I whipped that up into shorts. One has a jersey-covered elastic waistbands and the rest have just elastic. Plain hem, nothing fancy, but they do get worn a lot and I probably need to make some more (and some more bike shorts. They protect my thighs but it’s a sacrificial job, unfortunately. I also have a whole pile of leggins that need inseams patched).

I just thought this was appropriate. Whoops need to fix that tear.

Blank Canvas Tee

I also made the top in the last couple of photos. It’s a Blank Canvas tee from some nice thick jersey from Spotters (again. It’s basically my only fabric source). It’s a nice fabric but unfortunately they only had really insipid colours. I bought a whole bunch in that blue and a plumy purple that wasn’t bad but also isn’t really my colour, at the end of the season for cheap. (Let’s hope they have it again this winter because it is nicely thick with good recovery and I will stock. Up. I did find some in my usual teal and some in red, lurking in my stash. Might do something with that this craft camp?)

I like this tee but I think the pattern is not for me. I did make a size too big, really – the size 45 which is my full bust but I should have made the 40 for my upper bust. NEGATIVE ease for knits, gotta remember that. I like them to be tight enough that you can actually see my shape, which is very in-and-out, so negative ease is necessary for that. But also I just think that large bust + forward sloping shoulders = maybe not kimono tees? And I didn’t adjust the neckline so it’s really high. I wear this tee as a sleep/lounging around tee all the time, though, so it’s certainly a win. I didn’t bother hemming it but I might need to go back and do that cos it rolls up.

I made another Blank Canvas the other day out of a thinner knit (NOT from Spotters this time! From a fabric shop in Melbourne so I think it probably was a remnant from The Fabric Store) and I have the same problem. I was a bit more careful in the construction of this but the fit is just… off.

It doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but you can see the drag lines from the neck, and the whole centre front is just too big. When my shoulders aren’t up like they are when I’m taking mirror-selfies, it’s super wrinkly and baggy. I tried adjusting it by whipping it in a bit at the sides and the shoulder seams and it’s better, but really what it needs is a dart or two at the neck. I wore it to work today and just felt uncomfortable all day. It’s not awful, but I think it is too irritating to fix, so it unless I want to cut it into another pattern (I have some of the jersey left over, too) it will be a day off shirt, which is a pity.

Pavlova Skirt

The skirt in the above photo is actually a pavlova skirt. I whipped up a whole bunch over the holidays because how easy are circle skirts? Very, is how. And easy to wear, too, especially since I always wear leggings or shorts, so worrying about them blowing up is not really an issue.

The first one I made of these was a jersey and tulle one at a craft camp, which I forgot I would have to add elastic to the waistband, so it came home unfinished and sat in my ‘to finish’ pile for months until I finally took about ten minutes to finish it off.

I realise this is not a great photo and basically you can’t see anything but… oh well. This is me wearing said tulle skirt for a work thing for Melbourne Cup Day, which explains the hat. I had initially put two layers of tulle on but it was too floofy so I took one off. It’s still reasonably floofy. I’ve worn it to work (as promised, Eleanor!) a couple times but usually only when there’s something on, like Melbourne Cup. I also wore it to just about every event over Christmas/New Year, so it’s been a useful make.

But after wearing it for the rounds in the holidays I was thinking about how comfortable it was, except for that I have to be careful not to get the tulle snagged, so I made another one in Jersey. (Guess where from? Bought for the purpose.)

Please excuse the dead-face in all these photos. I can’t do the timer and make faces that aren’t terrifying, at the same time. Also I took these on a heatwave day, which is why I look exhausted.

Same waistband deal as the pants above. I just measure my waist with elastic, and join it in the round. Then I cut some jersey the same length, but just over twice as wide, and join that. Then I fold the jersey over the elastic, and stretch and pin them to the waist. Then I serge both of them together to the waist, usually just catching the elastic with the serging, not chopping any off. I really like this waistband, it’s easy to do, comfortable to wear and I think it looks nice. I just did a rolled hem on this with my overlocker.

This skirt gets a heck of a lot of wear, so I made the black jersey one that started this list. Then I branched out and made some woven ones. With zips and everything!

This one is a teeny gingham check which obviously doesn’t photograph well, in some poly-heavy cotton blend from YouKnowWhere. The one below is from a chintz from the same. Both bought for the purpose. But with a folded-over bias strip waistband from self fabric, and a rolled hem on the overlocker with appropriate colour fabric. For both, I cut the front on the fold but the backs as separate, so I could save fabric and also put a zipper in.

I think this probably hits about an inch two low, and I should go back and rehem it to be right at my knee.

There is a problem with these, though. The problem is that I have a double-belly, with a dent where my waistband goes, as well as having a swayback. Like so:

I am not holding my nose for any reason. It’s just kinda hard to keep your hands out of the way without looking daft. I am not a model the camera just went off by itself [[[pop culture references]]]
There’s an equal bump below the waistline. So what this means is that the skirts sit comfortably in that dent, but when I sit down obviously my belly gets bigger (because physics), so that becomes uncomfortable. So then I shift the waistband to sit below my waistline, which means that it is way WAY longer at the front, due to sitting much lower in real terms and also having fewer hills to travel over, while the back has to drape over my butt, which I stick out because of my swayback, WHICH also makes my stomach stick out more (and I mean, my butt’s not insignificant by itself).

You can sort of see the difference here. It’d be better if I wasn’t swishing the skirt (with my hand in the pockets! I put pockets in. But they are a bit low. Oh, well, I really only use them to stick my hands in, because anything heavy in them drags the skirt down). The back of the skirt is hitting the back of my knee but the front is a good couple of inches lower.

I’m not really sure what to do about this. It’s not as pronounced in the jersey skirts, which have elastic waistbands, since they can comfortably stay at my waist whether sitting or standing. It is still a bit noticeable with the black one, because due to fabric length I had to make it a bit shorter, and it is just short enough that the front-back hill difference is noticeable, but it’s not too bad. But wit the woven ones I’m just always adjusting it. They feel too big but I can’t take them in because they will be too constricting.

Actually the problem of ‘where the flip is my waist anyway?’ raised its head with these. I’m not sure where the narrowest part is, since every part has in on one side and out on the other. So where my belly is biggest, my swayback is the most hollow, for example, and where the line is through my belly, my butt sticks out at the back. You can see what I mean in the second-to-last photo, where the waistband is at an angle because it’s trying to find the narrowest part, which is actually on a diagonal. But if I have it over a wider part it feels uncomfortable and weird – like if it sits on top of my belly it shifts too much.

WAIST??? Where are you, waist?
WAIST??? Where are you, waist?

So I measured wherever I thought, but then when I cut out the skirts they were WAAAAY too big. Like, five inches too big. I don’t even know. Maybe I’ll have to put elastic waistbands on them or something, but I’m not even sure how I’d do that since they’d still need the zip, I think. In the meantime, I wear the gingham one a fair bit but the red one is just too not-right. Still can’t work out what that difference is, either. I can wear the gingham one in my belly-groove (?? Whatever, making this up as I go) but the red one has to sit over the top of my belly and I don’t like how that feels.

Phew! That was long. I’ll leave the next lot for another time.



9 thoughts on “PJs and Pavlovas

  1. Just so you know, this was a really entertaining read about your sewing adventures. Skipping it would have been my loss. Also, now I really really want to go to Spotlight.

Whadya reckon?

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