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2021 Sewing Bee – Round 1 – Uniquely you pajamas

I am a “nightgown or nothing” kind of gal, so two piece pajamas were a stretch for me. As I pondered my options my 7 month old German Shepherd puppy nuzzled my leg, and it came to me. At 58, I never thought I would adopt another dog, let alone a puppy. We lost our beloved Tilly several months into lock down and social distancing. The sheer silence and loneliness overwhelmed me. After much soul searching, I started to consider, plan, and train for the physical demands of a puppy. My latest love, Miss Lotte, came home October 7th. One thing I did not properly plan for was the many middle of the night and early morning trips outside. On more than one occasion, I surprised a delivery person, with me sitting on my steps in my nightgown. Those early morning moments spent sipping coffee, tossing sticks, kicking balls, and wandering the woods were so very special, but I could not help thinking I wish I had a more appropriate outfit. There is no time to waste when puppies have to go. I needed something that was comfy to sleep in, but would allow me to roll out of bed and be out the door in a flash. It needs to be warm, presentable and have pockets, lots of pockets. I searched the internet for a solution and stumbled upon Pajameralls, a combination of pajamas and overalls. As good as they were, they had some drawbacks, the buckles and hardware did not seem comfortable to sleep in, and would add unwanted excitement to my own middle of night bathroom trips, fumbling with buckles and buttons. So, out of this was born my version of Pajameralls.

I started with Jalie Pattern 972 Overalls. This pattern is unisex, and actually extended into my hips range. I made the following modifications: eliminating the front fly, replacing the side button and buckles with snaps, adding elastic to the straps for comfort. I added a contrasting internal cuff for added strength and pizazz. I compared the area between waist and crotch to my favorite fitting high waist-ed pants pattern, and made the necessary adjustments, which also required reworking the pocket pieces a bit. The effort was worth it as the initial fit was very close. At the same time I replaced the front fly with a simple center seam.

The next area of concern was re-designing the straps. I wanted to avoid the metal hardware, and needed fast on/off straps, that had to stay in place without being so strong that they dug into my shoulders and gave me my first wedgy in years. Much laughter accompanied this part of the project. The straps are two layers of fabric. There is a 3/4 inch elastic in a channel running down the straight side of the strap. The elastic caused a ruffle effect on the straps which I really liked.

I chose a Linen/Cotton blend fabric that is butter soft, lightweight, and breathable. For contrast, I chose a half yard piece of printed linen, which was actually one of the last pieces of fabric I bought before lock down. I loved the color and design, and I used every bit of that fabric in these overalls. The original pattern calls for a heavy weight fabric, so my choice meant I had to consider where I would need to add interfacing, stabilizers, and extra layers of fabric for reinforcement. This made the instructions a solid starting point, but I would have to determine where and when to apply the necessary interfacing, stabilizers, and extra layers of fabric. I added interfacing to pocket edges, twill tape to some seams on the bias, and doubled the fabric in the straps, as the original pattern called for a single layer of fabric. I also wanted to make sure I did not go too far, making a stiff garment which would not be comfortable to sleep in. I also added inside openings to the side of the front waistband, to allow the possibility of adding a drawstring or belt in the future should the need arise. Here is hoping that it does!

I decided on a 3-thread cover stitch for the top-stitching, using a thick 30 wt cotton thread for needle threads, and Poly Yarn in the chain looper, which is strong, soft, and more tolerant of heat. This results in a soft, clean, durable inside of the garment. Last Christmas I received a KAM snap setup for installing jeans buttons, grommets, rivets, and last but not least snaps. Never having used snaps before, I was delighted with how easy to install, attractive, and durable these size 24, fashion snaps in gun metal were.

For my second piece, I made my fitted for me T-shirt. Last spring, I took a two day online class with Deb Canham, in which she talked us through drafting and making a pretty near perfect fit t-shirt. We started with McCalls 6964 pattern, in a size closest to our bust size. She has great tips for applying the neckbands (both V and crew), fitting the sleeves, grading out, and just so much useful information. Even after years of sewing on serger and cover stitch machines I learned so much, and I live in my made for me T-shirts. For this outfit I wanted something more special that made me feel a bit more feminine. I used the Cashmerette write up for bishop sleeves and modified my long sleeve pattern to result in this pretty sleeve. The sleeve would drive me crazy if I were trying to cook, or sew, but it adds a bit of fancy when winding down at the end of a long day, and pulling on this t-shirt. The fabric is a very lightweight cotton knit. I am also very proud that no fabric was purchased for this project, so a considerable amount of stash busting has occurred.

Overall, (get it) I am delighted with the outcome, and look forward to rolling out of bed, and quietly stealing off with Miss Lotte in the early morning hours to share our quiet times before the world gets going.

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