Thursday, May 31, 2012

RE-NEW Pajamas

I try whenever possible, not to be wasteful. While flipping through pages of a woman's magazine I saw a pocketbook that was constructed from old jeans. The idea was brilliant and it suddenly hit me that I had bins of hardly worn jeans and cargo pants. Now I knew what to do with them. So I gathered a pair of my husband's old khakis, a stone colored pair of my daughter's khaki's and a tan striped cotton pair of pants that were too short for me. I constructed a tote-style bag from all three items utilizing the wasteband and snap for the bag opening, my husband's pants and my daughter's pockets on the outside of the bag and my striped pants for the lining and tie that ran through the belt loops. I love that bag and use it all the time.

Inside this bag, I added a divider made from a piece of my husband's khakis, and I sewed several pockets that I was able to salvage from the khakis right on to the divider. I love the fact that it is roomy, and has lots of pockets, one of which holds my cell phone nice and snug so it can't slip out.

This led me to wonder what else I could repurpose in the house. I remembered tossing a set of gently used bed sheets into the rag bag. They were given to me as a wedding gift but they were twin sized. After many years of sitting in the linen closet we decided to toss them. I thought about those good-as-new sheets sitting in the rag bag and I just could not bring myself to throw them out. I decided they would make a nice, comfy pair of pajamas for me. I was right, they are nice and comfy.

These are the sheets. I placed them on my livingroom floor.

how to make pajamas from old sheets

Next, I found my most comfortable pair of drawstring pajama pants. I folded the sheet, placed the pajama pant leg on the fold (matching the side of the leg without a seam with the fold) . Then I cut it out.

Repeat this for the other leg.

Both legs cut out.

 I cut off the bottom hem of the sheet, folded it in half and zig-zagged the raw edges and put it aside. It became the drawstring for the waist.

I found a comfy pajama tank top, folded it in half and matched the side without a seam to the fold in the sheets. I traced around the tank and cut it out.

 I did the same thing for the back of the tank top.

 Here are all the pieces laying on my livingroom carpet.

Sewing up the seams of the pants....

At this point I made a casing by folding over 3/4" of the top of the pants to the wrong side of the fabric and ironed it. I then folded it over once again and ironed it.  Then I pinned it and stitched it in place close to the edge fold leaving an opening to pull the drawstring through. I attached a safety pin to the drawstring and inserted it into the casing and pulled the drawstring through. At this point I realized I had forgotten that I wanted the drawstring on the outside but forgot to make button holes for the drawstrings to exit through. I will not forget that the next time.

Here they are completed.

The bottoms....

Here is the tank top. I made my own bias tape from diagonally cut strips of fabric and sewed them around the neck opening and arm openings. I cut slits in the side for comfort. I cut the lace off the sheet border, zig-zagged the raw edges and tied a bow and attached it to the front of the top.

Here I am wearing the pajamas. They cost nothing because I salvaged everything from the sheet. They took about  an hour-and-a-half to complete due to making my own bias tape, are very comfortable, come out of the dryer totally wrinkle-free and when I wear them to bed it's even better than crawling into a bed with freshly laundered sheets. Nice and cool on hot nights as well.....Hope I have inspired you to turn your trash into treasure!

"Wear cute pajamas in bed. You never know who you're going to see in your dreams!"

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Turning Point For Me!

skating dress 

This is the sewing project that became my turning point. For many years my "sewing comfort zone" was fairly limited to simple dresses and Halloween costumes for my three daughters. Anyone who knows me well will tell you that my comfort zone is a place I rarely step out of. So this was a really difficult sewing project for me to start.

My daughter was very excited to be skating to "What a Feeling" from Flash Dance and she wanted a bright costume that was reminiscent of the movie but also current and trendy.

With a rather vague vision in mind, I purchased a crop top made from stretch velvet that was embellished with sparkly, metallic threads in bright colors. We purchased two different Kwik Sew dress patterns combining a tank styled top from one and a more athletic looking skirt from the second. We added fuchsia sequins to the purchased top and ruffles to the sleeves, and made the tank top portion of the dress from fuchsia Lycra. I purchased  fairly expensive, black stretch velvet for the attached skirt and briefs. I was terrified to make that first cut into such expensive fabric. I had never sewn on stretchy fabric before. It took me two days to work up my courage. I took a deep breath and started cutting. This was my first step out of my "sewing comfort zone." I was so happy with the results and my daughter claims that it is still her favorite skating dress!

handmade skating dress

Just as I began to cut out the skirt portion of this dress I had serious doubts that I could complete this on my own. I remember thinking to myself, Are you out of your mind? You're going to sew what? Hence my blog name. If I can sew it, sew can you!

With newly found confidence, I designed and sewed her next skating costume which happens to be my personal favorite. It looked spectacular on the ice! I will save that story for another day.......

"We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."
Eleanor Roosevelt