Thursday, June 16, 2011

Parade of Projects Part 4 : Pajamas From Pillowcases (and enough alliterations to make your head spin)

Sometimes a good thing bears repeating... Pillowcases are good things and it bears repeating that they are one of my favorite things to "upcycle". I've made various items out of pillowcases now at this point; aprons, re-usable shopping bags, and dresses... but pajamas?

Oh yes,.... pajamas.

Bear with me as this may prove to be a long and rather laborious tutorial. Sadly as I went back over the photos I took while undertaking this project, I had to shake my head at how dim they really are. (On the flip side it made me feel a renewed surge of joy at the thought of sharing the new sewing space with you tomorrow). Also, it's been a few weeks now since I took these photos and in my usual "scatterbrain-edness" I couldn't be entirely sure as to the proper order or even original purpose of each shot. I won't delude myself that writing tutorials is my strong suit... far from it. 
In fact it has been an act of perseverance to post each and every one this week.  

Making things?- love it. Writing about how I did it? Not so much... in some ways it feels like a magician revealing secrets... but these are no secrets and I am truly no magician.

I am just a woman who loves to cut up pillowcases.

I found this set of very soft, Egyptian cotton pillowcases (you guessed it- I thrifted it... are you tired of hearing that is where I find almost everything? Cause I know it still give me a thrill... but I think at this point.. if I have it, you can assume I probably found it there.)
Anyway, this was  a particularly nice set of pillowcases and I wanted to save them for a particularly nice project, so I started with the first pillowcase and used the same leggins pattern from Part 2 of the Parade of Projects to trace out pieces from the first pillowcase for the pants.

I made a few modifications. Obviously I didn't want to make my daughter a pair of pillowcase leggings, I wanted them straight-legged pants and so I traced the pattern adding wider, straighter legs as I cut:

I almost forgot to mention, I made these to fit a size four child and I followed both the guidelines on the pattern (which was designed for sizes 2-4) and by measuring my little girl first.

I think this is just supposed to be a close-up shot of where I deviated from the pattern.

Here is what the cut pieces for the pants looked like: there were two of them obviously.
I sewed up the leg seams  and then used the trick of inserting one pant leg inside out into the other pant leg inside out so that the right sides are together and the crotch seams are lined up. I pinned it all in place and sewed up the crotch seams. (note that I didn't have to hem the pants because I used the original hem of the pillowcase)

I made a casing for the waist about 1.5 inches wide and inserted  a piece of elastic I had measured to my daughter's waist. I stitched everything shut and voila! The pants were done.

But for the top, I had far grander plans. Plans that included designing a shirt from scratch by creating my own pattern...

I started with this shirt of her's that already fit. (in retrospect I wouldn't have followed the shirt as closely as I did. As it stands, the finished product only just fits now, and there will be no longevity to it, whatsoever. A rookie mistake I'm sure, and one I won't make again....I hope)

I laid the shirt on tissue paper to draw up my pattern pieces tracing the basic neckline, arm holes and length and width of the torso of the shirt.

Here's me tracing.

I did NOT trace the sleeves at this point but I'll get to those in a minute. After tracing out my patterns and measuring everything to make sure it was even, I cut it out and it looked like this:

 I duplicated it to make the back of the shirt and made a higher neckline for the back of the shirt.

I decided to make some changes to the overall finish of the shirt at this point, so I cropped these torso pieces a little and pinned them down to the wrong side of the fabric, ready to be cut out. Note that the back piece has been cut in two as well so that the shirt will button up along the back.

I cut my pieces, making sure to cut little notches out for all the curves of the arms and neckline, ironed down my seam allowances, hemmed the edges of the back of the shirt and top-stitched down the neckline.

There, see it all pretty and finished and the two torso pieces assembled? Now I was ready to mop my brow, take a swig of strong tea and get to the hardest part: ....sleeves.

Unfortunately, here are where all the photos of  complicated process of the creation of the sleeves should be. I have no idea how they made their way off of my memory card or computer but to break it down in instructions...well, I'll give it a go.

I measuring the entire circumference of the arm hole and drew a straight line on paper in that exact measurement. Then I drew another line parallel to it and directly below it about 4 inches lower. Then I created a curve traveling from one end of the line up to a point above the very middle of the line about 4 inches as well and dropping back down all the way to the opposite end of the line.
whew... I know I warned you....but that even made my brain hurt.

Anyway, I made a curved sleeve shape that fit the armhole, cut it with a one inch seam allowance, pinned the whole thing together, said a prayer ( I may have even crossed myself) and sewed that sleeve onto that shirt. 

You know what? It worked.
That little pajama shirt now had sleeves.

Now, here's how I finished the rest of the shirt.
I cut a long rectangle, 4 times the length of those shirt pattern pieces I had cut. I hemmed the bottom of it and I gathered the top of it, and I attached it to the bottom of the torso piece. I gritted my teeth once more, practiced several button holes on scrap fabric and finally got brave enough to put a button and button hole on the back of the shirt and there.... it was done.

When the dust settled and my hands stopped shaking, I sat back and watched my little girl early the next morning, cuddling and reading on the couch in her new polka dot jammies.

She loves them.

and I absolutely love them.

I think they are my favorite thing I've ever made with a pair of pillowcases to date.

Cheers... and thanks for your patience...I promise you, you won't be put through that again. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Super super cute! And you once posted that you cannot sew! All evidence to the contrary. I am really impressed. LOVE the upcycling. Pillow cases are just the best sewing material! Your new blog look is so fancy!



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