Three knit projects

After completing my Winter coat I felt somehow tired and not really willing to start anything else. If not for my blog and my regular Instagram posting, I would by now have made a number of breaks in my sewing journey. However, the attempted regular posting schedule sort of keeps me in check. And arguably it’s also for good at times – I keep on sewing, even when the motivation and creativity are not at their highest.

This time around I would like to share an extremely messy story, which is both amusing and complex. It also perfectly demonstrates my messy thought and decision making process in my sewing ups and downs. So here I was – from not wanting to make anything, I ended up producing three garments and will now share them all as a bundle. Well, the real reason for this approach is that I am trying to hide pajamas behind something actually qualifying for a garment 🙂 I already did that once, in my Two knit projects post, and now I’m one level up – to three knit projects! 😀 In my mind and in my aspirations, I run a style blog here, while pajamas do not have much to do with style. And yet, they are very important part of any wardrobe as well as home life – everyone needs a pajama set! Also, pajamas are easy and fun to make. So I’ve found this way of incorporating my occasional PJ projects into my sewing journey story telling.

But let me start from the very beginning. My winter coat was an amazing success. I have received loads of positive feedback and nice comments about my coat. Moreover, wearing the coat turned out to be pure joy. It is a very good design of a coat. The coat allows for free movement of shoulders, arms, it is easy to drive a car while wearing it. And the most important of all, it is very warm. This coat has already made me so happy that I have approved this pattern for my next coat when it gets planned. That’s quite big – it is very rare that I’d be using a pattern repeatedly.

This outpouring joy about my coat has also brought along some sort of fatigue, so much so that I no longer wanted to think about further projects. My next planned projects were mostly jackets – yet another bunch of complex projects. I simply couldn’t get started working on them. Time flew and it became clear, that I might not have any content for my upcoming post, and so I reluctantly decided to make something lighter, easier. I clearly needed palate cleansing, as one fellow Instagram sewist has put it. So I figured – “it’s been a while since my last knit project, why don’t I give knits another try”. Just recently I had seen this post on Instagram with a number of nice knit dresses made using the same New look pattern. I own this pattern, and so it occurred to me that I might actually enjoy making this little dress as an intermission in between larger projects.

Fabric choice was limited – there were only two knit fabrics in my stash, one of which is dedicated to a wrap dress project for autumn. And that made for a single fabric to choose from. I had bought it somewhat unintentionally because it was on sale and I remember thinking that it would make for a nice night gown. A disclaimer is needed here – I do not wear night gowns at all, so it is extremely hard to explain now why I really purchased this fabric.

I made up my mind to go ahead with this monochrome fabric and one Sunday evening I decided to start by cutting paper pattern pieces. At that time, unexpectedly my mind suddenly wandered somewhere else, and I abruptly decided to make a top from the remainder that was left after my Ultimate summer top project. I hastily skimmed through few Burda magazines and chose a nice short sleeved top. So there I was – having to cut New look pattern for a knit dress and trace Burda pattern for a leftover top. Paper pattern pieces were soon ready and very quickly it became clear that I did not have enough of blue silk-cotton voile leftover fabric for the top, regardless of how I tried to juggle paper pattern pieces on the odd piece of leftover fabric. After I was done with sitting on the floor and contemplating, Burda top pattern was shelved. I was left with New look pattern for a dress which was about to be made out of night gown worthy fabric. Good news was that there was enough of fabric for the knit dress, fabric was soon cut and prepared for stitching. Bad news was that the more I touched that fabric, the more I started realizing that it was too thin, too light and almost sheer for a dress. My mind short-circuited and threw out an error message.

Pajama set

Eventually, I started contemplating several options. I could start making a dress, and if it truly turned out to be too light, I could refrain from adding the ruffle and make a T-shirt or pajama top out of it. At that point I pulled one tested pajama shorts pattern out of the binder and was glad to conclude that it would fit onto the ruffle pieces if need be.

I went ahead to start making the bodice of the supposed dress. Stitched shoulder seams, attached the neck band. For that I used already tested 0.85 ratio (the method is told in my Two knit projects post). Then sleeves were installed using flat sleeve method (sleeves were cut to make them short, as my belief of potentially staying with the dress idea had apparently started seriously shaking). And then I finished side seams. That’s where the last step would have been to attach the ruffle and the dress could have been born. Instead I stopped, unsure what to do next.

First I asked my husband, which shape this should take – a dress, a T-shirt or a pajama top. He was like – “yep, that’s clearly a pajama”. Just to double check I shared the below picture and ran a poll on Instagram and 71 pct respondents voted for a pajama top as opposed to T-shirt. Finally the deal was sealed. Pajama set it would become!

Before completing my new pajama top, I had determined that this was not at all intended to be a top. It was too wide, so I narrowed it down substantially. Finally hem was finished, and the top was ready. Next pajama shorts had to be made. I took dress ruffle pieces and cut pajama shorts pattern pieces out of them. I had used this pajama shorts pattern for my early Moons and stars pajama set and had been very happy how it worked, so it was used again. Since I hate finishing knit hems, I simply overlocked shorts hems and stitched white lace on top. It was the same lace that I keep using for all my pajama sets. Now, finally there is very little of it left, only like 1 meter or so. Well, one more pajama top to be decorated with it, and then that’s it! :). And so here it is, my dress-T-shirt-conundrum pajama set situation! Was it a mistake to ditch a dress idea? Share your views in the comments section below! 🙂

Peplum sweatshirt

It took me like two hours to make this pajama set. I felt like I had just started, gained the pace and boom, the project was over. I wanted to continue. I had to make something else that I could bundle my pajama set with for it to be a worthy, solid weekend project. With fiery eyes I inspected my fabric stash and stopped at a nice pile of fabric leftovers that I had wanted to use up for quite some time. It was two sweatshirting fabric pieces left after my Floral sweatshirt project that my glance stopped at. This sweatshirt was one of my first knit projects. I am not too fond of it unfortunately. The sweatshirt is very wide for me, it hangs too far away from my body and does not serve its purpose of keeping me warm and cozy. Also, the quality of these two fabrics is very different. The floral fabric is of really good quality, it is solid liberty sweatshirting, it was expensive, therefore I had bought only 0.5 m of it for my first sweatshirt project. While the matching green jersey was really cheap, I got more of it, but it was cheap for a reason – it is really cheap looking fabric. This unfortunate combination of fabrics quality probably have added to my lack of excitement about my initial sweatshirt.

Since my first sweatshirt was made out of triangles of these two fabrics, there were very odd shapes left of both fabrics. I had triangles of floral fabric, and still quite a large piece of that green not very nice fabric. And so I thought – “here I’d finally make my New look jersey dress!” But it was not to be, again. When I started fitting paper pattern pieces on to the floral fabric, it became clear, that I would not manage to fit complete bodice pattern pieces on it. I could have attached green fabric to make the bodice long enough. But then I would not have had enough of green fabric for full length ruffle pieces. At that point I realized that it would have to be some kind of top, and at that stage I had no clue how it was going to look like.

I decided to cut out main bodice parts, stitch them together and then consider what to do next. When front and back pieces were cut out, I realized, that I had just about enough of fabric for short sleeves, so I cut them too. And so at first I made a short sleeved cropped floral top. For a brief moment I considered making a proper sweatshirt by attaching green bodice and sleeves extensions. But then I figured that it would perhaps not be a nice sweatshirt anyway. I was basically throwing pieces of fabric at this garment and watching what would stick. To make it hopefully a bit more fun, I decided to go ahead with peplum. I was so badly trying to make a ruffle dress, and without success, so at least I’d have a peplum top.

To lengthen sleeves, I attached a simple rectangle of fabric and decided to gather it a bit around cuffs. The decision had to be made on what cuffs to install – floral or green. Since my top was already a mess of pieces, I decided to top it of a notch and go ahead with floral cuffs. Now I do not think it was such a good idea, green cuffs would have looked better. But since all the seams were made on overlocker, I couldn’t really rip cuffs seams, and so floral cuffs it is.

It is one really funny top, I reckon. Honestly, I do not even know what I’ve made here. Is it a sweatshirt, is it a peplum top? I have decided to call it peplum sweatshirt, even though this thing might not even exist. But that’s ok, I’ve squeezed it out of very odd leftover pieces and it will be one odd top. I am glad to announce that it is actually quite comfy. Perhaps too wide around the waist – that’s a usual problem of peplum tops, as I’ve learnt by now. But it fits me very well around shoulders. So I hope I will find ways to wear it. I’ve found one styling combination right after finishing it. We were invited to have lunch at my sister-in-law’s place, and for that occasion I wore my new floral peplum situation with simple white shirt and light chino pants. I kind of like this outfit. In my view, it is a very proper everyday outfit to be worn here and there. I certainly like this one better than my first floral sweatshirt (second photo below).

Pajama top

But still I was not done yet! That night I did not sleep all that well as I had sewed until the late evening and all sorts of sewing thoughts were annoyingly flying in my head before sleep. I’ve gotten hooked on leftovers decluttering idea again. I was hastily contemplating potential usage plans for a very old linen that I’d bought like 10 years ago planning to cross-stitch a table cloth. At that time I was actively cross-stitching and my plans used to be as grandiose as my sewing plans sometimes are now! 😀 So no table cloth has happened, but it is still a good white linen, quite a bit sturdy and also a bit sheer, so no good for dresses, but that night I couldn’t quite figure out any good use for it either. And then suddenly a thought struck me that there was a small piece of knit cotton that remained after my last pajama project. For a while I planned to make one more small pajama top, probably camisole top out of that small leftover piece. And at that moment in the middle of the night I remembered that there also was a matching pink bias tape that I could use for straps for that camisole pajama top. In the middle of the night I recalled some random bias tape that I had not been thinking about for years! That’s what midnight thoughts rush means!

Ok, so next morning I actually checked that bias tape and had to conclude that it was a very short piece. Who buys 1.5 meters of bias tape? The answer is – me without any sewing experience two years ago. I already knew which pattern I’d be using for this camisole pajama top – everything had been decided on that previous night 🙂 It would be Grasser top pattern that I’d already used with limited success for my previous leftover camisole top project. Last time I made straps too short, that is why that top is not one of my favorites. This time around I figured I should cut the cleavage more shallow, lengthen straps a bit and thus make the top fit me better.

I measured carefully raw edges of the top that would need to get finished with bias tape and added projected straps length trying to figure out if 1.5 meters of bias tape was going to be enough to cover everything. It soon became obvious that it would not. I had enough of bias tape for straps and underarm edges. Whereas the chest and back neck edge would need to get finished some other way. I decided to install facings. To stabilize the neckline I attached a narrow interfacing tape to facing seams, stitched them on and under-stitched. To prevent the facing from falling out, I top stitched it at 1.5 cm from the edge, which in my view looks really nice. And then I stitched on bias tape in one continuous piece covering the underarm edges and making straps.

So now, instead of what previously was a two-piece pajama set I now have a three-piece pajama set! This fabric is very nice to wear, I also laundered my initial pajama set few times, and it looks just as new. So I am really happy to have made an additional pajama top out of this beautiful fabric.

Summary

Out of all this sewing frenzy this weekend I like the last camisole pajama top the best. It’s ironic that this piece was absolutely not planned and was conceived during my crazy midnight mind rush party. I truly hope I will be able to wear my weird floral peplum sweatshirt. It is a testament to my awkward fixation on using up all the leftovers to the last bit, even if they might not always be great quality pieces. And the first pajama set, wannabe ruffle dress, will certainly be put to good use. I will be glad to eventually stop buying pajama sets at the stores as they are inexplicably expensive there! 🙂

For white-black butterfly pajama set I needed 2 meters of lightweight cotton jersey, it has a touch of elastane in it. Pattern used here is, hm, New look dress pattern #6525, I cut it in size 10 and narrowed the bodice down by 5 cm at the bottom to deal with unwanted width. For pajama shorts I used good old Burda pattern, it came from Burda Homewear 2020 magazine, it is pattern #6. Am certain it is also published in a regular Burda magazine, I just don’t know in which issue. Other notions used were: a bit of mobilon tape for shoulders, a short piece of ribbon for the inside cover of the back neck band seam, a bit of the same lace as always for shorts hems, 3 cm elastic for shorts, and white thread. This set cost me 14 Eur.

For the funny peplum sweatshirt I used odd pieces of medium weight floral sweatshirting called Liberty Linford Deborah and lighter weight plain sweatshirting called Kelly green. Both fabrics were bought at The Fabric store online. The pattern used? Well, I’d like to call it a hack of the same New look pattern #6525. But instead it is probably closer to a frankenpattern situation. Floral Frankenstein, with a smile! Other notions were: a bit of mobilon tape for shoulders, a short piece of ribbon for the inside cover of the back neck band seam, and coordinating thread. This amazing sweatshirt cost me 17 Eur.

And the last camisole pajama top was made using Grasser top pattern #595 with few small adjustments. I used the leftover piece of floral knit cotton that I’d bought at my local fabric store. Other notions were: a bit of narrow interfacing tape, 1.5 m of pink cotton bias tape, and coordinating thread. This top cost me nothing as all the cost was already attributed to the previous pajama set.

All these garments were made in one weekend, sewing here and there, in the beginning of February, 2022. When this frenzy of leftover decluttering and messing with patterns was over, I felt really nice and somehow accomplished. Not really sure why, but here is the thought – I managed to get very tangible results very quickly. Nothing comparable to waiting for a month until a jacket or a coat would be complete. It seems to have been a really nice intermission in between more serious projects. Hopefully, now I will be more ready to again get my hands on one or another jacket. I have Chanel style jacket planned, and there is this other tweed jacket that I should make in February, because that’s for how long the instructions will be accessible. I am curious to see what will happen next!

Thanks for checking out this post and let’s catch up next time!

~Giedre~

Published by giedrestyle

This is a sewing blog. I am weekend sewist who enjoys creating a unique and one of a kind wardrobe.

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