Sometimes I sew just for fun. Sometimes I sew because I see something that inspires me, and I have no choice but to watch it come to life in my craft room. And then sometimes I sew because Lila is running out of pajamas that fit her, especially short sleeved roomy ones for the six months of heat that are coming up, and somehow the easily procured big-box store brands aren't going to be good enough. Mm hmm. As an added bonus excuse, I've been wanting to learn to sew with knits, and starting with baby pajamas seems like a low-stakes way to jump in.
So, here's my first take. There are more on the way. I'm pretty happy with the results. (Uhm, that weird discoloration all over the pants? That's what happens when you let your kid play in the wet grass before starting your photo shoot. They're not that way all the time. They look nice from the time I pull them from the dryer until 3 milliseconds after putting them on Lila.) However, I think they could have been a little more matchy. Maybe it's good that they're not though. I could always use them as actual clothing pieces in a pinch, right?
Because I'm just starting to learn knits, and because I'm too lazy to try and source good-looking knit fabric, which I hear is no easy thing to do, I used discarded tops I no longer wear. Here are pics of what I started with:
So I was initially going to do different pairings as you can see, but I realized at the last minute that I'd lost my maternity weight and still fit into the cute pink top which I loved before it got WAY too tight on me. So it was a happy reunion, and Lila was outta luck. Would have been cute with the orange, but instead the orange and white are now mated for life. Anyway, the white top was a real challenge to work with because of the (if you look really close you can see it) little vent lines running up the sides, which I had to work around. But I think the buttons turned out cute, and hey, I didn't have to sew them!
Okay, here they are on my model baby:
My, what a life-like baby mannequin I have! She stands, she sits, she even goes poo! Yes folks, she was a limited edition - only one ever made. Can you believe my luck to have gotten her?? :)
Here's a closeup of the lettuce hem on the 3/4 length capris, so nice for Lila now that the hotter weather has arrived:
If you'd like to learn how to do a lettuce hem with your knits, there's a wonderful simple tutorial over at the Oliver and S blog you should check out. It's how I learned, and it's soo easy to do. I love the look, and it's great for pajamas.
For the pajama pants, I felt confident enough to make my own pattern from a pair of pajama bottoms Lila already had that fit her well. By fit her well I mean that they are still large enough that she'll be able to wear them right through the hot weather and into fall before she outgrows them. Here's the sketch I did using those pants:
Notice I turned them inside out to get the most accurate copy. You could easily do this with any simple pattern. There were no side seams on these pants, and the front and back were mirror images except for the higher rise in back to make room for baby butts. That made this super easy, since I could cut two of the pattern on the fold (the fold being the right side of the pattern in the pic above), and then just cut the front lower for a proper fit. So I drew out the general shape on tracing paper. Then I added extra length for the elastic casing and cut the bottoms slightly shorter to make them capris. I cut out my fabric. Finally, I cut the front at an angle to give the pants their shape and rise. If you're wondering what I'm talking about here, hold up any pair of pants by the top of the sides, and notice the front is lower than the back. This is to make room for your butt.
However, I was not willing to try and manufacture a pattern for the top. No sir. Not that crazy. Since the world expert in sewing with knits is, in my ravaged mind anyway, Rae, I went straight there. Actually it's Rae's Kniterview Series that finally goaded me into trying out knits, so we have her to blame for all of this.
Anyway, I happily purchased her $10 Flashback Skinny Tee, and I'm just tickled that I did. Not only did I get a nice basic t-shirt pattern, but she also includes several different finishes for the neck and arm cuffs. Since it's a long-sleeve pattern, you can cut the length of the arm anywhere you like, for any weather. I was able to use the pattern easily to transform an adult woman's shirt with holes all down the sides and buttons down the front into a baby pajama top. I mean seriously, that's a VERSATILE pattern right there. Will be using it lots in the future. Like I've already sewn another top with that pattern, which you shall see shortly. Plus she includes lots of "hints" for success when sewing with knits during each step, so you can't go wrong. She says the pattern is for someone who already has a little experience with knits, but I did just fine with basically no experience other than having sewn one pair of little knit pants. But, I've read a lot of her tips elsewhere on sewing with knits. However, I don't have any fancy equipment to work with - no serger, not even a walking foot. And the top still turned out well, so I'd say it would work for any person who possesses other sewing experience and some preliminary information about sewing with knits.
Okay, here's some cuteness for you:
Ridiculous yet adorable, no? I'm sort of in love with these labels a lady named Gail has been known to make. I've stolen her idea. I'm sure she wouldn't mind if you did too.