Friday, June 29, 2012

I Need. A Nap.

I love a good bargain.  My husband teases that he is cheep, but I disagree.  He is frugal, and so am I.  Frugal is sooo much nicer-sounding than cheep.

I want my kids to wear clean pajamas to bed every night.  I just think it is icky to put on previously worn clothes on freshly washed skin.  That said, I simply CANNOT bear the thought of spending money on multiple sets of new jammies every six months.  Then I remembered THIS blog post I saw back in September from Making the World Cuter.  (Check out this blog - It is really fun and of course, CUTE!)  In this post, Tiffany shows how she made pajama pants for her children from used sheets.  Sheet fabric is awesome!  It is ideal for making sleepwear because you were sleeping in before anyway!

I thought, "Hey, I've got a ton of old sheets.  I can sew.  I'll just make my children new sleep shorts for summer.  I can get them all done in a day."   HA HA HA HA!  Ahem, sorry.  I usually have big ideas that take vastly more time in the execution than I originally estimate.

Super Sleepy Shorts

Seriously, this was a totally easy project.  It just takes time to crank out 18 pairs of shorts.  (At least it took me some time.)

First, make a pattern.  Trace a pair of shorts that fit.  *Be sure to leave enough space around the pattern pieces for seam allowance!*

I first drew out the pieces on freezer paper.  Then, I cut out a demo pair and got to sewing.  Naturally here the tweaking began.  My son's shorts fit him, but just barely.  He loved them and insisted on wearing them to bed that night.  My daughter's shorts were way too tight.  I fixed the demo pairs  by trimming the side seams and adding a contrasting stripe of fabric all the way down.  (As I said before, I'm fugal, and I wasn't about to toss two pairs of nearly useable shorts.  You can see them in the photos at the bottom of this post.)

Once I adjusted the pattern pieces, I began cutting them out of the sheets.  For my son's shorts, I used a fitted sheet from his bed that had lost its elastic. For my daughter, I used a fitted sheet from my bed that had been artistically embellished with a completely indelible ink, (Seriously, these are my favorite pens EVER!) but what really did them in was when I tore a pillowcase one morning as I was changing the sheets.

After all of the pattern pieces were cut out I decided to embellish the  fronts of my daughter's shorts for two reasons: first, I wanted to make them cute and two: I needed a way to distinguish the front from the back.  I mean, who wants to wear their shorts on backwards.

My sewing machine is big and clunky and doesn't sew small seams well so I decided to put on the appliques before I stitched the pieces together.

The finished applique'

I poked holes in the wing to get the correct placement.

I stitched around the outline of the bird after I attached the wing.

I trimmed around the stitching leaving about a ¼" of extra fabric.
Once the applique's were done. I put together the shorts.  Here is where the really scandalous part begins...I didn't finish the edges of the pattern pieces before I sewed!  ACCCK!  There, I admitted it.  Sigh!  It feels good to get that off my chest!  You see, I was taught to zigzag around each piece before I started to sew to avoid having my hard work literally unravel in front of my eyes.  I just didn't want to take the time to do that over, and over, and over again for 18 pairs of shorts so I faked it.  I sewed the seam and then zigzagged down the raw seam to finish it off.  Um, can I just say that I LOVE IT!!  It made the process so much faster, and I do believe that the finished shorts look a little less homemade.  Here are the steps:

Sew the outside seam and the inseam of both the legs.  Then zigzag to finish the seam!  :)
 Then zigzag the bottoms of each leg before you roll the hem.

Hem each leg. 

I opted to hem each leg before I attached the legs together because these shorts are not intended to be seen by the public.  I just needed them to be hemmed .  Amazingly, you cannot even tell that I didn't meticulously measure and remeasure before sewing.  

Slide the legs into one another right sides together.

Sew the crotch together. 
 Zigzag the crotch seam and then around the top of the shorts.  This finishes the edge before it is enclosed in the casing.

Sew a casing for the elastic.  Make sure you leave a space to thread your elastic.

Feed the elastic through the casing.
When I am feeding elastic through a casing, I have learned to pin the tail end to the fabric.  I have had many a tail end slip inside the work forcing me to start over. 

Stitch the ends of the elastic together and sew up the hole. 

You will notice the crotch seam.  I made sure that I kept the seam direction uniform as I sewed around the waist.  I didn't want it to be strange and twisty.

Here are some after shots:

Here's that bird again!

Faux chenille - My daughter says these are her favorite!
These use a reverse applique' process where I sewed the contrasting fabric to the back of the pattern pieces and then cut away the white.  I like this look, but I didn't leave enough of an edge and some of the pieces needed to be repaired after washing. 

My son got striped shorts!

My kids absolutely love these shorts.  It is a challenge sometimes to get them out of their sleepy shorts and into "real clothes" in the mornings.  My son's only complaint is that he can't tell which way is the front on his shorts.  He wants me to sew in a tag.  I'll have to come up with something, I guess.

Here are a few shots of the finished shorts...

The "O & X" shorts gave me the most trouble.

My favorite applique' is this flower.  The edges ravel nicely after laundering.

My daughter loves the HUG and KISS!

All in all, this project took me about a week to complete.  I am still amazed that I thought I could finish in a day.  Believe me, you can totally do this project!  The hardest part for me was making sure I was sewing the applique to the "right" side of the fabric.  I messed that up once which set me back several hours while I picked out the mistake.  (See the "O & X shorts above.)  I'll be honest, though, it wouldn't be a sewing project of mine if there wasn't some picking out involved! 

These shorts were nearly free.  I needed to replenish my elastic stash and get a new spool of thread.  In all, each pair cost around $1!  I paired them with plain cotton t-shirts like THESE.  These summer pj's totally fit my frugal nature.  Plus, I have tons of fabric left over.  I used two pillowcases and a full fitted sheet for my son's shorts and not even all of my king-sized fitted sheet for my daughter's shorts.  I already have plans for the remnants!