Christmas Sewing

My goal this year, both to give more thoughtful gifts and to jumpstart my sewing, was to sew all of the Christmas gifts I gave. I came fairly close, so I'm considering it a win.

The children I babysit - we'll call them W, E and B - all got jammie bottoms from Butterick 5153. W is two, and I chose a cute orange flannel with cars and trucks for his jammies. E is 9 and very wild, but not girly, and I found a really funny print with monkeys riding skateboards, surf boards, bicycles, etc. B is 13 and the epitome of everything frilly, and I decided that ladybugs would do for her. I liked the jammie idea because they all got a commensurate gift and the fabric really let me personalize it.
My guy friends and my Secret Santa in newspaper also got jammies, but these were Big-Kid jammies from McCall's 3019 with pockets and a much nicer shaped leg. My Secret Santa, Harry, is a huge comic book and movie fan. I asked around and the general consensus was that he liked Watchmen best, but all I could find at Joann (this is going to be a recurring phrase, I think) was a Spiderman print. I made a few small adjustments to the pattern as I went along. The pockets on this pattern are huge! I have no idea why you would need (or want) pockets that huge in your pj bottoms, so I cut them out without the seam allowance and took an extra 1/4 inch when I was sewing them. I hate elasticized waistbands, but to make it a bit more aesthetically pleasing I used two rows of 3/4 '' thick elastic and sewed the casing very tight to it. I wish I had a photo of this, it added a nice touch and I'm quite proud of it. I did the same for Dan's jammie bottoms, which are a tacky dollar print and really sort of perfect for him.
My best friend Ashley and I have matching snuggies which we got together when she came home to Chico with me in August. The snuggie is the most hillarious As-seen-on-TV product that has ever come out, it's a cultural phenomenon. I really hate to spoil it for anyone, but the snuggie is just a backwards robe. Thats it. "Snuggie" is pretty much become a verb - ex: "Let's snuggie at Shea 14 tonight" - translation: "We should both wear our snuggies when we go to the movies tonight." So basically, they're awesome.

Anywho, I decided that she needed a special snuggie for Christmas. Ashley is my polar opposite and loves pink, and has a strange thing for turtles. Joann's had 50% off fleece for most of December and I got her pink turtle fabric there. Both Simplicity and McCall's have knockoff snuggie patterns, Simplicity's has a back botton and McCall's a foot pocket. I used McCall's 5970 because McCall's patterns were on sale that week. Very easy to cut out and sew together.

I decided on a purse for my Momma, mainly because she wears out bags quickly and is constantly buying new ones to carry work files and whatnots in. I made McCall's 5599 view C, skipping the sew in interfacing for the front and using an apparel corduroy from Joann's. I used a lightweight fusible interfacing for the lining, and that was defiantly  needed because my lining cotton was so thin in comparison to the corduroy. Overall, the bag turned out awesome and I was really happy with it. My Momma loved it, too, and it's just barley big enough to tote around all of her therapy materials. I loved the bright fall colors on the fabric originally, but once it was finished I wished that I had used a larger print. The bag has a little bit of that "craft" feel I'd like to avoid.

Overall, I love this pattern. I love the way it is lined and I love the pockets, I love the O rings and I love the front pleats. It's really easy to sew, too, and it's ease is probably clouding my judgement. This is my second time making it, the first time being out of scrap fabric just as a practice run. I might make myself one from this silly robot fabric from Joann's. I saw clear plastic purse handles last time I was there, and if I get a chance to go back within the next few days I'll suppliment handles for the O ring and strap style. The clear might kind of play off the futuristic robot theme. It's a really fun fabric, more of a running around doing errands or hanging out with friends purse than a nice dinner purse, but pshhh, who cares? It's fun!

I have some fabrics I ordered from Sew Mama Sew in October that I haven't used yet. I absolutely love the blue mod/tribal print, and think it would make a great skirt. They are all cotton quilting fabrics. The vintage style florals have too much pink for me to wear, but I do really like them so I'll probably end up using them for a gift or a bag. The purple and pink print, however, I dislike entirely. The website photo for that fabric is ivory and purple, NOT pink and purple. Sew Mama Sew has excellent customer service, within a week of my email they had sent me a new cut of the fabric. However, I had thought they simply sent the wrong fabric. It is the right fabric, but the photo on the website is a bit misleading. They apologized and I sent back the second cut of the fabric in a pre-paid envelope. Really great customer service. I will defiantly order from them again.
The dot fabrics on the left are from repodepotfabrics.com. I ordered them several years ago when I first got my sewing machine (I was 12) and never used them. For the life of me, I can't think of anything to use them for. I have just over a yard of each. Any ideas?
The cupcake fabric is from Japan and I got it in downtown Denver when I was visiting my Grandma. She took me to this awesome little store called "The Crafty Tiger" where I took a two hour A-line skirt class. I absolutely loved that store, they had adorable fabrics and buttons, great class instructors, and completely reasonable pricing.

As for projects, I'd really like to sew a few garments for myself. As of yet I have not used stretch or knit fabrics. I don't have a serger and hadn't really considered it until recently. My understanding is that a ball needle will allow me to sew on interlock knits. Is this correct? A few patterns I'd like to make for spring (AKA all year when you're in Arizona) are Simplicity 2608 knit skirts view C, McCall's M5425 view A, McCall's 5577 jumper, and try McCall's 5548 again. My grandmother gave me McCall's 5548 this summer, it's vintage circa 1977 and really cute. I made top E once before but gave up before finishing it. It was too short and too wide, the straps were positioned horribly, and I didn't like the fabric much to begin with. I've already measured out and altered the pattern a bit though, and I think my next try should be successful.

I'd love to hear project suggestions or any thoughts.


  1. Hi Jana - Glad so see your are eager to learn how to sew for yourself. I would like to help and answer a few of your questions hope it will be helpful.
    You said: "As of yet I have not used stretch or knit fabrics." Knit fabrics are really fun to work with but it could give you a headache or two - to see how I fit a knit top from finish to start you could visit my website http://perfectsewandfit.com/category/learn-to-sew-a-knit-top/ if you need any help or assistance you could email me and I will try my best to help you. Yes you will use a ballpoint needle to sew on interlock knits, the reason or difference - a ballpoint needle doesn't have a sharp point but a smooth rounded point.

    I love your choice for a summer skirt Simplicity 2608 knit skirts view C, I couldn't see if you would sew a zip in the back or side but this little skirt would be a great choice for your spring/summer wardrobe. I also have a video on how to fit a skirt - it may be helpful if you watch it - I did not sew a knit skirt but the basics would be the same http://perfectsewandfit.com/category/how-to-sew-a-skirt/

    You really have good taste and you will have a great wardrobe by adding McCall's M5425 view A, this little dress would be a quick sew up - Did you sew a zipper before?

    I also like McCall's 5577 jumper, what kind of fabric would you use for the jumper?

    I hope you will have success when you try to sew McCall's 5548 again.I think it will bring you and your grandma great joy if you succeed in sewing this top - by watching the videos I mentioned you should be well on your way to a great fit.

    I wish you a lot of success - and let me know if you need any assistance.

    Take care & Happy sewing
    Patricia Schoeman

  2. Thank you so much, Patricia! I will watch the videos. You're very helpful and encouraging, I really appreciate it.