Wednesday, 5 June 2013

One hundred!

Somehow, this is my hundredth post! I've actually been blogging for just over a year on this platform (but coming up on nine years altogether if you consider my other, non-sewing blog) as well. I'm celebrating these semi-significant numbers by... posting about the most boring finished garment ever! :D? :D? >:(

The reason I was making The Most Boring Finished Garment Ever was that I was doing it on my BRAND NEW MACHINE which turned up right on schedule at lunchtime today. I have to tell you, the afternoon was TORTURE. Every time I took a break from my work I'd sneak downstairs and try to get a little further into unpacking it, and then the whole last hour I was like AM I DONE YET? WHAT ABOUT NOW? OR NOW? CAN IT BE TIME TO SEW YET?

So far, I LOVE IT. LOVE. LOOOOOOOVE. I am not going to take back my statement that the Janome 2200XT I've been sewing on the last 22 months is a great beginner's machine. It absolutely is, and I am glad I bought it and got so much enjoyment out of using it. HOWEVER. I didn't realize how many annoying little things it did until I was using a machine that doesn't do those annoying things. In particular, having a needle up/down means that the thread never slides back out the needle because it's in the 'wrong' place when you finish and there's not enough of a thread tail when you make the first stitch of the next seam. You have no idea how many times in a typical sewing session I'd rethread my needle because of not remembering to pull a longer tail every single time. How many times did I thread my needle today? ONCE. ONE TIME It's a REVELATION to me. Also, the new machine is SO QUIET. I am sure there are things I won't love about it in time, but right now, I am TOTALLY ENAMOURED of this machine.

Ahem. At any rate, I will post a proper review to PR of the machine once I've been using it for a few months -- I don't think my flailing glee is really a helpful state of mind to review in. On with the Most Boring Garments In The World!

(Please forgive my even-worse-than-usual photos: I really haven't worked out a good photo situation yet in this house and to be honest, PJ shorts aren't the easiest to photograph anyway since I absolutely refuse to model them. Not that I really model anything.)

I wanted to make something really quick and easy this evening that would let me try out all the basic stuff I use on the machine, using an easy fabric (100% cotton), so at the weekend I cut out a couple of pairs of PJ shorts and tonight I sewed them up:
Ottobre 05-2011-02: the version with the border print

The pattern is from Ottobre Woman 05-2011-02, the "Sweet Dreams" PJ shorts. I've made this pattern up before, waaaaaaay back at the beginning of my garment sewing adventures and I wear those red and blue plaid PJs regularly. Nothing much has changed since my original review of the pattern itself. This time I didn't even pretend I was going to do the drawstring at the waist, though (my red and blue pair had the buttonholes for the drawstring, but never actually got a drawstring).

Both of the pairs of shorts I made today came from the same small remnant of border printed cotton.  It's another of my early purchases, when I bought quite a few fabrics that I don't precisely regret buying, but that I have been looking at for over a year now wondering what exactly I can do with them. I bought this vaguely thinking "skirt" but the fabric is far too thin for that without a serious lining and also, I don't know what I was thinking because I VERY much doubt I'd wear a skirt with this print on it. Also, I didn't really have enough fabric for anything interesting that you can do with a border print. I had about 1.8m of 110cm wide fabric, with the border running along the selvedge, but unfortunately that length included a repeating flaw (massive great big fraying hole) in the fabric. I considered donating it in my recent mini-purge, but then I had a brain-wave: PJs! Cotton PJ shorts are always useful, and the Ottobre pattern could easily be adapted to the border print. I get obscure satisfaction from the fact that in the end I reduced that 1.8m piece of fabric to a few tiny scraps plus two handkerchief sized pieces that included the major fabric flaw, and two pairs of PJs. Altogether, including thread etc, my PJs cost around £10, or £5 per pair. (I bought everything in sterling, so I am not converting my costs to Euros!)

The first pair is the most interesting, because I cut it from the border. I had to play with my seam allowances a little bit to squeeze all four pieces out of the border area. I absolutely nailed my border print matching horizontally (not that it was really difficult) but there was zero chance I could match properly at the side seams with this amount of fabric so I didn't even try (and also WAY too much like effort for PJs even if I had the fabric).

Ottobre 05-2011-02: The version without the border print
The second pair is from the non-border area. Originally I wasn't going to do this pair, because I couldn't work out a way to cut it out around the flaw in the fabric, but after some pattern tetris, I managed to squeeze out the second pair. They're phenomenally boring to look at, of course, though you can JUST barely see in the photo that even the non-border area has ~~sparkly bits~~. This is cute in theory but I'm wondering whether in practice it means I'm going to be washing sparkles out of my sheets constantly for as long as they are in rotation.

I did miss my overlocker when I was making these. It is with the rest of my sewing stuff waiting to come over in a few weeks. If there's ever a garment where I'd be quite happy to rapidly overlock the seams down to nothing on the machine, like you get in RTW, it's a pair of PJs. As it was I had to faff about top stitching and pinking in order to get a nice seam finish, which was frankly more effort than PJs really merit, in my opinion.

And there you have it: yes, they're very uninteresting garments, but they are the first I've made here in Ireland, and the first with my new machine. I'm pretty happy with the outcome!


  1. Lovely idea to make something tried and tested and that will bring you much comfort in your new home. Gotta love a border print!

    1. I really do love a border print, but other than skirts/dresses I think they are actually quite hard to use. I have the most AMAZING border print sateen in my stash that is destined to be a dress one day but I haven't found the perfect pattern for it yet.

  2. Congrats on the 100. Love those PJ pants (especially the first pair - gorgeous - not boring at all). And Oooh la la to your new machine - very nice indeed.

    1. My new machine is GREAT. I may have actually spent a few minutes this morning just gazing at it adoringly when I should have been getting ready for work. :D