I sew in snippets, usually for an hour after my son goes to bed. Sometimes I lose interest in a project before I finish because I feel like I’ve been working on it forever. I dream of having a day where I can do nothing but sew. We have had upper respiratory illnesses since Thanksgiving, so my gift sewing wasn’t happening at all (too tired nights). I took yesterday off to sew my niece her gift. All day sewing – yay!
Or not. I was exhausted by four in the afternoon. The longer I sewed, the more mistakes I made. The grass isn’t always greener… perhaps having longer occasional sewing sessions would be nice, but not an all day sewing session, to hit a deadline, to mail the gift away.
In any case, I made my niece the Carolyn Pajamas (Closet Case) for Christmas, using Harry Potter “Marauder’s Map” cotton and matching mottled red quilting cotton from JoAnns. I started a pair of these pjs for myself back in the early spring, but never finished them. Not an issue with the pattern, so much as repeated operator error on the serger (I cut the shorts out three times). For my niece, I went with the shorts and long sleeved shirt, with piping.
She’s still a little girl at heart, but nearly grown up at 12. Her measurements put her at the size 0, barely. I have a feeling it will be too big, and the button on the shirt will be too low. On the other hand, she should be having a pretty big growth spurt soon.
The Carolyn pjs from Closet Case are pretty popular, and have been reviewed all over the place, so I won’t go into too many details. Rather, I thought I’d give my impressions as someone who usually sews the big 4.
- The instruction booklet is very detailed. It’s almost overwhelming.
- The instructions have little tiny errors every where, mostly in the artwork. For example, on the shirt pocket, you are instructed to top-stitch above the piping, and the first picture shows this, but in the next step, the top stitching seems to be on the bottom.
- The wrong side of the fabric is shaded in the artwork, while the right side is white. This is opposite companies like Vogue, and took some getting used to.
- The instructors are definitely written for people who hate to hand-sew. But you’d get better results if you basted, by hand. For example, I sewed the facing on one lapel three times before it went in properly. The next facing I basted and got it right on the first try. I basted often, actually: with almost all of the piping, the collar, and every place you were secure something with stitching-in-the-ditch (cuffs on shirt, short, waistband, collar). Since I had already done the short for myself, I knew I’d get better results with basting.
- A recommendation for the piping on the shirt pocket: open up the piping and trim the piping to the seam/foldline on the side of the pocket. I didn’t, the instructions did not suggest it. And as I was topstitching that pocket into place, I regretted it. It puckers slightly at the edges, and is bulky. Lesson learned.
In general, I’m very pleased with how they turned out. I didn’t buy enough of the Harry Potter fabric – I bought enough for the short sleeved version. And the pattern is very busy. I knew, even with a single-layer layout, I would not be able to match the pattern. As a result, I focused on pattern placement and aligning the pattern horizontally as much as possible.
For contrast, I made my own piping with the mottled red quilting cotton. I had intended to do the lapel/collar in contrast as well, but the red faded to a brighter color than the red in the main fabric when I pre-washed. Therefore, I used the contrast only where it helped with pattern matching – the top of the pocket on the shirt, the pockets in the shorts, and the under-collar. When it made sense I used red thread, but mostly used the lighter colored thread.
Hope she likes them!