Category Archives: Christmas

Like a pajama factory

This year the mothers of my grandchildren had a great idea and I ran with it. They suggested grandma-made pajama pants for their children for Christmas, and I was happy to comply.

I collected data on the little ones, who range in size from 18 months to size 12. I found a pattern online for pajama bottoms and managed to draw the size 10 and size 12 based on measurements and lines for size 8. Whew, I felt lucky just finding a multi-sized pattern from infant to size 8! I have 7 grandchildren, and my idea was to make pj pants for each one from a Christmas-patterned flannel, and for 5 of them an additional pair in a pattern each would love. The other 2 were not left out, you’ll see their quick quilts in a future post.

I went to the fabric store armed with measurements. I hadn’t noticed when flannel widths decreased, so I had to also re-figure the length I would need. If it comes in only 42″ widths, I had to figure I would get less once it was prewashed, and that was true – only 38″ in one case! I could not get two large pieces cut for the sizes 10 and 12 from one width of flannel, so I had to match up some of the smallest pieces next to the largest pieces.

I made a couple of errors along the way, but purchased fabric is never wasted, just used for another project. My dining room table became my cutting table for two weekends, and it was an organized chaos for a while. I found that I purchased the exact length I needed for the Christmas pattern pants. Too little fabric would have panicked me! I don’t live near fabric stores, so it would have meant a long drive to purchase more of the same.

Some of the flannel designs were one-way designs, meaning there was a right-side-up direction to the pattern. I had to be sure to cut the waist part of the pattern with the design going up. In at least two instances there was a definite lateral pattern as well. I had to use my knowledge of matching plaids to match the patterns as well.

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I lined up the pattern on the fabric so that the two pieces that were cut would be identical from the top to the bottom, and from the side to the side. In the case of the plaid that meant finding a center in the pattern to fold.DSCN0445

(seams showing good matching of fabric pattern)

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I pinned small tags to the pieces so that I could see at a glance which pair I was working on. Once I had all the pieces cut out for 12 pairs of pj pants, I started sewing like an assembly line.

DSCN0409I serged all the top edges and leg cuffs. I matched inner leg seams and sewed them. I matched center front and back seams and sewed them. I made a casing for the elastic waist and inserted the elastic, then hemmed the pants according to inseam lengths given by the mothers. Yes, I made it easy on myself at this point and topstitched. I rarely sew blind hems any more. It really is easy to sew loose pants in this style.

We decided to add long-sleeve t-shirts for each.

 

I was told the pajamas were a hit. In fact, one grandson defended me to a classmate on pajama day at school. The classmate swore there was no way a grandma could make pajamas. Michael said it was hard work, but his grandma did it.

More Quick and Simple Quilts

I have decided, since two of our grandchildren are a bit older, that they will receive the drag-around, kid-friendly quick quilts that I made a few years ago for the oldest ones.  I showed the quilts and the steps here  when I made the frog and the monkey quilts, and here when I made the pink and rainbows quilt. Time to brush up on my fleece quilting, and I have to admit that I referred back to my original postings to see details of what I did.

topstitching

topstitching

Hearts for Lilly

Hearts for Lilly

Monsters for Aidan

Monsters for Aidan

I didn’t get a photo, but with some of the leftover fabrics I made a doll quilt for Lilly’s doll that matches her quilt.

Now I’m ready for Christmas!

I just had to make another one of the super-quick lap quilts. We have a new step-granddaughter who is 4 and I think she will absolutely love the pink sweetness and rainbows on this bright flannel. To avoid a sugar coma, I backed it with white fleece instead of trying to match the pink.

I made the label myself. I fused interfacing to the back of white cotton, then printed what I wanted it to say. I heat-set it with my iron, trimmed, and hemmed it.  Not all printer inks will be colorfast, and I originally tried something with color in it. The black held, but the color washed away. Always do a test patch! As a sweet added touch, I couched pink ribbon around the edge with extra at the beginning and ending, and tied it into a bow.

Making do with what it is

I love thrift store shopping, and crafting. The two go hand in hand, quite often.

I am an elementary reading teacher, and right now I have 50 students. I always put up a small Christmas tree in my classroom, and usually have ornaments on the tree that students can choose to keep.

I found a bag full of small round “gold” rings, and my thought was that they were snap-together frames for a craft project. Knowing there were plenty in the bag for one per student, I bought it. Little did I know, they were actually curtain rings. No snap together parts.

No worries. I got them home, fiddled around a little, and decided there was plenty of gluing surface to cut paper in a circle and glue to the back. I got out my new crafty circle cutter and found 1 5/8″ is the right measurement.

I plan to print a photo of each student to put in the center of 50 of the rings.

I counted out 50, and found at least that many remaining in the bag, so I found some scraps and this is what I did. Simple, cute, and I may revise it at some point.

I had a small scrap of pine tree fabric and it covered the backs of three of the rings. A little bit of ribbon, and it’s a simple ornament. I will probably work up a small tribute on the back saying it’s a gift from Mrs. M.

Where has the month gone?

I’m finally feeling better, but this post isn’t about my health issues. I’ve found a few minutes here and there in which to sew, and I finally have something to show (you) for it.

crescent Santa tree skirt

crescent Santa tree skirt

Since the beard was the last thing I did, besides stitching down the various parts, and it was freehand and spontaneous, it took me a while to plan out the spontaneous part. Yes, I’m that much of a planner. The final part was to place the stars. The book suggested painting small wooden stars with gold paint, drilling two holes, and stitching them on like buttons. I chose to use 3 different colors of yellow and embroider them. I did few, so they didn’t overpower Santa, and none on the back side because it wouldn’t show.

doll quilt

doll quilt

I also worked on another doll quilt. This one used scraps from this wall quilt I made for signatures at a 50th wedding anniversary party.  I found 4 matching half-square triangles and arranged them as a pinwheel, then sewed the pinwheels together. This will go into the Etsy store for sale, and I plan to make more. I found a doll that could model the quilts for me, but still am lacking a bed for more polished-looking pictures. Of course, since the doll needed a nightgown, I made that for her, too.

I worked a bit on the circle quilt, but I’ve found that I’ve done too much unnecessary work. I will have a future tutorial to explain the shortcuts I’ve found. Since I have at least 3 more to complete, I don’t feel like I’ve learned these things too late.

3 projects going at once

I have several projects going right now, and three that I’m trying to work on through this long weekend.

santa tree skirtFirst, I had copied the pattern pieces for this Christmas tree skirt from a book, Deck the Halls. I currently can’t find the book, so I’m winging it when I have to. The background is blue felt, with Santa’s face curving around the circular edge. The directions say to use small wooden stars, paint them gold, drill a couple of holes and attach them as buttons for the stars in the night sky. I plan to use my home embroidery machine to embroider gold stars in the sky. This is an overdue wedding gift for a nephew who was recently married. I figure the gift isn’t late until Thanksgiving, and I plan to have it completed and sent well before then.

I also have circles. Lots of them.

I had cut these circles about a week ago for my friend’s quilts for her daughters. Instead of using her late husband’s jeans for these, since he didn’t have the numbers that 4 quilts would require, she had bought blue cotton fabric. I need to mark the squares, purchase and cut the batting, and start cutting the shirt fabric squares.

The other project I sewed on today was a doll quilt. I haven’t made one before, but I have the occasion to do so now. My stepson is marrying soon and will acquire a stepdaughter of his own. She’s only 4 and I look forward to meeting her. They are expecting a baby, and because the big sister will likely feel a little left out of things, I planned to make her some doll accessories.

I had bought some “quilter’s grid on point” and I couldn’t wait to use it. The amount I bought was the perfect size to cut into four pieces and each can be used for a doll quilt.

I used pink fabric and some of the floral bedsheet fabric I still have, and made 16-patch blocks. I broke up the blocks with solid blocks from the sheet fabric. I fused the blocks to the grid.

After I took this photo I realized the one-way direction of the white blocks would be going the wrong way. I found that I could peel each off, reposition, and press again. Good to know, I often have to adjust something as I go.

This is the back view of the grid. It is “grid on point” and would be very handy for stitching on a line, but I didn’t use it that way. I folded it between the blocks and sewed each direction. Incredibly fast and easy! I think I may love using this stuff.

I backed the quilt with white flannel, used low-loft batting scraps inside, and bound it with plain pink fabric.  I think Lamb Chop got very comfortable and I think my new step-step-granddaughter will enjoy it as well.

Something vintage and fun

I was reorganizing papers in my sewing room and came across this pocket folio. This shows my old way of getting and keeping patterns! Most of what I found was in one of two women’s magazines that I read at the time.

This was in Family Circle magazine, dated 12/3/85. The pattern pieces were drawn on a grid, and it was up to the seamstress to  transfer the lines to a grid drawn according to the instructions. I used a couple of different types of papers, even a spare legal pad.

It took a bit of time, but we had no desktop computer, printer, or access to a copy machine with a zoom feature. I drew the grid lines, and added the pattern lines. It was like an old art class exercise, and having had that experience came in handy.

That year, for Christmas, I made a dolly for each of my 6 nieces. Each doll had hair similar to the recipient. Cabbage Patch Dolls had made an entrance on the toy store shelves, and this was a handmade answer to that craze. The clothing patterns were sized to fit either this doll or Cabbage Patch Dolls.

It’s funny that I’ve kept the pattern and instructions all these years. A few years ago I made a doll for myself with this pattern, to carry as a prop for a Halloween costume.