Photo taken from ecrater.co.uk
Near the end of my previous post, I brought up my current work in progress: a set of satin pajamas for my older sister. Ever since I received some red, satin pajamas for Christmas a couple years ago, my sisters have been drooling over them! They may not keep you as warm as the flannel type, but boy oh boy, they are so luxurious. :)
I've made pajamas out of satin before
so when I set out to make another for my older sister, I thought, "I did it before. . . This time should be piece-o-cake!" This preliminary spike of confidence quickly driddled.
The Fabric Before I get to the grueling parts of this expedition, let me talk to you about the fabric I chose. I was making a large Fabric.com order (mainly to purchase staples like lining, black and white cotton, and a pressing ham), and I decided to add a couple of yards of their Shimmer Satin, a polyester, in a very pretty shade of light pink.
Choosing the Right Pattern
So the fabric order arrived (that was one of the most memorable boxes I've received to date!), and a few weeks later I got to work. I selected Simplicity 3571
, which I've used in the past. The sewing envelope includes a pattern for pants that have an elastic waist and a pajama top that has kimono sleeves. When I made these before, I had to alter the waist line of the pajama top because there was just too much ease; something like 12 inches! So I knew I had to do some adjustments for my older sister.
How Much Ease? Problem, though, how much ease should I allow? Pajamas are suppose to be loose fitting and comfortable, but how much ease should I leave? After searching for a size chart of this sort on the internet and coming up empty handed, I switched gears and just went and measured some of my sister's other pajamas/nightwear that she owns. On average, there was 5" ease in the waist. I went with it.
Sewing Pattern Substitute After a good amount of time figuring out what to alter with the pajama top pattern, it dawned on me. There were just way too many alterations to be made. So instead of forming a headache with all the necessary changes, I just went and looked for a pattern substitute. I found it in a very surprising place. A McCall's unfitted jacket pattern from the 1970s, to be exact.
Pattern photo taken from this site.
To me, the jacket had a pajama silhouette and the right details (i.e. collar, pockets, sleeve band, etc.). The pattern I own is one size too large for my sister--which is a good thing. Pajamas need ease and after measuring the pattern tissue I learned that it had the right amount. Yay!
Where Did All the Fabric Go? So I went to work. After lengthening the pant legs, shorting the pant's crotch, and lengthening the top's sleeves, I cut out the pj top fabric pieces. Little did I know that there was yet another road block coming my way. There wasn't enough fabric to cut out the pants! This was caused by my change in sewing pattern. Bummer. I jumped onto the internet and quickly ordered 2 1/2 more yards of the satin; was so happy it was still in stock!
Sheer Fear When I was waiting for my fabric reinforcements to arrive, I started to baste the interfacing pieces to the fashion fabric. This is where I ran into another problem. I noticed that I could easily see the interfacing on the public side. In other words, the light pink satin was too sheer. I never noticed it before until I applied the interfacing! I came up with two solutions: wear a cami underneath or underline. I chose underline.
Underlining Fabric What type of underlining should I use? Because my sister has a budget, I didn't want to use expensive material to do all of the pieces. So I went with an ivory taffeta lining for the pj top and a white cotton lawn for the pants.
Details, Details, Details! I also was busy deciding details when waiting for my extra fabric to arrive. Such as the pockets and the piping. I have four boxes full of bias binding, seam binding, rick rack, hem lace, and piping. But I just didn't have enough piping in the right shade of pink. So I wound up making my own. I first chose a pale purple gingham fabric but my sister preferred a medium pink stripe. So I went with that. And for the cording I used some crochet cord (do they still make crochet cord anymore?), because I don't have any cording specifically for piping making.
Flat Felled Seams
With piping done I was ready to choose the right seam techniques and serger stitch. I pulled out Sandra Betzina's Fabric Savvy
and turned to silk charmeuse. She states that a French seam or flat felled seam are the best choices when working with this type of fabric. (I know that I am using a polyester satin, but I do know that silk charmeuse is very similar.) I never heard the term "flat felled seam" so I was intrigued. After researching this seam, I learned that it is very same seam that is used on jeans. That is what is called, huh?! Sooner than later, I made my first ever flat felled seam and it was love at first sight. I used this YouTube video
So that is where I am now. I am ironing out all of the fabric and will be cutting the pants and underlining soon.
What have I learned so far here?
1. Polyester satin and lining is very difficult to iron. Those pesky wrinkles seem to never smooth out! Any solution? Actually yes, and it comes in 'solution' form! In a spray bottle, I pour in 1 part white distilled vinegar and 3 parts tap water. I spray a liberal amount on the fabric and iron on low heat (synthetic setting on my iron). It works beautifully! I learned about this remedy from online sewing forums and Tailoring. Note: I highly recommend testing a swatch of your fabric before doing this wrinkle removal remedy. Each fabric is different and who knows, your fabric may develop water spots or stains. Best to test!
2. Use sewing patterns in unconventional ways. Such as using a pattern for a jacket and transform it into a pajama top.
3. I learned how to make a flat felled seam.
Labels: flat felled seam, pajamas, removing wrinkles, sewing