Feb 19 2013

Making PJs and Breaking Sewing Machines

Published by at 2:47 pm under Crafty projects,Family Time,YAY things

**Note: I do realize this post is quite outdated, and that several snippets were posted to Facebook. However, I have a few new projects in mind, so a recap now is timely, I think. Also? It’s my blog and I’ll rehash if I want to.**

My favorite set of pjs was a gift from my SIL. They’re pink satin pants and button-down shirt with white polka dots. I wear them a lot…like, every time they’re clean and it’s not 3-zillion degrees outside (they are long pants and long-sleeved, after all).

Clearly, Sam has seen them a lot. He, of course, started asking for HIS polka dot jammies. Have you ever tried to find polka dot pjs for a little boy? Hint: They don’t exist. Thankfully, I knew this because my friend Cris also has polka dot pjs and a little boy who started asking about his own polka dot pjs a few years ago.

In a fit of madness, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a pajama pattern. Then I hit Hancock Fabrics for polka dot fabric and notions. That was an adventure in and of itself. I’m so glad the ladies at Hancock Fabrics were so nice and patient. I was clearly clueless, even after several emails and phone calls to Mom about measurements, etc.

Then? It all sat in a bag in my room for at least a couple weeks because I was too scared to do anything about it. Also, I was secretly hoping Mom would be able to help when she and Dad came to visit at Christmas.

The pattern I picked out. We did view C.

When I let Mom in on that little secret she was, of course, happy to oblige. She convinced me, however, that I could tackle pinning the pattern on the fabric and cutting and completing the pants on my own. So, on one of my first days of end-of-year vacation, while the kids were all still in school, I cut out the pattern pieces and started pinning them on my pre-washed (and wonky-shrunk – glad I pre-washed!) fabric. It only took most of the morning and two lengthy calls (and one failed skype attempt) to Mom to get it done.

Pattern pieces pinned (and repinned and repinned again) to fabric.

After a lunch break, I took a deep breath and dove in to cutting pants pieces and sewing up some PJ pants. Mom was right, the pants weren’t really that hard. I got them cut out and pieced together. I even got the pocket done for the elastic in the waist and got the elastic threaded through. (I had to wait on the hems because I needed help figuring out just how big to make them – the pants were going to be quite long.)

And then? I stalled. I was too afraid to start on the shirt (aside from cutting out the pieces) without Mom’s help. No, really, the idea of doing a shirt, with a collar and button holes – button holes, people! – terrified me. Thankfully, Mom arrived just a couple days later and we set to work on the shirt.

And then…CATASTROPHE…As Mom was showing me how to work the pocket (which apparently is evil because it has to be top-stitched) the machine seized up. COMPLETELY. We couldn’t even manually move the needle up and down. We got lucky that it died while the needle was out of the fabric, so we could get the shirt off the machine pretty much unscathed. We (and by we I really mean Mom) took apart what we could of the machine to see if we could fix it, to no avail. It was dead – really and truly dead.

**It’s only fair to mention that the machine I sew on is older than me. It’s an avocado green Kenmore machine, heavy as all-get-out, and was the first sewing machine my Dad ever bought my Mom. In machinery terms, it’s definitely classic, if not ancient.**

But now, what to do? The sewing machine I inherited from Nana’s house was in a repair shop in League City, and the one here was dead. (Clearly I have good luck with machines. Not.) We debated calling a couple of my sewing friends to see if we could use their machines. Ultimately, Mom opted to call Dad and ask him to bring up her machine. He arrived a couple days later with the machine, and Grandpa, Daddy, and the big boys headed off to an overnight at the ranch for some fishing and guy time. Once Sam was in bed for the night (he’s still too little to go to the ranch), Mom and I broke out a bottle of wine and finished up the shirt.

Completed pajamas!

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I did very little machine sewing on the PJ shirt once Mom’s sewing machine was in the picture. I was afraid to break her really nice, fancy machine. Also? You noticed I mentioned wine? Yeah, there’s that, too. I did sew on the buttons, and before the old machine seized up I had sewn up the shoulders.

I think the PJs turned out pretty darn cute. ALMOST as cute as the little person they were intended for. 🙂

Pretty darn cute model, right?

And, you’ll all be happy to know that the sewing machine was revived! A great local place, Suddenly Sewing, right by the house does sewing machine repairs (and classes! YAY!) and they were able to bring my beloved avocado green machine back to health. It’s back home and, as I mentioned above, I have a couple new projects ready to work on! Stay tuned for more fun write-ups of my sewing shenanigans!

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