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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon



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Friday, December 29, 2017

New Year's resolutions and Movie Night pattern review

Well the tree is still up but the dining room table is covered now in things the spouse is considering packing into the RV. 

We will be leaving Nova Scotia in about two weeks. We are heading to Panama Beach Florida and more or less along the Gulf Coast to Texas, where we will cruise around for about a month getting to know the place the youngest son now lives in, and then west to San Francisco to do the same for the son and DIL in California.

It's pretty cold out there so we are packing warmer than usual clothes and of course a couple of months of sewing projects. When we hit the Bay area I am going to be shooting a few videos for the publisher, very homey, on some of the hints I think new sewers need to know. Hope they are braced for that. I have kind of decided to just be myself for that sort of thing and hope that makes sense to someone somewhere.

I am wondering how well I am going to go without sewing friends to talk to for nearly three months. I have even considered getting an American Sewing Guild at large membership so I can drop into a few meetings as we travel to just sit with other sewists.

For those of you who belong to the ASG does this make sense?

Back on topic.

Living in an RV brings out the inner minimalist. I know the concept of traveling this way might seem weird, certainly not something I thought I would ever do, but I really like it. 

I remember saying on a student trip to Europe years ago that I could travel forever if I could go home every night and sleep in my own bed.

It's like that with the addition of your sewing room traveling with you too. Imagine if every hotel room you ever stayed in had your pattern collection and machine in it.

There actually is a point to this.

I have made one major New Year's resolution, which I actually think I will keep because it is something I want to do anyway.

I am going to try make as many Indie patterns as I can in 2018 and review them.

Here are my reasons for doing this:

1. It will be fun
2. I will learn something new - really important to me as a sewist that I don't get limited or stuck in my familiar techniques. With sewing there is always a new idea and a different way the same thing can be done, we all know that. An example is the pattern I am going to review here.
3. A few of the patterns I have tried could do with some alternative instructions or maybe a construction technique alternative- if I see an opportunity to add information that might be helpful to the next person sewing this pattern I will do that.
4. I enjoy the stimulation of the sewing community that follows some of these pattern designers, nearly all have FB groups, and seeing their makes. This is good for my own creativity and when you are inspired, in my experience, you just should sew something.

And finally, this is too big an idea to be in a list, I want to explore new pattern designers. The ability to produce and sell .pdf patterns has revolutionized the access of design talent to the sewing community. 

I truly believe that there is a lot of talent out there and I want to meet it. I don't believe at all that the potential to create a great pattern or design can only happen on 5th Avenue. Many good ideas start on a kitchen table, late at night, or while someone naps. If anyone understands that I do.

And to quote Joseph Howe, a father of Confederation and fellow Nova Scotian,  you don't need a big field to grow a big turnip.

As an aside, just so you know,  I will pattern test if asked but I buying all patterns I am reviewing. You need to know I am being as objective as I can.

Now onto the Movie Night Pajamas.

This pattern is a free one from Sew a little seam if you join their FB page which will give you the freebie code. Note there is also an adult woman's version of this pattern available too. I am going to get that cut out soon to take with me to sew in the rv because I am anticipating some chilly nights on wheels this next month at least.

I threw together this pattern on December 24th for Mr. Billy who was yakking away about Batman jammies. I got the fabric from Fabric Crush, a Canadian online seller I highly recommend, just in time.

Of course I had already made Billy traditional flannel Christmas jammies but like all children, and most adults if they would admit it, how they felt was as important to him as the print was to me and to his mother.

He told us he didn't like the way the wide legs flapped around his feet. He is an action guy after all.

So I went searching and found the Movie Nights.

They were a particularly fast sew, which is handy when you are whipping something up the day before Christmas, with bands at both the cuff and ankles as well as the neck.

The only hem is on the top and I serged the edge and top stitched it down with a three step zig zag which, because the steps eliminate the long floating threads of the plain zig zag, and I have found to be the most durable for children's clothes - more so than my cover hem for instance.

The intriguing thing about this pattern (not illustrated because my model wouldn't stay still) is the option to replace the traditional elastic waist with a "yoga band" essentially a big wide band of Cotton lycra knit. This is a brilliant idea and one I am going to use more often.

The yoga band is of course super easy to apply, faster than the elastic, and more accommodating when you are trying to figure out what length to cut the elastic for someone you can't test on.

Billy finds it about 1000% more comfortable than an elastic waist too and it also does the job of holding up the jammies just as well.  

Where else can I use this idea?

Finally my model, Christmas morning:

Now off to cut out projects for the trip.


Angela said...

I need another pattern like a hole in the head (hmmm, I might be dating myself with that expression) but your description of the waistband is intriguing. I'll look into this. Thank you! Looking forward to more indie reviews.

Laceflower said...

My experiences with Indies is that they are frustrating, either in seams not lining up, instructions unclear or minimal. I never did figure out what Style Arc wanted me to do on the hem of the Daisy top; this turned ME into a designer! I do have to admit that there are some interesting designs from the Indies, which draws me back in. Working now on a wearable tryout of a Hot Patterns blouse - really, 3/8" hem!??

Anonymous said...

Great post on pajamas. I have a little under a yard of organic knit. This may use it up for a little grand-daughter. Hope your traveling goes well.

Barbara said...

Christine Jonson uses that yoga band waistband treatment for her Perfect Pants, skinny version. It looks comfy but I wonder about it adding an extra layer at the waist, which is right where I don't need it.

Ann said...

Joining the ASG would be a great way to get talk with other sewist while
traveling. Many chapters have websites so you could see what the topic is before the meeting. Don't forget the neighborhood groups which is where a lot of the creative action takes place.

Wish you had a picture of that waistband. We have a grandson that is very thin. Wonder if it would keep his pants up comfortably?

Looking forward to those videos.

A happy ASG member,


Lynn said...

You can join ASG with a $10 trial membership:

Highly recommended. Among other things, you can get tips on where to shop during your travels. Also, there is a very active chapter in Plano, TX, I believe, if you happen to be in the area.

Summer Flies said...

Firstly I love the print on the pj's. Very stylish! I think you are so generous in mind for the indies. I know I just don't want a raglan top that has been done a million times before with a fancy name and $US18 price tag. I would buy something I loved that was actually "designed". Caftans and t-shirt patterns are not designs I want to pay big money for (plus print it yourself and tape it thanks.) Style Arc are actually a professional pattern making company and designers so at least I know there is skill there, plus they use industrial techniques and instructions. They whip up patterns that copy RTW and celebrity wearings (like Princess Kate's dresses if you are into that). I have a huge 2nd hand pattern (and new) stash so there isn't anything I really get inspired by and so far anything I have thought was nice in an indie I have a paper pattern for it. More patterns and intentions than time alas.

Jan said...

Joseph Howe quotations are just one of the many reasons I enjoy this Blog! 😊

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

Safe travels and I can't wait to read about your adventures!

garnet128 said...

I especially like number two of your resolutions. Just curious on the yoga band though. If you don't know what size to cut elastic how do you know what size to cut the knit?

Anonymous said...

Nice Blog update!
Thanks too for the link to Fabric Crush. but 1/2 and 1/4 measures!

Susan Everton said...

I look forward to reading your posts, Barbara, and they always leave me smiling. I have pre-ordered your book to add to my sewing library.
-Susan from the Canadian prairies

Barbara said...

I will try to get a shot of the jammie waist tomorrow, we have pulled the NY Eve babysitting shift. It really was like a giant wide cuff of stretchy good recovery cotton lycra and as such did not have to be as precisely measured to fit.

Marg in Alberta said...

Thank you for this exploration of Indies, this community service is appreciated! It would be nice to add a few new TNT's to my sewing binder, I think i'll start with the Liesl men's shirt you've posted!
You wrote a post awhile back about people's "streams" that i thought hit the nail on the head- some people like exploration (like you trying many pattern companies), some people like fit, others like me love fine-tuning TNT's and trying them in different fabrics :)