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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, April 2, 2021

Sewing when that's all you can do

This last week my oldest son, the one who lives with his family in Berkeley, had a birthday. 

I really wanted to make him something special. In my mind it became really important to send something in the mail that came from the house he grew up in, a house that remembers him.

He had mentioned once he liked summer pyjamas. So I made him some from a vintage men's pattern, out of seersucker with piping. It seemed to me to be very California dad of a certain era, and being a dad is my son's very best thing. I also wanted to make these using only vintage techniques. My serger was not used in this project. All seams are either French seams or bound. I also bound the back of the neck and around the fly pieces on the inside. I was real careful with this project.

I haven't seen Nat or his family in over a year. Last March I was just about to go and spend a few days with my granddaughter while her parents went away. That trip got cancelled at the last minute, theirs and mine. That's bothered me all year.

I don't have the words to describe how much I miss this guy. That's my own baby I can't get to.

But I can still sew something for him. And because he is my son, and grew up with all this sewing going on around, he knew exactly what pictures to take. When he emailed me a thank you he sent detail shots of the parts that were the most work.

He'd knows.

That's my kid.


Kansas Sky said...


Mcirishannie f/k/a quilt til you wilt said...

What pattern did you use? It’s impossible to find men’s pajamas which my hubby wears. Would love to make some for him!

Barbara said...

It's an old Simplicity pattern I found on Etsy, there were a number there. Fun sew.

Jane Miller said...

What a great idea. The details are perfect💜

Pal K said...

I've got two kids quarantining right now due to recent outbreaks. One at his college out of state and the other in high school that moved out and in with a friend's apartment to quarantine to keep me safe.

I hope your son is reads this post...and make sure your grandkids know that no matter how old he gets he will still be your boy. As it should be.

Patricia said...

The PJs are absolutely beautiful, and what a treat to give your son. I love that you used all the old ways to sew, and get that perfect finish. Lump in throat for me, I last saw my Ottawa-based daughter on 24 March last year, makes me sad too. Perhaps I should take your lead and make her a nightie or something.

Annie said...

Beautifully made. I recently bought my husband some flannel pjs and paid a pretty hefty price, expecting they would be quality to match. Yet was sadly disappointed. Yours look well-finished. It’s those details that make the difference, isn’t it?

SK Daniels said...

I am always torn between commenting about you or me. My first reaction was joy upon reading your description of vintage seersucker and a vintage pattern and using the old methods. After zooming up on the photos, I cried at the recognition of something precious and unknown to most. That's the way my mother's sewing looked-- altogether beautiful and substantial, a display of steadfast, patient, and disciplined sewing for those you love. The images evoked in me an emotional realization and a sense of connectedness that there are at least two other people who get it. Your son will have sweet dreams in these.

celkalee said...

Just perfect I think. I have yards of seersucker waiting for their purpose for summer nightwear. It is Vintage yardage, from MIL. Hopefully, you will be able to see him and his family soon. This dreadful situation has made us all quite weary. PS, I would have serged. I am lazy.

LLBB said...

How thoughtful of him to take the right photos!! Good job on him and on the pjs :-)

Alison G said...

I totally get this. I've been getting my son to send his mending which I've been doing with more care than I've ever taken before. It really helps with a sense of connection to loved ones we haven't seen for so long. Work is love made visible.

paloverdeblooms said...

Holy smokes! I am currently sewing the same blue gingham seersucker into the same pajamas with piping for my sister! Only difference is my piping is white, my pajama bottoms are long, and my pajama top has two pockets at waist level that will hold phones and what not. I would say great minds...etc., but I am certain that yours is far greater than mine.

Unknown said...

What size pattern did you use??

Barbara said...

I used a size medium chest 40-42"