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I think these Winter Pajamas by Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop were my second project to make with my serger.  I wanted to try sewing knit with it, but thought it was safer to try pajamas.  That way if it didn’t work out the best, it didn’t really matter.  I didn’t think I was going to completely ruin them, but didn’t know if I would do well enough to make a shirt or pants that Lillian would wear outside of the house.

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Like I mentioned above, this is the Winter Pajamas pattern by Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop.  It would have been easy to sew if I weren’t still learning how to use my serger.  The fabric is from Girl Charlee and it’s a cotton thermal knit.  It’s not as stretchy as the jersey knit I have used, but still has a decent stretch.  Which is good considering it’s knit.

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It took me FOREVER to get my serger set up to properly sew knit and I’m still not sure I had it set up correctly.  Can you see the wrinkled edges?  I think that means that the tension was slightly off.  Not really knowing anything about setting the tension on a serger, I think it’s fairly decent.  I’m still learning!

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I think the inside looks pretty awesome!  I’m still pretty excited with how professional a serger makes the clothes I sew look.  It’s ok to be giddy about it, right?

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I made a 3T knowing that they would be a little big, but that they might fit by the time she would actually be wearing them.  Actually, I made these before Easter and she was able to wear them a few times before it got too warm out.  As you can see, they are definitely too big.

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Here she is with some of her goodies from the Easter bunny.  You can see that the sleeves are a whole cuff too long so we had to roll them up.  I still think they look pretty cute on and she asked to wear them, so that is a plus.

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My biggest issue was the seam in the neckline.  If you look closely at the right side of the neckline you can see where my serged edges show.  I tried multiple times to fix it, but for some reason I couldn’t.  I’m not sure if it’s because it was knit or because I just don’t know how to finish an end on a serger.  If you have any tips, please do share!

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No matter what I did, the inside seam was showing on the outside of the shirt.  I also attempted the double needed again on my sewing machine and it wasn’t any more successful than the last time.  I even lengthened the stitch length this time.  I will keep trying though!

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Like in my post about the basic skirt, I finished the elastic waistband with the serged edge showing.  I was successful with the double needle on the waistband, but I think that is because I also sewed over the elastic, so it didn’t suck the fabric down into my sewing machine.  Can you see the small zigzag stitches above the waistline?  That is the back of the stitch of the double needle.

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate of Peek-A-Boo Pattern Shop so I get compensated for any orders placed through the links in this post.

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I don’t think I mentioned that I bit the bullet and purchased a serger.  I decided on the Brother 1034D because it got a lot of positive reviews and the price was decent.  I figured at $185 (which is what I got mine for) if it didn’t work in a few years I was still going to get my money’s worth.  To start practicing, I decided to make a basic skirt as my first project.

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Seriously, a basic skirt is something you must try if you have a little girl in your life.  All you need is her measurements and the skirt can be done in less than an hour.  Actually, with the serger, I think I finished this skirt in 15 minutes!  That included picking out the fabric all the way to finishing the hem.

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I took a few detail pics (actually, my husband took these with my guidance of what pics I wanted) so that I could show you the serged edges.  I really think it makes the skirt look more professional.  You can click on an image so that you are able to zoom in on the serged parts.

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When doing the elastic waistband, I left the serged edge showing, but you could easily still hide it like I show in my tutorial.  Lillian hasn’t complained about it being scratchy and she has worn it plenty, so I will probably use this way again.  Folding the edges is what takes the longest when making this skirt, so a decent amount of time is saved by serging.

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Here is the hem….I serged the bottom edge and because it’s about a 1/4” I just ironed the bottom up with wrong sides facing, so that the serged edge no longer showed on the right side of the fabric and then did a normal stitch around the bottom. 

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Here is a picture that shows the inside and the outside of the skirt.  As you can see, the serged edge does not show on the outside of the skirt, but it still has a nice finished hem.

I have a board on pinterest for sergers if you want a few tips.  So far, I really like having a serger.  My sewing space doesn’t have the best set up so it’s annoying to use right now, but that is only because I have to move my sewing machine so I can use the serger, and then move the serger so I can use the sewing machine.  Once our basement is finished, I will have my own sewing space though!  I can’t wait!

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I joined a few Facebook Groups and came across the one for Scientific Seamstress.  They were getting ready to have a sew-a-long for the Dana Top and I decided to join in.  This was my first shirt that I have ever attempted to make for myself and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.  The fabric I used is Sis Boom West Indies Chandler in Brandy from Hawthorne Threads, but it appears that they no longer carry it.

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It’s supposed to be a loose fitting top, but a lot of the people in the sew-a-long adjusted theirs so that it wasn’t quite as loose as the pattern shows.  I also had to adjust mine and it was the most frustrating part of the pattern.

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I needed to take it in at the waist, but not at the bust and only a little at the hips.  I thought that taking it in at the hips would help, but then it was a little too tight and the waist then stuck out even more.  So that seam came out again.  I just kept eyeing where I needed to adjust and then I measured enough to make each side even.  So basically it was trial and error.  Otherwise I would let you know how I adjusted it!

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Eventually, I decided that it was good enough to wear and I will try to adjust it again with the next one I make.  The other thing I will change is that for joining the two pieces of the sleeves together I will use a larger seam allowance.  The sleeves fall down, but with a larger seam allowance (I’m thinking maybe a half inch to an inch) they should be perfect.  This of course will be different for everyone.  I suggest to try it on before attaching the flutter sleeves.  Since I had no experience with sewing a shirt for myself I was a little afraid to go too far away from the pattern.

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As you can see, the back still lays a little funky.  I think it is because I had to take the sides in so much.  Some of the ladies in the sew-a-long shirred around the area below the chest or added a belt of some sort to help.  I know one lady mentioned taking away some of the fabric from the fold…I think that means since you cut the main piece on the fold, she just moved it over so that it was narrower.  I will have to be careful if I do this because, like I mentioned above, the bust fits perfectly. 

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I made mine the shortest length, which I think is perfect for me.  I am 5’2” with long legs compared to a short torso.  Again, either measure yourself or hold the taped together pattern piece up to you to know the length.  Another option would be to cut it longer than you think you need to and then when hemming adjust the length.

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Here is a detailed shot of the top.  The back looks exactly the same and is sewn exactly the same.  I am still not the best at getting ruffles so that they are even.  I know I can ruffle with my serger, but I’m not sure on how to get the perfect ratio, so for now, I will continue to use basting stitches and pulling the bobbin thread to get ruffles.

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Overall, this was a fairly easy pattern to make.  The instructions were easy to follow, but being a part of the Facebook group also helped for when I got stuck.  I’m pretty sure I could have figured it out on my own, but knowing there were more pictures to reference was nice.

Do you have any shirt patterns that you love?  If so, please share so I can check them out.  This whole sewing clothing thing might become addicting!

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I was a guest blogger over at Imagine Gnats last summer and didn’t post my full tutorial here on my site.  By the time I remembered, we were having cooler weather, so I thought waiting until the weather was warming up to post this would work out better.  So here is my post on how to upcycle jeans into shorts.  The series was called Shorts on the Line.

Hi everyone!  My name is April and I blog at Sewing Novice.  I hope you are enjoying all of the great posts for shorts on the line.  I unfortunately couldn’t put my shorts on the line, so shorts in a line will have to do.

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My daughter wore holes in her jeans before she outgrew them, so I thought the perfect thing to do would be to make them into shorts.  I was just starting to think about how I was going to do this when Rachael emailed me asking if I wanted to do a guest post for shorts on the line.  I of course said yes and thought it would be perfect to do mini tutorials for each version.

Supplies

  • Jeans
  • Jean needle (highly recommended)
  • Binding (binding version only)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape

Keeping the Original Hem

I made one pair by keeping the original hem.  I followed the same process as you would use to hem a pair of jeans with keeping the original hem.  There is a great step by step tutorial here.

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This pair is actually a longer short/capri because the pant legs get a little wider toward the top of the leg, so the hem would have become wrinkled if I made them short enough.  This was also the most challenging refashion of all three, but it’s still easy enough for a beginner.

As you can see in the above picture, I folded the bottom of the leg up as much as I could and pinned it in place.  I was then going to sew the hem into place, and then check my work before cutting off the excess material.

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As you can see in this picture, I had to cut the excess off a little first because the pant leg wouldn’t fit on my machine!  These are 18 month pants, so I don’t recommend trying this for any pair of pants that are smaller than that.

I could still barely fit the pants on the machine, but I managed and even still had to help the material through.  Next, I sewed right up against the original hem.  I used my walking foot with my edger plate attached.  This would not be necessary, but is definitely helpful.

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I then unfolded what I just sewed so that I could make sure it looked ok.  Once I knew it did, I cut off the excess material leaving about 1/4 of an inch.  Then I used an overlock stitch (serger if you have one or zigzag stitch if you don’t have either) to help keep the edge from fraying.

Next, I unfolded them again, and ironed the excess material up toward the waist, being sure to pull the seam apart a little so that it goes as unnoticed as possible.  The goal here is to get the seam as flat as possible.

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Here is the finished product!

Cutting Off the Legs

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For the next two versions you will first cut off the legs before refashioning.  My suggestion for this is to lay the jeans down with the bottom of the legs even.  Then measure up from the bottom and cut.  This will then account for the extra fabric that is needed in the butt of the jeans.  When they are laid down it will seem as if the front is a lot shorter than the back, but again, this is because of the butt.

Frayed Edges

This is the easiest version, but my least favorite.  When I first thought about doing this, I was thinking 80’s styles shorts with pockets showing and all the frays hanging down….and that is the exact opposite of what I wanted.  I did a little research and found that they are actually kind of in style, or at least I assume since I found that Old Navy carries some similar shorts.

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First, cut the shorts about 3/4” longer than the final length that you want the shorts.  Fold up similar to the picture above about 3/4” and pin in place.  Next, sew with about a 1/2” seam allowance with a small stitch length.  The reason I did this was because I didn’t want to take a chance that the fraying would go below my stitching.

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I then pulled threads to make the shorts fray even more and cut off any of the long threads that were now hanging down.  I did this a little before and after washing.  It formed a fuzzy fray instead of the long whitish threads hanging down.

Binding

This would be my favorite version, but it also takes the most work, especially if you make your own binding.  If you do want to make your own binding, but don’t know how, be sure to check out my binding tutorial.  You can also use bias tape, but it’s not necessary to actually cut it on the bias.  I actually had this binding leftover from another project and am loving it on these shorts!

In order to make these, you need to know how to sew on binding.  Check out this tutorial and this one in order to help you get a general idea of how to do it by machine.  Each machine is a little different, so you might want to practice on scrap fabric if you have never worked with binding or bias tape before.

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I sewed the binding to the inside of the pant leg first, and then folded it toward the outside and sewed from the outside.  The reason I did this is because I am not the best at sewing on binding and I knew that doing it this way would look the best.  Yes, you see stitching on the binding, but to me, that looks better than to see partial stitching on the jean part and part on the binding.

I hope you enjoyed my versions of refashioning jeans into shorts.

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You might remember the Retro Bag that I made for myself toward the end of last year.  Shortly after I got the One Yard Wonder books (one and two) my sister was looking through them and noticed the Retro Bag.  She mentioned that she liked it and well, to be honest, when I made one for myself, I completely forgot that she told me that she liked it.

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I kept telling her that I was going to make her a bag, but I didn’t really know what fabric she would like.  So each time I saw her, I would try to get ideas of what fabric she liked.  Finally, I decided that she liked blues and found this (dear Stella Ikebana Ziggy Stripe Charcoal) from Pink Chalk Fabrics.  I sent her an email with links to multiple fabrics I thought she would like and this was her favorite.  So I ordered some!

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I decided that I was going to use a solid color for the lining.  I purchased a Kona color card just for projects like this.  Unfortunately, I had to wait until I received this fabric before ordering the solid so that I could perfectly match the colors, but I’m ok with that.  I am cheap frugal? so I tend to wait until I can find fabric on sale.  (I guess that is the accountant in me.)  I also had a few other solids that I wanted to order, so it worked out.

I asked my sister if she wanted the green or the blue as the solid color and she chose green.  Which also was my first choice, so I was glad she chose the green.

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The bag turned out just how I was hoping and my sister seemed to really like it.  Which is always a bonus!  If you remember from my post about the one I made for myself, I mentioned how the strap was slightly thinner than the top part of the bag and that I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to be like that.  Well, it turned out the same way this time, so I am officially saying that it is supposed to be like that.

The pattern calls for O-rings and I have yet to find any that I like so I eliminated them on the bag once again.  If you know of somewhere to purchase them, please let me know!  I prefer the flat ones so they look more decorative.

One more thing…did you notice the new blog design?  My husband took it upon himself to completely redesign the blog.  Isn’t it great?  Clean, fresh, and easy to navigate.  Hopefully you can easily find the projects/topics/etc that you are looking for.  Let me know what you think so I can let my husband know.