Not Bad…Not Bad At All

My sewing class on Saturday morning got canceled! Undeterred, I decided to try making the pajama pants on my own. It turned out to be a good learning experience and the pants even look pretty decent — especially when you consider this is only the fourth thing I have ever sewn. In addition to simply learning how to use a pattern in the first place, I had to make a casing and an elastic waistband, hem the legs, and put a patch pocket on one leg. New skills! Hooray!

(Side note: I have ever sewn or I have ever sewed? Which is correct? I am not sure.)

Anyway, here they are. Doesn’t Jose make a good model?

Pepper PJ Pants

Here are some lessons learned:

  • Pay close attention to which piece is which. These pants are made up of four pieces that look alike at a glance — but the front pieces had a slightly different shape than the back. On Saturday, I sewed each leg along the side, only to discover that I had sewed the two front pieces together and the two back pieces together, instead of two front-back pairs like I was supposed to do. So I spent the next hour watching TV and ripping out two long seams so I could start over with the pieces matched up correctly.
  • Patterns assume you know a lot of sewing terminology. These pants had an optional patch pocket on the outside of each leg, so I decided to make one just to practice. The instructions that came with the pattern were NOT clear on how to do this, at least not for a beginner like me. Thankfully I found a YouTube video that showed me the one crucial step that the pattern wasn’t clear about. (Or maybe it was and I just didn’t understand what the instructions were saying.) Thank you Internet!
  • Those people on Project Runway do have some skills, even when the stuff they make is ugly. Namely, they know how to fit a pattern to an actual person! The pants pattern allowed you to pick XS-XL, and I went with large based on our hip measurements (which was the only measurement given) but they are pretty baggy. The rise is about 2 inches too long for both of us. The pocket falls approximately at Jose’s knee — which is not a very convenient location for pocket. (Though the pocket can actually be repositioned fairly easily.) On top of that, the pattern must assume you are 6+ feet tall because they were 4.5 inches too long for 5’8″ Jose. I had to cut off a big chunk of fabric from each leg before hemming them. I’m going to make one more pair and I’m thinking of using the medium pattern this time — although I worry the hips will be too narrow for me if I do that. We’ll see.
  • “Sewing” is way more than just sewing. There’s pattern reading, and cutting, and pinning, and measuring, and pressing…and THEN sewing. In fact, if I listed everything in order for these pants, it would go like this: washing, ironing, pattern reading, cutting, pinning, cutting, pinning, sewing, pattern reading, seam ripping (oops), pinning, sewing, pattern reading, head scratching, YouTube video watching, pressing, pinning, sewing, pinning, sewing, pressing, pinning, sewing, measuring, cutting, pressing, pinning, sewing. Whew!

12 thoughts on “Not Bad…Not Bad At All

  1. LOL.

    My mom and my sister were expert seamstresses. Seriously its amazing.

    My mom LOOOOOOOOOOOVED to repeat the story over and over again about the ‘tank top’ I had to make for a sewing project in Home Ec in junior high.

    Seriously it was horrible, and I never touched a sewing machine again.

    • I’m so impressed by people who can actually make clothes that are polished enough to wear out of the house!! I doubt I’ll ever get there (and it’s not really my goal anyway), but it’d be cool if I did.

  2. I had the same experience with my one pattern sewing adventure (ladybug costume), esp the part about sewing the back/front pieces wrong. Luckily, I picked a size way too big for Carina (at the time), so when I had to cut some seams off and improvise a zipper closure it still fit.

  3. That pictures is hilarious. I love it!

    I was never a big fan of the cutting and pinning. Or hemming by hand, as patterns always seemed to advise me to do.

    • Oh I used the sewing machine to hem (after cutting and pressing and pinning, lol). Is that what you meant by “hemming by hand?”

  4. Good job! I really enjoy using my sewing machine for projects, but am not good at making clothes that fit the people they were intended for. You do wonder who the patterns were designed for!

  5. You did a great job. I don’t think I have the patience for sewing, although I would love to sew throw pillows and window treatments. I went to high school with Chloe Dao (winner of Project Runway). I actually liked most of the things she designed on the show. She has a shop in Rice Village and was at our reunion last summer…pretty cool.

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