Simplicity Pyjama Trousers

simplicity pyjama trousers This weekend I had a go at making my own pyjama bottoms and, well, it was much harder than it looks!

The pattern I used was free from Simplicity and came as an online download which you can print at home. This all sounds great in theory, but when you have to cut and stick 25 pattern pieces together on the floor it does get a bit difficult. Especially when the instructions don’t tell you which bits are meant to overlap and by how much.

Anyway, once you’ve figured out the pattern-piece-jigsaw it becomes a lot easier. Each trouser leg is made from one piece of material (I used a floral cotton – remember it from my fabric stash post here?) and the whole thing is brought together by just 3 long seams. Easy! The waistband at the top is then folded over to make a channel, a piece of elastic inserted and there’s the option to simplicity pyjama bottomssew a tie-belt too.

My only suggestion is that if you’re making this pattern for yourself, cut the fabric a couple of sizes BIGGER than what you actually are. I started off with the XS size (I’m only 5’3) but couldn’t get the waist band over my reasonably-sized lower half (excuse me), so I had to cut the pattern pieces out again and make them wider at the top. I also had to fold up a cuff at the bottom of each leg and stitch it into place because they were far too long for my little legs!

I also think that this pyjama trousers pattern may work better with a stretch fabric, such as a jersey cotton. Whilst my floral cotton (can I just point out that this is the material my Grandma made my dress out of when I was a 7-year-old bridesmaid) feels lovely and summery, it has zero give to it. Perhaps the smaller waistband would have fitted better if it had! I’m pretty pleased with the end result though – now I just need to work on perfecting the pattern for the next, winter pair…

Have you ever made this free Simplicity sewing pattern before? How did it turn out?

Knitting a Woolly Hat

Carol Meldrum woolly hatIt’s September, it’s almost Autumn and it’s very nearly the time to start wearing wool again! Normally when the winds are blowing and the rain is falling I turn to my knitted beret (shop bought, I must admit) but this year I’ve decided I’m going to have a go at making my own hat.

The pattern I’ve picked is one from the book ’30 Minute Knits’ by Carol Meldrum. I highly doubt it’ll take me just 30 minutes to make, but I’m going to try my best. I’ve also been assured by McA Direct (a knitting store who contacted me through Twitter) that wool, needles and knitting bookthe author, Carol Meldrum, creates patterns that are lots of fun to do! So fingers crossed…

The pattern calls for one 100g ball of super chunky wool and 12mm knitting needles. I don’t own either, so on my lunch today I popped down to the wool shop in my town and picked up the couple of things you can see in the picture. I’ve got some jumbo-size, plastic, 12mm needles (they look a bit like toy knitting needles!) and some Wendy Mega Chunky Wool in shade 2244 – this is apparently silver but I’d say it was more a grey-blue colour.

Now I just hope that it goes to plan, I can polish off the rust and I can remember how to knit!

My Q&A With Project Runway’s Miranda Levy

project-runway-season-12-1920The story begins when Miranda Levy, of Project Runway Season 12 fame, retweeted my blog post about the new season of the same name. I was over the moon: I mean, not only are Project Runway following me on Twitter, but now one of the soon-to-be-super-famous contestants has noticed my work! Incredible. Miranda Levy is 29 and from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has, perhaps, a history like no other designer. She used to be a mechanic in the army, is now curator of an art gallery and her sewing skills are entirely self taught. A more determined (and talented) girl you cannot find. Plus she wants to design for Gwen Stefani: I’m sold.

Miranda Levy Project RunwaySo, over the past fortnight or so and thanks to both my Twitter run-in and Miranda’s lovely assistant Michael, I’ve been in contact with Miranda in between her filming and she’s very kindly done this quick Q&A session with me. I present to you: My Question and Answer With Miranda Levy. And remember, #DesignerMiranda this July 18th!

Me: What was the first thing you ever made and do you still have it?

Miranda: ‘In college, I made a vinyl swimsuit covered in suction cups. The project was to create a superhero costume, and I decided that my superhero power would be the power of adhesion. I had high hopes that I would be able to stick to windows and walls. It didn’t quite work. I am sure that I still have the garment hiding somewhere in my storage.’

Me: If you could design for any celebrity, past or present, who would it be?

Miranda: ‘Just quick off the top of my head: CM Punk, Yolandi Visser, Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Angelina Jolie, Patti Smith, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, The Andrews Sisters, Edie Sedgwick, Bettie Page, Twiggy, Mick Jagger, Jackie O., Richard Hell…. I hope you didn’t want just one!’

Me: What are the Project Runway auditions like?

Miranda: ‘Nerve wracking!!! I went through the process three times before I made it on and while the first two times were disappointing, the critiques I received helped me focus and improve. If I’d have made it on the show the first time I auditioned, I probably would have been gone the first round.’

Me: If you could pass on one sewing tip to beginner sewers, what would it be?

Miranda: ‘Practice ALOT!! The more you sew the better you get. Don’t be afraid to look up YouTube videos and ask around for people with more experience to teach you tips and tricks of the trade. A friend’s aunt taught me a lot of simple things that seemed to improve my abilities overnight. Her years of experience were invaluable and it was helpful to have a caring mentor to guide me.’

Me: And finally, what’s Tim Gunn really like?

Miranda: ‘Intelligent, dapper, and sweet as sugar pie. Oh! …and he gives the 2nd best hugs on earth. First place goes to my little brother Dustin Levy…Sorry Tim!’

Thanks Miranda! And best of luck in Season 12 of Project Runway!

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